This is an interesting reading that is extremely relatable and applicable in real life, because of that, it was a rather meaningful experience for me. What really resonated was his stating that the three essential items are keys, money and the mobile phone. He also mentioned that what one carries is what they consider essential & this also provides considerable insight into everything from everyday activities to hopes, values, beliefs, fears, how people relate to their world around them, and how the world out there relates back to them. In the modern times now, he couldn’t be more right about how these items are essential for one’s survival.

The “centers of gravity” (the bull’s eye where we aim to set an object down and the first place we look to retrieve it) and the “point of reflection” (that moment when a person pauses in order to run through a mental checklist of what they’re carrying & what thy may be forgotten) are two things we all do unconsciously, even I realize I’m also doing this without knowing. This also revolves around the concept of what what items we deem as the essential as these essential items are usually what we place at the center of gravity and we remember during the “point of reflection”.

Another point I found interesting was that about the range of distribution – the distance that people are willing to let their physical objects stray when they’re out and about. In Singapore, I believe that the majority of the people’s guards are usually down and they can be very willing to stray far distances from their belongings. This could be due to the belief that Singapore is very safe, where security levels are high so one don’t really have to worry much about people stealing their belongings. Such examples can be seen so apparently from the “chope-ing” of seats with tissue papers to the usage of umbrellas to even their own mobile phones and laptops. This is a scene that is highly uncommon outside of Singapore, more so for countries known for their bad levels security. For example, in Malaysia, which I travel to occasionally, I learnt that I cannot just place my belongings wherever I want and I have to be always alert and aware of my surroundings. The typical action of just whipping out your mobile phone and holding it in hand or tapping away at it while walking on the streets may be perfectly normal and commonly seen in Singapore but is something that you cannot do as freely as in Malaysia. Hence, I think it is also important to be adaptable base on your surroundings and the culture in the particular place.

Question 1: While it is convenient and efficient to be able to store information online, what happens when one day the technology breaks down or is violated? Should be be placing every single thing online and risk it having the chance to be used against us?

Question 2: While it is great that companies can customize their products or ads more towards our tastes, how do we ensure the balance between what is private and not?

Featured image from here.


In 2014, Smart Nation is an initiative launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to the initiative, it aims to support better living, stronger communities, and create more opportunities for all, by how well a society uses technology to solve its problems and address existential challenges. There are five key domains that they have highlighted that will have significant impact on the citizen and society, and in which digital technology can have a needle moving impact – Transport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enable ageing, and public sector services. In those areas, they also hope to co-create with citizens and businesses to address them. To enable the co-creation to happen, the government strives to facilitate innovations by the public and the private sector by putting in place appropriate policies and legislations to nurture a culture for experimentation, encourage innovation and the eventual adoption of new ideas.

The first question that came into mind was whether heading in the direction of making Singapore a especially technology-dependent society the correct or most suitable way? It is undeniable that technology has the knack for growing increasing more advanced and more accessible to many at a extremely rapidly rate over the years, reaching to many people and places originally inaccessible with just a simple action. It is also true that the technologies are increasingly being improved, bringing along with many benefits but also many negative aspects simultaneously as well. It also scares me if our society was so dependent on technology, what would happen when there comes the time when that technology where we depend on so desperately in our lives breakdown or disappears? While it is a good idea to harness technology to our advantage, I think it is also equally important to keep in mind of being overly-dependent on it.  

Using the example of the HealthHub’s new caregiver service, it allows one to easily access their own health records as well as their loved ones anytime, anywhere. What i found that was good about this app was that it allows for quick viewing of data no matter where you are or what time it is. This may also be extremely beneficial and convenient for those who are giving care to people whose medial is a top priority for concern and to keep in check, such as the elderly or young children,  where one can easily be updated of their latest medical conditions and appointments. However, technology being the double-edged sword, I also wonder whether such connivence would actually decrease their physical interaction? For example, one can easily check with his/her smartphone despite their busy work schedules, how his elderly parents are doing. If they do not live under the same roof, does that means that he/she has a lesser responsibility to check up personally on the elderly parents since they are doing fine? Which may snowball to a worser case scenario of family ties becoming increasingly strained or distanced. I think this question is especially crucial for developed countries like Singapore where there is a large population being the elderly.

 Art/Design Intervention:

“Propose a media art or design intervention to Smart Nation. Be imaginative and creative with your idea and support your idea with illustrations or diagrams.

This intervention can be an idea for a public art proposal, a creative use of data visualization using the open source data collected for Smart Nation, a proposal for an interface (think not just digital but incorporating cultural and social dynamics) in the public transportation system or any other public spaces or in the home.  The topic is open so I’d like to see what you can think of, stretching your imagination while putting thought and critical consideration of the Smart Nation initiative and the lecture in class.”

