2012 Entries


Personal take on the topic

As I delve deeper into the topic of the snakes with the course of the project, I find most interesting is that their presence in Southeast Asia was especially prominent in their indigenous societies. Most of the time, the snake, which is more commonly known as the Naga (in Thailand and Indonesia), or the Nak (In Laos and Cambodia) is revered and respected for they enrich the lands and the individuals with blessings, rather than prompt fear and loathe from its community. With this, it sparked my interest in looking within the region I live in, so as to find meanings of what was once powerful and potent, but only to be diluted and forgotten in the present– the bustling and fast-developing cities of Southeast Asia.
The Project

This is a research-driven project that explores the meanings behind the Snake, which are relevant to the community of Southeast Asia. I will then contextualize these meanings into a calendar for the year 2013. The deliverables will serve as a tool to reach out to people residing in this region, fostering a greater understanding between them in realizing that the core of their beliefs are not as different from one another, and in some instances, more often than not, the customs and festivals may have manifested from the same animal, the Snake.



1. Book on Festivals of India and Southeast Asia

The book gives an overview of the festivals that occur throughout India and Southeast Asia where snakes are closely linked to Hinduism and Buddhism, the daily life of farming and life ceremonies. These festivals are important to the community, and from this book, it will bring out the qualities of the Snake that are embraced throughout this region of the world.


2. Book on Textiles of Southeast Asia

Throughout Southeast Asia, traditional textiles are a visual expression of fabric of life. I have chosen traditional textiles as a visual strategy to construct my calendar motifs later on as I feel that they most strongly sum up a Southeast Asian identity that is immediately recognizable and powerful. Hence, I have come up with a sourcebook of patterns and their meanings that will allow the viewer to read the motifs with a better appreciation and knowledge of the Snake and the visual elements that it transpires.


3. Packaging

The packaging serves as a gift set that contains all of the other deliverables inside, so as to be bought off shelves come Year 2013!


4. Calendar

The calendar has 12 specially designed motifs that serve to visually depict the festivals that go along with the month. It is heavily inspired by traditional textiles, along with my own personal interpretation of the festivals–with the choice of colours and the patterns I have gathered through my research, they will most effectively communicate the qualities of the festival relating to the snake.



About Eat Snake

Eat Snake (jia zhua in hokkien dialect) means to not concentrate and focus on what one is supposed to do and instead spend time and attention on something else that one is more interested in.

Eat Snake is a game derived based from the fast paced lifestyle and modern societal upbringing of the current generation. People are made to and sometimes pressured to choose the path to take in their lives since young and in many instances people sometimes look back and think what could have gone differently. Even in their current occupation, it is common for people to daydream and think about what if they have chosen to fulfil their childhood ambition or pursue their passions. It is a constant renewal and regeneration of interest and the balance of duality between reality and dreams.

Eat Snake allows players to take on various occupations and share what they would do or carry out an action based on the text behind the cards. The dice would be rolled and the chess piece in a shape of a snake would move onto various characters.


The packaging is based on a psychedelic color scheme, where the reflective surface produces colors when light shines onto it.



A slidable acrylic box.


Game cards and chess pieces. Different cards are separated intricately with a 3 tiered color construction, with the color in the middle defining the type of game card.

Sabo (yellow) and Shiok (green) cards – inspired by the Singaporean slag, are action cards to be collected at the start of the game and can be executed by the player during the game. The designs and patterns are based on the snake skin – something which is shed and constantly replenished.

Vote cards (blue) – if fellow player does not carry out his/her action well, a vote can be casted for him/her to do it again.


Character cards laid out on the playing board. Chess sets are moved around it according to the number on the dice that is thrown and the game loops once the chess piece ends at the 40th character.


Explanation booklet for the game. Designed and sewn-stitched with similar color palette.

Based on the aesthetics and characteristics of the snake, the entire package can be an ice-breaker game and at the same time, it carries a deeper underlying message of self-renewal about personal ambition and attitude towards the pursuit of happiness.

KUNDALINI : the energy of our souls

Kundalini is the inner source of power that resides in human organism. The word “Kundalini” in Sanskrit literally means “coiled” and it is often described as the a coiled serpent lying at the base of our spines.

As the kundalini is awakened through spiritual practices like yoga, she rises up the spine towards the crown of the head. This gradual awakening leads to a new level of understanding and awareness. It is not necessarily a permanent leap, but more of a temporary immersion into your highest self.


