It is an endless pursuit of success, or what they call it “The Rat Race” in our society. Though people are getting more receptive to alternative ways to attain success, and the definition of “Success” is getting more varied, there is still an unspoken “elitist” recipe to success present in our society. To name a few, the “Future is confirmed route: o-levels, best if IP program, if not JC, then to a local university to do Accountancy/Law/Medicine, then get a good job, good spouse…” the list goes on.
Sad to say, that I am personally a victim of this “Elitist” guide to success when I did badly for my A-Levels. Traditional “A is for Accountancy, not Art” parents contributed a little to this factor.
But I digress.
Exploring the metaphor “Recipe to Success”
A normal “Recipe to Success” as promoted by those usual cliche Motivational Speaker Companies
like Adam Khoo is not literally a recipe (like those cooking ones) but just steps you take and the mindset you need to have while working your way to success.
A normal cooking recipe is made up of three things: Name of Dish, Ingredients, and Directions. I would like to re-think and re-structure the cooking recipe into a literal recipe for success, where the ingredients are inedible things, but they are being treated with methods used in cooking.
There are different definitions at different stages in life. To understand that better, I interviewed people from various age groups between 12 to 30.
To a Secondary School student, it may mean getting a good L1R5 and making it into a top Junior College. To an office worker, it may mean getting a promotion, or even finding someone to eventually settle down and start a family. And for every definition of success, there is another set of factors which it comprises of.
Example: Success to Mr A is to find a spouse.
Let’s be real. You have to look good. You need to have a stable job.
Amalgamating “Recipe” and “Success”
By doing so, the factors to success could be the Ingredients in the recipe. The Directions in the recipe could be about how one manipulates and play the factors to achieve success in his/her favour.
*Disclaimer: As the metaphors are literally EVERYWHERE in this project, I would be giving prompts in the format of “Metaphor Alert” to explain the metaphor, as and when the description of the project formulation process comes to it.
“The Elitist Recipe to Success in Singapore”
Taking the most cliche of cliches examples of very elitist-sounding successes, I compiled it into a series of recipe cards. The recipe cards features different recipes meant for different age groups ranging from 7 to 30 year olds. The reason for choosing that age group is because the
It is going to be metaphors built within metaphors: Metaphorception!
METAPHOR ALERT: The names of the dishes try to be as edible-sounding as possible but also gives very obvious hints of what it is about. This is just like Elitism in our society. It is packaged to give lots of riches and benefits, but beneath all that it is still the same old Elitism.
The entire set of recipe cards is actually a satirical literature in the format of a recipe card, mocking the “Elitist way” of success in Singapore.
METAPHOR ALERT: The ingredients in the dishes is actually a collective-sort of metaphor to explain what you have to give to achieve success in a certain area.
For example, in this recipe titled “Baked Subjects with Talent and Intelligence”, it is mentioned that if there is no Talent in your local supermarket, you have to replace it with a hell lot of other ingredients to make up that same “effect” that Talent gives. Example of such “other ingredients” are: 3 tablespoons of Past Year Papers, 3 tablespoons of Assessment Books, 1 cup of Tuition, 1 tablespoon of No Social Life and 1 tablespoon of Self-Pity.
METAPHOR ALERT: Some other recipes also highlight what you lose in pursuit of the “Recipe of Success”. Directions like “Family Time, melted”. “Social Life, chopped” “Hopes and Dreams, sliced” are littered throughout all the recipes in this project. The methods of treatment to these “ingredients” are metaphors to how one loses family time, gives up on their initial dreams, and trades in their social life, in the pursuit of success.
Now you know what I mean by Metaphorception.
Colour Choice & Typographic Choice
The colours used are Red and White because it is Singapore’s colours. A serif typeface is used throughout the entire series of recipe cards to set a “highly-strung” and slightly aloof tone, that matches the theme of the recipe series.
“Why is your recipe cards bound by a key ring?”
Firstly, the concept of binding the cards with a ring is a metaphor that the Elitist recipe to success is actually a vicious cycle that is currently happening in our society. If one’s mindset on success does not change, it will get passed down to the next generation and so on. Thus, there is also a line on the last card of this series saying “Please pass this recipes to your child one he/she turns 7”
“Why a key ring and not a ring binder”
Key rings are harder to remove. I do not want the person who uses this recipe to rearrange the recipes in an odd way. The Elitist way of success is only through one way, which is shown through the order of how the recipes are arranged to. Ring binders are easier to remove, thus I went with the key ring instead.
