Daryl, Best Comment winner, Self-employed. Shirt, jacket, and pants from Club Monaco.
Daryl won all of us over with his heartfelt comment on his friend Denise’s photo: “(The) first word that strikes me to describe her is: positive. She has this positive vibe that is very influential. Being around her makes one feel happier and more cheerful! I love the way that she is, always sincere and unpretentious. My top choice.” Daryl was our top choice for Best Comment in our Shentonista Of The Year 2016 contest, and despite us not having met before, he gamely agreed to meet us for a fitting, and to be a part of our shoot. We found out a little bit more about him—he’s a budding entrepreneur with a love for travel, with an easy-going disposition—as we spent some time talking to him while on set.
You spent a lot of time building your own business.
It actually started when I was in polytechnic, when I got my first Playstation Portable (PSP). My cousin was working in a computer shop then and he sold me the PSP at cost price. After playing for a few weeks, I lost interest and sold it off online. I realised that there was a profit to be made—I made $40 to $50 but it was a lot to me back then. So I went online to find more of these gadgets at a low price and resold them online.
It’s been a long time then.
Yes, roughly 6–7 years. It was always very on-off when I was in poly, but I graduated from university last year and now it’s a full-time business. My job requires me to travel everywhere in Singapore to meet customers: I could be in Jurong; yesterday I was in Simei. The nature of the job requires me to do things quickly. Most people don’t have the patience to wait.
What’s something you’ve learnt in your years of work?
You have to be professional when you’re working; you have to work with integrity so that this is how the business will grow, because you have to build trust.
Any hopes/goals for the business?
Of course! Have you heard of Cash Converters? They basically take in everything from bicycles to televisions. I’d like to do something that is more focused on electronics, gadgets, and computers.
What are some challenges you face with your work?
As with a lot of online businesses, it’s building trust. People only get to know you and your products after you’ve been running the business for a while. If your products and service are good, they’ll continue to look for you. Buying and selling is just 50% of the whole thing, you also have to do the advertising, marketing, posting the items online…
What do you enjoy most in this line of work?
The freedom to do your own things, and the fact that you’re building your own dream.
What were you doing before this?
I’ve tried several jobs in the government sector and in banking. But after a while, I realised that I still prefer doing my own stuff. After graduating, I found a job which made me realise that I don’t really like to be confined to one place, doing things for others. I realised that I actually prefer work to be more flexible and more aligned to my own schedule.
So what are your working hours like?
It’s a Monday to Sunday thing, because you’re working on your own. If you stop, your income will be affected, and you might miss out on some good deals.
Is it tough to have a work-life balance, then, if you’re working 24/7?
I get to schedule my own timing so I can arrange for different customers to meet together around the same time and place. So, in that sense, I’m still able to control it. And when I want to go on a long holiday, I just have to apply for leave and it’s usually approved! (laughs)
What was your most memorable trip?
The last trip I went on was to Japan and it was really nice. It was in November and it wasn’t supposed to snow. It snowed for a day, only for a few hours, and I happened to be there. They said it was the first time in 10–20 years that it snowed in November, and it was freezing because we weren’t wearing clothes meant for 0 ºC.
Where are you heading to next?
Probably Korea first, and then at the end of the year, maybe the US. I hope to experience the culture and way of life in Korea. I haven’t planned my trip to the US yet but I always like to spend a few days in the city, and then after that in the outskirts, to travel around. I think you only need a few days in the city because we live in the city all the time.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I guess I do a lot of things. I can swim very well, and I can also drive a lorry! I took a Class 4 licence just for fun. I also like to do exciting stuff like skydiving.
What are some things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Undergarments! (laughs) No, just knee-length shorts, sneakers, and t-shirts—probably what most Singaporeans wear due to the weather.
Complete the sentence: Most people don’t know this, but I…
…am always curious about the purpose of our existence and the future. I have this crazy thought that the world we live in isn’t real! Think about games like The Sims, a life simulation video game series where the Player gets to create, control, and rule. In short, the Player is also the Creator (God) of the world that he builds. Now imagine this! 100 years from now, The Sims might be at its 100th version: The Sims 100. The game would be so advanced that the AI (fake humans) in that world created by the Player would think that they are real, as they have the ability to think, learn, and even “feel”. Best of all, with virtual reality, the Player gets to enter and be part of the game. For all we know, we might now be living in a world which we think is real, but the reality could be that we are just part of a popular game! And the Player, aka the Creator, might be among us.
On the flip side, if you were to live in a movie, what would it be?
The Notebook, perhaps! But no lah, I hope I don’t become like the lead character because that story’s quite sad. (laughs) It’s a sweet story, though, and I like how they grow old together, not forsaking one another. It’s one of my favourite movies.
Who inspires you from a day to day basis?
Someone positive and hardworking, like my mum. She’s like a role model to me.
What’s a philosophy that you’re living by at the moment?
I’ve always believed that no trouble is too big. Whenever you have a big episode in your life, you’ve cleared it and come to a conclusion about it, and that’s why you are where you are today. There shouldn’t be anything that can weigh you down in the future, be it anything that is happening, because it’ll pass by, and it’s just going to be your next moment.
Special thanks to our friends at Club Monaco for being a part of this project.
Also, a big thank you to all the people we worked with last year for coming on board: SPRMRKT, GOODSTUPH, Grain Traders, Kilo, Camp Kilo Charcoal Club, CLUB MONACO, The Library, The Market Grill, LongPlay, & Ordinarypeoplesg.