It is frequent that an individual’s kundalini lies dormant throughout their entire lifetime without being aware of her existence. Thus, this is my attempt to explain the concept of Kundalini in a more contemporary and comprehensible way.


1. Poster and Infograph

29.7 x 42.0cm


2. Book

12 x 19 cm, hardcover, hand-bound coptic book


3. Chakra kit

It is metaphorical of the rising of the kundalini energy. She rises and through each chakra as she energizes and activates the chakras.



The product name Rebirth is derived from my research on snakes. From the research done previously, I understood how people from different regions and religions see the snake. In Southeast Asia, we see the snake as a protector, the creator and destroyer of the earth and in western countries, they relate snakes to evil, death and many other negative beliefs. Likewise, mainly in Hinduism and Buddhism, they see the snake as a divine but not in Christianity. It is amazing to see how people can have so many interpretations and beliefs towards the snake. Even though some of them may just be assumptions, it was eye-opening. Especially for countries that has very strong cultural beliefs.

Through this research, it inspired me to create a product that is going to target our local audiences especially women, aged 25 to 50. This the age group that has the spending power and are very concern about their appearance. Since it is going to be targeting the local market, I decided to break away from the cultural context but of course, retaining the elements of the snake in my product. My entire packaging is going to consist of English and Chinese since this is the most commonly used language in Singapore. This product is created to compete against the Japanese market for beauty products. It has been a trend that our locals have great confidence in Japanese products not just because they have trust in their products but also, they have beautiful and elegant packaging most of the time. This product will prove that not only Japanese products can look aesthetically beautiful and have good effect but our own local beauty product can do the same. Furthermore, it is time to make a change to the typical “Singapore” designs that we have.

Explanation about the product

The logo itself, 再生 means Rebirth in Chinese. The reason for calling it Rebirth is not simply because I got the inspiration from the word ‘rebirth’ that represents the snake but also because, the product is a dead sea salt body scrub. Why? The reason being, after using the product, your skin will feel rebirth because the dead sea salt helps to rub away dead skin cells, allowing new skin cells to grow. Thus, it has the same effect as being rebirth. The dead sea salt body scrub is not any ordinary scrub but it consists of snake venom. Snake venom is known to be poisonous to almost everyone. However, for our product, we have gone through the necessary process to ensure that the poison is removed, leaving only the good behind. Snake venom has many benefits that many people are unaware of. It helps to block the neuromuscular contractions which causes facial tension, helps anti-aging and reduces wrinkles. Leaving you with a young and radiant complexion. Due to the stress level everyone has in Singapore, it is important for us, ladies to maintain good and youthful complexion.

Main material used for this project

Vellum paper

Main ingredients used in the product

Dead sea salt – Known for therapeutic effects and helps rub away dead skin cells.

Snake venom – Anti-aging and it helps to reduce wrinkles.

Lemon grass oil – The scent of the lemon grass helps to reduce stress. It is suppose to make you feel calm and relaxed.

Sweet Almond Oil – Helps your skin retain moisture, reduce wrinkles and adds a natural glow to your skin. Can be used on nearly any skin type. Dry to oily.

Deliverable #1 – Logo + Packaging

The words on the logo is hand painted with a chinese calligraphy brush. The logo below the words represents water. As we all know water is often associated with snakes and for this product, since it is a body scrub, it is also related to water. Thus, that explains the idea of using water to represent the product.

ImageImageImageImageThis small booklet consists of the description of the product, the instructions on how to use the product and the ingredients in the product.


This is how the packaging looks like with the product inside it. It has the ‘Peek-a-boo’ concept as it allows you to see it but yet at the same time, you can’t exactly determine what is in the package.

Deliverable #1 – Invitation

In order to create awareness, we are going to distribute invitation cards for the public who are interested to drop by our grand opening on 12th January 2013. There will be samples for the public to test and there will be beauty advisors stationed during the grand opening to promote Rebirth.



The unique thing about the invitation card is that the recipient has to peel off our logo before they are able to see the information inside. This relates back to the idea of ‘peeling’, the shedding of the snake.


This is how the invitation looks like when it is opened up. The idea of the invitation opening up represents the chinese tradition of opening ceremony (开幕). Since this is a new product, I wanted to adapt the local context into it. It is not literal but has a significant meaning behind the action of opening.

