Reading Response: You are What You Carry, Chipchase Chapter 4


This chapter reflects well about most people’s daily lives – including mine. I can imagine myself adjusting my range of distribution of my belongings whenever I go back and forth Jakarta and Singapore. In Singapore, I carefreely put my bags on the floor, or on the empty seat beside me (like right now, as I’m doing this assignment at Starbucks), without checking whether they are still there or not, because I trust the society in Singapore and the cameras here – I believe these cameras around me really function for security and not just display. I feel safe about my belongings and the city. However, whenever I am in Jakarta, if I do not travel away from home by car (just go to nearby mall or convenience store) but by feet, I would rather not to bring any bag at all. I would wear long pants with big pockets to insert my phone and just enough amount of money to survive that day. Just the sight of a bag may attract pickpocketers, and I do not want that to happen. Bringing around bag when walking at the pedestrian walk is really dangerous because sometimes, the thief is riding on a motorcycle and snatches our bag. Then, if we try to fight for our belongings, more often than not the criminal would physically wound or kill us. I just realize how extreme my change in the range of distribution in the city where I grow up and the city where I was born. It means, the level of safety in the two cities are really different – or maybe, I am a paranoid in my own country because of hearing other people’s stories.

“Remembering less, owning less” is definitely happening too. I remember the time when I still had to carry around air ticket, phone, handicam, and passport when my family travelled abroad. Now, all I need is my phone and my passport to fly from one place to another – thanks to the online ticket and phone camera. But I feel humans, by our nature, keep wanting to have more even when we have the option to own less. Even though they are able to own less with the help of advanced technology, some people think they still need more things for various reasons due to the availability of variations. For example, my parents have dual SIM Card smartphone, so they can use two numbers in one phone, which is very convenient for separating business and personal contacts. However, instead of just having one mobile phone, they have three. Their reason is they need ugly, outdated phone, so they are still able to make a call safely if they have to go to unsafe places full of thieves and far from the metropolitan centre. They also have phones that is big enough for easy article readings, and the other (with slightly smaller screen) is just for chatting with other people. From this observation about my family, technology gives a lot of varieties to our essential things such as phones. Such varieties make consumers think of not to have less, but to have more, because the varieties give different levels of convenience.



  • Are true design and innovation about creating “remembering less, owning less” for improving people’s standard of living, or creating variety to cater to different needs?
  • Is it better to keep everything in one device (with the chance of being ‘paralyzed’ when that device is lost) or to spread our everything into different things (with the consequence of lower level of convenience and efficiency?

Week 5 Assignment: Smart Nation Singapore

What is Smart Nation?

Smart Nation is a government-initiated-and-supported movement to create, implement and encourage the use of digital technology that is integrated well into daily life of the people. The aim is to solve problems, increase welfare and standard of living of the society through the usage of technology.

 Smart Nation identifies five key domains that will have significant impact on the people: trasnport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enabled ageing, and public sector services.

Citizens and anyone who have ideas on how to make this Smart Nation a full reality in Singapore are welcomed to submit their proposals. The government will facilitate what is needed to make that idea come true.

“Smart Nation is a whole-of-nation journey.”


Smart Nation has introduced some mobile application which can already be used today such as HealthHub, myENV, MyTransport.SG, NLBmobile and many more. These apps has increased efficiency, mobility and connectivity between citizens, businesses and government.

However, Smart Nation movement is not only limited to mobile applications and software. For example, in 2016, there was a launch of SGInnovate, a new agency formed to support Singapore’s startup ecosystem. In May 2016, the first 3D printing centre was opened in NTU, Singapore in order to provide more facility that supports innovation solutions and research. Smart home prototypes which allow efficient usage of electricity, safer usage of utilities and easier home monitoring has also been executed at Yu Hua.

From technological hub, agency to development of advanced smart home, as long as the initiative yields a greater living, more cohesive society and more opportunities for everyone, Smart Nation is supporting it.

