Floydd Patric Wood
34, Creative Director of NiCE
From South Africa and has been living in Singapore for eight years.
What brought you to Singapore and what’s your first impression of our sunny island?
I moved from Mainland China to Singapore eight years ago because I’d visited before and was attracted to Singapore’s cleanliness, constant warm weather and super efficiency. I also wanted a career change and I managed to get a job here. First impression upon landing: “OMG am I in the middle of a heat wave!” Then, “Why can’t I understand anything here?” I was used to spoken Mandarin and lot of people around me were speaking a mix of Mandarin or Hokkien or Cantonese.
What did you think of Singapore before you came here and how different is it in reality?
From the outside, Singapore seems very Westernised. I was surprised and pleased to discover that at its heart, it’s very Asian, but also very diverse, with lots of different local or immigrant Asian cultures here. I come from a very diverse country so I was happy to find something similar.
What are some of the things you love about Singapore or that you will miss if you ever had to go back home?
The safety and ease of getting around. The ability to walk around the city late at night with no threat of danger is really a privilege. Also, due to its amazing public transportation system and size, it’s super easy to get from one place to another. Compared to other cities like Tokyo or Bangkok where getting around is time consuming and complicated, Singapore is a breeze.
I’d miss the multitude of different nationalities here. Socially and professionally, I interact with so many different types of people everyday: European, Asian, Australian, American, etc. It’s a real privilege. You’re always learning something.
How do locals usually react or say to you when they find out where you are from?
First, people try to guess by looking at me – and always get it wrong. Most often I get Brazilian, French, Australian and once Venezuelan! When people learn I’m South African, I usually get “Waka waka!”, or the taxi drivers like to ask about the gold, diamonds and Nelson Mandela, or the amazing tourism, or the crime rate.
The funniest responses are “But you’re not black! Are there white people there too?” Then, I have to explain that I’m mixed race and that makes it much worse. Mostly people are just silent because they have no idea what to say, and are afraid to look foolish by saying something insensitive.
If you can change one thing about Singapore, what would it be and why?
The need to quantify everything. People try to draw a relation between what something costs and it’s actual value, when in fact they’re two different things. You don’t need to pay a high price for something amazing, and something amazing could be intangible like an experience. It doesn’t have to be an object. I would love to have more people enjoy things experientially and forget about the price of it.
What are some of your go-to fashion brands when you need to look sharp?
In my work and social life, I never really need to dress formally, but I have a couple of places that I can get good quality, on-trend clothes. Nudies jeans are a mainstay! My first pair (seven years old) has been patched so many times, but I still love them. They’ve been with me all over the world. They’re the first thing I throw into my bag, or the first thing I want to wear each day. Freitag bags are sturdy and hardy. I’m rough on my bags and Freitag bags are stylish and cool with a great recycling /eco-friendly edge. Vans shoes are my all time favourite shoes that go with anything. They are super-comfortable, I even have the Disney edition and the Kenzo x Vans collaboration. All-in-all I have almost 30 pairs – all different colours and prints. Hater snapback caps are sturdy, high quality and in an insane variety of prints and textures. My rainbow-reflective spaceman cap is my favourite!
Has any local designers caught your eye so far?
I like local label Jaunty Boys, they have a fun, casual and cheeky attitude, plus their clothes are in lovely, comfortable fabrics.