Stories of Art & Inspiration


Once in a while, you find inspirations when you least expect them. These little stories remind you that life is full of possibilities. All you need to do is notice.

I have always been fascinated by people who express through words, colours and artistic forms. Their stories, if inspirational, have that additional beauty, which the others may lack. This story is of Singaporean artist, Ziyue Chen, and it is indeed one of those stories that is enriched by both the person and her artistic creations.

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Community colouring of Ziyue Chen’s poster. Source: Little Events

I stumbled upon Ziyue Chen’s work while looking for a coloring piece that would bring people together for our Little Events community event. Ziyue’s work on Singapore fit the bill just right. (Available on Scribolo)

However, that piece was not where I stopped, I ventured in more to find many heart warming and endearing illustrations. Ziyue works with challenging situations, and not being able to hear is one of them. But that does not change the fact that Ziyue is an artist first and foremost.

One must look at art without bias, and the truth is that I got to know of Ziyue’s challenge much later (when I was writing an article about her in The AsianParent Magazine). Read the article here.

I would like to judge her as an artist. And that’s all. She stole my heart with the vulnerability and the warmth that make her art. I agree though that her story is indeed an inspiring one, one that needs to be told to inspire many others. It is also inspiring because her art reflects nothing of what she can’t hear. It’s about what she can see and what she can feel that matters. It reflects only of possibilities.

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Self Portrait by Ziyue Chen

And so I present to you,  Ziyue, who would like you to know that her name is pronounced as ‘Zzz yuair’ or you can call her Angeline.  Ziyue is a Singapore based Illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. She works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. See her work here

Her life goal is to have an emotional connection with those who view her work. Well, it certainly connected with me! She is an inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible. So from all those she touches through her art (including me), a big thank you!

Stories connect people. If you wish to connect through stories or art, do write in to me. Meanwhile, Here’s another event where art broke barriers.image1-3

Being part of the Bukit Timah Community Club volunteer’s committee has been an exciting journey for me. I would like to thank Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Sim Ann for always being encouraging and for connecting me to wonderful people in the community. This time, it was to Jiaman who organised the community gathering at Clementi.

Inspirations, they are everywhere. Look around and find them. And if you do, don’t forget to share those beautiful stories!

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Celebrating Partnerships & Human Links


India’s mega diaspora show, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, was held in Singapore on January 6-7, 2018. A joint effort by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the High Commission of India in Singapore, the event celebrated 25 years of ASEAN-India Partnership, and explored centuries-old cultural, social, and human links. The theme of the PBD was “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN India Partnership” and was aimed at promoting closer ties between India & ASEAN and deepen the diaspora’s relations with India.

It was exciting enough for me to be part of the official ‘Ancient Route, New Journey’ writing team, but what made it even more exciting was the fact that I could (with this writing piece) have my own little symbolic celebration of partnership and human link. As ASEAN, India and Singapore celebrated their long term partnerships, I celebrated my own long term collaborations with Sunmedia and Chitrakala (Chitra Shankar of Chitrakala is featured in this article through sheer coincidence, thanks to our photo editor, Mr J).

Partnerships, collaborations and friendships are not just words that sound nice in theory, but they according to me, form the very core that sustain human success, both professionally and personally. This piece remains an ode to that.

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This article was first published in Shikhar

Bringing Families and Communities Together This June


It’s not everyday that one gets to bring people from different walks of life, and different age-groups together. However, that’s exactly what I am in for. It began with a simple idea of bringing people together through art, play, fitness and food, but it soon became more elaborate with a trustworthy collaborator. We began reaching out to more people from different walks of life. We also wanted to promote family bonding and initiate the idea of giving back to the community as a family. June happens to be special for fathers, and thus the event, Dad & Us was conceptualised. I dedicate this event to all dads, especially mine (who is an angel somewhere, watching over me).

I have always believed in collaborations, and this event proves the power of collaborations. A big thanks to all who are participating, and thanks also to Families for Life and Dads for Life for endorsing this event. So, here’s presenting an event that I am looking forward to, an event when families will stay away from gadgets (hopefully) and make memories through interactive activities.

The event will power start with Muay Thai Family Fitness. There’s also community colouring of the Singapore landscape poster by Singaporean artist, Ziyue Chen.

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Especially for the dads, there’s a stand up comedy show by a dad, and he calls it, ‘Dad’s Special’. For a little father-kiddo bonding, there’s a 2 minute Talent Showdown (happening at 11.45 am and again at 2.15 pm). Moms can cheer their home teams. It’s not a competition though, it’s just a celebration of togetherness. There’s no age restriction and the only rule is to have fun. There are shopping booths, interactive play stations, food stalls and face painting at the event too.

There’s also an awareness talk for the parents, where physicians and therapists (from traditional medicines) will talk about simple massage techniques that can ease common ailments in kids. Free consultation will be available for the day.

Parents are children’s first role models. Therefore, it is apt that families give back to the community together. A charity gift drive has been initiated to give back to those who might do with some help. Dad2Dad Charity Gift Drive will be collecting gifts for dads (transient workers in Singapore) who are away from their families. This charity drive is in collaboration with Transient Workers Count Too. 

Gift Wish List includes: International Phone Calling Cards (for them to call home), basic supplies (toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, shaving kits etc) and items of clothing (new). If you wish to contribute, head over to the TWC2 booth at the event between 11 am to 5 pm. Present also at the event will be the animal rescue awareness booth. So come over and join us!

Register for the event here

It’s on 2nd June at No 2 Stadium Walk (Waterfront), right next to Kallang mall. The nearest MRT is Stadium.

Dad & Us: Know more about the event.

Endorsed by:

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28th SGIFF Silver Screen Awards


It’s always a pleasure to write about the Singapore International Film Festival. Apart from the stalwarts who continue to enthral, there are new narratives to enjoy, and new talents to watch out for. But what I find the most fascinating about these festivals is that they give us an opportunity to trace the similarities, the commonalities and the common sensibilities of the region. Observing the thread of a common South East Asian identity is a beautiful experience.

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Source: IndoConnect. Text: Prionka Ray

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Source: IndoConnect. Text: Prionka Ray

Unifying Cultures through Designs


Lately, my work has been taking me in to the world of fashion and films, and it has been an absolute delight! Glitz and glamour aside, what I find most exciting is that there’s a certain amount of electric energy around creative people. That energy gets contagious, and it’s impossible not to be swept in to it. I got completely influenced as well, and loved being surrounded by the buzz of art, fashion, and films. It was beautiful to be surrounded by the swish of luxurious fabrics, the elements of eclectic designs, and eventually, by the various forms of storytelling.

What I also loved is the collaborative stance of these people; the reaching out, the merging of ideas, and the ultimate exposition of the finale. The world of art is best enjoyed with an open mind. I went in, a blank canvas, and I come out, enriched, having met people, who with their brilliance, and their collaborations, make the world a little more beautiful.

Jewellery Series: Interview with the inspiring Michael Koh of Caratell (Singapore)

Source: Sunmedia

Fashion Series: Meeting the effervescent Helen of NES by hdk (Indonesia)

Meeting designer, Helen of ‘NES by hdk’. Draped around me is the famed ‘stola’ from her latest collection. (Image: Prionka ray)

Source: IndoConnect, Sunmedia.

Source: IndoConnect, Sunmedia.