Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Malaysia premiered a 10-part docuseries, “Hello from Singapore”, exploring how 10 industry players across different industries in Singapore are reimagining their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The docuseries was released as a symbol of moving forward and ensuring Singapore remains an aspirational destination for all.
“We want to share a glimpse of how our community is making the best of their everyday lives and reinventing their work as we recover from this pandemic,” said Area Director, Malaysia and Brunei, Singapore Tourism Board, Dawn Ng. “We hope these stories will give a healthy dose of assurance, inspiration, and seed the desire for future travellers to discover and reimagine Singapore when travel resumes”,
So far two episodes have been released on the VisitSingapore Facebook page and on each Tuesday for the next eight, a new episode will be released. Here’s a quick look at what each episode has in store:
|Episode 1: PPP Coffee|
Featuring Marcus Foo, Group CEO of PPP Coffee
PPP Coffee, formerly known as Papa Palheta, is a leading speciality coffee boutique in Singapore specialising in sourcing, roasting and serving speciality coffee. Established in 2009, Group CEO of PPP Coffee, Marcus Foo, was on a mission to inspire and connect people through coffee and foster a sense of belonging across communities.
Coffee enthusiasts will greatly appreciate the varieties of coffee at PPP Coffee; as Marcus mentioned, he is “really missing travellers who bring coffee from their hometowns, to exchange coffee with us.” The specialty coffee community transcends borders, developing relationships instantaneously as PPP Coffee encourages customers to experience coffee by tasting and asking questions at their cafes. At PPP Coffee, every batch of coffee is sustainably sourced and meticulously roasted in small batches to bring out the unique flavours and profile of the beans and to do justice to the farm and its farmers. Marcus believes that every coffee has a story. Every cup served is an opportunity to connect with customers and to share the many hands behind these delicious coffees.
|Episode 2: Wee’s Collection|
Featuring David Wee, Founder of Wee’s Collection
David Wee, the founder of Wee’s Collection, is not just an ordinary vintage collector or enthusiast; he is one of the rare few who actively helps to preserve and promote Singapore’s rich heritage. Inspired by trips to Singapore’s flea markets at the age of 12, David’s interest in vintage and heritage items led to the establishment of Wee’s Collection in 2012. Beyond being a one-stop station for heritage-related events and services, a heritage gallery was set up due to the pandemic, showcasing his vintage collection of over 2,500 items collected over the years. According to David, KL’s Amcorp Mall is a treasure trove and haven for sourcing vintage goods. David hopes that his gallery will be able to transport visitors back to the 1970s with set-ups like a barbershop, a kopitiam, a tailor shop and more.
|Episode 3: SLOWHOUSE|
Featuring Bella Koh, Founder of SLOWHOUSE
Several years ago, Bella Koh, founder of SLOWHOUSE, was bogged down by extreme work stress and regular gastric problems. She began this healing journey to promote a movement of slowing down life’s pace, taking the time to be aware of one’s surroundings, and seeking the right balance as a conscious consumer. Since then, she established SLOWHOUSE, an event space used to offer workshops for healthy cooking as well as gatherings to share thoughts about embracing slow living. The pandemic hasn’t slowed her down either, she has been focusing on curating products on behalf of customer’s requests, like offering sustainable products such as organic brownies, essential oils, hand wash and hair defrizzers. SLOWHOUSE focuses on achieving a life of mindfulness, holistically and sustainability, where one’s physical and mental well-being comes before anything else.
|Episode 4: .gif|
Featuring Weish and Din, Singaporean Indie-electronic Duo
From an unassuming name to a band now invited to perform all over the world, .gif is made up of university friends Weish and Din, a duo that came together when “experimenting with music for pocket money and struggling to fill the lineup for hosted events”. Their organic growth through SoundCloud releases and sold-out live shows has been amazing, with great releases under their belt like the 2013 debut extended play record (EP) ‘saudade’ and the 2015 long play (LP) ‘soma’. The band has also performed in Malaysia’s “URBN.SENI”, the inaugural Triennial Malaysia-Singapore Cultural Showcase in 2019. 2020 saw the band release the much-awaited follow-up album ‘HAIL NOTHING’. They have also had the honour of collaborating with artists across different disciplines, from filmmakers to poets to playwrights. Like many other artists during the pandemic, they’ve been performing virtually for their fans and have been exploring new opportunities outside of their comfort zone too.
|Episode 5: Hjh Maimunah |
Featuring Mastura Didih, Second Generation Co-Owner & Director of Hjh Maimunah
“We understand that this is a very difficult time, so we have this idea to give back to the community. We give free food to healthcare workers on certain days, and give free food to the less fortunate.” With amazing food and these community initiatives, the nasi padang eatery Hjh Maimunah goes above and beyond for their patrons.