And “smartness” is not a measure of how advanced or complex the technology being adopted is, but how well a society uses technology to solve its problems and address existential challenges. Citizens are ultimately at the heart of our Smart Nation vision, not technology!”


Based on the research I have done from Smart Nation website and other articles I read about Smart Nation, I could see how big Singapore’s ambition is to utilize pervasive devices to increase mobility and tuning of places. All the mobile applications and smart home that are developed are forms of pervasive devices, as these technology is integrating so well into our lives and how we do things everyday that one day it feels so natural, and would easily be taken for granted in the future. Our movement from places to places are also ‘dictated’ by what we see or discover from the pervasive devices, allowing efficiency as we can plan far ahead before moving our feet. Lastly, tuning of different places be it a place that we are so familiar with, bored with, or unfamiliar with is made possible by Smart Nation initiatives too. The smart devices and technologies could adapt to different situations, allowing the users to swiftly adapt too. Or sometimes, these smartness of things could even make ‘tuning of places’ unnecessary anymore eg. imagine an air-conditioner which can automatically tune itself to the temperature outside. We would not need to worry that our bedroom is hot as hell during the hottest summer because the aircon cools it for you without you pressing the on button. All in all, Smart Nation is not about the coolness of the technology, but how those cooly-developed technology improve the citizens’ lives effectively.

However, from one of the articles I read, which is about comparing New York City and Singapore for being a smart city (Singapore is the size of a city actually), I realize the realization of a smart city/nation cannot be done simply from having all the smart facilities around. Yes, they are smart that they can solve certain problems directly, but a smart city/nation is also about how smart the people of that place could utilize the smart technology. For example, I do not think a lot of people have been relying on NLBmobile to get real-time update about new books or newly-returned books, or to check what’s in the rack. From what I observe from myself and my friends, we are still relying on NLB websites and not the app to explore NLB digitally. This way, the smart app is not utilized and it would not contribute to make Singapore a smarter nation.

Design Intervention Proposal for Smart Nation

Wireless Charging: Wire.Less

Disclaimer: it is purely imaginary and to be made into reality, the technology in the market is still not available.

Imagine going to a place eg. mall where you do not need to bring around your charging cable nor powerbank, because anytime your battery needs to be recharged, the wireless chargers from the ceiling would do it for you. Wireless charging, less wired your day is.

welcome-page finding-charger charging

PS: Like a bluetooth transfer, but it is phone-energy transfer.

Reading Response: Seen and unseen, Ho Chi Minh City’s Sidewalk Life CH 1


I never realize how a sidewalk could be an important identity of a city, or a place until I read this passage. As I was imagining HCMC through the eyes of the author, I was reminiscing the sidewalk of the city Bandung in Indonesia. The sidewalk of a road called Cibadak is well-known for the night food vendors. And indeed, their existence has added irreplaceable color to the tourism of the city as well as the life of the people. It was pretty sad when a lot of the vendors have to move in into a special vendor space, near the original street but not at the sidewalk, but under a building. It feels different. It feels just like any other food court. I am thinking, did Singapore has any of this sidewalk scene too? I think Lau Pa Sat could tell a little bit of this story about Singapore sidewalk. At night, Lau Pa Sat ‘expands’ their satay vendor stalls to the street, where people would eat satay at the sidewalk. I think this is a reenactment of the past. I was there once, and it is very nostalgic but out of Singapore. Modernity of a city, if being ‘let loose’ like a wild dog, would kill the essence of what made the city. Modernity indeed often kills identity, because modernity in Asia is actually about following what the western culture perceives as good. it is like copying someone else’s identity.


  • How to retain the sidewalk vendors without making it messy? Disorganized? When the disorderliness is the authenticity of the place but it opposes the idealism of a good city.
  • How to keep the ‘mixed use’-ness of a sidewalk without losing the main use of the sidewalk: for people to walk?

