Space Inheritance



Much as a marketplace is where day-to-day business transactions are carried out, Siem Reap marketplaces are also spaces where the children eventually grow up to inherit, almost akin to becoming a neighbourhood of sorts.

Singaporean photographer Zinkie Aw was inspired by how mothers in the area make use of each allotted space situated from within a hustle-and-bustle larger world.

Mothers turn each shopfront into a playground; a sanctuary for their little ones to grow up in.

In all likelihood, each child would eventually grow up to replace their parents’ roles in this society.

Zinkie Aw, 2012 (Singapore)
Thank you all those who helped on this project and the friends I’ve made along the way.









Other than producing quirky and hyperlocal conceptual stories, Singaporean photographer Zinkie Aw specialises in Events Photography for corporate entities, and is Associate Instructor at Canon Imaging Academy. She was formerly Official Photographer for the Ministry of Communications and Information in 2020-2021. Currently, Zinkie also picked up Social Media Management as a Digital Content Manager.
Currently, Zinkie mentors students on conceptual and personal work photography, and has also judged for various community-initiated contests organised by clubs and societies, and corporate agencies both locally and regionally. Zinkie was keynote speaker for the 6th Singapore Student Photography Conference (2017) and conducted an artist talk ‘A Lighter Side of History: Saying More with Less: Interpretations of Singlish’ for the National Museum of Singapore (2016). The opening exhibition for this fun and experiential piece was at Objectifs, Singapore, and was part of the Singapore Night Festival 2015 then.
In 2017, her latest conceptual work ‘I’ve Cot You (Sayang, Sarong Baby)’ – a heritage cum documentary photo exhibition – was launched at the new Our Tampines Hub with support of Our SG Fund (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), NYC Young ChangeMakers (National Youth Council) and Noise Matchbox (National Arts Council). The project then roved to Toa Payoh Public Library for the National Library Board. In the same year, she was also co-curator for ‘The Italian Connection’, an 89th Anniversary heritage exhibition showcase for The Fullerton Heritage at The Fullerton Hotel.
Zinkie’s work ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau (A Story About Trash and People)’ was published in The Sunday Times (UK) (2013). In 2014, the work was exhibited as part of the Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) and subsequently exhibited in the Dali International Photography Exhibition (2015). 

In 2015, Zinkie published 2 photo books, held a 8-month roving exhibition for her conceptual work ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish?’ and founded the ‘Singlish Mamashop’ brand. Check out the funky pieces, for example the Catchy Slogans stickers, as well as the ‘Singlish Passport’ greeting card!
Aside, Zinkie’s flavour of street photography takes on the banal with a quirky twist, often captured in vibrant colour palettes. Her street photography works have also exhibited in the Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris exhibition (2013). ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’ was award the Honourable Mention in Px3 Prix De La Photographie Paris (2014). Her single photograph ‘Crow Feet and Misters’ was commended in the International Street Photography Awards (2014). ‘Eye’ was a finalist in the Kuala Lumpur Photo Awards (Portraits), which exhibited at Petronas Twin Towers. In the 5th ASEAN-Korea Multimedia Competition (ASEAN Lifestyle) category, ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’ was exhibited as Honourable Mention. 
Zinkie graduated from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (NTU). She previously worked with about 6 years of experience as a Print, Graphic Design and Multimedia Designer. She recently completed a 6-month full time course at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Academy and attained the BCG RISE Distinction PMO & Change Management (Specialisation: Digital Transformation & Change Management)

Artist Statement

For her choice of photo stories, Singaporean photographer Zinkie Aw often photographs habits: Habits of people. Some series are flamboyant ways in which she thinks aloud, and these works are the precipitation of careful introspection she has day-to-day, and reactions to the society that she lives in. These photographs often incorporate the colourful and quirky manner.

Other than these personal photo series, Zinkie does corporate events photography and portraiture work, alongside involving herself in education and outreach programmes. The corporate site is currently under construction. You may email her at [email protected]  for collaboration discussions.

Activities: Exhibitions, Showcases, Sharing for Personal Work Photography

This area is occasionally updated – connect on LinkedIn 🙂

Zinkie Aw Singaporelang Kinokuniya Book


• Canon Youth Photography Awards 2021 – Virtual Talk, Judge, Mentorship for Tertiary Category Winner(s)


• Exhibition: “I’ve Cot You (Sayang Sarong Baby)” at Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Level 10, 23 Oct 2019 to 23 Jan 2020


• Visual Storytelling customised for YCKSS X Pathlight School students and teachers

• Visual Storytelling customised for UOB – UOB

• Street Photography outings customised for UOB – UOB

• Visual Storytelling Workshop customised for National Youth Council x Women in Asia

• Street Photography Outing – Catholic High

• Conceptual Photography for Students – Catholic High

• Photojournalism for Students – Unity Secondary

• Street Photography Outing and Workshop for Hwa Chong International School.

