Frustrated Singapore musician moving out of her homeland

Posted on 29 July 2011

Inch Chua “heartbroken” at lack of support for original music in her country, wants to go overseas to develop career. This letter by her was first published as a Facebook note.

This letter is probably not directed to any of my friends on facebook, the very kind people on my facebook fanpage and anyone who has ever (legally) downloaded or supported my music or of any other local artist.

But this is a letter, a letter from a very heartbroken Singaporean artist to the general mass of people who just don’t care or are just too close-minded to see the big picture. Yes, you.

Its sad, because i don’t think i could have tried any harder with you, Singapore. When it comes to you, it has always been an uphill battle, where i’m swimming against the currents. Time to time, i’d always catch you make comments like, “i don’t like this band, they don’t play any songs i know” or “oh, this band is good, they don’t sound local”.

Why? why are we possibly the only country where “local” has so much negative connotations tagged with it. why are we the only country where you’re only considered a GOOD, COMPETENT musician when you can play covers. why are we the only bloody country where the press and media will have to INTENTIONALLY highlight that a local musician plays an “original compostition”.

Why?!

Why am i not accepted in your working society? On a day to day basis i have to deal with a hefty amount of people judging me; assuming i’ve made some majorly bad decisions in my life to wind up a musician. Why can’t i be musician? i don’t need your definition of success to be placed upon me. i don’t need your approval to do what i know i should be doing. i don’t need you to tell me that there is no future in Singapore Music, i don’t need you to tell me that what i’m doing is a lost cause.

Why?! Why do i have to try so hard to prove my worth about my contributions to society? why is it that our independent music community has minimal government support? why don’t i have someone to count on?

So on this note, i’d like to annouce that i’ve decided to move to another country to pursue my career. i’m not giving up on you Singapore, but rather its due to the fact that its the only choice i have, thanks to your pathetic need of validation from elsewhere before you see things clearly for yourself.

i’m hurt and you know why. i’m angry because i’ve been hurt for a long time now.
But no matter how heartbroken i am, i’m now more ready than ever to get out of the boat and walk on water.

Yours Truly,
A 100% A HOME-GROWN SINGAPOREAN ARTIST & PROUD OF IT.

This post was written by:

- who has written 81 posts on New Nation.

Terence is an online media nut that is obsessed with writing and publishing on the Internet. Recently, he took up photography to expand his repertoire, and hopes to learn videography soon. He has worked in both online and print publications such as The Straits Times, Today, Mind Your Body, The Online Citizen, and Funkygrad. He is currently the assistant editor with SGEntrepreneurs, a website that covers entrepreneurship in Singapore and Asia. Terence can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Contact the author

  • Landon Leo

    I like this. Hell yeah for original compositions! I echoed her thoughts. Strong songwriting is indeed a very rare skill among good musicians themselves. Singapore is just the wrong place to nurture it for the long term. So go! =>

    • sieteocho

      Strong songwriting is not very uncommon for people who have worked at it for 10 years or more.

      • Landon Leo

        True, can’t disagree on the 10 years part. Still, its kinda frustrating coz 10 years is a long time. The time could be spend in a better environment.

  • WY

    Very true. While there exists the unique “breed” of Singaporeans that support local bands for their originality and pure talent, they are few and far between. Most Singaporeans don’t even have the simple basic national pride to support local talent.

    The same thing can be said for the local underground music scene (i.e. metal), where some local bands are only noticed once they get invited to play in overseas gigs or metal festivals in Europe.

    Its a sad situation where the local music scene is at. While there’s lots of talented people, there’s simply too small a market of “open” minded people here to appreciate them.

    • curiosity the killer cat

      What reason is there to ‘support’ local talent? For me, it’s talent and a match to my taste. And that should be regardless of where the artiste comes from.

      I didn’t listen to your music, Inch, because it’s not what I listen to. Not because I’m close-minded. You could say I don’t care for your music. Is that wrong of me? Perhaps you should care more for my work. I work hard too.

      Fleetwood Mac (you’ve heard of them I presume?) took 10 years before achieving success. So please, do what you have to do to make something of yourself. But for goodness’ sake, don’t blame us for your lack of success.

      BTW, the definition of indie puts you outside of the mainstream. Please name me one government that ‘supports’ their indie musicians.

      • Sameer

        Canada.

