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Interview: FIVEFOOTWAY's Adib Jalal

The founding editor of architectural e-zine FIVEFOOTWAY talks to Kurt Ganapathy about tall stories, tall buildings and tall orders.

By Kurt Ganapathy | Feb 16, 2012

  • Interview: FIVEFOOTWAY's Adib Jalal
    Founding editor of architectural e-zine FIVEFOOTWAY, Adib Jalal

Growing up, I was the awkward nerd. I remember climbing into the big monsoon drain near my primary school because we believed that there were Ninja Turtles living in there.

As a kid, I enjoyed making things up in my head to create a better world for myself. Somewhere along the way I told myself that I would make things for the rest of my life.

The buildings in the city today are a product of both our acceptance and denial of our climate, history, society, values, aspirations, politics and a lot of other factors that could only have happened here. So in that sense, it’s very distinct.

I think the increasing interest in preserving heritage is a sign that we are becoming more mature as a society and moving upwards.

I’m grateful that this evolution is happening in my lifetime and I look forward to the day where this country makes its decisions based on more than economic progress.

As a student, I wanted to read an intelligent yet accessible magazine about Asian architecture.. I couldn’t find it, so I decided to make it.

The value of FIVEFOOTWAY is in its editorial voice. We look at the city through very unique lenses and only publish our own stories.

I hope that the stories that we tell create a new sense of appreciation of the complexity and diversity of Asian cities. We want to remind people that the city belongs to all of us.

Some of the systems in this country are too rigid and the cost of failure here remains high which, together with other things, stifles the development of a fearless risk-taking mentality. While the environment has become more conducive for creativity to flourish over the last few years, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.

I believe that truly creative people don’t let this become an excuse. We find ways to work with what we have.

I think Singaporeans in general should stop complaining about things and get their heads down to make things instead.

Generally I’m not the sort of person with achievement destinations in life, but rather there’s a general course of direction in which I’m traveling.

Being alive today and having this conversation with you is evidence that I have overcome all the challenges of life thus far, and I take some pride in that.

The best way to unwind is to have a quiet moment to yourself.

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