• Smartphone Photography – Event Photography for Schools

• Project over 4 sessions: Desktop Publishing Layout Workshop and Editing of a Photo Story with Fernvale Primary School.

Photo Journalism and Caption-Writing Workshop for MOE – Primary + Secondary School Sessions, in conjunction with MOE’s “Our Schools, Our Stories” Photojournalism Contest

• Visual Story-telling Workshop for Hwa Chong International School. 

• Visual Story-telling Workshop for Horizon Primary School. 

Street Photography Workshop for Horizon Primary School.

• Judging: For 2019 Singapore Young Photographers’ Convention

• Returning Workshop Instructor for River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6s (1 Term)

•  New Workshop” Demystifying Colors with Canon Imaging Academy


Group Exhibition: Singapore Unseen @ Pera Museum, Istanbul

• Photojournalism Workshops with Edgefield Secondary School.

• Visual Story-telling Workshop for UOB.

• Street Photography Outing and Workshop for UOB.

• Facilitation for Smartphone Photography Hands-on Walk, for Apple Singapore.

• Visual Story-telling Workshop for Riverside Secondary School. 

Street Photography Workshop for Ngee Ann Secondary School.

Photo Journalism and Caption-Writing Workshop for Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School.

• Talk on Event Photography for Meridian JC.

• Talk on Personal Work for National Primary School Photography Competition 2018.

• Workshop for Lakeside Primary School: Photo Journalism.

• Workshop for NUS International Students: Conceptual Photography.

• Workshop for National Library Board for Opening Week of Yishun Library Library: Mindfulness and Photography.

• Workshop for Loyang Primary School: Street Photography.

• Returning Workshop Instructor for River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6s (1 Term).


• ‘I’ve Cot You (Sayang, Sarong Baby) Opening Exhibition Launch at Our Tampines Hub, new Tampines Regional Library (05 Aug – 31 Sep 2017)
Launched by Parl Sec Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Baey Yam Keng.

Rove (yay!) : Toa Payoh Public Library, 4 Dec 2017 – 28 Dec 2017.

• Co-curator for ‘The Italian Connection’, an 89th Anniversary exhibition showcase for The Fullerton Heritage at The Fullerton Hotel.
Conducted Heritage trail walk for ‘A Hunt of Lions in the Lion City‘ for children.

• Workshop and Talk for SMU (2 sessions).

• Workshop and Lecture for St Andrew’s School.

•  Keynote Speaker for 6th Singapore Student Photography Conference (SSPC).

• Interview and feature on TODAY online’s social media platforms. A Singaporean photography monthly series via ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish?’.

• Adjunct Tutor: Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, NTU.

• Returning Workshop Instructor for River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6s (1 Term).


• National Library Board’s National Reading Day — Sharing of Singaporelang book

• One of the Panel Judges: Singapore Young Photographers’ Convention hosted by Canon Singapore

• Artist Talk at National Museum of Singapore, Mar 2016. “A Lighter Side of History: Saying More with Less: Interpretations of Singlish”.

• Returning Workshop Instructor for River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6s (1 Semester)

• Organiser and Artist for Solo Travelling Exhibition: ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish?’. Sep 2015 – 2016. Various locations including Bugis+ Mall,  Lot One Mall, Bedok Mall and 7 National Libraries. (Singapore)

• SG Magazine: Cover Page & Interview Feature on Zinkie Aw and her work: Republic of Pulau Semakau. February 24 Issue.

(New Work) ‘TANLINES: An Anatomy’ Group Exhibition: Oct – Nov 2015. Noise Singapore (10 Years of) Alumni Show Galeris Nila & Utama @ The Foothills at Fort Canning Park .  (Singapore)

‘Singaporelang — What the Singlish?’ Solo Roving Exhibition: Sep 2015 ~ 2016 (Singapore)

‘Singaporelang — What the Singlish?’ Group Exhibition. Societe Generale Gallery, Alliance française de Singapour. Sep 10- Oct 3 2015. (Singapore)

‘Singaporelang — What the Singlish?’ Solo Exhibition. Objectifs, Lower Gallery. Aug 13 – Sep 23. (Singapore) The Exhibition @ Esplanade. ‘Singaporelang — What the Singlish?’ Group Exhibition. Aug 2015 – Jan 2016. (Singapore)

Dali International Photography Exhibition (DIPE). GOLD & GREEN: The Making of Singapore Photography. (China)
‘Republic of Pulau Semakau (A Story about Trash and People)’. Group Exhibition.