        • Curiosity killed the cat

          Really. That’s pretty cool. But you have to admit it’s a rarity amongst governments.

  • Dun Come Back, EVER!

    for unknown musicians like the author, they have to have good music products to begin with. It’s not just because it’s local ad crap that you’d demand Singaporeans to embrace you and you losuy works. Have respect for us Singaporeans. With the author’s stimking attitude, it’s better she leaves Singapore forever and dun ever come back, esp if she becomes either very popular overseas or remain unknown for the rest of her life there. See the hole she has dug for herself because of her stinking attitude?

    • go local talents!

      @Dun Come Back, EVER!
      Have you listened to her music? I suggest you listen before having that judgment.

      Cheers

    • My Bad Self

      Unknown? Inch is very well known, even to an Ang Moh expat like myself. Seen her in the press, online, on stage live, heard her music in a couple of pubs… Just because YOU don’t know about something doesn’t make it “unknown”.

      • curiosity the killer cat

        If I’ve never heard of her, she’s unknown. To me.

        • My Bad Self

          Kind of my point. Everyone, no matter how famous, is unknown to someone….

    • ez

      I’m not sure I get you but few in Singapore have gone as far as SXSW

    • mackinder

      Can’t believe in this day and age, there are music fans who have no inkling on what SXSW is.

    • dont judge man

      @ Dun Come Back, EVER!

      before you even say about her attitude, put yourself in her shoes. How would you feel if you have tried to give it your all but the locals like YOU yourself is not supporting it? Have you heard her amazing works? no you haven’t. Have you seen how much she have put in for her career? you haven’t. She does have respect for singaporeans, but respect is not something you get, its something you earn. She did her part in earning respect from Singaporeans, its people like you who couldnt care less about such a talented artiste that you dont even allow her to earn your respect. You would feel the same way if you have tried hard in your career and still have people like you who judge inconsiderably. So why dont you back off and just leave her alone? You have no idea how much fans she has in singapore man.

      And to all others, If you dont like the music, just leave it alone, dont say that its bad just because the work is not to your liking. you’ll never know if what you dont like, might be the top favorite in other’s music list. All im saying is that Singaporeans like to judge and its not a nice thing to do.

      @goodriddance

      tell me what is good if you have talent without audience. if you are so good at something but no one wants to watch or know about it, then it is nth compared to a trophy you make for yourself and put it at home for meaningless ego boost. Inch is not a quitter, in fact, she is smart as she see that Singaporeans dont support their own artiste as much as locals from other countries and therefore she going overseas to continue to do what she love doing, continue to share her works with people who appreciates. While she sends this signal to everyone who reads it, she is at the same time speaking for all indie artiste in singapore. To me, i see this as a brave act as she alerts everyone about what indie artiste faces and this will definitely be helpful to future indie artiste for she is the first to open the door to success for indie artiste. face it man, shes way more than just a spoilt little brat, shes way better than you.

      • Curiosity killed the cat

        Hey there don’t judge man. I feel the reaction here comes from her accusing people of not caring enough and being close minded to her talent. I know that’s my reaction. In fact your point makes sense the other way round as well. Does she know me? Or my taste? Or why I don’t listen to her? Sweeping statements are always dangerous. After her post I gave her music a shot. It was decent but not any different from the thousands of girls with guitars on YouTube.

        And if you think about it, people did actually leave her music alone. She threw a hissy fit so people just told her how much they hated her music. If you had a colleague calling you closed minded and uncaring for not liking their proposal, how high would you rate the chance of you starting to like it?

        I can tell you for sure that talent is frankly a dime a dozen. Everyone’s got talent to a degree. It’s whether you are ready to polish it till it lights up the world and if you’re lucky enough to be discovered. You can work to publicize yourself, which inch has now done. Besides if she’s really that phenomenal, she doesn’t need to leave Singapore or it’s people. The Aussie girls have millions of people watching their videos, and it’s not all Australians.

        Still, good luck in the great big world Inch.

  • Hardertruths

    This is the hard truth. Home grown apples are not as sweet. Backyard chillies are never hot enough. That’s why although I am not musically-trained but have written and composed 11 songs, I have never gone public with them. There is no future for local talent.

