25 Junior Art Director

I am Boyanese on my father's side. Both my grandparents are from there. My mother is Bugis.

What’s your relationship with the Singaporean identity?

I think it's 50/50 at this point because I identify with Boyanese culture most. I first saw my father’s siblings talking to each other in Boyanese when I was five and that sparked my interest. I want to try and bring the culture back into my life. Use the language every day, even if it's just three words. I try to reconnect myself with that culture so that I have a better understanding of where my ancestors come from and what they have been to.

"If I say I’m Boyanese, people will be like, “Oh, so you're Malay?” Well not really, because I can be under the umbrella of Malay people. But Malays cannot be the umbrella of the Boyanese people. "

Do you resonate with the Singapore Identity?

For now, it isn't as strong as before. As I learn more about the country, I want to understand how I can fit myself in it and see which part of it really ties me down to it.

You can already see the integration of most cultures into one, for example, Boyanese culture is not Boyanese culture anymore. It's just Malay culture. It's inevitable, but it's a bit of a shame because there are so many things you could learn and there's so much history behind it.

Tell us about your chosen objects.

My chosen object is my grandmother's ring. The ring is made out of gold and was bought by my grandfather. My grandfather didn't have a lot because he had no education. All he had was probably just religious education, which was quite important to him. So he worked random jobs, did steelwork and cleaned pools. He probably didn't earn a lot, but to own gold and to buy it for my grandmother, it was just a way of showing the hard work he went through to build that wealth and make sure he provided for his wife and his family. I think that's quite meaningful.

Are there any external influences that have shaped your cultural identity?

There was this one experience where I had a junior who came up to me and asked me about my race. I told her what my race was and then she said, “Oh, those are bad people.” I was like, really? I went home, asked my dad about it, and started digging on my own online. I read through some papers and about people who have experienced this. I found it quite intriguing, and that led me to explore more about my race and my identity.