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a to z

Artists: I’m often asked to recommend a good tattoo artist. The truth is, Singapore has a good number of artists. Depending on the design you wanna do, I’ll be able to give a pretty good recommendation. I’ll name a few artists here…Sha, David and Vik from EZ Tattoo, Su from Exotic Tattoos, Oliver from Sacred Needles @ Far East Plaza and Richard from Johnny Two-Thumb Tattoo Studio.

Butterfly: There’s not a month that goes by where I’m asked why I’ve got a butterfly tattooed on my hand. I guess when you combine a crazy amount of beer, a paradise island called Bali and a quiet tattoo studio, you’ll get the answer. I wanted something small as a souvenir from a talented artist and the butterfly was the best little design he had in his folder. No matter how girly it looks, it saved me and two friends from the terrorist bombing. Enuff said!

Care: Tattoos need to be looked after. Sure tattoos last a lifetime. But you want them to look good while you’re still breathing. I apply moisturizer every night on my tattoos and loads of Savlon Antiseptic Cream for fresh and new tattoos that are healing.

Death: When I die, I don’t want to be dressed up in a dumb suit. I hate suits, pants, shirts and ties!! I want to be dressed in a t-shirt or a cool short sleeve shirt. I want my tattoos to be seen for the last time. Is there a law that prohibits a dead man from lying in his coffin naked?

Elephant: The elephant tattoo on my right forearm was an instant favourite in Bali, India and Thailand. The Hindus pray to Lord Ganesha (an elephant god) and as for the Thais, elephants hold a revered place in society, because of their symbolic importance to monarchs, religion, and the nation as a whole. My elephant tattoo was the icebreaker in many conversations.

how did my Family react? I would say they weren’t cool in the beginning. What do you expect when you come home showing off a tattoo at the age of 15? My parents were disappointed and my eldest brother stopped talking to me for a long time. He still has issues with tattoos till this day. Not like I give a flying f@#k…I’m who I am and nothing will ever change that.

my Grandfather: The portrait of my late grandfather by Su from Exotic Tattoos is definitely the most meaningful. I’d like to add that she did an amazing job with this portrait. I love and miss my grandpa so much and having him on my forearm means he’ll be with me till my last day on earth. Then again, some cultures believe that tattoos will follow the spirit to the other world. We’ll wait and see what happens…I'll blog from the heavenly computer and let ya'll know.

How much? Another question that is thrown about often enough is “how much does it cost?” Always remember that you are not buying an electrical appliance or a freaking car. Tattoos last a lifetime and you should ALWAYS pay top dollar for your ink. If you want something good that you can show off to your friends or at least feel good about, invest in a good tattoo. Never bargain with an artist. They don’t like it and Singapore isn’t Thailand!

Ink: The word ink is kinda like a pet-name/slang of sorts used by tattoo enthusiasts worldwide. E.g.: Most of my ink are done by so and so and I’m gonna get inked tomorrow.

the land of the rising sun – Japan: One of the oldest forms of tattooing originates from Japan. The art form is called Tebori and like some old methods of tattooing, it involves the use of a bamboo stick with a bunch of needles attached. Like Singapore, Japan once linked tattoos to the underworld. The Yakuza would don full body suits and Geishas were known to be heavily tattooed as well. Woohoo...

Krabi: It was in Krabi, Thailand that I got my first tattoo outside of Singapore. Using the traditional bamboo method, the artist tattooed the polynesian mantaray on my calf. It took him 2 hours to complete the tattoo. Hell did it hurt during those 2 long hours…

Leon: My second brother Leon was supposed to get tattooed years ago. If I’m not mistaken, he wanted to get the portrait of Christ. I’m still waiting for him to get inked and I will not let up till he gets one. Last I checked, my dad wants to get inked too. It shall be a family affair!

My first tattoo: I got my first tattoo at the age of fifteen. Rock played a big role in my life and it influenced me to get my first ear piercing. After the piercing, I knew that getting inked would be the next step to being a rocker. As childish as it sounds, it made a hell lot of sense back then. So yeah, my first tattoo was a scorpion. I got it done at Transit Road for $20.00.

