You know how children grow up and start claiming ownership by saying ‘mine! mine!’ when someone else takes their beloved toy? How most animals are fiercely protective of their younglings? Or how seeds can just sprout in the middle of a cracked pavement reclaiming back the territory we robbed? What a natural behaviour to differentiate what’s yours and mine!
Different location, cultures, upbringing, belongings, thoughts, emotions, actions, et cetera.
Does it always have to be termed good or bad?
As Covid-19 fill Mother Earth’s atmosphere, none of us are spared because of those differences.
That is why this month, we decided on the theme ‘removing labels’.

Thank you to all who made time to share a piece of your inner world with us.
We are very humbled to have you a part of this Storytelling Night!
We hope all who are joining to read stories tonight are taking care and staying safe.

Dedicated to all the brave who are standing at the frontlines keeping us safe regardless our differences.
by Kathleen Dragon, Singapore
I’ve never really thought about how I describe people until I had my son... I realized that the way I speak and the emphasis I place on certain physical qualities would affect the way he builds his perception and opinion of people and things.

When we describe a stranger we see in any situation, very often we lean towards describing and labelling someone according to race and appearance. But, really, a lot of these things are unimportant.

“I saw a skinny Chinese woman on the bus pretend to be asleep in front of a pregnant woman”

If we just removed the unnecessary labels, the story would still be “I saw a woman on the bus pretend to be asleep in front of a pregnant woman”. People are people. Nothing changes about the story!

In removing labels I would usually have given people, I hope to raise my son to be an all-loving person, and I think it’s teaching me to look at people differently too =)
by Sheryl Yeo, Singapore
Today I was preparing parcels to be sent out, and wanted to write "Thank you Mr Postman" but realized it's fairer to remove the label and address it to Mr/ Ms "Postperson" so that it was more all-encompassing. Some job titles or concepts may be dated or due to an old stereotype, but I think some small adjustments can make all the difference to our perception of gendering in occupations and everyday life too x
by Janice Lum, Singapore
A label could be a name given by a company to it's products for marketing purposes or it could be a phrase given by anyone to a person or given by oneself that is formed by an impression but not the truth or even information that is attached to something for description.

All scenarios relates to an attachment of an identity or description to a person or an object to provide an idea or a reference point.

Mislabelling could be a result of inputs from unreliable sources or people with inadequate understanding especially on the act of labelling someone or even oneself. As an artist, I used to think that why is my artwork not 'mainstream' and labelled myself as someone. who makes who strange and weird art. It is only after I get to understand and learn more about art when i went to the UK that slowly changed the label that I have given myself. Even now, I still think I make strange art at times, it takes time to remove anything totally that we attached ourselves to. It takes courage, confidence and learnings from our failures to be removed from any attachments.

Isn't it?

To gain Independence and confidence comes with lots of learnings after experimentation and picking ourselves up after after every tries and failures.
by Egan Hwan, Singapore
Very often I have heard that life handing you a bad hand from birth is a precursor to the rest of your mortal journey. Stereotypical rich man sons or daddy’s little girls spoilt with brand new and latest versions of trendy smartphones or even cars naturally fit into the world’s upper class. This was not my destiny and it is not a short story about how I managed to get there despite my less than humble beginnings but how I could never equate happiness and success to material.

Focusing right away on the most tumultuous point in my life, closet depression became a best friend when I was creeping into my fifteenth year. On the surface, it was nothing extraordinary. A broken family without a support system, financially or emotionally, peer pressure, and loneliness resulting in self hurt. From becoming an A student to eventually quitting school at sixteen because let’s be honest, who was putting food on the table?

Most, if not all, would say this is the end. No formal education, no professional skills, no future. The self doubt and hurt continued.

The next stage is where I’ve realized that the most vital decision in life is on how you decide to perceive information around you and make well-informed choices for the best possible outcome for yourself. A big foundation to support this is your choice of friends, especially when you lack family. There were four main stages of evolution in the friendships I’ve made starting from churches I was a part of and well into my musical journey. A wide group taught me not to hate, judge, and bear grudges but to love, cherish and most importantly, manage expectations. All this eventually became what I recognized to be the most basic human emotions that sustains a sense of community that feeds our fundamentals needs as people.

This focus was so important in my life as there were plenty of wrong turns I could have taken. So I don’t have a formal education but we don’t need certificates or outstanding tuition debt to help us hone on doing what is necessary to ensure survival of our people and our planet. Enter the mantra where I believe that our purpose in life, is never for ourselves but for everyone else around you. Whatever you do, someone else will reap or suffer the effect of your actions.

I will remove this label once and for all that a school dropout does not only end one way. If you give up on the vulnerable, the vulnerable will give up on themselves. Cause and effect.
by Clarence Wee, Singapore
I do engraving on bottles so sometimes I will need to remove labels from the bottles without a trace. So here is how I proceed with it.

1) Always start from the corner of the label. Peel off to see what kind of glue is used on the label.
2) Most Japanese labels peel off clean which is a beauty.. but sometimes you'll have troublesome residue.
3) To help with the process.. you can use a pen knife to cut between the label and glass as you proceed to peel off the label.
4) Once the label comes off.. dip a cotton bud with thinner and apply on the residue left in the glass bottle.
5) If they are stubborn.. you can put abit more force to help the process further.
6) Wipe with cloth or tissue. If clean.. awesome! If not.. repeat step 4.
7) Once clean wash with water & soap if possible.

Now it's your turn. Give it a go! 
by Anonymous, Singapore
hope everyone is hanging in there. reading this in the comfort of your own home. recently, a conversation i had with a friend made me realise the double-edged sword of adopting labels. in this context, labels are 'tags' that we often place on individuals so we can better familiarise with them. sometimes using their own name just don't cut it—we rather call someone the cool one/that ass/the joker/the emo one. slowly we give labels the power to control our emotions. someone calling you really cool can make your day so much better, someone calling you different make you go into self-realisation mode.

it is inevitable for us to feel depressed at certain points in our lives, and sometimes these labels we put on ourselves can give us the comfort we seek.. be it good or bad. we drown so deep into the fact that maybe we are born this way, "so let's just leave things as it is because i am always going to be this way". we all need to pull the bandage out, stop letting these labels take control of us and start seeing things clearer.

this is a self-reminder.
by Uniz Sim, Singapore
Many of us are blessed and were labeled by our parents. Shortly after labeled with loving or sometimes funny nicknames by our family. Our labels start off with love and hope, once a while mischief yet harmless. Our labels grow as we grow, some are not as loving, playfulness turns into hurtful labels. Labels are as good as it's intended, give loving labels, build lives and we won't have to remove labels. Receiver of labels? why not learn to enjoy it, let your life outshine the labels. Go easy on yourself, don't allow your labels to deter your amazing journey.

thought history