The people behind Asiapac: Our comic artists

As we prepare for our 35th anniversary exhibition opening this Saturday (we’re making sure everything runs smoothly for you!), let’s reminisce about some of our long-time comic artists who have played a huge role in our company, and one Asiapac publication that they have worked on each.

Comic1

Chan Kok Sing

Born in 1971 in Malaysia, Chan Kok Sing did not have an easy childhood. However, he knew he loved drawing and did not give it up, eventually graduating from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1995 and securing a collaboration with Asiapac Books the year after.

The Eight Immortals is a Classic Taoist folk legend about eight ordinary people who attained immortality through selfless actions and good deeds. Together, they are celebrated because they signify happiness. Because of this tradition, the number eight has been considered by the Chinese to represent luck or good fortune.

Comic2

Huang Qingrong

Also born in Malaysia, Huang Qingrong joined Asiapac Books in 1998 on what was then the six-volume publication Water MarginWater Margin depicts 108 victims of oppression during the Northern Song Dynasty who fought against corruption and treachery. This Chinese classic is based on true events and historical characters, which makes the story even more relevant to the everyday reader.

Huang Qingrong’s drawings are simple, comical and easy on the eye, making him skilled at adapting complex literary elements to suit younger readers.

Comic3

Jeffrey Seow

Born in 1954, Jeffrey Seow is a Singaporean self-taught artist. Before becoming a comic artist, he worked as an illustrator in the local TV station, and also in the advertising industry. His experience in various creative roles has made him a very versatile artist.

The Analects of Confucius is a record of the life and teachings of Confucius, and represents the most important work stemming from Confucianism. It covers a wide range of topics, including politics, society, morality and education. Asiapac Books’ comic version accompanied by Jeffrey Seow’s humorous cartoons is a light-hearted read that will appeal to both young and old.

Comic4

Fu Chunjiang

Fu Chunjiang was born in 1974 in China. He is particularly skilled in the traditional style of illustration commonly seen in Chinese classical adaptations.

Origins of Chinese Festivals tells of the different stories behind each traditional Chinese festival that we still celebrate today. This helps us better appreciate our traditions and also understand the reasons behind why we continue participating in these festivities now.

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Come by our 35th anniversary comics exhibition at the Level 8 Promenade of the National Library Building from now until 9 December 2018 to feast your eyes on more beautiful artwork! What’s more, sign up for our free events for the whole family at https://www.eventbrite.sg/o/asiapac-books-14968450800 today!

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The ongoing debate: Singapore’s hawker culture

Amidst the discussion concerning the place of Singapore’s hawker culture in UNESCO’s list, let us take a trip down memory lane and reminisce the beginning of it all.

Hawkers

Do you recognise any of the above hawkers? Can you name the food that each of them sold and the sounds that they made?

Not only did the smell of delicious food permeate the streets of Singapore, much din was made too: hawkers shouting to advertise their food, the highly-anticipated ringing of the ice-cream bell, the familiar “tok-tok” rhythm by the bamboo apparatus of the Tok Tok Mee man…

Many immigrants in 1900s Singapore relied on food hawkers on the streets for their daily meals. Besides famous dishes like braised duck, noodles and nasi lemak that are still rampant all over the country today, there were many other types of food sold that we no longer can find here.

These include…

Lok Lok

… Lok Lok…

Pig's Ear

… Pig’s Ear…

Grilled Squid

… grilled squid…

Crocodile

… and even crocodile meat!

Due to hygiene reasons, these cannot be sold the same way in Singapore anymore.

In addition, the clean and well-maintained hawker centres that you walk past every day are a far cry from what it used to be! Most of the hawkers in that day carried their stalls with them and set them up wherever there were customers.

Hawker 1

Hawker 2

Hawker 3

Hawker 4

What do you remember from the hawkers in the past? Do you have similar stories to share?

Tell us more at our book launch tomorrow! Get your hands on our latest graphic novel, Once Upon A Singapore… Traders, where we show you the hawker culture that has made Singapore what it is today. Details: The Arts House, 10 November 2018, 2pm-3pm. Register here for free!

Editor’s Note: October/November 2018

October’s been pretty quiet on the front line, but rest assured that lots of things have been brewing on our end!

If you’ve been following us through the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that we have two exciting book launches coming up—which are exactly what we’ve been up to our necks with as the dates near.

book cover

Once Upon A Singapore… Traders is a light-hearted tale of the various trades that made old Singapore the bustling, vibrant town of the past, and how they built a foundation for the nation we live in today. It’s a graphic novel that’s brimming with fun trivia, beautiful illustrations and cheeky dialogue. Best of all, it’s suitable for all ages—whether you’re a young one curious about your grandparents’ childhood, or a grandparent yearning to relive the past.

It’s been a long journey from its conception in November 2017 (yes, this project took us a year to complete!). We hope that through the intense discussions about every nitty-gritty detail, constant revisions of the script and perfecting of the illustrations and colours, we’ve created a novel that you’ll enjoy not just once, but many times over!

Catch author Tina Sim and illustrator Alan Bay at the book launch at The Arts House on 10 November 20182pm–3pm. You might even walk away with a free autographed copy of the book. Register here!

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In November, we’ll also be celebrating our 35th anniversary with a bang: a comics exhibition featuring original illustrations by our comic artists, past and new! Taking place from 17 November 2018 to 9 December 2018 at the Level 8 Promenade of the National Library Building, get ready to feast your eyes on some gorgeous pieces of art.

To prepare for this event, we’ve been running around frantically coordinating with our exhibition designers (and all the help we can get). As we have learnt, organising a huge event like this is not as straightforward as one might think. We had to work from scratch: designing the exhibition logo, deciding on the material of the panels, figuring out how best to display our original artwork collection, creating social media banners, drafting up a press release… and the list goes on and on.

Ultimately, we hope that through this comics exhibition, you’ll be able to better appreciate the books you bring home, and create new and lasting memories with your loved ones.

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04 FZK Cover

Another publication we’re bouncing off the walls for is this lovely collection of comics by respected Chinese artist Feng Zikai. We have chosen Selected Comics of Feng Zikai to be our flagship publication for our 35th anniversary, reflecting the inspiration that the artist provides for our work. His pieces portray everyday situations in an idyllic yet thought-provoking manner, and serve as food for the soul.

We want to make these books an experience for you, by getting lost in the imagery and poetic descriptions that Feng Zikai has so tastefully crafted and left behind. From the colour of the books, to the position and size of the illustrations, to the alignment of text, everything has been carefully considered to ensure the greatest reading pleasure.

Look out for the book launch details soon!

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With so many events coming up, we really hope to see you there and to put a face to our fans and readers. If you do drop by, please come and say hello to the Asiapac team. Don’t worry, we won’t bite!