Name: Believe it or not, I had my name tattooed on my arm after my first tattoo. It’s probably the only tattoo I’ve had that didn’t make any sense. I got Sha to do a cover-up in 2005.

Orang Utan: I want to get this tattooed by the end of the year. I have this picture of an Orang Utan that will be perfect on my neck! Go Primates!!

the most Painful: there’s no shame in admitting that the most painful tattoo was on my ribs. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the hardcore partying the night before. It hurt like a bitch! The dream-catcher on my chest was bearable. When we started on the feathers, I swear I could have passed out. We stopped the session short after the outline was done. I’m still walking around with an uncompleted tattoo. It’s gonna remain uncompleted for a long time! Don't believe anyone that says tattoos aren't painful. It all depends on your threshold for pain.

Quality ink: Like pens, the tattoo gun uses ink. There’s a range of suppliers in the market that shops can buy ink from. They come in all colours and are safe for tattooing. However, there are products from China that are currently being used by both local and foreign artists. The ink that you do not want in your body contains a high level of iron. Do consult your artist if you are ever in doubt and always ensure that they use new sterilized needles!

Removal & Regrets: I guess this would apply to youngsters. There’s a community club in Singapore that has set-up a help centre for youths that want to remove their tattoos. From what I understand, laser removal is far more painful than getting tattooed. Worse still, it’s expensive. Never ever tattoo your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife name. Tattoos normally outlive love. You could however tattoo the name of your kids, pets and parents.

tattoos in Singapore: Older Singaporeans will tell you stories of how the police would search and gather anyone that had a tattoo. These individuals would then be interrogated and probably beaten up. Thankfully, those days are long gone. I’ve got friends in the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D) and Central Narcotics Bureau (C.N.B) who are tattooed and are doing a pretty fine job. Singapore has changed and grown with the times. Tattoos aren’t taboo anymore and is a common sight everywhere we go. The next step is to educate the public that tattoos are an art and is a form of expression.

Taboo: If the recent reports by CNN and Fox News are anything to go by, tattoos are still taboo in workplaces. If you are tattooed below the elbow, you would probably have to wear long sleeves at work. I personally think that’s crap. Anyone that makes it a rule that you have to be in long sleeves is an asshole and should be beaten up!!

Upcoming tatts: I have lots that I wanna do…an orang utan on my neck (as mentioned above), japanese koi on my right thigh, stars on my feet and a lizard on my left calf to name a few…

Vik: This fella has some really cool tattoos. The folks from the events industry refer to him as the ‘walking zoo’. He has a gentle approach when it comes to tattooing. It’s hard to describe. Go get inked by him and you’ll find out for yourself.

WWF: I have the old World Wrestling Federation logo tattooed on my waist. Two weeks after the tattoo, the idiots changed their name to WWE. Bastards!!

X: Back when I was in Secondary school, I tattooed myself using a safety pin and black poster colour ink. Other than trying to tattoo a ring around my finger, I attempted to tattoo a cross below my knee. Instead of it looking like a cross, it looks more like the letter X.

Youngsters getting inked: I can’t say much about this. My advice to any youngster that wants to get inked is to think real hard. Once you’ve made up your mind and you’re dead sure about it, choose a design that will complement you and not for some stupid secret society reason. If (this is a big IF) your parents can play a part in helping you select a design, it’ll be awesome. I’ve seen Caucasian parents accompany their kids to the tattoo studio. We Asians need to follow suit.

Zoology: Having worked in the zoo, it inspired me to tattoo my favourite animals on my right forearm. I’ve got a couple more that I wanna do. I just don’t know where to put them…

There you have it...My A to Z take on tattoos! As mentioned in a previous post, we're a day away from the new URL. BUT...I'm divided between and Someone please help!!


  1. (Leon: My second brother Leon was supposed to get tattooed years ago. If I’m not mistaken, he wanted to get the portrait of Christ. I’m still waiting for him to get inked and I will not let up till he gets one. Last I checked, my dad wants to get inked too. It shall be a family affair!

    !!! I did wanna get some barb wire sort thingy on my arm, but that was then and this is now. definitely no ink for me. Agnes would kill me anyway.

  2. Nice article. This article provided very information material.



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