Deliverable #2 – Poster

In order to gain more public awareness, large posters will be placed along Orchard Road as it has the main city and it has the most number of people moving around that area. Also, since the grand opening is going to be held in Orchard Grand Hyatt Hotel, it would be a better location to place our posters. The poster will contain information on the grand opening. Not much information on the product will be stated as this will make the public more curious on what this product is about.


Deliverable #3 – Website

The internet would be a good marketing tool as the use of internet is increasing and almost everyone uses the internet everyday, irregardless of work or leisure. Thus, I decided to create a website for people who are keen to find out more and also to target people who are too busy to even get out of their office or home. A website will then be more accessible. The website not only serves the purpose of providing information about the product but if they are keen to purchase it or if there is anything that they would like to feedback on, they can contact us via the contact page.


Index page – When the user first enter the website, the logo will slowly move downwards, acting like a pre loader.  Then, the ‘Enter’ button will appear for the user to continue to the next page.


Description page – This page will describe what is this product about and what makes it stands out from the rest of the other dead sea salt scrub.


Ingredients page – This page will show all the ingredients used to make Rebirth.


Contact page – This is the contact page where the public can either give feedbacks about our product or even request to make an order of our product.

Graphic Design III Project

Funny how something insignificant or even unfavorable in one culture can mean the world, even the basis of existence, to another. And in places not far from each other at that.

The Superheroes of Southeast Asia takes the humble snake – probably perceived as an aggressive, menacing animal with no cultural place within modern Singapore – and gives it a comic book superhero twist  to align it with the visual culture of young people today, while at the same time promoting an appreciation of traditional cultures in the region that appear so unfamiliar to them. Snakes that give are responsible for the birth of a whole nation, serpent figures that are depended upon almost unyieldingly for rain – these are ideas that are probably so foreign to us. Strange enough, superheroes are imagined beings with qualities that are as detached from our reality, yet they remain figures that are desired and idolized in society. Re-introducing the “magical” or highly-valued characteristics of the snake from Southeast Asian myths as superpowers, The Superheroes of Southeast Asia highlights the beautiful diversity of cultures in this region, while at the same time hinting at a sense of pride this sort-of “Justice League” of Southeast Asia would invite.

#1 – Informative website – provides just a basic overviewImage



#2 – Promotional leaflet

This playfully takes the form of superhero masks so that people can interact with it. At the same time, the implied notion of “looking through a different set of eyes” enhances the idea of how something as simple as the snake can be looked at through so many different perspectives.



#3 – Promotional poster

Illustrated in a bold graphical style to speak to the younger, curious crowd.



Discourse Publication
of Snakes
in Art & Culture
A Cultural Conservation &
Design Thinking Theory Project


By Melvin Tan

ImageWe see similar characteristic traits of the way snakes are perceived as powerful or to be feared. But how different are they from one place to another? In this research, we discuss the possibility of instinct through a cross-cultural visual assessment to eventually use these findings to reassess our approaches and reflexivity in cultural conservation.

Reflexivity in Representation is an investigation into the human interpretation of snakes. This is a three part inquiry addressing how our perception of these reptiles are not very different from one culture to another, proving a certain instinctive collective unconscious. This project believes in the creative role our understanding plays in sustaining culture, art and designs all over the world.


Pt • 1
Flexa Mandala
Hexagon Flexagon

ImageThe different parts of the Flexa Mandala

~ImageThe texture of the Flexa Mandala reflects the Snake Skin in it’s truest form. It holds the manifestations of different serpentine intepretations of mandalas. 

~ImageEvery Mandala has a different number to describe the uniqueness of what each contains.

~ImageUnfurling the Flexa Mandala is approached from the centre, it blooms like a lotus flower.

~ImageThe instructions would clearly describe the workings and process of this special mandala piece

~ImageThe wrapper is made from hand folded glassine paper that produces the idea of a snake shedding it’s skin it is wrapped with, to unveil a renewed form which in this case, is the Flexa Mandala.

~ImageThe Flexa Mandala collapses into a triangle and opens again at the top in an infinite algorithm that alludes to the Mandala’s central conception as a cultural symbol.

~ImageWe will observe the many ‘flexes’ of Mandala Applicaitions from Chinese, Grecco, Mesopotian, Celtic, Jewish and Indian decent.


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