METAPHOR ALERT: The illustrations on each and every recipe are visual interpretations of how the recipe is going to look like if it is done in real life. Obviously there are certain intangible things that cannot be represented in real life, such as “Self-pity”, hence I could not go with the initial idea of photographing offer letters stuck in froyo.
Disclaimer: All the recipes are original and not copied from anywhere as there is no such satirical recipes online or anywhere else. I did it by referencing ordinary recipes and substituting my own funny inputs into the format of the original recipe.
Curation of Horror Stories
It started with the idea of working against the fears of people who are afraid to watch horror movies. There had been many discussions back and forth and ultimately, this curation’s target audience was narrowed down to people who are curious about the horror movie plots, but are afraid to watch.
It is a collection not of any horror movie available, but ones with good plots only. Illustrations are done in a cute style so as to not invoke fear and deter the readers.
One problem I realised after printing was the text was close to the spine, and if the book was to be re-printed, I would have increased the spacing for the print, but keep the original dimensions for the digital version.
There is a mock-up of an app version of the book.
Curation & Collection in the topic of Self-Care
“What is Self-Care?”
(Officially) Mental health professionals often use the term self-care to refer to one’s ability to take care of the activities of daily living, or ADLs, such as feeding oneself, showering, brushing one’s teeth, wearing clean clothes, and attending to medical concerns. Physical self-care, such as sleep and exercise, is also an ADL.
(Un-officially) Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.
Self-Care is a need, but not everyone recognises that they need self-care due to various possible reasons:
+ Too busy to stop and care
+ Asian Ego Problems (do not let others know your weakness)
+ Everyone defines self-care differently. For me, it can be drawing. For another person, it can be going on long walks, or taking long naps.
There are so many different ways, hence a need to curate to make understanding of it by the general public… Especially in Singapore, where everything is so fast-paced and people rarely have the time to slow down their lives for a moment.
It is also alarming to know that there is little to no information on Self-Care on any local websites. Go Google “Self-Care Singapore” and all you will get is results on “Self-Care for Older Persons”.
“Why curate Self-Care then?”
I would define curating Self-Care as select a set of effective tools to facilitate raising the awareness on how important it is to continue practicing self-care and to guide people who want to self-care, to self-care more effectively.
There are so many ways to show yourself some self-care and one may not know where to begin from if they are starters. Thus, I devised a basic flow as to how we go about starting the curation:
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed
How do you do these things/where can you find these?
Deliverables: A Self-Care Kit + Website
The self-care kit is a customized kit specially curated to provide warmth and comfort to whoever who needs it, or whoever you think need it the most. It is designed to counter the pressures we face in modern life. The kit would be packed with surprises that will brighten up one’s day when they are feeling gloomy, and make them feel like they are being cared for.
The kit is named “The Ray Bae” as it aims to bring sunshine into people’s lives and make them feel like their “Bae” is caring for them. Cheesy as it sounds, people do crave love and affection deep down in their hearts.
It is targeted at people aged 19-40.
Element of Curation and Collection
User will sign up on a website by completing an order form. The special feature about this order form is the part where it allows the user to select his/her hobbies.
A theme will be selected based on the hobbies that the user has chosen, and it will change every month. The self-care kit team will then pick a few items related to the theme for the box. A post-card personally addressed to the user will also be included inside the box. Here is a sample of how the post-card content would be like:
We hope you are well! April must have been a long month for you. With deadlines closing in, it must be hard to take a break from work and have some time off for yourself. However, The Ray Bae always has you in mind, and we really care about your well-being.
The Ray Bae’s theme for April is: Beauty! We know that you are a busy student who probably has not much time to indulge in giving your physical well-being a treat. Hence, this month we have provided you with a few items that either helps you manage your physical well-being while you are on-the-go, a small treat that you can indulge in during your daily short breaks, or a quicker alternative to settle your makeup for the day. Also, there is a homemade mask recipe included in this box! The items in this month’s box are:
#1 : Hand Cream: To keep your hands moisturized while you work late into the night in an air-conditioned room!
