Style, Spreads

Alfred Sng, Ayden Sng, Fariz Jabba and Noelle Woon on The Meaning of Empathy

 
Alfred Sng, Ayden Sng, Fariz Jabba and Noelle Woon on The Meaning of Empathy


If one thinks about it,  humans have a core desire to be seen and understood by our fellow human beings. We want to know that we are deeply understood despite differing points of views; to have an innate confidence that our partner, friends or family members have our backs.

That, is the core of what empathy is about — the driving force behind the #ValentinoEmpathy campaign. One that has Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli rallying a formidable cast of famous folks to donate their presence for this project.

While the #ValentinoEmpathy campaign had one million euros each going in favour to the Italian Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital  in Rome (the Italian Hub fighting against COVID-19),  the French charity La Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris – Hôpitaux de France and to the Spanish field hospital within the Madrid exhibition center, and two million euros to the Italian Sacco Hospital and the Protezione Civile, one then wonders what empathy means in an everyday setting.

In our opinion, empathy is what connects us and transcends physical limitations despite disruptions to our social lives.

Here, Ayden Sng with Alfred Sng, and Fariz Jabba with Noelle Woon share a glimpse of their relationship and what empathy means to them.


Alfred Sng, Ayden Sng, Fariz Jabba and Noelle Woon on The Meaning of Empathy
Ayden Sng, Mediacorp Artiste and Alfred Sng, Artiste

How did both of you meet and how long ago was it?
Ayden Sng:
We met via Instagram when I first came back to Singapore. I reached out to him [Alfred] after noticing a short film which he did. I thought his feed and contents were very nice.

#ValentinoEmpathy was conceived during a period of disruptions, what does empathy mean to you?
Ayden Sng:
Being empathetic is knowing when and when not to speak, and lending your voice to the right causes. We don’t necessarily have to comment on everything, especially if we’re not informed about certain topics.

This digital age everyone is required to stay “woke” and express themselves constantly. There is pressure on us to express our comments and thoughts on issues happening. Everyone feels they have an obligation, a social and moral responsibility to comment on issues when sometimes it’s just adding oil to fire.

Emotions are what make us humans, are you comfortable expressing them?
Alfred Sng: I’m comfortable with emoting myself. Communication is very important, I’m the kind who shares a lot with my family and friends, and emotions is one of them. I’ll let them know if I’m unhappy or I feel it’s okay to cry when I feel sad. There’s no point to walk away from problems, it doesn’t solve them.

Ayden Sng: I’m definitely the reverse, I don’t express emotions as well as Alfred. If I have emotions, I would digest them internally. To begin with, I’m not that emotional.

(On Ayden Sng) Valentino Wool jacket, wool sweater, wool pants, leather and metal chain bracelet, metal ring, leather derby shoes.
(On Alfred Sng)
Valentino Cotton shirt, wool pants, metal pendant necklace, leather derby shoes.


Alfred Sng, Ayden Sng, Fariz Jabba and Noelle Woon on The Meaning of Empathy
Fariz Jabba, Artiste and Noelle Nadine Woon, Model from Mannequin Studios

How did both of you meet and how long ago was it?
Fariz Jabba:
It was about two and a half years ago when I met Noelle. She was all dressed up at Cineleisure’s Starbucks, drawing in fact. I knew I wanted to talk to her but I was too shy. My friend decided to approach her on my behalf and we exchanged Instagrams after.

#ValentinoEmpathy was conceived during a period of disruptions, what does empathy mean to you?
Fariz Jabba: Empathy is putting yourself out of your own head. She has taught a lot about that throughout our relationship and made me realise it’s not always about me and my ego, and how my energy needs to be channelled outward and not inward. Being empathetic is exactly that — putting yourself in other people’s shoes.

Noelle Woon: It’s about coexisting. When I went into the relationship I was quite heartless and didn’t care much about people’s feelings, that’s why I didn’t know how to make friends. I thought being nice is enough. When people tell you their problems, you really have to feel it and he taught me that.

Emotions are what make us humans, are you comfortable expressing them?
Fariz Jabba: Yes, very comfortable. My family and culture are as such, we talk about things that need attention; and expression has always been within my family. My brother and sister does it through comedy and I do it through music and dance.

Noelle Woon: It was unfamiliar for me because I was afraid of getting hurt. But things changed as I matured. I like to spread love and if people don’t reciprocate, I learnt to handle it. You can’t take it personally, we can’t force our beliefs on another person.

(On Fariz Jabba) Valentino Wool jacket, wool sweater, wool pants, metal pendant necklace, Floweristy leather shoes.
(On Noelle Woon) Valentino Wool coat, wool pants, metal earring, metal ring, metal chain bracelet, Rose Edition Atelier leather shoulder bag, leather boots.


Photography Cher Him
Art Direction Izwan Abdullah
Styling Manfred Lu
Grooming Priscelia Wong using Laura Mercier
Hair Christvian Goh using Kevin Murphy

The full story with Ayden Sng, Alfred Sng, Fariz Jabba and Noelle Woon and #ValentinoEmpathy will be available for your reading pleasure in our November ’20 issue