  • Joel

    Actually to be fair, when the public cannot appreciate a person’s music that only mean that they don’t. Nobody likes another to shaft something they don’t like or appreciate down their throat. She should not blame the public for not accepting her music, if she wants acceptance maybe she should change her style and be more commercialized, but if she wants to stick to her own style and ignore what the public want then it is her own right just don’t blame others for not accepting herself. She is right to go outside Singapore to search for acceptance but the letter she wrote was uncalled for and immature. Look at Stefanie Sun, Kit Chan, Kelvin Tan, Mavis … All home grown singers, learn from them and be teachable. Always look inward before you point at others.

    I understand her frustration but she need to be smart, she will eventually return, why stir up the bees back home? As someone looking for acceptance, the letter really doesn’t help at all, in fact she made it harder for Singaporean to accept her now and future. She will be remembered as the signer who criticized her own country.

    Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. Remember that.

  • GoodRiddance

    I am just dissapointed at Inch’s attitude. No doubt, she has some talents and I understand her frustrations. However I find her desire to leave Singapore just plain disgusting. What kind of message is she sending to the younger local musicians? That you have to leave home to achieve success??? Which local indie musician did not face the same struggles?

    To me, this is just her cry for attention. She is just a quitter who has no drive and desire to make any effort to establish a solid rapport with her fellow Singaporeans any more. Has she even tried? Such a whiny spoilt little brat. Talent is something innate, going overseas will not change anything for Inch. Feel more liberated, perhaps. Improve in skills, maybe. Find talent, I don’t think so.

    Even on a global level, I doubt she will find success. Her youtube channel is just pathetic. Look at the number of views she averages per video. I think that’s a very clear indicator where she stands on a global level. Even her covers pull in very average view counts.

    Jayesslee, the asian twins from australia, have 10-100 time more view counts per video. Sure, they do covers, but they do have original compositions too. Performing live, they overwhelmingly sold out 3 gigs at TAB here in Singapore. Can Inch sell out even one gig at Tab? Maybe, but i don’t she can do more then that.

    Let me use another youtube indie star as comparison. Zee Avi, a malaysian. Even before she made it big, she was racking in good numbers for her videos. Did she have to move overseas to achieve success? No. So I don’t see why Inch needs to move overseas just to prove a point. So good riddance to Inch.

    But to all other local musician, keep the faith and stay strong. Majulah Singapura.

  • ColdZero

    @Dun Come Back, EVER!

    Actually we’d prefer it if you left the country instead. Singapore is no place for ignorant fools like you…

  • ColdZero

    Ditto for @Good Riddance

  • My Bad Self

    Inch, I enjoy your music and am sad that Sg will be losing a talented musician. I booked Allura for a gig at the Prince of Wales a couple of years back, and you were awesome. I also reviewed your CD for Live! Magazine, and the songs from that CD are still on the iTunes playlist at Prince of Wales.

    It is sad that there is not more done to support and promote local music – in the 6 years I have been in Sg I have come across many great acts with potential, only to see them eventually wither in the face of apathy. It is not that these acts lack talent – there is undoubtedly a stigma that comes from being local. There are a few venues that like to promote local original music, but the lack of audience response means that they cannot offer much in payment and many often eventually revert to booking populist cover acts.

    I play myself – I had a moderately successful band playing songs I had written back in the UK. In Sg I have struggled to get my original material off the ground, solo or in a band, but my covers duo gets regular bookings. This is not uncommon anywhere else in the world, but it is harder in a small country like Singapore where there are fewer opportunities – at least in the UK I could play one gig in my hometown, then the next night in a town forty miles away, and so on…

    Inch, I wish you well. I will continue to follow your fortunes online, and hopefully we will see you back in Sg some time soon… maybe after successfully taking on the world, invited back to headline an international festival? Well, what’s wrong with aiming high…?

    Best of luck!

  • GoodRiddance

    @ColdZero I don’t see why i should leave when I love local music and local artistes who make an effort to promote and advance the scene here.

    You can join Inch wherever she goes. She will need all the support she can get.=p

  • sieteocho

    Singapore audiences – you give them an inch, they’ll ask for a mile.

    I have written 50 songs. I don’t know what to do with them. I might produce them, but only for myself. I’m not sure that Singaporean audiences deserve them.

    If you want all our musicians to work harder and produce quality music, that is relatively easy. If you want Singaporeans to suddenly appreciate local music, that is asking for the sky.

