30s, Educator, DJ, Musician, Artist

My name is Firdaus, thirty four years old. I have a brand called vetiver. And I also work adjunct as a lecturer in LASALLE School of Fashion.

What’s your family’s cultural background?

Okay, so my dad is half Chinese and half Javanese. And my mom is half like her, her dad was from Malacca. And my grandma, her mom was from Singapore.

What’s your relationship with the Singaporean identity?

My idea of a Singaporean identity is rooted in like my experiences growing up. It's more associated with space, if that makes sense. Like the landscapes that I remember, like, playgrounds Heartlands, coffee shop. To me, is kind of like what I feel is surround sound to Singapore identity if that makes sense.I think Singaporean identity is more about the idea of coexisting or like people coming together from different backgrounds. That's kind of like what the starting point of like Singapore is. I feel like people have been very interested in Singapore, because like, different groups of people exist and coexist together.

Tell us about your chosen objects

Right, so this current object is a necklace that we developed in Vetiver, for the new collection. It's interesting that is always about trying to respond to spaces that exist in Singapore, in hopes to cultivate a sense of identity within Singapore. We will look at spaces and you know, that is a bit more industrial. And specifically, we were looking the area in Geylang, where there's so much things that exist within that space.

This chosen opposite object, it's a necklace that is hand braided together, and it's called "cleanse". Because it's, it comes from that whole idea of like groups of people coming together, it's being braided.

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

Western ideologies have have affected so much of my identity. There are things that I agree with and I disagree with my culture as well as I think that I both agree and disagree with the Western culture. To me, it's not necessarily about identify with like one, because I don't think there will ever be like an absolute point of reference to like look at. You have to look at different things and you have to pick and choose what makes sense for you.

What are your thoughts on labels placed on one's racial or ethnic identity? 

I think it's just how we have to be responsible in our own thoughts and how we respond to these questions as well. Because I think it is inevitable that we will experience racism as we get older. But as kids, you don't experience this. But something changed as we get older. Its a troublesome discussions to be brought forward, but it's good to talk about it. I think that was the point where when I was a child, I don't see racism. It's only that as we get older we get to be informed of, “Hey, this thing exists”.