Not one to settle for a regular desk job? From a jagua tattoo artist to a professional cosplayer, take inspiration from these five individuals who are carving their own career paths by taking the road less travelled.

Louis Sue, 26, pole dancer

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Gravity-defying stunts, jaw-dropping tricks and hours of strength training are all in a day’s work for Louis Sue, who’s one of the few professional male pole dancers in Singapore. Often regarded as a feminine dance form, the dance instructor of PXD Pole Studio defies traditional norms by inspiring more men to take up the sport. To share his passion with the masses, the budding champ even took part in Asia’s Got Talent where he impressed the judges with his undeniable talent.

On picking up the unconventional sport: 

“I was looking to do something that incorporated both fitness and dance. Watching professional pole dancers defy gravity with seemingly impossible tricks really drew me in. I told myself to give it a try and signed up for a trial class. In my first lesson, I could already see how supportive the community is and how elegant yet strong pole dancers are. Just like that, I fell in love with the sport.”

On breaking gender stereotypes: 

“Although pole dancing is still considered a female-dominated dance form, more and more guys are starting to enter the scene and creating a style of their own. In fact, we see about two to three males in each of our classes now, compared to almost none previously.”

On the local pole dance scene:

“I feel that pole dancing has become more widely accepted as a sport in Singapore. Even through there’s definitely a fair share of people who are still unaware of what pole dancing is about, I hope that we can continue to share our passion with the masses.”

On tips for beginners: 

“The main struggle isn’t the lack of strength or flexibility, but rather the fear of trying. Much like any other sport, all you have to do is take the first step; everything else can be built progressively over the course of this sport. Just give it a go, you won’t regret it!”

Ng See Min, 24, Jagua Tattoo Artist 

Ng See Min

See Min is not your average tattoo artist. The founder behind Henndrawn, the NUS sociology graduate prides herself as the first ever jagua tattoo artist in Singapore. For the uninitiated, she specialises in using organic fruit-based ink to create stunningly realistic body art. The catch: it lasts for just two weeks, but you get the freedom to try out something new each time. With her eye for detail and penchant for experimenting with diverse styles, her bold yet tasteful designs are sure to make a unique statement.

On using art as a coping mechanism: 

“When I was 18, I was really stressed out from A’Levels so I resorted to art as a creative outlet. I’ve been drawing all my life, and got introduced to the idea of tattoos by my favourite celebrities like Jolin Tsai. However, my mother didn’t allow me to get a real tattoo thus I decided to innovate and began doing temporary tattoos.”

On changing the perception towards tattoos:

“While focusing on my own problem of not being able to have tattoos, I accidentally solved the problems of others. It then dawned on me that a natural curiosity and demand for jagua tattoos was created due to the social stigma of tattoos in Singapore. I want people to realise that having tattoos doesn’t change who you are as a person. In fact, it might even help to bring out one’s unique identity.”

On the most fulfilling experience she’s had: 

“It’s easy to forget that every client comes to us with a purpose for the tattoo. So I created a movement called #OurMessageToYou where we encourage people to share their stories with us in exchange for a tattoo. Through the intimate exchanges, we realised the healing power of jagua tattoos and what we can bring to our clients.”

On advice for aspiring body artists: 

“Listen to your heart. If you want something, nothing can ever stop you. When you start to fear, it’s a sign to actually do it because it means you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone.”

Lee Yee Kien, 22, Street Musician

Yee Kien Performing

A mathematics and economics student by day and busker by night, Yee Kien is part of an emerging group of individuals who aren’t afraid to make the city their stage. When he’s not performing to the tunes of Ed Sheeran and JJ Lin on the streets, the talented music- maker can be found showcasing his beatboxing skills in local and regional competitions, even bagging a couple of awards from it. So, the next time you pass by a busker, stop for a moment… and listen.

On his personal musical style:  

“My personal style in music is pretty niche; even though it covers a wide range of genres, my style of delivery is all through my vocal chords. Beats, you got it. Guitar, coming right up. Er-hu? Violins? Electric guitar? All me! I use this arsenal of sounds I’ve picked up over the years, input it into my looper and fit it into the songs I sing. I’m essentially a one-man acapella band!”

On his most memorable audience interaction: 

“Once, I was busking near the residential area and someone complained so two police officers came to investigate. I thought my busking license was going to be revoked, but to my surprise, the police officer gave me a pat on the back and said, ‘Bro, you were awesome! Keep doing what you do.’ Those words of encouragement meant a lot to me and it inspired me to keep going.”

