26, Graphic Designer

I'm Malay with Bugis ethnicity. My dad is a Bugis and my mom is Javanese. My grandparents came from Demak, a town in Central Java, Indonesia.

What is your relationship with the Singaporean identity?

I'm not quite certain of Singapore's identity because Singapore is a multicultural country, and I believe that the differences in cultural and racial ethnicity are part of the community’s identity itself. I feel that the Malay identity is less strong here in general, compared to Malaysia or Indonesia, but it resonates with me. I feel that I bond closely with the Malay community.

"I honestly do feel more connected when I always travel to Malaysia to visit my family. Or if my family from Indonesia comes to Singapore, I do connect with them more."

Tell us about your chosen objects.

This is my mom's ancestral gold brooch. My great-grandmother passed it down to my grandmother and now to my mother, and they are to be passed on to me. I just find they are very unique and invaluable – invaluable because they are very precious and very meaningful as they can be.

"Gold jewellery was common among the family, and daughters will all be presented with gold jewellery because that is their hard-earned income. It carries the symbol of hard work, which inspires me."

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

Yes, when I was exposed to the Western media while growing up in my teens, I think it diluted my appreciation of my own culture. And now that I've grown, I see that there is much more to learn about my own culture. That resonates with me and empowers me.

What are your thoughts on placing labels on one’s racial identity?

I think labels and stereotypes make living terribly harder in Singapore. Because I know as a Malay, I have to work twice as hard to prove that I am not lazy. And this accent attached to my voice does not represent my moral capacity and intellect.