    In the past, people like Stefanie Sun has had to pretend that she’s not Singaporean in order to succeed. Dick Lee has had to go to Japan to succeed. Singaporeans are traditionally strong in songwriting, because in songwriting you don’t have to show your face and tell everybody that you’re Singaporean.

    I don’t know if Inch Chua will succeed. But good luck to her.

  • http://www.musicartlifesg.blogspot.com AJ Chen

    I wish Inch Chua all the best. As for being local or not local, it is foremost important that the quality of music must be there. Regardless whether the music is good or bad, it is very subjective. I have stopped using the term “local” music since the word “local” has too much on negative effects on it.

    Rather I started off using my own term “SINGAPORE-BASED” music. All in all, u cannot force ppl to like your music. What u can do is to reflect yr emotions and expressions as well as seek a balance to understand the audience’s needs. Thats why I encourage to do both covers and originals.

    I admit that Jayesslee is gd. However they are also pretty as well and this gives them an edge. Just dont lie…who dont like to look at pretty women?

    I will be honest to myself and do I even care if some musician is from Singapore or not? No! Music comes deep in my heart. Even if a musician comes from USA, I find it hard to watch her performance if the quality of her music is not there. :)

  • http://kelvintan73.livejournal.com Kelvin Tan

    Singapore just does not have the comparative advantage in the art. No need to rant on us not appreciating, you simply cannot compete with all the Kpop, American pop, that is flooding our shores now. But it is no fault of your own, nor us. Its just economics.

    Its like a Singaporean wanting to be a farmer and then whining about why he kept being asked by the rest of us why he made the choice to be a farmer.

    If you want to be a farmer, go overseas where there is abundant land. It is no fault of Singapore or Singaporeans that you have to.

  • http://www.3in1kopitiam.com Kojakbt

    This is a touching letter. Do I have your permission to submit this to Temasek Review?

  • Mr Moon

    Yes Inch , take your music to another place where it can be more appreciated .Sadly tho, there are the real music lovers here who are not biased with regards you’re local or not, but rather judge you by your music, but the fact of the matter is the majority here are still suckers who’ll appreciate the rubbish spewing out from most of the so called ..”pop stars” and who wouldn’t mind listening to those songs on repeat the whole night.

    The general attitude in music here seems to say “Buy foreign and buy the current trend, cos its cool to identify with them”

    Good luck to us!!!!

    Congrats for making the move.All the best in your career:)

  • Bing

    She’s not good enough and has poor diction. Squeeky voice. Very ordinary lyrics. She has no idea how to produce or write too. Just nice but too ordinary to be a success. She can learn a lot from Zee Avi. Zee Avi writes excellent lyrics and has good diction and she knows how to blend her songs and lyrics. This girl got talent but she has to know that right now she is not good enough and should stop complaining about Singaporeans. She has to look inside and improve.

  • Madibaman

    I definitely support Inch in her decision to move. In my opinion (and I apologise for the unfortunate broad stroke I’m about to use), majority of Singaporeans do not recognise talent if it were to slap them in the face. Everyday. For the rest of their lives.

    A great number of thespians, musicians, artists and writers have had to “sell out” to survive in Singapore. Why? Because we are so pathetically mainstream. We are such a conformist nation that anything that isn’t a blockbuster or top 40 hit is considered mediocre at best.

    This is a country made of people who can’t stand up for themselves, complain about every, single, thing. Every. Single. Day. And think that Gurmit Singh is actually funny outside of Phua Chu Kang.

    Your talent will be much appreciated elsewhere, Inch. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you where it should have, but truth be told, somewhere deep down, you must’ve seen it coming.

    I left ages ago because an open mind should never live in a blinkered world and I’d encourage everyone, no matter where you live, to go out and just try whatever it is you want to do. Not everyone will appreciate things that come with soul, but when you find those that do, you will find that everything you struggled through to find them was worth it.

    Good luck, Inch. Make us proud. :)

  • Bing

    This girl must really think that shes really good. I check and her youtube numbers are very poor so why dont she blame the whole world and choose to blame Singaporeans for her lack of success. SHe has to work harder and be better. THe problem is her music is not good enough. She think she write songs and they are good but her songs are so very ordinary. What does she expect? I pity her because the problem is her but she wont improve herself until she knows where the problem is. All she need to do is to looks at her youtube numbers and she can know the problem. But instead of complain about her problem she find it easier to blame others and she chose easy target in choosing Singaporeans.