On an important life lesson: 

“I’ve learned that passion is what makes the world go round. Buskers may be on the streets for different reasons, but they are all there with one common purpose: to spread their passion to the world. When you actually stop and listen to one, you can most definitely feel their passion, and that drive is what makes people do what they do.”

On plucking up courage: 

“It sounds cliche, but I would say: just do it. It gets easier after you sing the first song, so take the courage to make the first step. If you’re hungry and you wanted food from the coffeeshop across the road, but you chose not to because you fear getting run over by a car, you’ll never get your food. Remember, there will always be people stopping to watch you perform and that’s all that matters.”

Lyn Ng, 27, Wood Crafter 

Lyn Profile

When you think of a carpenter, you’d picture big, often older men with calloused hands. For someone who wields heavy machinery on the daily, modern-day wood designer Lyn Ng is far from your typical carpenter, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t down to tough it out. After calling it quits at her high-paying marketing job, she packed her bags for a six-month stint in Taiwan where she learned the art of wood design. As one of the few female wood designers in Singapore, Lyn aspires to showcase her love for the craft through her personal brand, Studio MU YU.

On making her career switch:

“I was in this burnout phase as I was stuck in a cycle of working from 9am to 1am almost every day for three weeks. I never felt accomplished, so I decided to seek advice from my mentor and she told me, ‘If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll eventually find the time and effort to make it happen.’ And that was what encouraged me to quit my desk job to pursue something I’m passionate about: woodworking.”

On making carpentry great again:

“Carpentry is not just meant for the experienced veterans, but for everyone. There are plenty of woodworking workshops in the market right now and I think it’s a good start for anybody who’s bold enough to take on a skill that is out of the norm.”

On setting up her own business:

“I first took up an apprenticeship at a local studio, where I realised that many small pieces of wood are discarded along the production line. Building on the values of minimising waste and creating products that don’t undercut workers, this inspired me to conceptualise my first series of sustainable accessories for modern women known as Studio MU YU.”

On overcoming initial challenges: 

“I have male relatives who told me that I couldn’t make it far in this field, which made me second guess myself thinking if I am really cut out to learn this ‘masculine’ skill. But I’m lucky to have met so many like-minded carpenters who taught and guided me along the way. Having started my own brand, I feel even more empowered to embrace challenges and turn it into a story of my own.”

Rea Kami, 22, Cosplayer 

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Cosplayers are aplenty, but few are able to successfully turn their geeky past time into a steady cash flow – just take it from Rea Kami. What started as a sheer love for anime has flourished into a burgeoning career for this young cosplayer, who makes a living from designing and styling herself as characters from Overwatch, Evangelion, Fate etc. for major cosplay conventions all over the world. Check out @reakami on Instagram for more of her works!

On getting into cosplay:

“I was a big fan of anime when I was around 7 to 9 years old; edgier series like Hell Girl, Death Note and Bleach were all the rage during that period. But it wasn’t until my secondary school days that I started developing an interest in this hobby, after being introduced to the world of cosplay by a junior.”

 On cosplay misconceptions: 

“Not all female cosplayers do NSFW (not safe for work) content. Many people jump onto the risque elements of cosplay the moment I say I’m a cosplayer. On the contrary, I take pride that my work is mostly SFW.”

On building her fanbase: 

“It’s all about staying organic and interacting with your followers regularly! The aim is to build a safe community where fans can rave and discuss about their interests, be it anime or game appreciation.”

On a typical day off: 

“I binge-watch Netflix and catch up on anime series to get inspiration for my content. I also attend weekly Dungeons & Dragons gaming sessions with my friends!”

On venturing out:

“Prior to cosplay, I was actually more interested in voice work and it was my first career choice. Cosplay just became an avenue successful enough for me to fully venture out into! In the future, I would also love to try making videos on beauty content using my cosplay knowledge.”

This article was adapted from Teenage Portfolio 2019. For more inspirational stories, be sure to pick up a copy of our latest issue, out on newsstands now!

If there’s one thing that gets you into the mood for work, it’s stationery. Whether you’re stocking up on back-to-school supplies or simply want to spruce up your desk, you’ve turned to the right page. We’ve got you covered with some quirky, on-trend knick-knacks that are the perfect excuse to go stationery shopping.

Speech Bubble Adhesive Notepad

Square notepads are so basic – we’d double tap on these adorable speech bubble sticky notes any day.

