They’re the ones who brought you the Train of Dreams, Kopi with a Stranger, The Singapore Wallet Drop and The MP3 Experiment (Singapore Edition). If you haven’t heard about them, it’s time you know about The Hidden Good, a team of independent undercover citizen journalists who seek to acknowledge and more importantly, appreciate the good deeds performed by citizens! Through their Youtube video series, The Hood Factory, prove to not only us Singaporeans but the world that Singaporeans are not ungracious and cold. We got in touch with the gladiators of Singapore and scored an interview with Rovik (Founder), Ana & Rishi from The Hidden Good to get to know them a little better.
What is your typical day like?
Rovik: I’m currently waiting to go to college so I’ve been spending my time learning all sorts of skills especially related to the digital sphere. I’m a social media planner at a creative agency. I spend my free time travelling or just grabbing a meal/drink with my friends
Ana: I’m a full-time student at SMU, but I like to keep busy outside of class. Currently, I’m doing an internship with an online start-up while managing the MP3 Experiment.
Rishi: A typical day would be spent mostly at home relaxing with a good book or a movie. I currently have no job as I am about to enter into University in Australia..
Where is your neighbourhood?
Rovik: I hang out in the Bukit Timah/Clementi area a lot. It’s a very chill part of Singapore and where most of my friends are. I love the good mix of parks to run at as well as hangout destinations.
Ana: I grew up in the Simei/Tampines area. I live right smack in the middle of a housing estate where it’s incredibly peaceful, unlike in the city. It’s also close enough to the airport that you can see planes climbing right after take-off, or coming in to land. It’s a pretty sight at night.
Rishi: My neighbourhood would be Tanah Merah. I grew up and still live here. I love it here as it is a quiet neighborhood filled with great neighbours
What do you remember most about growing up in Singapore?
Rovik: I love the void deck sensation where you can just go and play games with your friends after Primary school. We used to have grand adventures in the HDB estates near my primary school and I’ll always remember the charm of having a stall sell treats at the void deck. I also can’t forget being able to go to the hawker centre for a quick dinner if groceries weren’t bought. Food was really accessible.
Rishi: I remember the ice cream uncles and aunty on bicycles who sold either Magnolia or Walls ice cream. They were livesavers as they provided some reprieve form the sweltering heat. I have attached a photo below just to get a better idea.
Ana: Ice cream sold by the bicycle vendors. Also, in Primary School, I remembered playing traditional games with my friends such as chapteh and Marbles. I feel that the experiences I have discussed above are uniquely Singaporean.
If someone had 24hours in Singapore, where would you take them to experience the REAL Singapore?
Rovik: I’d take them to Toa Payoh. Toa Payoh has an amazing charm to it – a good mix of boastful eateries and developments as well as a sincere heartlands vibe. You can genuinely seem a good tapestry of people here.
Ana: I’d take them to the Raffles Place/Boat Quay – the views are amazing, the food is amazing, and it’s walking distance from many more beautiful sights. To me, to enjoy the view of the skyline there is to appreciate the very thing that brought Singapore to where it is today.
Rishi: I would take them to Tiong Bahru. Tiong Bahru has transformed into an area which is both hip but still maintains it’s quaint heartlands vibe which is what it is known for. Also, Tiong Bahru Market houses some of the best food stalls that symbolise the REAL Singapore.
What’s the first thing you crave and look forward to eating after coming back from a holiday?
Rovik: There’s a carrot cake shop in Clementi market near my house – that’s hands down my go-to place for Singaporean feels. It’s not necessarily the best but it’s what makes me feel happy inside.
Ana: Really good Nasi Padang from Pariaman at Bussorah St. I usually start craving it before I’m even back.
Rishi: That would be, without a doubt, Chicken Rice. I love to get my Chicken Rice fix either at Boon Tong Kee or if my pockets are deep, Chatterbox at the Mandarin. I feel Chicken Rice is something really truly Singaporean just like Chilli Crab.
What’s the story behind The Hidden Good?
Rovik: We were standing in a crowded MRT train, and noticed an empty “Reserved” Seat. It was uncanny how despite the fact that everyone was squeezing , no one was willing to sit in that seat. It had become such a contentious and hot issue that a culture of fear had developed in Singapore – fear of being documented, shared online and colloquially STOMPed. This was also around the same time the Population White Paper came out – where Singaporeans were struggling to identify why they would stay in Singapore , and what their place in society stood for.
We realised there was a need to provide a voice to the discussion. We wanted to come up with methods of engagement and spaces that get Singaporeans involved in talking about what it means to be Singaporean and to build our society – focusing on the positive aspects. By understanding the concept of culture – we decided to build a holistic movement encompassing various tools from videos to physical events that got Singaporeans celebrating and enjoying the country that they’ve always loved but perhaps have gotten too busy to remember.
Ana: I joined the Hidden Good this year for the MP3 Experiment. The MP3 Experiment is particularly compelling to me because it evokes this amazing atmosphere that’s just so hard to replicate.
Rishi: I became with the Hidden Good as Rovik, the founder, was a primary school friend and I was following his progress with The Hidden Good on Facebook and decided to lend a hand as I felt that it was an amazing initiative to be part of.
What is one event organized by THG that you will never forget and why?
Rovik: The Train of Dreams was our way of bringing the arts to the community. There was a lot of wrestling involved as we had to convince stakeholders that this was a cause worth investing time and effort into. We knew that Singaporeans wanted to see the lighter side of the society they’ve built. The talented performers we worked with, the amazing crowd that engaged with us and the partners we built all made up for the exhausting effort at the end. It was a beautiful scene.
Ana: The Kampong Games earlier this year at Raffles Place was incredible. The concept of putting together life-sized replicas of old games was quite a clever twist.
Rishi: It has to be the MP3 experiment. I feel it is such a unique way of creating a flashmob instead of the usual song and dance that most flashmobs are based on.
Any upcoming events that we should look out for?
Rishi: The only event I can currently reveal is the MP3 Experiment. We like to keep our future events on the down low to build up suspense.
Tell all your friends because this event is one where you will regret not going to!