Yanto, Barber/Entrepreneur, hat from Brixton, customised vest, shirt from Obey.
Gina, Finance Executive, headscarf from online, top from Uniqlo, jeans from Topshop.
Aidyn, shirt and jeans from H&M.
Eelan, top from Suvasito, beanie from online.
All shoes from Dr. Martens.
Gina and Yanto have been married for four years, and the very first time they met was purely fate. Yanto’s band was producing a soundtrack for a television drama, while Gina’s mother happened to be catering for the crew for the very same drama. Their kids Aidyn, three, and Eelan, three months old came along soon after, rounding off this happy family, who gathered in The Golden Rule Barber Company, which Yanto runs, to share more about what makes their family tick. While Eelan comfortably dozed off throughout the shoot, Aidyn was much more of a firecracker, making funny faces at the camera and initially refusing to get dressed for the shoot. He settled down however, and tired himself out — so much so that he too fell asleep towards the end of the shoot. We sat down with Yanto and Gina to ask them a bit more about themselves.
Do you think your styles have changed at all, since you became parents?
Gina (G): For me, I obviously can’t wear long skirts so much, because it’s hard to move around in them. Now it’s always tights or pants.
Yanto (Y): I’m still the same.
G: Because he doesn’t help out with the children! (laughs)
Y: I would describe my style as rugged. Sometimes I have to be a bit more dapper because of the shop, but if I’m outside then I’m more rugged.
Sometimes the little things can make or break an outfit. What do you personally look for when it comes to shoes and accessories?
Y: Comfort. It also depends — if I’m at work, then I consider safety as well. Because there’re a lot of blades, and I also don’t want hair falling into my shoes. So it’s usually boots.
G: Same for me, comfort. Sometimes when I wear tights they look better with heels, but for comfort then it’s this kind of flats and slip-ons.
What are some of the items in your wardrobe or on your dresser that you can’t live without?
Y: My boxers! (laughs)
G: Sunblock. The sun causes pigmentation on my skin! (to Yanto) You only care about your boxers?
Y: Yeah, everything else is okay!
If you could wear a uniform of sorts for the rest of your life, what items would it include, and why?
Y: Jogger pants, and my long T-shirt. It’s the most comfortable thing to survive in, whether it’s in the streets or in the forest. You have to be really comfortable.
G: For me, it’s my tights. I’m always seen in my tights because it’s the most comfortable. Lesser dresses nowadays.
When it comes to dressing Aidyn and Eelan, what kind of styles/pieces do you look for? Who does most of the shopping/styling in the family?
G: He actually does it!
Y: But the problem is we have to bring Aidyn along when we go shopping, because he likes to pick for himself. As you can see for yourself from the shoot, he knows what he wants!
G: So before we buy anything we have to ask him, do you like this? And he would say okay, or not okay.
Y: If we buy something, and he doesn’t like it, he won’t wear it at all.
What kind of style does he like?
Y: He likes dark colours, black t-shirts. Maybe he’s influenced by me! And also comfortable clothes.
G: He doesn’t like long-sleeved tops. He likes sleeveless tops.
Y: Kind of like a beach guy, but with dark colours.
How do you (try to) balance your work life and family life? Or what are the little things you do to make sure that neither one is compromised?
G: Night time, after the kids go to sleep, is mummy and daddy time. Sometimes we plan to wake up extra early in the morning if we have something to do, and we also have a helper, so if we need to have couple time then it helps. Our kids don’t wake up that early, around 11AM or 12PM, so when we leave for work they’re often still sleeping.
Y: I work quite long hours, sometimes 11AM to 10PM. But sometimes I go into work a little later, like 2 or 3PM, just to spend time with Aidyn. Night is more about me and Gina.
G: I work office hours, so I get off work quite early. In the morning I don’t really get to see my kids.
Y: She works office hours, I work retail hours, so we really have to manage our time well.
What’s the one thing you think you should be doing more of, or that you wish you had more time to be doing?
G: Exercising. (laughs)
Y: Yeah, because when the kids get older, you really need the stamina and energy to take care of them and to carry them around. They’re our form of exercise. I also used to be more active, performing with my band, and that was also a form of exercise. You sweat on stage, and in the rehearsal room, but nowadays it’s just standing and cutting hair. I don’t play with my band so much nowadays, it’s more of a hobby or pastime. She was my groupie!
What is one thing that you’ve learnt from each other over the years? What have your children taught you as well?
Y: Trust. You have to learn how to trust. Without trust, there is no point. You’ll keep assuming things, and it’s quite hard if you don’t have trust.
G: And tolerance. We have conversations and talk to each other, almost every night. After the children sleep, we have a heart-to-heart talk about each other’s day.
Y: My kids have helped me to understand more about what my parents went through, like how difficult it is to raise a child. It’s really hard. It taught us a lesson.
G: You’ll think to yourself, was it this difficult to raise us as children as well?
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, as young parents?
Y: Financial challenges, as a young family with two kids. There’s a lot of commitment. When you’re just dating, you don’t have to care so much about the other person financially, but now that we’re married there’s a lot more responsibility. Singapore is such a fast-paced country, so you have to think about everything, from where you live, your transport, how you eat, where you send your kids to school. There’s at least 15 years of planning ahead, so there’s a lot of commitment.
What’s your favourite thing to do together as a family? Do the kids come to the shop often?
Y: I don’t like the kids coming to my shop (laughs). It’s distracting, and it’s not good for the customers. I think we spend more time cycling.
G: Eelan is too young to join us, so for the time being it’s just me, Yanto, and Aidyn.
In light of Dr. Martens’ #standforsomething campaign, as a family, what’s the one thing you stand for? What do you personally believe in, be it at work, or in life?
Y: Stand for your beliefs — believe in yourself. I started as a hairstylist, way back when I was just 17 years old, right after school. I had a dream of owning my own shop, and I wanted to create a shop that I would love to come to. This was before the barbershop trend started; it was just a perfect coincidence that there was this rise in interest in men’s grooming. Our previous outlet opened in May last year, just further up the road, and this new one opened just a month ago. (to Gina) What about you? What do you believe in?
G: I can’t think!
Y: Believe that…there’s no difference between black and white. Say no to Islamophobia!
Who is your all-time favourite musician or band? Or the artist that you’re currently into at the moment?
Y&G: Biffy Clyro!
Y: They’re a very underrated Scottish band. Still a bit pop-ish, and their new stuff is pretty nice. In fact, my shop is named after one of their songs. We’re both big fans of them.
If there was one thing you’d like to say to each other, what would it be?
Y: Just one thing? I love you, lah!
G: That’s so clichéd! (laughs)
Y: Then what! I sayang you? (Malay for love)
G: I would say thank you.