Initially i thought maybe i could do something with the open source data collected for Smart Nation. After browsing through the various data available for use, i thought to do something that was not commonly done yet but considered important information. I chanced upon the one about carpark rates and thought why not develop from there? Carparks are a necessity for drivers and sometimes they hesitate going to a particular place because they are unaware of the nearby places where they could park their cars or they worry about the cost.

Below is a super brief sketch of the idea or concept of the interface:



 What i had in mind was users can first key in their intended destination (or if not, they could just choose from the list of pre-setted locations), their purpose, age group(?) and estimated duration. The purpose and estimated duration could be optional so users can choose not to put in anything however, I thought to include those to give a better “recommendation” at the bottom(sorting button area). It also shows a map with the scrolling bar at its side(not on top of the map because i feel that it obstructs the viewing experience) that acts like a slider for zooming purposes (maybe fades out when not in use? something like what mac does?). Below it displays the carpark location and parking rates and users can choose to maybe arrange it based on their preferences (eg. distance, price,etc). I was thinking also to make it like a online thing, where it displays this under the location and price rates so one can view which carpark their friends used or something along those lines (eg. current/frequency).

From there, maybe the users click the “drive to” icon which goes to another page. The top part is sort of like google maps? Where you can have a option to swap the to and from. The page also displays the traveling time, traffic flow of that particular road (real-time update picture maybe?), and the nearby amenities or attractions. I was thinking also to include at the bottom maybe a comments section where friends or people in general who used that particular carpark can share about what they felt/opinions/suggestions. Maybe past and/or personal stories from that place can be shared by people who use / used it before. 

Style-wise, I was thinking of making use of icons, colours and illustrations so that it looks aesthetically much better. Maybe some fun animations and interactive functions but generally something that is immersive/engaging but not too complex to use to engage users from all age groups. 


This text written by Annette Kim focuses on how important sidewalks are in cities, especially so when it is often so overlooked or disregarded. After going through this reading, I realized how something so ordinary and mundane can hold so much importance and information of both the privileged and more importantly the lower income and marginalized urban dwellers who try to make a living in this space. It is also interesting where she raised the point of “the new paradigm seems to be that people on the sidewalks need to keep moving.” I feel that this point is especially true as societies grow more advanced and developed, life also gets “fast-forwarded” and rushing to one place to another. Taking into mind the lecture given earlier this week about “place”, I feel that sidewalks are such “places” where it holds numerous inscribed personal meaning. Hence, I also see the importance of trying to strike a balance in integrating both physical space & social space. This is indeed a tricky and difficult job, where even when urban designers did include going out to the actual sites itself and interviewing or observing people in their design process, the balance may still be hard to be implemented where one aspect usually gets sacrificed in the process. Unfortunately for me, I do not much knowledge of how sidewalks are like in other parts of the world since I’ve only been only able to travel to Malaysia in my life, I found myself mostly thinking about those that can be found in Singapore. It also got me thinking that aside from just sidewalks, there are also many other ordinary and overlooked places that are equally filled with much importance such as corridors, void decks, alleys, and many more. Void decks for an example is a place in Singapore where I especially feel that many uncountable personal meanings from all age groups, the pioneer generation to the younger generations, are being inscribed but often being overlooked.


Question 1. How do we know when we have collected sufficient data in the process of designing?

Question 2. When one aspect has no choice but needs to be sacrificed, be it the physical or social, how do one choose which to forgo?

Initial Ideas For This Project
  1. Compilation (nursery rhymes + pov project) based on common subject matters from my past works : animals.  

-rhymes (b&w works) transitioned to pov (colourful works)

2. Compilation with improvisations (nursery rhymes)

– adding in particular into the b&w works to evoke/represented a certain mood/feeling/atmosphere

3. New works (typographic portrait problem project)

-using the line work style of illustrations to create a zine on typography

4. Compilation with improvisations (pov project)

– using the content to make a zine focused on the interactivity of it

-inspired from feedback from previous critique

5. New works (pov project)

– using the same style (basic shapes/vectors) and context (singapore) to make a match-word-to-pictures-kind-of-book.

– focused on interactivity


*note:  ideas i choose to explore more on / develop.




Before I started on the illustrations, I researched extensively on all the singlish words used commonly used here in Singapore, followed by narrowing it down the ones that I thought would be more appropriate for my project. (some examples:

After that I first tried out making a few illustrations for idea 5( refer to above on initial ideas). 


Tryout of a illustration for word (agar-agar: jelly / rough estimation).


tryout of illustration for word (swaku-mountain tortoise) with full background/ setting a context.

I tried out two ways of portrayal , one being just focusing on the subject matter itself and the other being set in a context where viewers can find clues/hints from the background/surroundings (perhaps a hint of narrative too).

