The Art of Asking


It really gets you to places. No doubt.

For those of you who know me well, you probably know by now that I skirt around the topic of creativity, vulnerability, shame, courage + the art of asking a lot. I follow the creative process/ research of my modern day heroes– Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amanda Palmer (to name a few + a whole bunch of other people). Oh, such good food for the soul!

I guess what amazes me about it is that these are not all merely data, research points or testimonies. It actually works, if you bother to try it! It changes your whole perspective. And it leads your life onward– more onto a purposive path.

So this week is Singapore Art Week! Despite being caught up in work/ endless readings/ quizzes, I really made it a point to actually go to this art event I’ve been eyeing on for weeks! And boy, did it not disappoint.

Despite the drizzling weird weather here in Singapore, I was actually surprised that we were welcomed by a big crowd. The event was held at Gillman Barracks, a bustling contemporary art district. I mean for us artists– this place is absolutely a creative wonder- wanderland! Tucked away out of the hustle bustle of the city, the place was originally built as a former military campsite. But now, it got re-developed to become an absolute playground for us art enthusiasts.

I absolutely suck at taking photos, but here are some artworks I found really intriguing and beautiful. It’s striking to see the complexity and the feelings imbibed in through these works. The intricacy of detail, the rendering, the random-but-not-so-random strokes are amazing. I wonder how their creative thought processes go as they are making these pieces.

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I mean, the art experience was one thing. But the people you *randomly* meet is another thing.

So here’s where the art of asking came in.

Before getting to Gillman Barracks, Kat and I were actually getting impatient waiting for the stupid bus at Queenstown station. It was taking so damn long that we were wondering if we’re lost? Then, after some time, two random people approached us and asked if we are heading over to the art event. They asked if we would want to share a cab in case the bus never comes (Did we truly look artsy? yeeesss? haha!). The bus did come though— except we all realised that we rode the wrong bus in the end. Ha! What an adventure. So we took an uber instead. Hooray for random people, getting lost, and gaining new friends?

We ended up touring the whole Gillman Barracks together and met up with a couple of friends some more. Topped the night with some yummy roti prata snacks and drinks at Spize.

Truly, it all starts with the power of asking– and of course the practice of reciprocity to maintain conversations. It’s cool to make some new friends once in a while. It was such a spontaneous night. I got to engage in soulful art conversations (e.g. people actually asking me what I think about this certain art piece/ what it makes you feel etc). I had the opportunity to listen to some interesting people telling a part of their life stories.

I find it really interesting how humanity is innately wired to form connections. And how psychologically, we are unconsciously inclined to always find some sense of community and belongingness in this world.

And I guess, if there’s anything I have learned so far– is that the art of asking gets you that. You get rid of the notions of “what if’s” and “Oh no’s” a..k.a. the horrid thinking of “Oh no! If I ask this, what will they think of me? What if they say no?”.

But you know, conversations and connections doesn’t start at all if no one starts to act on it. If the people we’ve met never asked us to share a cab with them at the bus stop, we would have never gotten to know them (or their stories). If I didn’t initiate asking soulful questions, I wouldn’t have ever known how some of them are also interested in art/ social development / science. And that’s the point– we would never know!

However, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the art of asking– does fail? Or Sometimes the response from the other wouldn’t be the exact response we would expect to get. But well, that’s the point of vulnerability. The courage to go through with it despite the uncertainty. Sure, you may get hurt. But if there’s one thing I learned so far, is that the world really doesn’t owe you anything for trying.

Let’s say when you are going out there to show your craft, the world doesn’t owe you anything if it goes wrong. You are not entitled to an award for doing it. You’re not entitled to receiving anything at all. Because the context lies in the process in itself, as well as your decision to stick through with it. Whether it’s as simple as striking conversations to asking/ facing hard questions, it’s all about the process. It’s all about the risks we got to take to say at least we tried. It’s about revelling in the moment of actually trying to make things work.  

So here’s to more spontaneous nights, soulful conversations and real everyday art of asking livin’. Cheering you guys on for your own soul journey. Feed it well!








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