Committed to staying true to her passions, Popspoken’s Consultant and Zouk’s Legal Manager Siqi Chung melds her flair for words with her love for the arts scene.
Siqi Chung is an inquisitive intellect and on the way to becoming a prominent, respected woman in the cultural scene. Open-minded and thoughtful, the self-proclaimed skeptic chats with us on building Popspoken into Singaporean millennials’ go-to publication for honest news, and lets us in on what happened with China’s fake Zouk Club.
“We are here to make pop culture accessible for today’s generation and ultimately, connect the dots for people to better understand culture.”
Doyenne: How did you sustain Popspoken for six years?
Siqi: I guess I am a skeptic, which got me started. In 2011, Popspoken began as a WordPress blog. Over the years, we made sure there are no sunk costs. We have no office and full-timers. Everything is done out of passion.
If you are engaged in your content and enjoy what you do, you won’t really see it as a job. In fact, Popspoken was always something I did on the side. Skepticism and curiosity makes me want to read and find out more. This keeps Popspoken going.
D: Tell us more about Popspoken’s slogan: “You seek, we speak”.
S: We are here to make pop culture accessible for today’s generation and ultimately, connect the dots for people to better understand culture. We try to be critical in our analysis with honest opinions.
When I recently interviewed Wonderfruit’s Founder, we didn’t just ask him why he did it. We find trends, sometimes go off the beaten path to conduct investigative journalism.
For example, Snoop Dogg was supposed to play at the 1 World Festival 2013. But two days before, it was shut down. No one knew why, so we reached out to the people working inside. We got a refreshing angle for the article, different from other post-event coverage. It takes up a lot of resources, but we do this out of passion. We want to break the news.
Over the years, we kept going because the team of writers really keep it together. Everyone is naturally passionate. Everything flows. When someone is interested in an untold story, we write it. If the idea is good, we try it. If it doesn’t work, too bad. When there are negativities about it, we manage.
D: Complete the sentences:
Popular culture in Singapore is…
S: Unifying the old and young through art, music, theatre and more. Today, subcultures are growing. It is very different from 10 years ago. We see a lot of independent events, pop-up venues, and good talent. I would think it is getting more vibrant. The government, especially National Arts Council, has done its part to develop the arts.
As a creative…
S: My greatest worry is apathy. Once people lose interest in anything creative, it will be pointless to communicate the message across. People will immediately block out what is being said, which we hope won’t happen.
D: As Legal Manager of Zouk, what’s your relationship with club music?
S: I am an interested party of the clubbing scene, that’s what they say in law! I am keen to see music culture grow. When the opportunity came up at Zouk, I thought, why not merge my law background with EDM (Electronic Dance Music)?
When Zouk was bought over by Genting Hong Kong in 2015,they needed a lawyer to look after franchise agreements, protect intellectual property and handle various legal obligations. Everything to do with words come to me.
D: What do you think about the club in China imitating Zouk, which led to DJs not knowing about it?
S: Zouk is highly ranked on the global scale. It is a brand associated with quality. When a club in China tried to shortcut their brand building process and copied Zouk, some DJs were fooled into playing for the fake club, which is a brand dilution for Zouk.
The team gathered evidence and passed it on to the local authorities in China. I also suggested that it might be good if media picked up the story to spread awareness that Zouk had nothing to do with the club in China.
D: What advice do you have for Asians wanting to pursue an unlikely combination of passions like yourself?
S: Be realistic. Just take the first step. If it doesn’t work out, don’t keep trying to put a square into a circle. Adapt and see what else you like.
It is easier to have an end goal in mind, and try to do stuff to reach it. Keep trying, and eventually, you will find what to gravitate towards. It will take years, you never know. But it will come.
Portraits by Esther Yeo, other images by SiQi Chung
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