#2: Silicon Make-Up Sponge: It is so time-consuming to wash the Beauty Blender everyday after doing makeup. If you choose to not wash it, it feels unhygenic. Fret not, as thhe Silicon Make-Up Sponge dries immediately after washing it, and it is also extremely easy to wash off the foundation on it! Now you can wake up slightly later to do your makeup. Yay to more sleep!
#3: Soothing Eye Patches: Something to do during your short break! Give your tired eyes a break by treating them to a cooling break.
#4: Black-head Pore Pack: How about doing some therapeutic Black-head Extraction during your short break? Liquid Black-head Pore Packs are effectively better than the sticker ones as it fits the shape of your nose when it dries!
#5: How to Trim Your Brows Guide: Girls usually spend so much money a year trimming their brows. Why spend when you can do them in the comfort of your own home with a pair of tweezers? This guide teaches you how! We hope that you will like what we have prepared for you in this month’s Ray Bae!
The Ray Bae Team”
The “Ray Bae Team” would take into account that the users are generally busy people who do not have time generally to take a break. Though this kit encourages breaks (definition of breaks: halting your work completely and changing to a different activity), it has to take care of the user’s well-being holistically too – in the sense of giving the user a brief respite while he/she is at work. (e.g. Giving a hand cream, pocket-sized Tic Tacs). Thus the kit is curated in a way to provide ideas on what to do during your “Self-Care” breaks, and also to provide those short bursts of “Self-Care” when you really have no time to halt your work.
The kit also runs on a one-time or monthly subscription basis.
“The Ray Bae”
Every kit comes with a post-card addressed to the user.
Sealed with love.
Example of products that Ms Willabelle got.
The website provides information on Self-Care and the Self-Care kit, besides being the place to order the Self-Care kit from.
[Collection of Judgement]
Judgements that were based on inner critic of these two categories:
- Physical Appearance
Target Audience: Millennials
How to connect to audience?
- Customisable set aka DIY
- Step by step guide/dialogue session with your doll.
- The doll is used a reflection of the user’.
- Change negative inner critics to a more positive voice.
1) Physical Appearance
Message: To accept oneself through self acceptance, love and gratitude.
The given name Echo represent the inner critic or voices in our head echoing. The doll is in a egg form with a more chubby base. The set includes: DIY doll, booklet with step by step guide, felt fabrics, velcro, template of DIY features.
Introduction: Do you feel like you are your worst critic? Do you find yourself criticising your looks? We all have that voice inside. The inner critic lead to all sort of problems which includes, self-esteem, self injury behaviour, eating disorder, avoiding situation, etc. The inner critic was formed to help you; to avoid pain and shame. It wants us to do well, to succeed and to be liked, but operates on the thinking level of a child. A child who thinks that what other people think about him/her is important and correct.
Step by step guide
- Step 1: Select an inner critic.
- Step 2: Choose your fabric to DIY your doll based on your inner critic that you selected.
- Step 3: Apply velcro. Put it together.
- Step 4: Complete your doll with all the DIY pieces.
- Step 5: Recognise your “so-called flaws”
- Step 6: Show kindness and gratitude with examples of dialogue given. Talk to your doll.
- Step 7: Show love towards your doll. Eg. “I love you the way you are.”
- Step 8: Replacement of old to new DIY pieces once you have fully accepted your doll aka yourself.
Message: To face inner critic and understand our inner child.
The given name Creeper represents the fears that creep onto us unexpectedly. The doll is in a form of a ghost with a zipper mouth. The zipper mouth represents how we all feed our own fears, whether it is in a positive or negative way. The set includes: DIY doll, booklet with step by step guide, felt fabrics, velcro, template of DIY features, papers.
Introduction: Who is the inner critic? Who is this voice that warns you, make you feel small and scared? Where does this voice come from? This voice is you. Not you as NOW, but you as a CHILD. It is you inner child. Listen to your inner child, not ignore it.
Step by step guide
- Step 1: Personalise your doll
- Step 2: Recognise your inner child more clearly by using the doll as a reflection of your inner child.
- Step 3: Write down your fears
- Step 4: Listen with understanding
- Step 5: Write it down
- Step 6: Realisation that you have the ability to take care your inner child.
- Step 7: Write down comforting words for your inner child
- Step 8: Show gratitude
Mirror was chosen as the main element in my project. Mirror is referred to a surface that shows a reflection of the object placed in front of it. It is a correlation metaphor of karma, in which what goes around comes around — the action that you’ve made will be a direct reflection of you in time to come.
