Sadly the level of appreciation for art, design and handicrafts in Singapore isn't there yet, it would take a few more years to grow. Upon completing my first bear named Rosy, I told my parents that I really love this art and wanted to make more, sadly at that time they disapprove because they feel that this is a waste of time and money, I should focus my time on my work and have more rest time. I know that they are looking after my best interest, but I have persisted and told them that this is what I want.
My friends and relatives weren't supportive as well, they won't even take a second look at my bears and I was deeply hurt. The only one that have trust and believe in me is my Teddy Bear teacher Emen Chen. Emen is an art teacher and has been coaching children art and bear making for many years. I met him 3 years ago at my old work place, I told him about my passion and interest to become a toy designer. That time was the happiest moment of my life when he agreed to be my mentor and I studied under him for a few months. Do you believe in fate? 8 years ago when I am a secondary school student, I chanced upon a website with bear making course (I did not manage to sign up because my parents disapprove) and much to my surprise later I found out that the teacher coaching that class was Emen. Isn't that funny how fate brought us together and I finally learn under his guidance :) Miracles do happen!
I told Emen that I want to be a bear artist and want to participate in the Singapore Teddy Bear Show just like the rest of the senior bear artists. Remembering the first time I went to the bear show, my jaws dropped and this came to my mind - "WOW I want to be one of them!" It was a great challenge because I started learning in April and the next show was in November, I have to be extremely hard working to prepare for the show in just 6 months! Mission Impossible?
This is my work schedule everyday (for 6 months) - I woke up at 6am to start sewing, left house at 9am to work, back home from work at 7pm, start sewing at 8pm and slept at 2am. For the 6 months I slept only 4 hours everyday... my parents think I am insane but I know I AM NOT!
True enough my hard work paid off, I took just 6 months to learn bear making from scratch and participate in the Singapore Teddy Bear Show with an approximately 20+ bears on my table. On that big day, there were many visitors coming to look at my work I am so proud of myself. My family were at my table too. One guest came to my table and asked how long have I been making bears, I told her 6 months, she looked with an unbelievable expression on her face and said my work look as if I have been making for many years... I am so touched.
Emen on the other hand is a very kind man, he helped me sold my first bear at the show, this really give me a boost in confident on my work. Few hours before the show ends, my relatives came to the show. They looked at my table and the first question that popped was - how many bears were sold? Just at that same moment, a lady came to my table to purchase a bear, she is a savior? My relatives went speechless and disappeared from the hall. On that first bear show in 2009, I have 6 bears adopted :)
I always believe that if you know what you want in life, embrace it. It might not be easily, but if you persist in believing then it will come to you one day. My parents are now very supportive and will appear on every bear shows I attend. My relatives also now looked at my bears with respect.
If we don't let others influence your path, they might just decide to follow along too.
I hope you enjoy my story :)
(Thank you Joanne for helping me vetting through this post :)
|My first bear show in Singapore|
|My brother, mum and me|
|Singapore Teddy Bear Show in 2010|