Shop this: Speech Bubble Adhesive Notepad, $10, kikki.K

Lightmark Lamp Bookmark, $12.90, Naiise

Need a reason to get back into the habit of reading? Shaped just like a lamp, this bookmark makes the otherwise mundane act of flipping pages all the more enjoyable.

Shop this: Lightmark Lamp Bookmark, $12.90, Naiise

Pastel Sequin Ball Pen, $6.48, ASOS

Who doesn’t want a sequin ball pen in their pencil case? Oh, and it’s pastel – major love.

Shop this: Pastel Sequin Ball Pen, $6.48, ASOS

Pom Pom Push Pins, $2.78, ASOS

These fluffy little guys are great for hanging up your favourite photos, inspirational quotes or important documents in style.

Shop this: Pom Pom Push Pins, $2.78, ASOS

Cool Avocado Sharpener, $7.99, Typo

Be that cool kid in school with an avocado sharpener whom everyone wants to be friends with – just remember to always ask for it back.

Shop this: Cool Avocado Sharpener, $7.99, Typo

Marvel Pen Holder, $17.99, Typo

This one’s for the Marvel aficionados. Why opt for an ordinary pen holder when you can house all your writing instruments within Captain America’s almighty shield?

Shop this: Marvel Pen Holder, $17.99, Typo 

Pilot Pen Juice Paint

Fancy getting crafty? Available in a variety of vibrant hues, the Pilot Pen Juice Paint water-based markers are fun and versatile to use – it marks on most surfaces and is ideal for DIY activities! For those who are keen on getting your hands on these babies, why not take it up a notch by signing up for our hand lettering workshop? Psst… it’s free!

Shop this: Pilot Pen Juice Paint Marker, $2.90 to $34.65, all Tokyu Hands and selected NBC & Times Bookstores

More related stories: 7 Fun & Easy DIY Ideas To Refresh Your Study SpaceFollow These Local #Studygrams Accounts For A Dose Of Inspiration

There is no escaping the fact – studying is inherently boring. Unless you’re truly without other hobbies during your own free time, no one wants to willingly spend time poring over wordy textbooks or memorising a thick stack of notes.

In recent times, however, there has been a community of students who are looking to change this fact. Taking social media platform Instagram – more often than not seen as a distraction – as their medium, they have begun beautifying and snapping shots of their study notes, pairing their cursive notes and colourful diagrams with adorable pieces of stationery to brighten up the image.

These “studygrams”, as they have been stylised, have turned distractions into study motivators. Not only are the ones creating the notes taking the time to read through their study materials and recreate them in style, others would be inspired to create their own notes as well. The stationery recommendations are a plus too – after all, you can trust these “studygrammers” to know where to pick up the prettiest sets of writing tools for the most aesthetic-pleasing setup.

Need some inspiration? Here are a bunch of gorgeous local #studygram accounts that are sure to keep you motivated.

@studyrella

Managed by engineering university student Corrine, this feed offers detailed algebra notes with a smattering of Marvel-related spreads in the journals. Pastel stationery and items also make an occasional appearance.

@studyscript

The focus of Zee’s spreads – also known as bujo (an acronym of bullet journal) – is the neat, printed style of the paragraphs, along with a bright cursive header and coloured biology diagrams.

@studyeevee

 
 
 
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woah new chem notes!!! hope you had a good week :-)

A post shared by vivien 🌸🌿🌙 (@studyeevee) on

Named after the beloved Pokemon mascot opposite of Pikachu, Vivien’s minimalist spreads with a black cursive script come enhanced with dried flowers and pleasing stationery sets for a well-organised feed.

@mochistudies

Unlike the other well-lit studygrams, the junior college student behind @mochistudies makes use of shades and natural sunlight for their notes in various ink colours.

@soyistudying

 
 
 
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am still totally alive

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Instead of a pure studygram account, @soyistudying’s feed also includes snapshots of charming stationery sets, plushes and the intermittent Muji shopping bag. Spot a Starbucks cup or two among the pictures.

@cloudyymoons

Simply having study notes on your socials isn’t your thing? You can check out @cloudyymoons’ various concert, travel and month-related works among their school notes, which are highlighted in soft, cool colours throughout the feed.

@xzzstudii

One of the most uniform feeds around, this account puts the focus on clean scripts. Each set of notes are done in just two colours – black and whichever shade that suits their fancy for the day – which may appear to be simple, but is effective in highlighting its unpretentious style.

More related stories: 7 Fun & Easy DIY Ideas To Refresh Your Study SpaceStudents Share Their Tried-And-Tested Study Hacks

As a person living in the civilian world, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the idea of being in the Navy – even more so when you’re a female who grew up watching your friends and family members enlisting in the military.

