Now this is not the end.

Now, this is not the end.

Perhaps it isn’t even the beginning of the end.

But whatever “this” is—beginning, end, or an awkward middle—it’s the sort of thing that should be written down, with multiple false starts, embellished with tiny details that only blurred memories can give birth to, and given its own small place on the internet.


 

The Kinetic Office (c. 2018)

“This” is also a story I have never told anyone.

The first time I typed “k i n e t i c . c o m. sg ” was when my friend, now husband, told me about this local agency he wanted to work for. It was around 2008 and the site was in Flash. “They’re on the forefront of web-design, and they’re doing crazy things offline as well,” he said. (Yes, my husband uses words like “forefront”.) This was way back when people still used MSN Messenger and cutting edge sites required a Mac G5 or Pentium 4 processor. Not yet interested in advertising and only intrigued by design, I bookmarked the site and promptly forgot about it.

The second time was a year or two later, stashed away in a box. Maybe the box was taped up in cellophane, maybe not. The books were packed in neat, unsteady stacks.

Kenny, my ex-boss at BooksActually, pulled one out and excitedly told me how he was waiting for this. “It’s a music album,” he told me. “By one of Singapore’s indie bands. They’re quite old already.”

“So this is special lah?” I asked.

“Yes. You see.” He passed me a copy.

Wait… what?

(c) Kinetic 2009

Those aren’t my hands, but I’m pretty sure I held them like that. See the confusion in those fingers? The trepidation? Hands clutching a book, unsure of what to make of the nut and bolt sticking out from Brer Rabbit’s head?

Okay I jest, the copy I held didn’t have Brer Rabbit on the cover.

But it did have that same unnerving nut and bolt combo. What kind of crazy person would drill through a book? I thought. The nut came loose and I flipped the book open. Somewhere, hidden in the pages, was a CD labelled “Soundtrack for A Book”. Ohhh, okay. I get it now.

The next few times are fleeting memories. A fighting fish microsite, a condominium brochure disguised as a hipster publication, a series of irresistible sushi roll boxes that I still use as storage containers.

By the time I found myself in advertising, I knew that Kinetic represented what I liked about Singapore’s design scene: a love for irreverence, bold visuals, and an obvious dedication to craft.

So when I finally walked into their shophouse, chasing after someone else’s dream, I knew that this was the time to make that dream my own.

Working at one of Singapore’s top shops taught me a lot of things—about the industry and about myself. I learned that I had a long way to go as a creative and writer. I learned that I was obsessed with the wrong things. I learned that sometimes, good things need to end so that an even better, stronger thing can grow.

That’s right.

I left.

I’m a freewheeler now, living the millennial dream of being broke (not really) and on a journey to find myself (sort of).

I’m not sure what sort of “me” will grow out of “this”.

But I’m grateful for Kinetic and the awesome folks in it who planted the seed.

(Wow, was that cheesy or what!)

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