Man at His Best

Esquire Singapore: Men Of Our Time 2016

The state of the Singaporean man in review.

BY editors | Dec 22, 2016 | Culture

Illustrations by Yohei Yamaguchi.

 

In every issue—since January 2016—we celebrated the work of a Singaporean man that defined our time. These men are not people that you’ll find in Parliament or on Forbes’ rich list. These are ordinary folks who decided to do something so well that everyone else took notice. We did, and much to their chagrin, we present the eleven men once more. If you wonder where the twelfth and Esquire's Man of the Year is, Colin Schooling was revealed in our December 2016 issue. Stay tuned for his full story.

 

 

LOH LIK PENG
January Man of Our Time

 

The lawyer-turned-hospitality maven is known for his impressive portfolio of established restaurants and boutique hotels, but Loh would rather be remembered by family and friends for living a “happy and fulfilling life”.

 

 

HARESH SHARMA
February Man of Our Time

 

Since being awarded the Cultural Medallion for his work in the theatre scene, Sharma hasn’t stopped working. Aside from his continued contribution to the arts, he’s also getting more people interested in playwriting.

 


PANN LIM
March Man of Our Time

 

It’s rare to find an honest man in this day and age; thus, Lim is a unicorn. As a creative, he begins each project from a place of honesty because, in his belief, if anything is not designed with truth, “it will not move the audience”.

 

 

EDMUND WEE
April Man of Our Time

 

At the risk of near-bankruptcy, Wee puts his money where his mouth is when he says that he wants to make a local novel a contender for the Man Booker Prize. With SGD25,000 as the grand prize of his own Epigram Books Fiction Prize competition, he hopes this might be the carrot to tempt burgeoning writers out of the woodwork and, hopefully, find that one diamond in the rough.

 

 

JOEL TAN aka GENTLE BONES
May Man of Our Time

 

At 22, the singer-songwriter has already performed two sold-out concerts; nabbed two prizes at the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Awards; been named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30; and been nominated for Best Southeast Asia Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. What more do you need to know to be impressed?

 


 

FAKKAH FUZZ
June Man of Our Time

 

Bringing people together through the power of humour is no small feat. But for Fuzz, it’s not something that he takes lightly every time he stands before a mic. Even with the recent staging of his first comedy special, he’s still pushing the envelope, dragging his audience out of their safe zones to an identifiable truth.

 

 

NICHOLAS NG
July Man of Our Time

 

Together with his sister, Ng created The Food Bank that aids low- to middle-income families in the face of rising food costs. Awareness for the need for these forms of humanitarian support is still wanting, but Ng wants to boost that in the near future.

 

 

DENNIS TAY
August Man of Our Time

 

From reworking a business model where his staff share a monthly profit to a formidable online presence and several bricks-and-mortar, Tay doesn’t see himself as an innovator; he’s just someone who is passionate about bringing regional art and design to the international stage.

 

 

THOMAS WONG
September Man of Our Time

 

Wong is on a personal quest to improve the Singapore tailoring scene. Following the recent opening of his tailoring shop that oversees the production of clothes from start to finish in-house, he’s also keen to impart the skills of a master tailor to the next generation.

 

 

K RAJAGOPAL
October Man of Our Time

 

If a movie were to be made of his life, it would start off as a slow, languid burn before igniting into a bouquet of fireworks. Rajagopal made short films and had a 10-year hiatus before resuming filming and comfortably wearing the title of director with his first feature, A Yellow Bird, at 51.

 

 

SONNY LIEW
November Man of Our Time

 

Although the comic book creator has been in the industry for slightly over 20 years, he’s not as well known stateside as he is overseas. It was only with the arrival of The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye that everyone started taking notice. Touching on the buried narratives of Singapore’s history through the eyes of the titular Charlie Chan, Liew brought to the fore the importance of the sequential art form. His graphic novel was awarded “Book of the Year” at the Singapore Book Awards 2016 and the Singapore Literature Prize 2016. Liew is currently working on his next graphic novel.