The Hawker Experience: Tourist vs Local

The Hawker Experience: Tourist vs. Locals

Singapore is known for her hawker centre – similar to a food court but much more down-to-earth and an open space without aircon. The food stalls are run by individual owners, unlike foodcourt’s which can be managed by a bigger company. The food in hawker centre have a really wide variety: chinese, malay, indonesian, indian, western, korean, japanese and many more. The largest and most famous hawker centre would be Lau Pa Sat, located at the heart of the Raffles Place CBD. When I was still a tourist in Singapore, I used to visit Lau Pa Sat and did not really consider to eat at other local hawker centres. However, after a few years living in Singapore, I realized that the experience that Lau Pa Sat offers to the customers are so different from many other hawker centres, even the famous ones too.

Photos of Lau Pa Sat

Photos of Clementi Hawker Centre

Observations: Comparing Lau Pa Sat and Clementi Hawker Centre

Table Comparison Table Comparison 2


What I can conclude from the observations is that Lau Pa Sat is a ‘special breed’ of hawker centre. It is much more ‘advanced’ that it is similar to a food court rather than hakwer centre. Clementi hawker centre is really similar to other hawker centres such as Newton Circus, Holland Village Market, and many more. If Clementi and Lau Pa Sat were persons, Clementi would be someone who lives not to impress anyone, and while Lau Pa Sat would be a person who is very well well-groomed in order to please new guests. In fact, Lau Pa Sat is really famous among tourists and I think it is designed and managed so well – more variety of food, cleaner, less noise, arranged, decorated – in order to give a good impression about Singapore to people who have a leisure travel here.

PS: And, after I did further research on the internet, Lau Pa Sat has undergone a lot of renovation and no wonder it looks like a super pretty hawker centre! here is the original Lau Pa Sat before the decoration. Even the chairs and everything are changed, the metal engraving at the ceiling are painted, and the color of the place is changed to be made more coordinated. I cant see Lau Pa Sat as a true representation of hawker centre anymore.


But to be honest, I did enjoy Lau Pa Sat more than Clementi to be a place for me to have meal on a Friday. Thanks to its good interior, ambience, hygiene and excitement – I tried the Costarican food, not bad really (food photo in the gallery)

From this comparison, the concept of a hawker centre is an eating place for public in an open space (not indoor, no aircon). And indeed this is very Singapore. 

Improvements for Lau Pa Sat

As a designer, I thought of improvements while was doing some research. I realize there is no main entrance in Lau Pa Sat, and all ends are exits to different roads. It would be great if there is ‘directory’ or signage showing which one is to which road. This would ease the flow of visitors.

But again, I really think this Lau Pa Sat’s shape and floorplan are originally like this since the 19th century. Well, even though it has undergone renovation, I think the government still want to retain the authentic aspect of this place.

Improvements for Clementi

It is a classic example of hawker centre in Singapore. I don’t feel like suggesting any improvements because this is one of true identities of the society. Probably to make it better, the local governor or leader could start a campaign of ‘putting back your own tray’ because there were really a lot of trays and plates left on the table with no one cleaning them up. Probably, there is short of manpower or the cleaners are on breaks, but it would be great if the costumers could do such an easy task to improve the experience of eating in a local and classic hawker centre.

You want to go to the places? here are the address:

  • Lau Pa Sat: 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
  • Clementi Central Market and Food Centre: 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448

Reading Response: Rapid Culture Calibration

The chapter feeds me with a new knowledge. I can see how useful rapid cultural calibration method is, especially to get data from the local society in general. That data must be useful for business planning, design thinking, marketing strategy and etc. I did not expect that small little details of people’s reaction or activity would be this valuable for design and market research, because usually, such research is not based on behavior but economic background.
This article also makes me believe that designs which are done based on such cultural research can create products that fit the needs of the local people. It can make the design timeless and an all-time favourite locally if it is also geared up with the right business strategy and marketing. Therefore, I think this rapid cultural calibration is very important for designers who want to create genuine product that would add value to the life of the society. Genuine quality and purpose of a design idea is essentially what make designers designers, and not artists.