In recent years, however, we see more and more young women who are turning to the Navy as a career choice. Choosing the Navy can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s also a profession that requires a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment – as we found out at the Navy Women’s Career Seminar.

Navy Women's Career Seminar

Held at the Suntec City Convention and Exhibition Centre on 1 June, the seminar played host to a handful of aspiring naval candidates from all walks of life – some are keen on joining with patriotism in mind, while others are hoping to score a scholarship for their university education. But everyone came with one purpose: to build a career in this dynamic field. Here are some important takeaways we learned amidst it all.

#1 Never underestimate the importance of the Navy

We all know that Singapore is highly regarded as a maritime nation, but we often forget how important maritime security is – even the slightest mistake can cause national security to be compromised. Which is why it’s essential to have a strong Navy to ensure that our seas are safe and secure for all. From the moment you put on the uniform, you become part of something bigger; you become a symbol of strength, courage and sacrifice. In return, you’re rewarded with a meaningful and fulfilling experience that you wouldn’t trade for anything else.

Navy 2
A young female Navy sailor with an attendee at the Navy Women’s Career Seminar.

#2 It’s not just about combat and warfighting

One common perception about the Navy is that it’s all about combat readiness. Yes, you have to be ready at all times to answer the call of duty – but it’s also about the “art of making friends”. Diplomacy is key for the Navy, as it plays an important role in sustaining long-lasting relationships with partners in the region and beyond. This makes it easier to tackle maritime challenges, at the same time establishing global credibility for Singapore as the diplomatic arm of the military.

#3 Don’t expect to be treated any differently

Taking the plunge into a field that’s traditionally dominated by males can be intimidating, but there’s really not much you should be worried about – because all that matters is your capabilities once you’re out at sea. Just like your male counterparts, you’re expected to go through military training in order to be properly equipped with the necessary skillsets. You will then get the opportunity to take on key leadership roles, while being exposed to various aspects of the organisation.

Naval Officer
We sat in for an intimate sharing session with one of the naval officers – what an eye-opening experience!

#4 You develop bonds that last a lifetime

Above everything else, what makes the Navy so special is its tight-knit team spirit. Having been through years of rigorous training and complex operations with your fellow crew members, you forge an unbeatable sense of camaraderie that you hardly get in other professions. When you’re able to wholeheartedly trust someone with your life, that’s when you know you have a friendship for life. And this is what they call, the Navy Family.

So if you value teamwork and are looking for a career that’s out of the ordinary, consider being part of the Navy Family!

This post is brought to you by the Republic of Singapore Navy.

If you have missed the Navy Women’s Career Seminar, fret not! You may reach at the Navy at www.navycareers.gov.sg!

More related stories: We Debunk 4 Of The Craziest Myths About Women In The NavyScholarship Students Reveal What It’s Really Like Working In The Maritime Industry

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Deciding on the next step of your post-secondary education can be incredibly daunting, especially when it comes to applying for your desired courses. Take the guesswork out of the application process with the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE), which lets you secure a coveted spot in the course of your dreams ahead of your peers.

Through EAE, graduating students will be able to get on the fast track to the diploma programme of their choice even before they sit for the O’Level examinations. The best part? They don’t just look at your academic grades – instead, they take into account one’s interests, skills and aptitude for your desired course. Just take it from Billy Tay and Lynthia Chai, who both found themselves a second home at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), all thanks to EAE.

SP EAE

Billy, who has a passion for creative writing since young, had already made up his mind to venture into the new media field. This naturally led him to enrol in SP’s Diploma in Creative Writing for TV & New Media, where he can truly bring his stories to life.

In Lynthia’s case, she grew up watching her grandfather and father repair things around the house – be it faulty appliances or broken machinery. This sparked her interest in “making things work”. Her good grades in math and physics further pushed her in the direction of engineering. Having done ample research on the engineering courses available, Lynthia decided to go for SP’s Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering as it’s a highly established course with a strong reputation in the industry.

Have a dream course in mind? Don’t FOMO – you can get a headstart on your tertiary education just like Billy and Lynthia through EAE. Let them bring you through a step-by-step EAE guide in the video below!

 
 
 
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Applications are open from 6 to 13 June for ITE students, 27 June to 3 July for O’Level students and 6 June to 3 July for adult learners. Find out more about EAE here.

This post is brought to you by Singapore Polytechnic.

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