We caught up with Pat some time back at the 5th Anniversary party of her social influence marketing agency, GOODSTUPH. We’ve heard about SG50, but here at GS05, Pat led the Singapore-themed celebrations — a red and white dress code was de rigueur for the night, while goodie bags, bearing GOODSTUPH’s own version of Singapore’s coat of arms, were given away to each guest. It seems that Pat’s pretty patriotic, even though she knows this country isn’t all perfect. We find out more as we speak to her.
1. Do you have any problems with the dress code at work? How do you personalise your outfit?
We haven’t got a dress code per se at work but I do believe in being respectful to the person you’re meeting. So no, we may not wear adidas to a Nike meeting. And vice versa. Admittedly, there is a bit of corporate narcissism going about in GOODSTUPH. We have our own t-shirts produced by Flesh Imp, our own Green Jacket (none of us are Masters Tournament worthy, so we took the lazy way out and tailored our green jackets instead), necklaces and bracelets produced by GOOD WOOD NYC, socks from Supermama and tote bags by Fabrix. I’ve always seen GOODSTUPH as a brand first, agency second. The common thread between Fashion and Advertising is the fact that you are who you attract. Thankfully, we haven’t met any client who wears Crocs sandals to work.
2. Do you have any fashion pet-peeves when it comes to workwear? Or do you have any advice for dressing up for work?
Crocs sandals. Seriously, I don’t care how comfortable they are — unless it is for professional reasons (I can understand why vets wear them in operating theatres), Crocs is a bloody chastity belt in its own right. I believe in being respectful with one’s effort in dressing up for another, but at the same time be authentic about it. I’ve been guilty of overdressing for sure. I once wore a 3-piece attire to meet a client and he asked if I was going for a job interview.
3. If you weren’t working in your current profession, what would you be doing? Or, if you could do anything you wanted to do, what would it be?
I’d love to teach but I don’t think I have the patience to deal with the self-entitled parents of today. Plus I’m quite sure I’d be fired on the first day for child abuse. I have the luxury of loving what I do for a living, and being paid to do so. Whatever I wish to do for a living, I’m already doing it, or I’m already making plans to do it.
4. What would your dream workplace be like, in terms of the actual physical space and working environment?
Our current space is pretty decent, but I’d die happy if we had space for a skating ramp (I used to skate), a tattoo palour, and a massage room.
5. What is one thing you think you should be doing more of, or that you wish you had more time to do?
Perhaps it is age, perhaps it is the circumstance I have been thrown in… but I do wish I spent more time with my family in the past. I do try harder these days to spend more time with my parents, but you know, everyone has an expiry date. Sometimes, like that carton of milk in the fridge, you wish you could extend its shelf life. But hey, such is life isn’t it? I’m just glad I was given the chance to wake up and appreciate my folks more before it becomes too late.
6. Could you tell us about a personal project that you’re working on right now, or that you would love to undertake?
This is the first time I’m saying this — I have been meaning to set up a digital clinic to offer my time each week to help local brands market their brands online. For free. And potentially aid them financially too. My problem now is figuring a way to filter out self-entitled idiots abusing taxpayers’ money and finding the legitimate, hardworking, and earnest ones. Just because you’re local doesn’t mean I owe you a living, you know what I mean? Hopefully I’ll be able to get this started by the third quarter of this year.
7. As Singaporeans we often struggle with our national identity and sense of common culture. Do you think we have a Singaporean identity? What do you think it should be built on, and why?
To begin, this country is merely 50 years of age, so I do think we should cut her some slack when it comes to culture. Lest we forget, France had a couple of centuries and a very indulgent King. Rome drove herself to the ground with her opulence even though we get to enjoy her collection of paintings and sculptures today. As a country, I think we’re currently going through puberty, but like a good solid foundation as a child, I’m confident we will turn out okay. There are certain core values we are known for as a country, and I believe these are the same values we should defend fiercely, and keep intact for our growth and survival. You don’t hear of the need to keep spare change to bribe a traffic policeman driving down the highways of Singapore, do you? You don’t need to wait for 10 thousand years to set a company up in Singapore, do you? You don’t need to be a special someone’s son to be the CEO of a multi-national company in Singapore, do you? Sure, we have our issues — but which country doesn’t? Personally, I think it’s not about asking the country what she can offer me, but rather, how I can help grow the country together with my fellow countrymen. We have issues to fix, but it’s for us to fix it together as one nation.
8. Can you name us something Singaporean that’s close to your heart? It could be your favourite local dish, homegrown musician, particular location, etc.
I was deliberating between chicken rice and Lee Kuan Yew, to be honest. The former is more palatable to accept, and the latter requires another three more paragraphs of justification to the disgruntled Singaporean. Let’s put it this way — I can’t eat my chicken rice at 11pm alone, under $10 (I order two drumsticks each time), without the risk of being robbed or getting food poisoning from fake chicken made out of cardboard, without Lee Kuan Yew. Perhaps I’d even have to wait longer for my table because priority is given to another race, if not for him. Perhaps midway through chewing on my drumstick, I’d be beaten up by a group of teenagers who have an issue with a girl looking androgynous, if not for him. So, I’d say chicken rice. For reminding me how lucky I am, to be born in this country.