  • MusicLoverTroll

    Inch,

    In this day of Internet, moving out of Singapore doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘abandoning’ Singapore. And while I don’t claim to understand all the pain, anger, and frustration you’ve faced, you’ve made a fan of me, and I (and many others here in SG) will continue to support you over the internet.

    May you find success wherever you are.

  • TryItYourself

    Inch being a bad musician and having “normal” songs is what i infer from some of your post. What i would like to say is that you should try it. Try writing a song and see if you can get your “Youtube Views”

    Oh and by the way, youtube views and how good a musician is has very little relevance. Look at those pop stars.

    Also please do not compare Inch with people like Zee Avi and Jayesslee. We are a small country and for us to even get one talented person it is already rare. These countries have tons of people. Why compare?

    Also, how many people have made is to SXSW? It is an achievement for Inch. How dare you say he is lousy and unknown.

    Shame on Singaporean who do not even try to support local talent. How many of you actually bought local music before commenting. How many of you actually go to their gigs regularly.

    I myself am a music student and i do not look forward to staying in Singapore after my graduation. There is nothing worth staying for here.

    • curiosity the killer cat

      Your argument about population and youtube does not make sense.

      Australia has about 4x the population of Singapore. 5x if you discount PRs. Inch’s top view count is 41000. Jayesslee’s top count is 8 million. That’s 200x more than Inch. Views came from Australia (yes) but also from the US and Canada, Thailand and a few other countries.

      Sure, Singapore doesn’t appreciate music. But I think you’ll find it’s no different in terms of proportion with any other country. Most like the mainstream (hence mainstream), and a niche crowd go for indie. Perhaps Inch will do better where indie music has more fans, but that also means more competition.

      Regardless, give it a shot.

  • http://nil FOR YOUR INFO .

    Good luck Inch ! And once you made it big out there , people would start going “oh my god , ive heard her before she got famous” …Idiots

    But you’re doing this for yourself , and at the end of the day satisfaction and success is what you define it to be.

    Those who talk shit here , are just angry they cant make that bold step, neither are they musicians.
    Stef, Kit and Tanya Chua made it big outside Sg as well. bloody retards…

    • curiosity the killer cat

      No actually, For your info, we aren’t angry because we ‘can’t make that bold step’, we’re angry because she’s a whinging idiot who would rather blame her potential audience, than to do something that knocks their socks off.

  • Andrew Chen

    Very sad letter… I hate to politicize the situation, but the fact remains the Singapore Government has poured countless dollars into all kinds of other useless shit, but left real local talent like Inch to fend for themselves.

    Unfortunately the situation is not restricted to the music scene. In virtually every facet of Singapore, the Government has chosen to import crap than to nature and encourage local talent.

    The problem lies squarely with the rotten PAP.

  • Bing

    if she can not have good numbers for youtube then why should Singaporeans like her. it show that the even world dont like her music. Zee Avi write vey good songs with very clever words and nice music. her style is like same to this girl so why we cannot compare. is it because Singaporeans must support something that is not goo enough just because it is from Singapore? If like that then it is very sad because like this than nobody in Singapore will be famous because all want to have to support Singaporean even if not good enough. she can earn money is good enough to play at club because that is her standard and she have to live with it. she is very rude to blame other people for her lack of talent.
    just because she wants to be musician does not mean we have to like her original music. she want to earn living then go play at club to earn living. if she want to be famous then very sorry because she is not good enough. the words of her song very boring and nothing clever or interesting. what she expect. crazy girl!

  • Fiona

    Honestly, Inch, you’re just not good enough. Heard you, watched you life. Your music falls flat and you don’t even have a pretty face or a lithe body to make up for a lack of talent.

    Plenty of us here do pay attention to the local scene and attend gigs. Plenty of other musicians here of also achieved considerable success and a fan base with locals. Don’t whine on us and complain about Singaporeans’ attitudes just because you ain’t got no(t much) talent.

    Lose weight, dress better, drop that squeaky voice and grow up before expecting us to respect you? Yeah just go overseas for all you want, you still won’t make it.