Objective of project:
Increase compassion or empathy towards animals. These animals include, not limited to
– street animals
– breeding mill
– Exotic animal trading
The animals in the photo will be replaced by man, as it is easier to relate/ put yourself in the shoes of man than animals. The last page of the book will have instruction to pull out the side tab to reveal the real photo depicting the plight of these animals. the last page of the book (when read backwards) will show a mirror with question : ” Do you see yourself contributing to these?”
Teenagers to adults
Squarish book: A square makes up one surface area of a container. Square is used as a representation of man being contained and indifferent, seeing only one perspective (surface) of a story.
Red : Red represents blood. The manipulated photos of human in the book remain as one consistent colour of red as red indicates the connection with human.
Blue: Blue suggest indifference and coldness. The non-manipulated photo of the animals are changed to tint of blue to suggest disconnection between man and the animals.
White: White are used as the frame of all the pages as white shares positive traits of man (e.g innocence, purity). White is used to suggest that these qualities are not lost and it will still frame individual with compassion.
Direction: The pictures are placed on the left and text on the right. Left suggest false or wrong information and right suggest the truth.
Pull: The pulling out action suggest pulling out dirty linen in drawer.
Reading backward: The action of flipping backward to discover the real intention of the book reflects that karma is a cycle — What goes around comes around.
Child: Children were used to represent the street animals. Children in this case represents fragility
Women: Women were used to represent the breeding animals. Women acts as a metaphor towards the slavery of female animals in breeding farm.
Smaller size: The smaller squares size of the third book suggest exploitation. The overloading information in a small book represents man’s exploitation from a tiny life.
[Visual Metaphor of Wildflowers]
Meaning of Wildflowers
Wildflowers are those that grow spontaneously under respective conducive conditions, even without being deliberately grown.
Accordion Poetry Book
The selected variety of Singapore Wildflowers are used as a metaphor for strong women in five stages of blooming wildflowers. It allows women to be reminded of their strength and beauty, just like wildflowers. I would used quotes from Billy Chapata and E.V. to express the metaphor of wildflower as women. There would be illustration of different watercolour wildflowers that best represented to the quotes used. The accordion fold itself expresses the metaphor of wildflower.
Title: Miss Wildflower
The word “Miss” is a metaphor for independent woman.
Five stages of Wildflower:
- Seeds of Wildflower
- Buds of Wildflower
- Transition of Wildflower
- Bloom Wildflower
- Wilted and Rebirth of Wildflower
Front viewThe “circle” form of the accordion book represents the Cycle of Wildflower, from the stages of seeds to death and then rebirth.
Back view“Like Wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would” -E.V.
This poetry book celebrates the beauty of strong women. All quotes by Billy Chapata.
The selected Singapore Wildflowers were used as a metaphor for strong women in five stages of blooming wildflowers, allowing women to be reminded of their strength and beauty, just like wildflowers.
unlike the other flowers that needs to be tend to.
Seeds of Wildflower, Buds of WildflowerSeeds of Wildflower
“We’ve become so obsessed with the idea of building with someone, that we forget that we must lay a foundation to grow first.”
It’s known as a Solitary flower. Its fruit produce two types of seeds.
Buds of Wildflower
“Stop romanticizing perfection, and just live.”
This species occurs in open spaces along roadsides, slopes and thickets.
Transition of Wildflower, Bloom WildflowerTransition of Wildflower
“Darling, You’re not a burden. Your past was never too heavy. Their shoulders are just not broad enough to carry a strong woman like you.”
Fruits are surrounded by finely dissected, needle-like bracts. Although young fruits are toxic and cyanogenic, ripe fruits are edible and taste like Passiflora edulis fruits.
“She says she’s complex, I say it’s beautiful. She says she’s misunderstood, I say they haven’t taken enough time to appreciate her flowers.”
Flowers are arranged into globular clusters, which are often mistaken for the whole, single flower.
Wilted and Rebirth of Wildflower
Wilted and Rebirth of Wildflower
“She’s a beautiful mess. She’ll pick up all the broken pieces she lost from herself, and find a way to recreate herself again.”
The flowers last only a day. This species can be propagated by seed or stem cutting.
Which wildflower are you?
Front – Miss Wildflower
Back – Miss Wildflower
Botanical info by http://indiabiodiversity.org, https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg, http://shadowsmagickplace.blogspot.sg