Contrary to popular belief, Singapore does have four seasons.
The Relationship Season – where everyone around you just seems to bumping into the right one and falling madly in love.
The Break Up Season – where everyone around you seems to realize they’ve gotten into a relationship with the wrong person.
The Durian Season – where Singaporeans flock to get their annual fill of the king of fruits.
And the Graduation Season – where everyone around you seems to be graduating with any of these four: Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude, and Thank you Laude.
I’m submitting an apology early in this article for anyone who has gotten sick of my graduation photos. I was not expecting a response as massive and supportive as the one that the Internet has so graciously given me – thank you for the shares, likes, positive comments, advice, and job offers.
As astoundingly amazing as you guys have been, there has also been some negative feedback - some with the intention of providing constructive criticism, others backed by misassumptions or a backward mentality, to say the least.
I’m here to address some of these.
Comment: buck up and compete.. no one own u a job !!!!. Instead of spent time taking pic and posting on FB, Get into action to understand what lackings in yourselves and seek improvement. or u can continue to wait to be spoon fed.... and good luck to you. ( with no sympathy )
My graduation photos do not, in any slightest way, show or imply that I am owed a job. I graduated with a degree in Communications and New Media from NUS. I have spent the last 3 years under some of the best professors, in one of the best learning institutions in the world, learning to
1. Carve a career in the media industry,
2. Fully utilize social media platforms, and
3. Put any point across any medium in the best possible way.
There wasn’t a better option of celebrating my graduation than with spreading the word and joy through visuals shared on my social media platforms.
Comment: (1) First of, why an Arts degree? Knowing Singapore's economic sector breakdown and investment nature, that's the first mistake. Unlike what Westerners believe, pursuing your passion first do not necessarily bring forth success in a global economic downturn. Case in point, plenty of Arts graduates in the States are finding jobs in other sectors. (2) Secondly, let's not imagine a life of comfort straight after graduating. There are plenty of competition out there for the same job. Keep real, work hard and sacrifice on the 'high-flying' lifestyle often depicted in Western media. (3) Lastly, the Government/ the world does not owe you a future after graduation. This is the fallacy of Singapore's spoon-feeding education and civil service system. Fight for what you want, and prove that you are way better than those FTs out there. Work overtime, and invest time into your career rather than your lifestyle after work. Enjoyment will definitely come later. With these, you will come to realize that Singapore does hold a future for all of us. After all, it is just an island nation. Everyone has to chip in and weigh into its future. That is truly, keeping REAL.
1. Define success.
Success to one may be a high-paying job or a fancy title. Success to another may be the opportunity to pursue his/her passion without any financial worries.
I’d also like to point out that plenty of graduates from majors apart from Arts currently hold jobs in sectors completely irrelevant to their major.
And before I move on from this point, I’d like to ask those with a backward mentality towards an Arts degree to consider this:
Our local arts and music scene is growing rapidly with increasing support from our government. A large (and increasing) number of Singaporeans are working hard to be part of a movement that propels our content for the Arts beyond its horizons. We might still in the shadows of others on a global stage but we are more than capable of creating a rich media and arts culture in Singapore that can leave an indelible mark on the international plane.
Besides, our universities have a strict quota on law and medical student intakes so we can’t all be doctors and lawyers, can we?
Try to be nicer to us – the ones who have graciously given up these coveted spots to the others.
2. I am literally squatting next to a dustbin in one of my photos. I can assure you that there are absolutely no expectations of a life of comfort straight after graduating – at least not one that is provided by myself.
3. Once again, no implications whatsoever that I am owed a job. The photos showcase a graduate looking and asking to be hired. They are not a demand for employment simply because I am a daughter of this country. The signs I hold up in the photos do not read ‘my tuition dollars buy me a right to immediate employment’.
Comment: Yup. Jobless... unemployed... but drink grey goose, heineken and wear Panerai.
My heart bleeds for her.
I wanted a graduation shoot that wasn’t the typical hat-throwing/mid-air jump shots. Those shots seem to only capture the joy in that very moment a person graduates, but not the aftermath of a graduation - the hunt for a job, the rejections that will come, or even the graduation parties that we attend but wake up to at 6am with the same sinking realisation of unemployment. I wanted something realistic - not the rosy picture everyone else seems to be painting. I also wanted something relatable - seeing as many of my friends are graduating or have graduated, and are still looking hard for a job.
I feel the need to throw this out here too – no consumption of alcohol was involved in this shoot. The empty bottles in the party shots were collected over a number of drinking sessions my photographer had with friends. These bottles were very kindly provided by him.