Begin Again

Styling, makeup and photography by Selina Tan. Edited by Selina and I.

You be the moon I'll be the earth
And when we burst 
Start over oh darling
Begin again 
Begin again

Happy Lunar New Year, and thank you for sticking around. I say that because I know I'm not the most consistent with my writing. But for those who follow me, I am grateful and you can trust my writings come straight from my heart. It could be with age that I take so much longer to ease into a new year. Frankly, a new year is no different. You don't just move on from your problems no matter how you want to. That is why I am afraid to make new year resolutions. Do we really stick to those? Having said that, I look back at the past two months and realized I've been subconsciously making changes to better myself, and I'd like to give myself credit for that. At the end of the day, I am just like anyone else who wants to feel proud and worthy of my littlest achievements. I'll share with you in this post.

(Instagram @ulimali)

I got featured in the January 2016 issue of NUYOU magazine, under its 30 Under 30 list of up and coming local talents. Among the names were many industry professionals who really excel at what they do. It's a huge honour to even be considered, I cannot help but feel undeserving, and I don't need anyone's empathy nor sugar-coated words. In the interview, I spoke about how music is the backbone of my vision and how I would like to work in the advertising industry. Let this be a solid recognition for my creative work and a reminder to work very hard. Thank you, Louise from NUYOU for making this happen.

It would be a miracle if I ever get onto the treadmill, let alone getting into a new sport — Yoga. Yes, I cannot believe it either. I began going for professional Yoga lessons at my local sports centre under the ActiveSG scheme. I really like Yoga. It occurred to me that perhaps my reluctance to workout could be my poor choice of sports previously. I was pretty much useless during P.E. lessons. My fear of ball games didn't help either. Running was my only option then. Now, I might have found my pursuit in this fascinating, very (fashionably) glamourous world of fitness. I thank my best friend Mandy for introducing me to Hatha Yoga. Since then, my backaches had reduced dramatically and I feel like a new person. 

A colleague's brief advocation of the famous Konmari method, by Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, prompted me to question my material possessions. After watching a few episodes of Rachel Aust's Minimalism Series on YouTube, boy, I was convinced. Partly, it was the mold problem (from Singapore's insane humidity) which left me little choice but to do some spring cleaning. How could I have lived with so much of the excess without realising? The Konmari method urges one to only keep what "sparks joy". The simplicity of the statement blew my mind and made me disgusted with myself. With this new perspective, I culled my entire room — beginning with makeup, then papers, clothing and so on. It was extremely uncomfortable but necessary to make sure my room is well curated, and after endless mental battles, I have never felt more peaceful at home. I highly recommend this life-changing concept to everyone.

Laneway was a hell of a blast! I attended my first ever music festival in Singapore last month with my boyfriend Nigel and Nic. Besides catching some of our favourite bands — Grimes, Chvrches, and Purity Ring — I decided to vlog too! If you're thinking, "is Uli going to be a YouTuber now"? Not really. But I did make a conscious choice to get some footage that day and going to make a video out of it. For now it's just for fun, I'll see how that goes, don't want to expect too much of this new pet project.

Final thoughts
It's time I stop undermining myself and begin to truly live in the moment. To own less and to do more. To live, not regret. To love myself and be selfish if I needed to. To accept criticism but not broken. To see the world without losing myself. Easier said than done, but I am only human.


The Devil In I


Fetish fashion has intrigued me since I was a child. I don't know if it was the music I listened to or visuals I was exposed to, but I am just drawn to the mystique of this subcultural style. I came across this quote two years ago in the book Fetishism in fashion which inspires my final year project:

Fetish creates a sense of bond. This is where the quest for other forms of connections and bonds starts; unable to replace it, we will try to re-enact or at least remember the primal bond of life. Bonding is able to liberate the self to indulge in the freedom of abundance, creating another unknown self. — Lidewij Edelkoort, 2013.

With the quote in mind, I did a test shoot in the attempt to portray fetish fashion in my own visual language. For me, a fetish is essentially a bond, impulse, or feeling of belonging, deeply embedded within each of us, waiting for be fulfilled. I often get mixed reactions when people see my works or simply mentioning taboo words such as "bondage" or "fetish" — most people are curious about it while others think I'm on my way to create another sequel for 50 Shades of Grey (a movie I have not even watched lol). It's been a very fun and eye-opening project for me and I hope to come up with something cool by the end of the school year. 

Photography by Selina Tan and Weiqin Chay/ makeup, styling, and editing by me/ wearing harnesses and leather accessories by HURL and Zana Bayne.




There's a sense of wonder when discovering new, foreign places. For over two decades of living in Singapore, I hate to admit that I have never and will never see the old supreme court. What a shame. The building had undergone years of restoration and reopened as the National Gallery of Singapore earlier this month. It's unmistakably mesmerising with its contemporary design elements that breathe new life to the historic landmark – for example, water-filled glass ceilings that bounce light naturally and glossy flooring that recreate the old world charm. It's a big ol maze within, something like Harrods, with endless corridors linking to chambers within chambers. It must have taken a lot of thought to preserve our national treasure, but it hurts me a little knowing I'd never be able to time travel and see the old supreme court back in the days because time waits for no one and the only constant of time is change. Some days, I wonder why is the world so obsessed with the new, and less reminiscent of the past. The past becomes a fantasy, rechurned into something completely foreign to keep up with the times, expressed as fragments in artistic disciplines like movies and literature. Oh, hold still my fragile, melancholic soul. If time could rewind...if only.

Wearing New Look blouse, Love Bonito Davonna dress, H&M chandelier earrings, Taobao lace-up flats and Revlon lipstick in Rose Velvet.

Photography by Yun Jing.


Peculiar Experiment 01

"There are three masks: the one we think we are, the one we really are, and the one we have in common." 
— Jacques Lecoq 2001, The Moving Body.

A quick update: photo set from a recent experimental shoot, based on the themes of anonimity and the "other" self. Adorning (or rather, stripping) myself with all the things I'd be too shy to wear on the normal everyday basis.

Wearing Zana Bayne body harness and custom o-ring choker by HURL.

Photography by Yun Jing, edited by me.


The Courtyard

Pray for me cause I have lost my faith in holy wars
Is paradise denied to me cause I can take no more
Has darkness taken over me, consumed my mortal soul
All my virtues sacrificed, can Heaven be so cruel?
I'm hoping I'm praying I won't get lost between two worlds
For all I have seen, the truth lies in between
Give me strength to face the wrong that I have done
Now that I know the darkest side of me

Anchored in the heart of the city is Raffles Hotel which first opened its doors in 1887. For a young nation that had just celebrated its 50th-anniversary post-independence, it's quite remarkable acknowledging a building this ancient manages to withstand the tests of time. It's unsurprising why the hotel is an iconic landmark of Singapore, attracting notable personalities from all over the world; including Michael Jackson, Naomi Campbell and quite recently, the stylish royal Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. Nevertheless, Raffles Hotel is loved dearly even by the locals for its elaborate yet quaint premises, its tropical garden that is a perfect backdrop for the colonial style architecture. And of course, I couldn't resist a photo or two every time I visit. Strolling down the white marble hallways and admiring the lushness of the grand lobby felt like watching a scene straight out of The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The best way to describe the Raffles experience – an epic time travelling journey back to 1915.

Wearing a vintage dress from London and Taobao leather oxford boots.

Photos by Alicia Loh.