However, I realised it was hard for me to bring life to this objects that are already representational in real life and from the tryouts, I was not fully pleased with the results. I scraped the idea. Hence, I decided to work on idea 4 instead as I’ve always been more drawn to having many narratives in my works.

Firstly, I reviewed my series of works for the pov assignment and selected the ones that I’d like to use while changing some others for new illustrations.


original set of works that I worked with.


Replaced the original work(top-right) with this

For this idea, I was really inspired by this interactive book that Joy gave as feedback from the previous critique.04_SingaporelangBook_Stills_grande-1 05_SingaporelangBook_Stills_grande 08_SingaporelangBook_Stills_grande

Singapore Lang – What the Singlish! Book

I tried out various binding methods for the mock-ups, such as side stapling , saddle stitch with thread and Japanese binding. After consultation, many recommended for the book to be able to be fully-opened for easier user experience.

I decided to work on how my speech bubbles would appear and the meanings. Instead of stickers, which are only for one-time use, I thought of ways that the speech bubbles can be used several times. I thought of using velcro, however, i felt the thickness of the material would cause the zine to pop out constantly.


paper dolls with its unique flaps

Hence I decided to go with this idea of flaps.



Then, for better user experience again, I decided to make it in such a way that the direction of the speech bubbles is interchangeable. The speech bubbles are also colour coded based on the negative or positive feeling or connotation it evokes. For example, green is highlighted in words like ‘bojio’ , ‘mugger’, ‘hao lian’ and so on which suggest hints of envy/jealousy.


I then proceeded to work on improving the visuals of the content itself with trying out changes of illustration styles while retaining the content itself. I also did some edits for the content to make it more appropriate and even more relatable to singapore (aim: with one glance, viewers should be able to tell its singapore context).

Illustration style 1: adding of obvious black outlines to make the subject matter stand out more


left: with outline / middle: original / right: embossing

However, it was scraped as it did not make much obvious differences and did not fit the final outcome I was looking for.

Illustration style 2: adding of embossing / shadows to make it more 3-dimensional and also to make the work come more to life.

6. home 4. 'sawku- 3. water HOLIDAY HOLIDAY-(white)2. HOLIDAY-

Illustration style 2: line work illustrations with limited colour palette (2-3colours used only)

1.phone3. water-3. water3. watersf

I really loved the aesthetics however I was facing many problems with making it neater and hiding the overlapping shapes.

Cover pages design tryouts:

Untitled-1(black) Untitled-1(black)ferf Untitledr-1 Untitled-1 deer(white) deer

Reference pages design:

text(att)- text(att) text(single)- text(single)

With the content done, I worked with the layout of my zine.

Proposed layout in indesign (not in running order):





  • missing page photo (reference page)

2 3 4578910 copy

For this zine, I wanted the main focus to be on the interactivity. There are two sides (single life / married life) to this zine, where it can read from any direction and the narratives would still work. The reason for two sides is because there are the groups of people who are more career/single life orientated, the groups of people who are more family orientated and of course the group of people who overlap these two sides as well.

I titled the zine – ‘Adventures of the Kiasubuck’ because viewers can choose how the story flows, the personality of the characters. Generally, I invite viewers to set their own adventures based on the available choices of singlish words. This is to highlight how their choice of words and the way one speaks can change the impression they leave on others.

The zine is printed one sided so as to prevent damage to the subsequent contents as I created slits for viewers to slot in their choice of speech bubbles. The available places for slotting in the speech bubbles are not just limited to the pre-made slits but I welcome viewers to make their own slits and they can choose to place the speech bubbles on anything they see fit , allowing for a more enriching experience. The white border around the content serves to maintain the neatness as well as an influence from the book I’m inspired from (Singapore Lang – What the Singlish! Book). The orientation of the book is in a horizontal format instead of vertical so viewers are allowed to immerse themselves in the narrative and see the details (the small details are important hence I avoided making the works too small). Choice of paper is thick for both the cover pages and inside pages, this is to firstly retain my inspiration from the kind of hard paper the creation of paper dolls  use. Secondly, it is to withstand the possible wear and tear in the future.

For the speech bubble page, I made them in a layout that all the individual speech bubbles follow the orientation of the respective pages. The pockets are made of tracing paper so to allow viewers to be able to see the words at one glance without having them to take each out to check which one it is. I also left part of speech bubbles out of the pockets so that viewers can easily take and put the speech bubbles back after use.


The hardest part of the zine was actually the speech bubbles aspect as I had to think about how to store them properly without them falling out when the book is flipped from all directions and I had to cut them all out neatly without damaging them . Credits to Fiona who taught me how to make the secure pockets.