singapore seven

Redbull

Together with Redbull Singapore, I created a web series featuring opinion leaders who have overcome difficult challenges and succeeded in their own way. From a rapper to a playwright and a mountain biker to a breakdancer, here are the Singapore Seven.

With in-depth editorial-style interviews and deeply emotive black and white profile photography, the Singapore Seven web series featured prominent opinion leaders who raised above their own adversities.

The series featured playwright Alfian Sa’at; breakdancer Felix Huang; entrepreneur Pat Law; radio host Rosalyn Lee; artist Samantha Lo; rapper ShiGGa Shay, and mountain biker Tan Hong Chun.

pat law

ENTREPRENUER


She couldn’t afford her dad’s medical bills. So she set up her own agency and won a bag of awards.

Tan Hong Chun

MOUNTAIN BIKER


A dislocated hip and a series of concussions and fractures have not deterred this mountain biker.

Sam Lo

ARTIST


Hurled into the fiery media spotlight and torn to shreds, SKL0 showed luminous strength to survive.

Rosalyn Lee

RADIO DJ


Outspokenly insightful, the radio DJ shares how she rose from obscurity to prominence in Singapore.

Rosalyn Lee

RADIO DJ


Outspokenly insightful, the radio DJ shares how she rose from obscurity to prominence in Singapore.

felix huang

BREAKDANCER


When the veteran breakdancer had to retire, he gave up his dancing sneakers to the future instead.

Alfian Sa'at

PLAYWRIGHT


Revered for his wit, the award-winning playwright makes it a point to “punch up” to power.

Shigga Shay

RAPPER


Born timid, he expressed himself through rap at 9 and conquered the iTunes chart at 20.

READ THE SNIPPETS


Alfian Sa’at: A Satire-free Country Is Intolerable

Revered for his wit, the award-winning playwright makes it a point to “punch up” to power. Published on redbull.com.sg.


It’s not every day that you get to see Alfian Sa’at in front of the camera.

The multi-award-winning resident playwright from theatre company W!LD RICE is more at home backstage, judging from the past 40 plays that he’s written for.

But the sheepish 36-year-old is not one to shy away from personally airing his opinions in public that, more often than not, calls out the “elephant in the room” in a humorous and endearing nature.

In his Facebook commentaries — on everything from an overtly nationalistic NDP song to an immigrant worker receiving a red packet — Alfian marinates it with his brand of honesty that is often shared by the hundreds.

His personal insights don’t veer too far away from his works, either.

Touching on sensitive topics, his previous plays addressed homosexuality in Asian Boys, racism in Nadirah, the general elections in Cooling-Off Day, and foreign workers in Cook a Pot of Curry.

However, by opening a can of worms, one invites an outpouring of critiques vying for blood. Alfian knows that this comes with the territory while also being aware that it creates a discussion — something that he feels the culture lacks.

As part of the Singapore Seven series’ stellar cast of opinion leaders, there’s none more suitable for the hot seat than Alfian himself.

Here he shares his founding inspirations and beliefs, and for all budding writers, a sweeping advice.

Felix Huang: Dancing To A New Song

When the veteran breakdancer had to retire, he gave up his dancing sneakers to the future instead. Published on redbull.com.sg.


When the veteran breakdancer had to retire, he gave up his dancing sneakers to the future instead.

After earning his stripes as the forefather of breakdancing in Singapore and leader of the 16-year-old b-boy crew Radikal Forze, Felix Huang’s career came to a painful halt 4 years ago when a fractured ankle broke him.

But Felix, whose combative reputation was built on a quantization of fearlessness and determination, is not the kind to resign to a little wear and tear.

His gritty spirit is rooted in his founding endeavours, steep in passion and dedication –a model leader that pushes the envelope by example.

In one of the most intimate interviews of the Singapore Seven series, Felix reveals how he led his charges when he couldn’t do it anymore by finding different ways through change and how that changed him.

Pat Law: Quitting was never an option

She couldn’t afford her dad’s medical bills. So she set up her own agency and won a bag of awards. Published on redbull.com.sg.


If you are one of her many followers on Facebook and Twitter, Pat Law may come off as vehemently opinionated, passionate, and endowed with an old-world charm of a militant sergeant major.

And that’s the way the entrepreneur is across the board.

But the words of one of Her World’s “50 Most Inspiring Women under 40” aren’t just empty, emotional rants. The words of Women’s Weekly “Women of Our Time 2010” nominee have always been a call to action. The words of Peak Magazine’s “2012 Person to Watch For” is the law.

Her social influence marketing agency Goodstuph was born by that very call to action.

Raised by hawker parents who sell Teochew-style fried oyster omelettes for a living, Pat has never been shy of her humble background and continues to position her folks as a source of inspiration (and comfort food).

As part of the Singapore Seven, the entrepreneur, speaker and blogger turned a casual interview into a resourceful TEDTalk-styled evening — schooling us in the fundamentals of success, a call to action.

Rosalyn Lee: Rozz Is Still The Boss

Outspokenly insightful, the radio DJ shares how she rose from obscurity to prominence in Singapore. Published on redbull.com.sg.


To pick seven unique individuals for this web series was a challenge. It was, after all, one that epitomizes the unwavering human spirit of some of Singapore’s most inspiring personalities.

