Co-founder and creative director of an agency by day, famzine (family zine) producer by night. For the past six years, Kinetic Singapore's Pann Lim (pictured) has worked together with his wife and two children to produce the bi-annual RUBBISH Famzine, a family project which was first published in September 2013.
In the second season of After Hours, which follows industry players who managed to follow through on their passions and integrate it into their working worlds, Lim told Marketing that RUBBISH stemmed from his guilt for being unable to spend enough time with his family due to his hectic work schedule. As such, RUBBISH was one of the activities that allowed the family to bond.
The name of the famzine might raise eyebrows for first time readers, but Lim candidly explained to Marketing that the term "rubbish" is commonly used at home. "Sometimes, we tell the children 'Don't talk rubbish' or 'Pack up your rubbish'. We've always used this word loosely at home and that eventually became the name of the zine," Lim said. He added that the word "famzine" is a parody of the word "fanzine".
Check out the interview below:
The format of the famzine is 150mm by 20mm and only 300 copies are produced for each edition because some of the items inside the magazine are handmade such as handwritten notes and ink stamping, which Lim said can be "very time consuming". Brainstorming sessions for the famzine usually occur at what Lim and his family term the "brainquarters" at home along with two pots of tea. The family of four will then discuss their areas of interest and potential ideas for the upcoming famzine edition.
"It's similar to how I have brainstorming sessions with my guys at the office, just that I'm dealing with individuals who are a lot younger," Lim said. He admits that there are sometimes delays in the production of each famzine, especially during exam periods or when Lim is experiencing a peak period at work. However, he never lets such circumstances deter the family from producing the family.
"One thing for sure is that we will release it. There is a certain discipline to [releasing RUBBISH]. We can't say that there is no true deadline just because it's a family project. It doesn't happen in my world," Lim said. Another challenge Lim and his family faces is ensuring the theme for each issue is different but also something that is close to their hearts.The first issue touched on their first family travel to Tokyo and Kyoto and the second was the tribute to Lim's parents-in-law and their 50th anniversary. According to him, the first issue was launched at an art exhibition and both personal and industry friends showed their support for RUBBISH. The second issue was later launched at Books Actually.
"The huge jump [between issue one and two] is to let our readers know that the third issue is going to be remotely different," Lim said. True enough, the third issue came in a biscuit tin and revolved around collecting memories, similar to that of a time capsule.
The fourth issue of RUBBISH covered the family's love for Singapore and was launched during SG50. While every issue is memorable, Lim said the most memorable one for him was the fifth issue, as it was about his late father who passed away from liver cancer and Lim likened it to a eulogy in the form of a famzine.
"There was quite a lot of information I had to extract from my Mum, sister and brother. Before I even started on that issue, I actually asked for their blessing and if they were okay with me designing and writing a book about my Dad. I only went with it upon their approval," Lim said.
He added that although the fifth issue was completed, it was difficult for him to send it to print because he always felt that it was not good enough. It took some convincing from his wife, Claire Lim, before Lim finally sent it to the printing plant. Even so, Lim still made a number of last minute changes.
Interestingly, the fifth issue about his late father struck a chord with one of his long time readers, who Lim said also experienced passing of her father due to liver cancer. According to Lim, the reader found the issue meaningful and he said being able to touch one person's lives with RUBBISH means "a lot" to him. "I don't need to touch 300 or 3,000 people. It's not about the number, it's about whether you feel you have done something meaningful," he told Marketing.
Meanwhile, the sixth, seventh and eighth issues of RUBBISH revolved around Singapore food, film photography and music.
When asked how he found he time to balance between his work at Kinetic and RUBBISH, Lim said he is someone who "does not need much motivation". "I love what I do, I don't need to be motivated. The thing is, if you're passionate about something, you'll make time. You don't have to go find time, I don't believe in all these things," Lim said. He added:
If you are passionate about something, you don’t need tips. You will find out about it and you will find ways to get it done.
"It's about how you pursue what you love. I don't remember people pushing me to do something. If you need to be pushed most of the time, it's not a true passion of yours. It probably might not be passion at its purest," Lim said.
He also said that RUBBISH is done out of love rather than to seek approval from others. "I'm not a person who needs to get approval for what I do, as long as my wife understands and is supportive. If you like something and you feel satisfied about it, when your readers look at it, they will love it too," he added.
(Photo courtesy: Pann Lim)
Previous season of After Hours:
After Hours: Meet DJ J. Mac, DJ Groovetrain, DJ CHOCKolate and DJ BlaqJacq
After Hours: Performics’ human beatboxer Cheong Chee Jun
After Hours: Queen of the kitchen Stefanie Liew
After Hours: Professional doodlers Joji Jacob, Jessie Lam and Eugenia Clara
After Hours: Valerie Madon Cheng’s Licktionary