  • Deadnotalive

    I don’t see why the govt needs to be involved. I don’t see the American govt investing in their artistes.

    Stef, Kit and Tanya are all in Chinese market. In fact, Tanya started singing covers in pubs too. Her English album failed miserably before changing to a mandarin singer.

    Yes, Singapore may be a small country but talent does not discriminate and it’s never proportionate to population. We have many talents in Singapore and Inch is one of them. If we don’t compare with the best, then how do we know where we stand?

    Fine, we don’t compare Inch to Zee, then let’s take a look at Alarice. She could have easily based herself overseas but she chose to come back. Winners never quit.

    I don’t think many people know what SXSW is. It’s not a good indicator for success but it shows that Inch has some talent. As mentioned, success can’t be easily defined. As a local Singaporean, I think Inch is mildy successful. On a global level, still a long way to go.

    I am not sure what Inch hopes to achieve by leaving. As a Asian singing English songs, it’s going to be a uphill journey. I just hope she survives and comes out of this alive.

  • Fiona

    Also, to get into SXSW you’ve just got to apply and get selected – very much like Baybeats here. David Sparkle has performed there before, so has Electrico – all way more talented musicians, mind you.

    My point is, if all the local bands here applied and had the money to finance the trip, bands like ATC, Paint the Sky Red, Observatory, Concave Scream, all of them could make it too.

    Yes, mainstream Singaporeans don’t care much about local music, only those cover bands at Timbre. But Inch, your music really isn’t that big a deal for even those in the local scene to buy your album. In fact, I don’t even wanna watch you on Youtube. Those fairylights and askew ponytail. Now you want to come and whine about us not appreciating and threaten to leave the country. Good riddance la. Also don’t wanna see your face anymore. Want to go watch other bands, end up having to put up with your ‘music’. You always leave me in pain.

  • Asian4asian

    Actually, I am curious to find out how inch wants to define her own succes? What does it mean to make it big for her? Commercial success? Underground recognition? Will going overseas help her achieve her personal goals?

    I have seen Inch perform before and I watch her YouTube videos from time to time. She has a very interesting voice. Yes, some might find it whiny, but there’s a shingo rina-ish appeal to it. What I find lacking though is her lack of personality. I think she’s cute but she doesn’t assert a strong enough charisma or stage presence.

    Unfortunately, I do not think going overseas will help her in any ways. It means restarting from scratch to establish a presence again. I am honestly worried for her. Music is not like fashion or the arts. We have many Singaporean visual artists achieve various degrees of success in caucasian majority countries.

    Music today is more then a aural experience. The visual element and social discrimination puts us Asians at a greater disadvantage to succeed in the English music field. I am sure the tide is turning but it’s not turning fast enough.

  • lordoe

    true i am a musician been playing 20odd years and locally its extremely hard to survive except playing covers. i am a bass player, so i play a LOT of covers, so much that i dunno the title but know the basslines and melody.

    and i know quite a number of my peers that migrated and are doing very well doing what they do out of singapore and some friends found success by marketing themselves overseas and tour europe, usa, etc… even malaysian artist can survive and do what they love in their own country.

    singapore in the 60s has a very extremely vibrant local original music industry, my dad always lamented abt the good ole days.

    those days are gone, if u are a musician or serious abt music, go overseas,market yourself overseas. dun give a flying f–k abt singapore.go international or drown in this red dot.

    and that goes for a lot of ppl in the creative industry, artist, composers, performance arts, etc.. life here is sad.

  • Sad but true

    I noticed much mention was made to various artists that had much contribution to the music industry on an “international” level.

    However, before they even became famous as an international artist, did anyone take a look at them?

    Tanya Chua, started off with english music back then, but didn’t go very far. Only to have made it big because she went Taiwan to strive there.

    What Inch said was true. Singaporeans don’t support Local music enough. We should be able to have a good pool of talents that can be developed within Singapore, if there was an acceptance to begin with.

    Otherwise why would all the well-known Singapore artists head overseas to work hard before coming back to Singapore?