Community Skyart on Hawker Stories: Chong Pang PAssionArts Festival 2015. (Group Exhibition together with student participants). *This project is awarded one of the Top 10 Installation Art of all works displayed in 2015, and was re-displayed at Ngee Ann City in the Singapore W.O.W (Works Of Wonder) – the PAssionArts Festival Closing Exhibition.

Solo Exhibition: ‘Home Store-ies: Singapore Storerooms’ series.
At The Arts House at Old Parliament Lane, Singapore.  With The Arts House Open House.

5th ASEAN-Korea Multimedia Competition (ASEAN Lifestyle): ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’. Honourable Mention (Singapore Entrant).
At Hanam (Hanam Art Center, 27 January – 15 February) and Gyeongju (Gyeongju Arts Center, 3 -29 March), Group Exhibition

Pop-Up Noise Photography Showcase:  ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’ series.
April 2015. Roving Exhibition:  Kovan Hub, Asia Square, One Raffles Place. Group Exhibition. (Singapore)

Milan Image Art & Design Fair, MIA&D (Singapore): ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau (A Story about Trash and People)’
At Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Center

4th Singapore International Photography Festival  (Singapore): ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau (A Story about Trash and People)’
At National Museum of Singapore, Group Exhibition

Px3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris (Paris): ‘Worn-out Legacy’. Single Portrait, Group Exhibition

KL Photo Awards (Malaysia): ‘Eye’. Single Portrait, Group Exhibition

Celebrating Orchard @ Ngee Ann City (Singapore): Co-organised by Singapore National Heritage Board
‘Impressions from the Ground’, Group Exhibition

Noise Singapore Festival Showcase, Photography Exhibition (Singapore): ‘Once Upon A Gangnam Style’ (Series); ‘Stasis’ on prints display. Noise Catalogue 2013.  Other selected works on LED screens.
ION Orchard, Group Exhibition

Angkor Photo Workshop Festival Slideshow (Angkor Photo Workshops) (Cambodia): ‘Space Inheritance’. Group Slideshow

Atelier at fivefootway inn (Singapore): ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau’. Group Exhibition

CrazyWorld Cafe (Singapore): ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau’. Solo Exhibition

Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore: ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau’. The Apprenticeship Programme. Group Exhibition

Heritage Connects @ Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (Sept 2012): ‘Portraits at the Railway’. Organised by National Heritage Board. Group Exhibition.

Goodman Arts Centre: Urban Moments Photography Showcase. Group Exhibition.

SIDEWALK: Street Photography Exhibition: IPA Gallery. Group Exhibition by Invisible Photographer Asia.

National Library Board (Singapore): ‘iLove you, Baby (Big Hands, Small Screens)’. Group Exhibition.

The Noise Sg Showcase: Group Exhibiton.

Singapore My Home Reflections (1 distinction, 2 merits, DSLR category) (Singapore)
At MICA Building; ION Orchard; Marina Barrage; Singapore Discovery Centre

Media Mentions / Interviews  

Kindly check back again for consolidation of previous years’ works like Republic of Pulau Semakau, or Home Store-ies!

2019: EOS World feature on ‘Celebrating Women Behind the Lens

2018L On Print: Our SG Fund Booklet: Featured Project Interview

2018: Singlish interview with Lindsey Does Languages 

Mar 2017: Interview and feature on TODAY online’s social media platforms. A Singaporean photography monthly series via ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish?’.

Feb 2016: SG Magazine: Cover Page & Interview Feature on Zinkie Aw and her story series on ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau’.

