Meet Charlyn, Andrew, Calvin, Natalie and Asyraf, the people behind Shiok! With an average age of 24, this group of young and passionate individuals come from different parts of Singapore and have different backgrounds. From a secondary school rebel to a national athlete, they are a diverse group of people with 1 goal: to share Shiok stories of the community. Find out how they met and why they decided to form The Shiok! Collective!
How did you guys meet?
Andrew: I think the 1 person that connects all of us together is Charlyn so you should ask her!
Charlyn : Oie! You are not Lobang King but Sabo Seng lor! Well… Asyraf, Andrew and I met when we were freezing our butts in Upstate New York at the University at Buffalo (UB). We were all members of the Singapore Student Association and at one point, I was the President of the Singapore Student Association (SgSA). A bunch of friends and I had founded SgSA and Andrew ended up being my successor as I was graduating. There was no other candidate more fit for the job other than Andrew. He ended up taking over my position as President and led the Club to continue winning numerous awards like Club of the Year.
Natalie: And that’s how I met Andrew… I was a few batches after Charlyn and Asyraf and went to UB to complete my remaining semesters.
Asyraf: Ya Nat, You forgot to mention the part that you started dating the President of SgSA?
*everyone bursts out laughing*
Calvin : Well I got to know Charlyn about a decade ago through a mutual friend and guess what teenagers do when they meet at that time, they head to the playgrounds with swings and chat the night away! Now prolly you seem em at cafe’s and like shopping malls, at every district you are bound to find a shopping mall nearby! I met the rest of the Shiok Team this year! They are an interesting bunch on individuals with many exciting stories about their lives.
So why The Shiok Collective?
Andrew: We aim to continue good traditional asian traits. It is the minority that sometimes lose sight momentarily of the kampong spirit, which is why Shiok is here to bring it all back!
Natalie: ‘Shiok’ translates the feelings of happiness, joy, excitement and my love for this city perfectly. When something is so good it’s shiok, it shouldn’t be contained. We’re gonna be infectious! Definitely. Every country has its great and not-so-great things about it, and it’s the same for the people. As Singaporeans are becoming more well-travelled, I meet people every day who are very appreciative of the city, and are not only gracious, but really warm and inspiring. I hope to be able to share their stories through Shiok!
Asyraf: I am proud to be LAH-CAL and want other fellow Singaporeans to be proud of their culture by showing it off in a fashionable way. There are barely any apparels in the market with a local twist. You know how the American flag worn all over the world as a fashion statement? Who knows, one day it could be the Singapore flag?
Calvin: As a national athlete, there is no doubt about me being a proud Singaporean. I wanted to be part of The Shiok Collective because I hope that through Shiok!, what we do will be able to influence our generation to be proud of our people and our culture.
Charlyn: Back in the 90s, we would know the names of our neighbour, have a conversation with them or even invite them to our house for dinner. But today, it’s a rare sight. I want to change that and use Shiok! as a platform to showcase the stories of our community for our community.
Where is your hood?
Andrew: I’ve lived in almost all parts of Singapore. I grew up in the East, lived in the West when I was in in my teens before moving to the North, and right now I’m staying in Central! Hit me up for the best supper places in these areas!
Calvin: Pasir Ris! I’ve been living here since I was 3 years old! All my child hood memories have been forged in the east! I’m proud to be an EASTIE!
Natalie: I grew up and studied in the East for the most part and love spending time at East Coast Park on the weekends.
Charlyn: Joo Chiat! I’ve lived in this area all my life and cannot imagine myself living anywhere else.
Asyraf: I live in Tampines but spend most of my time hanging out in Marine Parade where all the good food is at!
Your usual drink at a Kopitiam (Coffeeshop?)
Andrew: I always order Kickapoo because the soda is incredibly refreshing after a sweltering meal at a kopitiam, not to mention it brings with it an awesome crisp citrus flavour! Did you know that Kickapoo originated from US but is commonly found in Singapore and the region?
Calvin: I would usually order the HOME-MADE Lime Juice OR the Ice Lemon Tea at the coffee shop! “Aunty/ Uncle, do you have the “PAO ONE” = Make, brew version. In Singapore, a cold drink always saves the day from the hot and humid environment that we are in everyday! I love how the Kopitiam does it!
Asyraf : Homemade Barley Peng!
Natalie : Kopi-O Peng – starts my day right!
Charlyn: Teh Peng or Lime Juice (with a lot of ice).
This next question is going to be a tough one! What’s your favourite local food?
: All-time favourite has definitely got to be Katong Laksa. To me Laksa embodies our peranakan heritage with a good blend of local and foreign influences, and at the same time, it is almost unlike any other dish elsewhere in this world, which makes me really proud!
Asyraf: CHICKEN RICEEEEEEEEEEE. I’m Boon Tong Kee’s Number 1 Fan!
Calvin: My favourite local all time favourite food would be chicken rice. It is readily available, anytime when i want to have a quick and fulfilling meal, id head on to have chicken rice! I personally like the roasted chicken as I love the skin (talk about fats) yeah i love them! For me, a good plate of chicken rice is only as good as its sauce. I love those soya sauced chicken and the taste of it covering the whole chicken as you encapsulate each piece into your mouth just makes me drool!
Natalie: Kway Chap! It’s comfort food for me because I’d have this with my family every Sunday for breakfast.
Charlyn:Wah… how to pick one… Hmm. The first thing that comes to mind would be Orh Luak (Oyster Omelette). A lot of people like their Orh Luak starchy, I like mine crispy.
Let’s do a #throwback. What do you remember most about your childhood when growing up in Singapore?
Andrew: Without a doubt it would have to be shopping at the School’s bookshop, which at that time seemed to have everything and anything I wanted, and at the best prices! I could buy country erasers for 10cents, cool shaker pencils, colourful elastic keychains to secure my Power Rangers wallet to my school shorts, seriously complicated protractor sets in case you forgot to bring yours to class…you name it, they got it!
Asyraf: Going to the neighbourhood playground and sitting on the monkey bars like I am King.
Calvin: My most fond childhood memory is that of playing catching in school! It began when I was in Kindergarten where i chased (girls) around the playroom! It carried on to Primary school, during every recess, I would vote myself as the catcher so I can catch all of my friends! It started the passion and interest in sprinting, and I can trace to how and where I picked up sprinting. It was a childhood memory passtime!
Natalie: Climbing to the top of the huge ‘spiderweb’ at the playground after school hours and grabbing 50-cent Paddlepops from the Mama Shop after!
Charlyn: Zero Point! I remember playing zero point in Primary and Secondary school. Once, my group of friends even got punished for playing in between classes while waiting for our teacher for our next class. I vividly remember one of my classmates asking us what if the teacher comes and sees us playing and when one of my friends replied, “Don’t care lah!”. All of a sudden, we hear our teacher questioning us in a fierce tone, “Who say don’t care!”
What are the memories that we want to share with the future generations? How are we going to do it? It starts here by documenting individual lives/ families/ stories and it begins with the amazing journey that you and I share.
If you’d like to join The Shiok! Collective visit us at (shiok.sg/contributors) or have any enquiries, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We are proud to be Lah-Cal! Are you?