  • Life’sLikeThat

    Whoa, epic flounce there. I mean, I get the frustration, a little. I am not a musician or dancer or involved in the arts scene as anything other than a hobby. I took the ‘traditional’ path: Secondary, JC, Uni. But rather than majoring in something ‘practical’, I chose to major in philosophy. And I get a lot of the sneers from strangers, the “so, what are you going to work as, taxi driver?” jokes from acquaintances, and the “why didn’t you go to SMU? You could have been an accountant or a risk assessor!” from my own family. It is irritating beyond words. But to tell the truth, they have a point, to a certain extent. As far as real philosophy-related jobs go, in Singapore, there are few. I’ve heard of philo grads in the US working as consultants on the ethics boards of hospitals, but will we get such jobs here? No. Frankly, I would not have picked this major if I hadn’t already known that I wanted to either teach or stay in academia, and as such could afford to take whatever I liked. But even then, there is a limit on what I can choose to specialise in. I happen to hold an interest in both philosophy of the mind and philosophy of ethics, but there just isn’t much of a demand for academics who specialise in mind (and I’m talking worldwide, not Singapore), and so the simple fact is, if I want to get hired, I’m going to have to develop my specialisation in ethics more. I know that local universities almost never hire their own grads (for purposes of diversification of ideas), and so I know that if I want to get hired by a local uni in the future, I need a doctorate from overseas.

    Life is not fair. Not everyone is going to appreciate your talents; you cannot FORCE them to appreciate your talents; nor do they OWE you an appreciation of your talents. Preferences are just what they are. For any job, not just music, you have to make sure there’s at least a portion of the market that demands what you supply. If there isn’t, then you have two options: either do something that the market appreciates to establish a fanbase and then slowly introduce some of the stuff YOU like in the hopes that you will foster an appreciation among others for the kind of thing you’re interested in; or move on to a market that you think already has a demand for the kind of thing you like. Long story short, I think you’re doing the right thing, and I wish you all the best because I do think you have a lovely voice. But please please rethink your sense of entitlement. It is very unattractive.

    Having said that, WTF people, why are you telling her to lose weight? She’s a perfectly healthy size!

    • Amy

      ExACTLy. Singaporeans don’t owe you anything. We don’t owe you a living. We don’t HAVE to like you. Goodness.

      How whiny. And how TYPICALLY SINGAPOREAN to whine and complain.

  • edison

    what if she ended up getting raped and dumped abroad.

    • Fiona

      Then she can become another Annabel Chong lor.

  • tum teong

    when local media highlight that u can play originals, at least they try to promote u. take it in good light lay nabeh! your music can only be as beautiful as the way u r on the inside.

  • http://www.phunkiefresh.com PhunkieMunkie

    I’ve always be a fan of your voice since your Auburn’s Epiphany days. Don’t give up, Don’t lose hope! =)

  • http://asw.com Levan

    I hate to say this, cause I really like your music, but you do sound a tad bit whiny here. I agree with Life’sLikeThat’s first comment. Stop with the sense of entitlement and re-access your strategies. This rant equates to: “i’m angry frustrated boo hoo i’m out of here”, when it should be “i’m angry frustrated, here’s what’s wrong, here’s how things can be better, here’s my plan, and here’s how you can help”. You need to approach this with a mature mind and a sound plan, and carry yourself with some dignity. The world moves too quickly to care if you’re hurt or not — and this is the sad fact of life for all of us.

  • L-L

    Oh my! Quit the grade 5 whining! Getting to SXSW is great for u. But as wat Fiona said, it’s just a music festival. Good **ckin’ luck overseas! Goodbye.

  • Amy

    It’s just like whining boohoo I worked so hard why don’t you appreciate me and give me 1 million dollars because I worked so hard.

    Life doesn’t work like that. Grow up. You sound so immature.

    • Amy

      Her impression that she’ll have an easier time overseas is completely flawed.

      There are literally millions of artistes competing for those precious few contracts. In one country alone. She thinks overseas musicians have an easier time? Really?

      And another thing – Caucasians and Europeans don’t think all that much of Chinese. That’s the sad truth. They’ll take one look at her skin colour and secretly mark her off the list even before she steps onto the stage.

      Mark my words, she’ll come back in a few years, tail between her legs, and ask for a spot in the NDP.

      • Fiona

        I hope we don’t give her the spot at the NDP. Perhaps she can go behind the scenes and write (lovely) songs like like Home but let someone more mature take the spotlight.

