Iron Rivet

You recently went through a big move.
Yes, I did—I was studying in America for a few years, and now I’m back after finishing my degree. I think the move has been quite big for me, but even bigger for my cat. I got her back in America, and she shifted here with me, so it’s been a little hectic. Her name’s Sala, short for Salander, inspired by the protagonist from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

What’s been the toughest thing about the shift so far?
There are a bunch of things which have been challenging. I really enjoyed my living situation in Chicago: my roommates and I shared such a great dynamic. Going from living with friends to living with parents is tricky—I love my parents but friends don’t make you feel that sense of social, financial, and moral responsibility.

Share with us more about your outfit.
I chose my outfit today to have a more non-binary look, because I’m very sick of people saying how men should dress or look like. I think the notion that clothes have to be gendered is a funny and absurd one at the same time. Of course, men have it better in most ways in such a patriarchal society, but a lot of work has been done to allow femininity to exist in all forms, while masculinity is restricted to this tight box. I hope to break out of it.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
I hope to own my own bookbinding studio, with a couple thousand subscribers. I don’t have the pulse on the creative industry yet, because I just shifted back here, but I’m hoping to take some time to understand the market here.

Share with us a project you’ve been working on.
I have a few projects in the pipeline, but the one that’s closest to my heart is called ‘Let’s Talk About Self-Harm.’ I think mental health is a topic that really needs to be talked about in Asia because the stigma is quite stifling, especially in developed countries.

If you could name an existing dish after you, what would it be?
I immediately thought of my favourite dishes, but I don’t know if I’m worthy enough of them. I think my favourite foods would be prawn mee (only dry) and kway chap—but I think I’d go with kway chap, because most people either like it or hate it.

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