They stick to tradition with locally sourced sustainable seafood, premium ingredients, a charcoal grill, and labour-intensive dishes that take up to 3 hours to make. The effort here would normally be associated with top-end restaurants, but Hjh Maimunah keeps things casual. Founded in 1992 by Madam Mahiran Abdul Rahman with recipes from her late mother, Hjh Maimunah, she later grew the menu to include over 40 types of dishes over the years as the cooks she hired brought new ideas onboard. Today, the company has two restaurants, a food catering arm and a food factory manufacturing pastes, sauces and frozen food. They have also expanded to opening a new brand and concept called Hjh Maimunah Mini which is a smaller version of the restaurant, located at Tampines Mall Kopitiam, City Square Mall Food republic and Hong Leong building, with plans to open more Mini outlets. With the pandemic, they have adopted takeaways and curated meals to be sent out to your loved ones, and have also been creating festive meal sets this Raya.
|Episode 6: The Green Collective SG|
Featuring Mayur Singh, Co-founder of The Green Collective SG
The Green Collective SG is Singapore’s first collective retail concept showcasing sustainable alternatives to consumers as well as businesses, reducing our footprint on planet earth. An integral part of The Green Collective is to have a “kampung” area, where they organise workshops, talks and events revolving around sustainability. This is not only to provide a venue and platform for workshop providers, but also to expand their reach and share their knowledge about sustainability to a wider audience so that they can kick start their own journey.
They also offer a wide selection of eco-friendly and socially conscious items from zero waste options to organic beauty products to sustainable fashion. The brand was built with a vision to create a responsible Green Kampung, The Green Collective SG is an ecosystem of Sustainable Brand Owners, conscious consumers and businesses who are tirelessly working together to spread the word and encourage a sustainable lifestyle among the public. The founders of The Collective, Danielle Champagne, Mayur Singh and Agatha Lee “Agy”, were inspired by the common goals and numerous hurdles young entrepreneurs are facing running their small sustainable business. Operating in a cooperative set-up, the Green Collective SG does retail, workshops and other experiences both in-store and holding pop-ups for businesses.
|Episode 7: Wheniwasfour|
Featuring Tan Li Ling, Owner of Wheniwasfour
Wheniwasfour is a Singapore-based design studio and label that creates local-flavoured lifestyle products. Tan Li Ling, the owner of Wheniwasfour, started the brand with two university friends who shared the same interest in designing items that spark nostalgia. With a goal of appreciating and embracing day-to-day life’s quintessential and imperfections, Wheniwasfour emphasises and embraces the simplicity in every creation they produce. Drawing inspiration from the littlest things in life, the products are created with detail and designed with infinite possibilities in mind. The studio was named “Wheniwasfour” upon the discovery that most children begin to have their first impressions of the many things, people and places around them at the age of four. Hence, they hope to bring back childhood memories through design and handmade products so people can start reminiscing the good old days. The pandemic has brought forth a wave of inspiration for them to “bring some encouragement to our customers and social media followers with more motivational content”, crafting up items like cushion covers and notebooks to gift their loved ones.
|Episode 8: The Old Man Singapore |
Featuring Andrew Yap, Co-founder of The Old Man Singapore
The Old Man Singapore is a passion project turned award-winning bar created by industry legends. This intimate speakeasy serves top-notch hospitality and innovative cocktails while tucked away in the heart of Singapore’s buzzing Keong Saik Road. It’s no secret that booze was Hemingway’s life-blood for him and his fictional cohorts. Hemingway was a sophisticated drinker, a lover of fine spirits, and a true connoisseur who sought out the best bars from Paris to Pamplona. The Old Man honours Hemingway by taking inspiration from his novels, history, and folklore and using novel ingredients and culinary accoutrements – thereby paying tribute to the spirits and cocktails he loved.
Something extraordinary about the cocktails is the fact that they can take up to three days to be crafted but under a minute to be served to their customers. The pandemic has allowed them to try new opportunities, like partnering with bars across the world in a project called “Bars Unknown” to bring two of the best-selling signature cocktails from acclaimed bars to The Old Man Singapore.
|Episode 9: Caviar Colony |
Featuring Benjamin Goh, Co-founder of Caviar Colony
Caviar Colony was founded on the belief that quality caviar should be accessible to a wide range of discerning customers locally and internationally. Benjamin Goh, the co-founder of Caviar Colony, tasted caviar for the first time on a flight from Singapore to the US 20 years ago. “I loved it”, he recalls, “I then developed a deep appreciation for caviar – not just as a delicacy, but eventually, a business opportunity.”
Benjamin believes that everyone should be able to enjoy caviar for its unique taste and nutritional benefits. This commitment to quality is reflected in every aspect of Caviar Colony’s caviar production, packaging and distribution. Promising excellence in quality and yet genuinely priced products, the Singapore-based caviar brand seeks to appeal to a new generation of caviar lovers worldwide. Caviar Colony products are also available in many restaurants across Singapore, including Ki Sho, Sushi Kou, Meta and Basque Kitchen by Aitor.
|Episode 10: FootWorks Media|
Featuring Chris Ng, Tourist Guide and Founder of FootWorks Media Pte Ltd
FootWorks Media is a Singaporean tour agency that offers driving holidays to Malaysia and Thailand, advanced driving courses and off-road adventure trips. As the pandemic has restricted travel, Chris Ng, founder and a tourist guide himself, sheds light on how they have adapted to the current situation. Chris has been working with a team of local Singaporeans with a passion to bring locals and overseas guests to explore hidden gems, back lanes, delicacies at hawker centres and temples in Singapore. In fact, he was taken by surprise when he found out that people had an interest in walking tours around cemeteries, an avenue that had been left unexplored in the realm of guided tours. Themed tours that cover both heartlands such as civic districts and non-heartland areas such as Yishun and Redhill are available at Uncle Chris Walking Tours.
‘Hello from Singapore’ is part of the Singapore Tourism Board’s ongoing effort to allow Malaysians to relive old favourites and discover new experiences through the SingapoReimagine campaign to spark conversations, stories and ideas.
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