But Rosalyn Lee, or Rozz as she’s commonly known, was an easy choice.

A familiar face on billboard ads and having graced the pages of magazines like NYLON, Elle, 8 Days and Esquire, the bubbly Lush 99.5FM radio host is undoubtedly a household name. But it wasn’t her popularity that earned her a place in today’s pop culture.

In a career spanning over half a decade, Rozz has conducted many interviews with everyone from pop singer Justin Bieber to legends like Gene Simmons from KISS and have hosted numerous events and television shows.

It is her dedication to the craft, no-nonsense approach, and good old fashion hard work both on and off-air that catapulted her to national acclaim.

But away from the limelight, and unknown to many, Rozz had to carve out on her own through early family setbacks forcing her to be independent.

Her professional success wasn’t served on a silver platter, but it has served as an inspiration to a generation of emerging radio and television hosts in our midst.

In her video story for the Singapore Seven web series, Rozz delves into what makes up the very marrow of her enduring character, positing a gentle reminder that you will always be the captain of your destiny.

Samantha Lo: There’s A Lot More That I Can Do

Hurled into the fiery media spotlight and torn to shreds, SKL0 showed luminous strength to survive. Published on redbull.com.sg.


Only 25-years-old at the time, Samantha Lo is a street artist with that sturdy character. And within her petite frame is a pillar of unwavering values that helped her stand against challenging times.

Going by the pseudonym SKL0, Samantha was arrested in the middle of 2012 for her brand of satirical vandalism, having spray-painted the words “Your Grandfather Road” and pasted stickers at pedestrian crossings.

Birthed from the latter was the moniker, The Sticker Lady.

Amidst public and political debate in Singapore and worldwide, Samantha received support from the most unlikely of sources, including Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh and member of the National Solidarity Party, Nicole Seah.

At the tail end of the media storm, she was sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

That could have weakened anyone, but the Samantha Lo of today has grown to be as expressive as she had ever been –and an inspiring one at that.

As one of the seven personalities selected for this web series, Samantha Lo resonates with the grit and courage that came under fire. She translates the voice of the common people into artworks that we all can relate to.

Ironically, a tough job, but someone got to do it.

In the final episode of the Singapore Seven, Samantha Lo shares her expressive nature, what it means to be an artist and fight for the things you love in a no-holds-barred interview.

ShiGGa Shay: I Wanted A Voice

Born timid, he expressed himself through rap at 9 and conquered the iTunes chart at 20. Published on redbull.com.sg.


Expressing yourself in a repressive country takes a lot of hard work. But at the tender age of 20, Pek Jin Shen aka ShiGGa Shay not only did that but also climbed from 55 to No. 1 on the local iTunes chart — towering over Grammy-winner Maroon 5 in the process.

However, ShiGGa’s rise to success with his hit rap single “LimPeh” wasn’t overnight.

In a music career spanning more than half a decade, the natural born rapper — earmarked for his deeply personal songs delivered through a distinctive Eminem-styled ferocity — grew from a MySpace nobody into a chart sensation.

Apart from his No.1 iTunes hit, ShiGGa was also the youngest hip-hop artist in Singapore to reach the Top 20 on 987FM in 2012 with his debut EP “Let’s Roll”. The hip hop collective “Grizzle Grind Crew” which he co-founded, is also set to release their first mixtape “Leaders of the new Skool” this month.

His story shouldn’t be romanticized — of the gritty ghetto to the million dollar studios. There’s no degradation of half-naked women, no drowning of champagnes or being driven in Escalades.

ShiGGa’s story is as true as his birthplace: of artistic challenges played on a field weeded by the misconceptions of a local talent.

That’s where his expression comes from, to say, “take pride in who we are”, and he’s far from done.

Budding rappers look up to the self-made artist, whose journey has been made up of both highs and lows, as an example of what was once deemed impossible.

As one of the thought-leaders of the Singapore Seven, Shigga waxes lyrical on what it takes to ascend from the void decks to the charts in the video above.

Tan Hong Chun: The Only Way Downhill Is Up

A dislocated hip and a series of concussions and fractures have not deterred this mountain biker. Published on redbull.com.sg.


The professional downhill mountain biker’s story would inspire even the most battered and hardened men.

Having retired from his decorated 12-year military career as an elite commando, Tan Hong Chun fell in love with downhill mountain biking after taking up the sport in service.

But he didn’t expect how hard the bumps would be along the way.

After disappointingly not making the cut for the 2007 SEA Games squad, Tan was finally selected but narrowly missed joining the 2009 team after dislocating his hip a year prior. It was also the same year his mother, an ardent supporter, passed on.

His dislocated hip would require him to undergo surgery and laborious rehabilitation for a year. It took him 3 months to fully recover, and he went on to earn 5th place in the 2009 SEA Games.

The soft-spoken and boyish-looking athlete might not come off as a battle-hardened soldier, but his track record and sheer perseverance speak for themselves.

He has been placed in the top 5 for most of his races and is dubbed as Singapore’s answer to world champions John Tomac and Brian Lopes.

As part of the Singapore Seven series’ stellar cast of opinion leaders, Hong Chun delves on what it takes to be a downhill mountain-biker and explains how picking yourself up after a bad fall is a measure of a true champion.

Writer Zul Andra