Nov 2015: WKWSCI Alumni Magazine: “Our Nation Through their Lenses

Nov 2015: NUS Campus Eye “Singaporelang exhibition explores Singlish

Oct 2015: 100.3 UFM Singaporelang — What the Singlish? Book Promo ( 1 week )

Sep 2015: “Singlish brought to life in new photo book

Sep 2015: “Power la! Talented S’porean brings Singlish to life with new photo book

Sep 2015: Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报— What the Singlish? Artist Interview, Book and Exhibition mention

Sep 2015: My Paper on Singaporelang — What the Singlish? Photo Book

Asiaone: Singlish brought to life

Sep 2015: Culturepush: “Singaporelang-What the Singlish? by Zinkie Aw”

Sep 2015: AsiaX on Singaporelang — What the Singlish? Exhibition

Jul 2015: Business Times: Vignettes of a nation on ‘Meet the Candi-dates’ in group show

Jun 2015: 95.8FM (Mediacorp Radio) on Singaporelang — What the Singlish? Work-in-Progress

Mar 2015: Canon EOS World Interview on Street Photography

Feb 2015: ‘Singaporelang’ Zinkie Aw Speaks to Leonard Goh

“Singaporelang” Book Retail Stores:
select books
kinokuniya singapore
You may also find copies at the National Library.


> International Photography Awards: Honourable Mention, Deeper Perspective category, ‘Home Store-ies’
> International Photography Awards: Honourable Mention, Environmental category, ‘Home Store-ies’
> 5th ASEAN-Korea Multimedia Competition: Honourable Mention (Seoul), ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’
> PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris: Honourable Mention: ‘Meet the Candi-Dates’ (Paris)
> International Street Photography Awards: Main Award Commended, Colour. ‘Crow Feet and Misters’ (London)

PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris
– PX3 2013 – Gold Winner – ‘Worn-out Legacy’, Children Category
– PX3 2013 – Silver Winner -‘Same Same but Different’, Product Category, 2nd Place
– PX3 2013 – Bronze Winner – ‘ Republic of Pulau Semakau’, Other Category, 3rd Place

International Photography Awards
– Category: Deeper Perspective, Honorable Mention
– Category: Lifestyle,Honorable Mention
(United States)

KL Photo Awards: Finalist, Portraits Category. (Malaysia)

Urban Moments Photography Contest (Singapore) 3rd Prize. Goodman Arts Centre. 

Talks & Workshops Hosted 

Associate Instructor at Canon Imaging Academy.


Returning Workshop Instructor for River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6s (1 Semester)

Artist Talk at National Museum of Singapore, Mar 2016. “A Lighter Side of History: Saying More with Less: Interpretations of Singlish”.


Returning workshop Instructor for Anjali Photo Workshop, Angkor Photo Festival & Workshop. (Cambodia)

Public Talk: At Toa Payoh Public Library on Processes of Book-Making, ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish’.

Talk and Book Launch: At Objectifs, for  ‘Singaporelang – What the Singlish’.

Radio: Singaporelang featured on 100.3 UFM. (Singapore)

PassionArts Festival – Chong Pang Community Centre – Making Photo-Stories: A 2-Month Workshop Festival for National University of Singapore Photographic Society  – Street Photography Workshop & Outing ‘Down Memory Street

OCBC x Canon — Hit the Streets!

Raffles Girls School – “Facemaps” (3 sessions)

BHP Billiton — Street Photography: Intermediate Course

River Valley High School — Portfolio-Making for Year 6 (1 Semester)

Swiss Cottage Secondary School – “Facemaps” (4 sessions)


Anjali Photo Workshop, Angkor Photo Festival & Workshop: Support us!

Street Photography & Travel Photography Lecture at Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), for SIM Photography Club

“Find and Shoot: A Photographic Treasure Hunt” for Singapore International Photography Festival Education Programme at Bukit Merah Public Library, Singapore.

“FaceMap”, for Singapore International Photography Festival Education Programme, 2902 Gallery, Singapore.
– Maris Stella High School (4 sessions)
– Meridian Junior College

Memory Maker Series Shooting Selfies with Keepsakes, for National Library Board. (2 sessions)

JOURNEYS, 10-week mentor for youths, for, Singapore. (12 sessions)

“Photography, I Can Do” (Conducted In Mandarin), for Dramabox and Salvation Army, Singapore. (3 sessions)

Street Photography Workshop and Outing, for Canon Imaging Academy, Singapore. (~ 2012)

SHARE IT! Meet the Trailblazers. Sharing motivation and processes of photo series ‘Republic of Pulau Semakau’ .

Curated by *scape and TedxYouth Singapore.

2013 – “Street Photography for You”, for River Valley High School

2013 – On Street Photography, for nEbO Weekend Workshop, Young NTUC, Singapore.


Photobook:  Singaporelang — What the Singlish?
Part of initiative. Read interview here. To support, you can buy the print, “Relac One Corner” here.
You maybe purchase a copy of the book here.

