Photo credit: BERNICE NG


Bernice Ng, 25, is the editor and founder of PEONY Zine, an independent culture zine, based in Singapore. PEONY Zine is a fashion and culture magazine that focuses on uplifting alternative narratives and communities in Singapore. They donate 10 to 15 per cent of their merchandise sales profits to local charities like Project X and Oogachaga. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they also donated to charities that worked with marginalised migrant workers and sex workers.

Bernice is also a freelance journalist, photographer and content creator. These are the lessons she’s learnt so far through her journey with PEONY.

There is unlimited creative potential in Singapore.

Singapore is absolutely teeming with brilliant creatives, and I am so thankful that I’ve been able to meet and work with many of them through the course of the zine. You will be able to find a talented team for any project you want to create.

It’s okay to rest.

Working full-time on the publication has been tough. There are days and weeks where I can work for hours and hours, producing quality work that I’m proud of. But there are also periods of time where I’m exhausted, empty and can’t do anything. I was beating myself up over it really badly a while ago but after talking to some friends, they reminded me it’s okay to rest and that productivity slumps are normal. Everyone needs to rest.

You have to be the person who grounds yourself.

As founder and editor, I have to make executive, big-picture decisions and come up with new ideas that are exciting. Sometimes I get so excited and get carried away with all the things I want to do. I find myself being pulled in so many directions that I can’t focus on doing one thing well. In those times, I learned that I have to recognise my behaviour and take a step back so I can prioritise my projects.

Take every opportunity and chance that comes your way.

I missed out on a lot of opportunities in the past because I was either too shy or felt like I didn’t deserve it. But after I started the zine, I realised that I have to grab all opportunities being presented to me.

These opportunities present themselves to you for a reason and you shouldn’t let insecurity or imposter syndrome get in your way of growing, learning and living.

It’s okay to rely on people, it’s okay to ask for help.

For a while, I tried to do everything by myself. Writing, editing, photography, creative direction, set styling, scheduling, post-production. I didn’t want to burden others in my team or rely on them. But over time, I came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t do it all, and there are people better than me in certain things who could help me out. It was okay to ask for help and to delegate tasks. Teamwork makes the dream work!

There are always a million reasons not to do something. So, just do it.

When you think too much about what you want to do, the best time to do it, and all of that serious stuff, your judgement may at times get clouded with doubt. hen you might start thinking, “‘Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Or maybe you’re waiting for the stars to align.

But the truth is, there will always be millions of reasons not to do something. You just need one reason to do it, and that reason should be because you believe in your idea and your vision. That is enough.

This article was published on Dec 6, 2021

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