It’s not every day that the Popspoken Team comes together. It’s hard to even get us all online at the same time.

As we usher in the new year, we take a moment to pause and look back at how we fared in 2018.

Each of the 6 editors in the Popspoken team was asked to share the most important lesson they’ve learnt personally in 2018, professionally as a Popspoken editor, and what we would like to tell our community of Popspoken readers.

For the first time ever, here’s a look into the personal and professional lives of the Popspoken Team, as we wander along our mid-twenties in this thing we call adulting.

Sheryl Teo, Lead Editor

“Who are we when we take out what we do?”

This year, I left my job without securing another first. It was scary as hell (especially in the context of Singapore’s societal pressures), but in the process I learnt to carve an identity for myself independent of what my hands were doing at that point in time.

In 2018, I learnt that in the media industry, we’re all in this together. This year, I further explored the ecosystem of publications, public relations, advertising, and digital marketing as Lead Editor of Popspoken.

If anything it gave me a better birds’ eye view of the inter-dependencies of various players this industry. Also, when I dug deeper in my conversations with people from various verticals of media, it revealed a common goal – for everyone to see this industry nourish in an age where digital is becoming more and more unpredictable. I thought it was a really heartening cause that’s worth fighting for.

To you, our reader: You’re a passionate, ambitious and rebellious creative. You have a lot of dreams but don’t necessarily know what to do with them, and I hope Popspoken gives you a glimpse at how other creatives have actualised their dreams.

Popspoken isn’t just here to inspire you. I hope Popspoken nudges you and other young creatives towards being true to your passions. I’ve seen too many dreams die in Singapore when they deserved to be alive, and I want Popspoken to be a place where you can come back and read about real, authentic stories that are interested in the matters of your heart.

Cally Cheung, Culture Editor

“If your lifestyle is not sustainable, it means that you — who you are, what you are made of, why you wake up each day — cannot be sustained. Then how are we going to make the world a more sustainable place?”

I used to think that starving from a paltry meal was the worst feeling, but now I realise that indigestion from overeating is several notches more unbearable. #firstworldproblems

I imagine our readers to be in their early 20s to perhaps over 35, either studying and/or working in creative or personality-driven industries. I like to think they turn to Popspoken because they know that we are not obliged to commit to any singular “message”. In a way, we function like an iconoclast, but more chill.

To our readers, I would like to say thank you for your time, for taking the time to seek out an alternative news platform, and for being a part of Popspoken.

Teo Dawn, Arts Editor

“There is space for everyone, so stop competing and communicate. Sometimes all it takes is for one conversation to get things started. Time is what you make of it.”

I am proud of the Popspoken Team because we make things happen because we can, and not for any personal gain. Anything is literally possible but just a matter of how much we try, and of course, the right time and place for everything to come together.

This year, I learnt that we have more friends than we think we do, and the individuals we encounter through our writes are hella interesting. Coffee meet-ups are humbling, so maybe I should consider doing more face-to-face interviews. Anyone up for it?

I think our reader is someone street-smart, driven, sarcastic, and with a keen interest in culture. Probably a freelancer or someone pursuing their own passion/interests as a career.

Jovi Ho, Issues Editor

“My greatest takeaway from the year is contentment.”

Like Florence Welch wrote in the closing track of her band’s 2018 album, “it’s hard to write about being happy cause the older I get, I find that happiness is an extremely uneventful subject”. I learnt that it’s not worthwhile to chase happiness or any of its varied cousins; there is greater satisfaction in being content with what I have, while acknowledging the many sources of happiness.

Is this the earliest symptom of Singaporean Pragmatism™ taking root in me? I do not know.

The biggest thing I learnt at Popspoken this year is to slow down and take more time to perfect each story. As a team of 20-somethings, each with our own day jobs, we are not in the business of breaking news or quick takes.

If I need a week to prepare for an interview and another to confirm quotes and plug gaps, then I should give myself that time. I hope to remind myself to be patient in 2019 and represent each newsmaker to the best of my ability.

I am thankful for Popspoken’s readers, many of whom have seen us through our earliest years and various iterations, even before I joined the team in 2013.

With our niche of arts and culture, there is concern that we are speaking exclusively to an in-group of Singaporeans in related industries, and alienating the larger populace. While we are proud to serve this segment of Singaporeans, I believe there are stories we should be telling the everyman; stories on creatives that you can’t find elsewhere.

So here’s to Popspoken’s transient readers, the ones who entered one giveaway back in 2015 or so (and won), and the ones who found us a little weird for being able to last this long.

Thank you for your time and I hope to see you again in 2019!

Evan Woon, Music Editor

“One of the life lessons that I learnt this year is to be grateful of the people around you — they’re the ones that made who you are today. Appreciate them, love them, and give them support if needed.”

Some people might not know this, but I recently re-joined Popspoken after a two year hiatus. Writing and music are two strong passions of mine, so I’m glad to lend a voice to the local music scene once again! I’m juggling a full-time job as a copywriter now, so you can still expect articles from me — albeit on a less regular basis.

I haven’t been around for much yet, but I feel that Popspoken needs a new generation of thought leaders and writers.

Popspoken has always been a project that was for the community, by the community, and we need to go back to those roots. Our current generation of writers and editors are moving into adulthood (myself included), and we need fresh writers that are passionate, driven, and full of zeal.

If you have a flair for words and passion — be it the arts, music, or fashion — I urge you to join us. A fresh perspective is always needed and is crucial for any publication.

Kyle Malinda-White, Consultant

“The biggest lesson I learnt this year is letting go and how far I could push myself if I believed.”

Over the past few years, I was safe in my comfort zone. I decided to really go somewhere uncomfortable this year. It triggered a lot of doubt and fear in me and in some way, I lost myself midway but I knew that my hard work and effort was going to count for it and soon enough, it did.

The biggest lesson I learnt this year is letting go. I started Popspoken (in 2011) and it was my baby, but all good things must come to an end.

As I close the chapter on Popspoken and hand it over to a new generation of writers, I’ve learnt that things change and evolve and you have to learn to let go in order to accept change and to evolve.

The reader I have in mind is not really age-specific because I don’t believe in the arbitrariness of demographics. But the reader I had in mind when I first started Popspoken was someone concerned with the culture of the land.

This person is invested in the land’s future, its innovation, its ways of life and the mediums that these ways of life are carried out on. It could be arts, music, or even pride.

This person is no transient force: this person wants to see this land grow and is committed to engaging in conversations and initiatives to grow the land’s culture.

To this person, if Popspoken has helped you in some way, thank you for reading us. Popspoken started as a passion project and will always be a collective of curious voices dedicated to impacting culture and creating positive change.

We hope you’ll continue joining us on our journey and I personally hope you will be supporting the new team that will bring Popspoken from strength to strength.


The Popspoken Team wishes you and your loved ones a happy new year!

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