SIDEWALK: Street Photography Book
Produced by Invisible Photographer Asia

Women’s Development Secretariat Coffeetable Book
‘All In A Woman’s Day’

Collaborations & Fun Endeavours! (Come ‘Jio’ Me)

#seasialive on instagram; facebook


Bachelor of Communication Studies (2nd Upper Honours), Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Academy
Specialisation: Digital Transformation & Change Management, with Distinction

 Thank you for your time and attention. Please keep in touch.


Hello, how are you today?

Zinkie Aw

Corporate Photographer. Designer. Instructor.
C o l l a b o r a t o r.

(1) Conceptual Work

(2) CV 

(3) Corporate Work


Thank you for your friendship, and all the love in the universe! 

Say hi!

Go on, have an Aw-some day!



Once Upon a Gangnam Style


Gangnam Style’ – is the world showing any signs of overdose yet? Apparently not.

Welcome to my confession regarding an overdose of Gangnam.
Many people, many countries, but one Gangnam Style.

Project Backdrop:

I travelled from Singapore to Cambodia in December 2012. Took strolls down the streets, and I couldn’t help but experience how the overwhelming and famous Gangnam Style has manifested in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Battambang. Towards this phenomenon, I felt amused, amazed, as well as slightly disturbed.

Through my 2-week trip, there were overt instances of this pop culture icon, or trend in the night markets. T-shirts and paraphernalia with Psy’s illustration were sold; along rivers, groups of teens dance to the song… even for celebrations on stage, my ears and eyes were not spared.

It then struck me that the ‘Gangnam Style’ has become an icon of this big globalisation era. In a context where the world is seemingly held together by the Internet, tastes and preferences, ideas and styles seem to be an amalgation or adoptions of each other. Various parts of the world follow to import global trends – in this case, the ‘Psy’-nomenon. Of course, many would argue it as just commercialisation.

Other than wanting to exemplify and time-stamp this phenomenon that occured in 2012, the Gangnam Style syndrome became something more compelling to photograph, after I started chatting with some locals there.

While travelling in Cambodia, I found this particular Gangnam Style worked as a ‘Culture Cushion’ for the mild ‘Culture Shock’ I experienced as a tourist.

Forget the language barrier already. Paired with a simple inflexion, the use of three simple words ‘You Gangnam Style?’ seemed to be conversation-openers, and very effective buzzwords.

If the world were one unified Psy-chotic tribe in 2012, this would be the universal ‘Hello’.

So I decided the photographing process would be a social experiment of sorts. At times, I could be asking for directions… or maybe I was going to bargain for something… and maybe someone tried to tout something… It was true: the ‘Tourist vs. Locals’ barrier backed down by half once I digressed to ask if they knew ‘The Gangnam Style’.

I didn’t know the Cambodian language; neither did the locals they know much English, but we understood each other at ‘Gangnam’.  This magical chant brought me closer to the locals.

As remembrance, I wanted to via photographs, preserve this brevity of friendship (matchmade by Gangnam-ania).I prompted the friendly locals to pose me a scene of what they remember of ‘Gangnam Style’, and I would photograph them.

They could be alone, or in their various social groups — the Cambodians obliged with glee. From the city to the village, you would find that their moves are perfectly, so signature-Psy.

And sometimes I stepped into the scene to be with them:

Zinkie-Gungho-Style? (Gungho is a term in American English used to mean “enthusiastic” or “dedicated”)

That lead me to ponder: But if it was the same ‘culture’ – the same music video, the similar MTV channels that we watch… why should I expect less that these Cambodians would know this Psy-nomenon too?

What each of us understood to be the intent of Psy’s music video could be ‘same same but different’; the buzz and hype is cross-cultural. But in all likelihood, none of us never really understand the true intent behind The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation, except Psy the man himself. Cambodian or Singaporean, no matter how we identify with the rhythm and dance steps, these might all just be the tip of the iceberg; or most of us just could actually be totally missing the point of the video.

Eventually this ‘imported (Gangnam) symbol’ just gets subsumed accordingly in various cultures. The Gangnam takes on its own meaning for Cambodians, Singaporeans, Americans etc...

Lastly, these photographs also remind me about how K-Pop and its culture seems set to reign. Will we then have a standardised, global formula for ‘trendy’, but a local culture that is ‘diluted’?

And so you thought year 2012 have had enough of Gangnam Style.  But no, it’s a changing world, it’s one big Psy-ched up world. Thank you and we can look forward to more unification of Gangnam in 2013.

Happy (Gungho) 2013! (This project was released 01 Jan 2013.)