  • LSI

    What you need is a good sound engineer to make your pieces stand out. Is that the best recording you have? There is still a lot of room for improvement in the audio department. I like your song and composition. Do observe how established folk vocal/guitar recordings are engineered, eg Jewel. Because you don’t have a lot of instruments to back you up, your vocals needs equalization to bring out the ‘power’ and ‘presence’ to be compelling. Your guitar needs to be properly equalized to sound balanced. Next is publicity, you’ve got to work on your image.

  • newanda

    Small country complain cannot make it.
    Move to a bigger country lagi complain cannot make it.

  • http://fabbed fabbed

    You are whiny aren’t you? Generally I agree with Lifeslikethat. I’ll look at it from the perspective of judgement. I understand that you’re feeling judged, from the “cannot make it”,”lost cause”, and from feeling judged perhaps comes despondency. In being despondent, you might need to lash out at something but seriously its not really going to help. I think what you should aim for and take self-responsibility for is to be a prime example of how a local musician can make it without shooting rockets at anyone.

    Personally I’m one of those who was perhaps walking along an irregular path[excelled in a sport] but from a young age I was beaten into conformity. I went to the usual tri-tiers of education and subsequently took a job. Now I’m as unhappy as hell and my life currently revolves around travelling and writing & pursuing my lost sport.

    Some of the snipers up there offer up some good advice. Take it into consideration, discard what you don’t need. After all who are we to tell you what you should do for yourself? I deign to analyze your music, I can’t analyze well what I can’t do better in anycase. Kick some ass & lamblast in your journal from now on.

  • Jon

    Electrico played good original music which was well-received locally.

    While many Singaporeans are guilty of saying “oh this band doesn’t cover the songs I like”, perhaps Inch should consider why they would say that.

    Perhaps the song she writes/performs just aren’t up to the standards of Singaporean listeners and that’s why they would prefer her to just do covers instead?

  • Pingback: Frustrated Singapore musician moving out of her homeland « The Circuit of Culture

  • Pingback: How to pursue a music career overseas « New Nation

  • Pingback: Zoroukah – How to pursue a music career overseas

  • KW

    I know her works. As much as I like her works, I do agree that people only listen to music that they like. In this current age and society, people only listen to music that goes to them conveniently. Unfortunately, all products, including music, needs some publicity and marketing in order to reach people.

    However, going away isn’t going to help because I believe it is a situation in other countries. In fact, competition might be even fiercer. We have some ‘returning’ musical talents but they are nothing more than an outcome of ‘branding’.

  • vampyrelunar

    Cause our education system here is not well-equipped in the arts/sports/anything-that-is-outside-of-normal-curriculum. All we know (and are taught) to do is to study study study all the way, get a job, start a family and that’s it. Not much. 

    I do admire your spirit in entering a path that’s not normally taken and still in it, regardless of what others say about you. Although sadly, the reality is that musicians don’t make it in Singapore. Once you can accept that, life will be albeit a bit easier for you =] 

    Don’t give up and keep going.  

  • IMetherlence

    Local music in Singapore was hardly even appreciated in Singapore. Many people would certainly think that we have it easy, stating that we earn a lot every time we make music. However, do we really earn that much in the first place? Most of the time doing music in Singapore is almost like doing charity work, people downloading MP3 without caring about you one bit, and expect us to continue that way. Worst is the case where local music isn’t even given any support, both by the government and the people. Just go into your music player and review how many local music are inside, I’m guessing they are mostly foreign from Korea or Western, and even for the minority who disagree with the previous statement, it would be only be a few locally made tracks. Where is the future for local composers? I myself write music locally, only to find it unappreciated by anyone, anywhere in Singapore. I may be academically sound, but what I do is more than just academics, I have a life, I do what I want, music, engineering, logistics. Thus I fully agree with Chua’s viewpoint.

  • Genevieve tan

    Please do not say such things of Inch. Inch is brave and really still hold on but still keeps Singapore in mind. Its great! Pls respect her.

  • Pingback: What Supporting Local Music Means To Me…And Why I Advocate It - Musicife

  • Pingback: S’porean musician, who left S’pore in frustration, comes back as an author | Mothership.SG

  • Ray

    at the first place, we Singaporean do not have our own language like the thai or Vietnamese, by singing original in English, is not our original language in the first place… try compose song in Teochew, Hokkien or Cantonese, I called it Original.

  • Pingback: tropes – @visakanv's Singapore blog

Trending Travel Videos