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48 Singaporean Seconds: Getting to know Singapore through a smartphone

Published on Jul 25, 2013 2:19 PM

Singapore celebrates its 48th birthday on Aug 9, and to tie in with this,The Straits Times Photo Desk has put together 48 Singaporean Seconds, an audio-visual tribute to Singaporeans who have made this little red dot their home.

We are releasing their stories and videos in the next few weeks. In the 14th instalment of our series, we talk to graphic designer Chia Aik Beng.

Chia Aik Beng, 45, smartphone photographer

When graphic designer Chia Aik Beng leaves his office at the end of the day, his real mission begins.

Mr Chia Aik Beng (centre), 45, who is a graphic designer by day and a street photographer by night. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

Drawn by the rustic charm of Little India, the 45-year-old spends many evenings prowling the back alleys of the Serangoon Road area and taking photos - with his smartphone.

"Little India is still relatively untouched, unlike Chinatown or Arab Street," he says.

A series of his pictures taken in Little India at night was published in June as a book titled Tonight The Streets Are Ours.

He often gets curious looks when people find out that all he uses is his iPhone.

"People have come up to me asking if my photos were really taken with my iPhone. They find it hard to believe," says Mr Chia, who is married to a senior executive who works in an American oil firm. They have two young children.

"It's ultimately about what you see and not what gear you use," he says.

He should know, for his works have been exhibited overseas in Germany and the United States.

His hobby has given him opportunities to meet Singaporeans as well as migrant workers.

"It is through photography that I get to know Singapore more intimately," he says.

Photos and videos by The Straits Times Picture Desk