Zinkie Aw, 2012 (Singapore)

National Pastime: Meet the Candi-Dates


As featured:

  • [Yahoo]
  • [TheAboluteMag]
  • [Vulcan Post]
  • []

Candy Crush Saga, the game, feels like a big National Pastime to me:

Everywhere I go, I see people with those candy screens, or hear the game tunes.

I wanted to capture these snippets, talk to these people from all ages, understand their craze with the crushing, and also show bits and pieces of my country, Singapore.

With that, App-y New Year to Strangers, Friends and Family!

Zinkie Aw, Jan 2014 (Singapore)

Project Description:

What’s striking in colour, ubiquitously adored, viscerally sweet, and does not promote tooth decay?

Well, given that candies are not everyone’s favourite, phenomenal mobile puzzle game Candy Crush Saga certainly has it better. What’s more, it’s suitable for all ages from 2 to… as-old-as-you-are-game-to-play!

So why and how has crushing (on) candies become our new National Pastime in Singapore, and globally?

Let’s chew on it: As published on in November 2013, “…Candy Crush Saga remains a mobile gaming phenomenon: the top grossing app worldwide on both Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play…” Indeed, in the same month, Candy Crush Saga turned one on mobile formats. A birthday present its fans gave to the game? Statistics of half a billion downloads across all formats, and 150 billion games played since launch. Touted in its description on the world’s favourite social network site, this game is “the sweetest facebook game ever.”.

So for the longest time this year, my opening statement at social functions or usual walk along the streets would be “Good afternoon, do you play Candy Crush?” Best pick-up line, eh? In response, those who do play would grin and reply along the lines of, ‘Why miss, you need lives to level-up?”

Every year, I try to tick off the year with a trend that impacted upon my society. Much as ‘selfie’ has been named 2013’s word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries, this addictive game to me has brought a far more resonance in Singapore, and the world around me. As a tourist elsewhere in the world, I have also met so many fellow travellers who would be playing the game at their breakfast table, or on their commute.

It is almost as if adults, both men and women alike have been granted public license to re-embrace those excessively colorful and ‘kiddy’ candies that have since been forsaken from childhood memories.

Termed by some players as an ‘annoyingly addictive’ game, this mobile game is live example of a cultural phenomenon that adds weight to discussions on Instant Gratification (sans the gain of calories and sugar levels associated with candies!) and Social interaction on Virtual Reality that transcends time and locale, akin to long-established Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG).

What’s another perk like what a candy gives as well?

Interestingly, periodical encouragement words like ‘Sweet’, ‘Delicious’ and ‘Tasty’ work in tandem with motivation (praise) theories. Who doesn’t like that dose of (sugar-high) praise, especially when you’re heading to work on a dreary Monday, enslaved in the office, or packed like sardines on the evening commute towards home? These bursts of encouragment, aka. sweet talk, essentially a form of gamification, is also the reason why consumers return for more.

The appeal of Candy Crush Saga has also been related to argumentum ad populum theories. It’s definitely fun because you get the feeling that whole nation is playing along with you, on the buses, trains, and in the long queues… The sense of community and a member being aware of who is at what level, based on its facebook app (a useful way for me to figure who can help me in this photo project, by the way…) makes it highly ‘sticky’ and likeable.

Through the quest of not looking for candies but for people who ‘candy crush’, I have been treated to many fun stories too:

> A cab driver tells me that his ‘night shift duty’ is to play Candy Crush on behalf of his wife, who has difficulty crossing on to her next level of play in the game.

> Another colleague tells me at a recent Christmas gathering party, a large percentage of his ex-schoolmates were in fact passing phones to the ‘Seniors’ in the Candy Crush level realm, so that they could advance.

Then a quick third example, just to quote from a handful, is that there is the Mum-Smses-Me-For-Lives-While-I’m-At-Work Syndrome, pestering for a response of a social assistance call for lives for the game.

By the way, some toilet cubicles seem to be are hogged onto forever in the huge office building. I often wonder if ladies are holed up playing Candy Crush Saga inside, and that’s why they do not come out soon.

The beauty of this game also is that there is virtually no age gap: For instance in my reality, these virtual players like the nephew and the elderly neighbour are both be able to educate me on the various types of levels, moves, jellies, ingredients and special candies. The system architecture is marvellously simple and integrates simplicity adopted from match-three patterned games like the classic case of Bejeweled, and yet has variation as well as a storyline involving animation of Tiffi and Mr Toffee.

If ideas could be weighted, my take is that Candy Crush phenomenon is equally pertinent and widespread phenomenon as what Gangnam Style did to us in 2012, as depicted in my previous trend series: Once Upon A Gangnam Style. This game even makes an appearance in Psy’s music video “Gentleman” released this year.

Many have boasted to not have spent a penny on the game, but I guess going by the popular quote by Benjamin Franklin, time is money. I am intrigued by how much passion and time has been devoted to candies this year.

Indeed, I’m sure with the major expansion to the game launched just recently in December 2013, more will be spent on this National Pastime.

I’m glad though, that even though I do not play the game, Candy Crush has given me the chance to reconnect with old mates, as well as make new friends young and old due to the fact that I was looking for help in my project.

Happy First Anniversary, Candy Crush Saga, and may you bring more (tricks or) treats to this human race.

With that, App-y New 2014, everyone!

P/S: No ‘lives’ were lost in photographing these subjects.
Featured here or not, thank you to all who modelled for me! 🙂

This series has been featured on:

Yahoo News
Coconuts Singapore
Vulcan Post
The Absolut Magazine

Home Store-ies (Singapore Storerooms)



Project Description:

The room that we like to keep out of sight. The Singapore Storerooms.

Storerooms are never in the limelight. They tend to be unseen and hidden spaces within homes, locked or behind closed doors. Yet, storerooms intrigue me. As the famous slogan of the 7-Eleven convenience store goes — ‘It’s a Store and More’ — I thought the same goes for the storerooms in urban homes.

Some storerooms shed light on a global issue like city-living — partly a microcosm of what it means to live in one of the world’s top 5 most densely-populated countries, Singapore, where land is scarce and majority of the population live in high-rise apartments.

On a national level, storerooms could be a metaphor for the predicament of a trend towards a consumption culture, a so-called ‘first-world problem’ that manifest in urban cultures: An appetite for a society to consume and hold on to more than it needs.

Lastly, through the articles and objects left in the storerooms, we get a glimpse of the inhabitant(s) of a particular home, who would utilise(s) excess storage space in various ways.

I often wonder why guests or even extended family members are often forbidden to see or enter storerooms in the Asian culture, for instance during the Chinese New Year. Why are storerooms associated with being a disgraceful sight?

Through an experimentation to ask strangers, friends and relatives to let me photograph the room that is often unspoken of in their homes, there were many curious questions as to why I chose to photograph a ‘taboo’ space.

It is hoped that through these slice-of-life photographs of ‘anonymous’ storerooms in Singapore homes, one can put in the limelight, inspect and and reconsider the meaning of this ‘alternate space’ that we take for granted in our urban homes.

On Findings: 

Storerooms manifest themselves in many skins — a formal ‘Storage Room’ as stipulated by Singapore’s Housing Development Board in high-rise flats; a ‘Household Shelter’ (aka. ‘Bomb Shelter’) required in new dwelling units built since 1998; an attic of a house, or simply a modified, ‘multi-purpose’ empty space somewhere within the parameters of a home.

Some owners shared stories on why certain articles were kept away in these spaces. Others re-discovered pre-loved objects from within the storerooms.

Finally, to de-mythify the conventional wisdom: Not all storerooms are synonymous with being ‘messy’ or unglamourous!

Zinkie Aw, 2014 (Singapore)
Thanks to all who opened up their homes to me, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed to show me the hidden room right!

This series has been featured on:
Invisible Photographer Asia

Republic of Pulau Semakau (A Story About People and their Trash)


For more, please see:

[Previously SG magazine]

The things we throw away tell much about who we are.

Dustbins are, essentially, a part of one’s personal space, almost akin to a type of ‘identity autopsy’.

Through photographs of trash and their environment, viewers are exposed to things owned and disowned by different people.

Pieced together, this body of work anchors to issues of waste management in Singapore — to realise things that we as individuals discard, will collectively contribute to Singapore’s only landfill on the offshore island of Pulau Semakau.

In 1999, after having exhausted the landfills on mainland Singapore, Singapore then created a Semakau landfill by enclosing Pulau Semakau and a small adjacent island with a rock bund.

In this light, we, could all be considered ‘Founders’ of this reclaimed portion of the island.

It has never occurred to us where all these rubbish end up in land-scarce and over-populated Singapore.

Hopefully these dustbins will form a reality check for all of us.

Zinkie Aw, 2012 (Singapore)

Thank you all those who helped on this project and the friends I’ve made along the way.

This series has been featured on:
24 Feb 2016: SG Magazine; <>
Dec 2015 : SG Now, <>
Oct-Nov 2014: National Museum, Stamford Gallery. Also presented Artist Talk in the same Festival. Part of Singapore International Photography Festival 2014.

Mar 2014 Feature: The People’s Association My Neighbourhood Gems: Rubbish Photography For The Environment
Nov 2013: The Sunday Times Magazine, UK: 2pp Feature under ‘Spectrum’ Also featured in digital version.
Jan 2013: The Curious Brain: The Curious Brain
Jan 2013 Magazine: CATALOG magazine (Singapore) with other Noise SG participants
03 – 04 Nov 2012 Showcase: Gardens by the Bay, The Meadows, SINGAPORE, as part of the Clean and Green Singapore (2013) exhibition and installation by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR)
24 Aug 2012 Feature: Wall to Watch
06 Jul – 27 Jul 2012 Showcase: Group Exhibition at 5footway.inn, Atelier, SINGAPORE
24 May 2012 Feature: Encountering Urbanization: Confronting the experiment – and experience – of urbanization. Article: City Beautiful: Understanding Art, Understanding Singapore
15 May 2012 Feature: 廢物?藝術!時間無法分解的生命反思
13 May 2012 Feature: Culturepush tracks cool stuff in art, culture and design in Singapore.
《 L a V i e . 漂 亮 》MAGAZINE: May 2012 No. 97 (Taiwan): A specialsed fashion, lifestyle and design, architecture magazine.
30 Apr 2012 Magazine: Weekend Weekly 第660期《新假期》Hong Kong.
The online fashion magazine that showcases new emerging talent alongside the established.

14 Mar – 29 Apr Showcase: Exhibition at CrazyWorld Cafe, SINGAPORE
03 May 2012 Feature:
11 Apr 2012 Feature:, Singapore. A lifestyle and career advancement portal for graduates with fresh ideas!
02 Apr 2012 Feature: Karmaloop Blog, Boston.
30 Mar 2012 Feature: 放泥就可 – fun way to get inspired.

30 Mar 2012 Feature :, ‘If it’s incredible and it’s on the web, we’ll cover it. Our seamless mix of concept designs and (actual) awe-inspiring products results in a vivid bazaar to be enjoyed as you wish.’
28 Mar 2012 Feature: 宅宅新聞
27 Mar 2012 Feature: niusnews [垃圾臉譜]
21 Mar 2012 Feature : PetaPixel, a blog about photography geared towards tech-savvy photo-enthusiasts.
21 Mar 2012 Feature : Arthouse blog by
21 Mar 2012 Feature : With 37,000,000 monthly views, is the world’s largest, most popular trend community. (Toronto, Canada)
21 Mar 2012 Feature : PSFK, the go-to source for new ideas and inspiration for creative professionals.
19 Mar 2012 Feature : Flavorpill covers cultural events, art, books, music, and world news. ‘With land scarce and a growing population, Aw’s work forces viewers to consider their own output in a disposable world.’
16 Mar 2012 Feature : Trends now, online magazine focused on current trends in the fields of design, graphic design, fashion and innovation
16 Mar 2012 Feature :, a site for graphic, urban culture, trends and digital arts inspiration
14 Mar 2012 Feature :, blog that examines the art and politics of the world through the lens of garbage
13 Mar 2012 Feature : French blog,
09 Mar 2012 Feature : TogTech, photography gadget blog (Norway)
08 Mar 2012 Feature : (New York)
06 Mar 2012 Talk at Platform:
28 Feb 2012 Feature : designboom, based in Italy, Milan
22 Feb 2012 Newspaper : Lianhe Zaobao, print press, Singapore
20 Feb 2012 Feature : Invisible Photographer Asia
16 Feb – 4 Mar Showcase: Group Exhibition at Goodman Arts Centre, SINGAPORE

About Zinkie Aw

Singaporean conceptual artist Zinkie Aw and her flamboyant ‘thinking aloud’ on our habits, obsessions and tendencies and trends, making the familiar become unfamiliar via her slice-of-life visual works.
Putting specific trending habits into the limelight, we are invited to inspect and reconsider alternate meanings of what we confront, or experience, each day — be it via anonymous personalities and narratives, or life’s ‘first-world-problems’.

For history on workshops and sharing, see here.

For street and corporate events work enquiries , kindly email

Let’s connect via LinkedIn !

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Say hello at:
[email] [email protected]
[facebook] Zinkie Aw | ishoothabits
[instagram] @zonkie | @i_shoot_habits

Have a great day!