Walk down the streets into the quiet SS4 neighbourhood while staring at the Joe Flizzow Ubermen billboard on the horizon – you’ll be surprised to find a buzzing scene hidden in the small shoplot row just below it. I know I was.
Being a native to this area, with high school memories of ‘playing’ basketball at the park opposite this hidden treasure, I never even knew such a venue existed,要不然 (otherwise) I would have been a regular customer. Yet again, the cafe is still new and I am a hermit. Everything surprises me.
The Otherwise Cafe is a perfect example of how sometimes the thing that you’re searching for is right under your own nose.
Some might find the cafe a little spooky since skulls, faceless bridal mannequins and possessed-looking antiques are used for decor but to those who find beauty in decay then this new establishment feels like a comfortable coffin that was tailored for your needs.
Over the weekend (June 6 & 7), this unexpected melancholic haven has gather its army of the dead (tired) artists/entrepeneurs and held a two-day-offering of otherworldly (kinda) things.
Upon closer inspection, the Other Things flea market which at first glance sprawls out onto the streets looking like any other small scale pasar malam actually offers products that are anything but ordinary.
Sure there were garments and accessories which you could easily find at any other market of a similar sorts but with vendors such as Beeyinalicious Boutique, Unidentified Object, TeeBreak and MMM to just name a few, I could feel a disturbance in my wallet as the urge to be frivolous was strong (especially since gaji baru masuk).
The visitors of this creative bazaar were also an indication of a non-regular night market, each individual casually unique with their own style. With adorable canines being smothered by the little kids (yes it’s pet-friendly) while fashionable adults mingled over some cold brew on the wooden bench next to the parked Harleys (most likely returning from Art of Speed), and the melodies performed on the makeshift stage right in front of the cafe soothed in the background.
The musical lineup consisting of Andrew Lim, Yingz Yong, Danz, Yayazi, Kido Lee, Wee Ting and Kai Siang created an atmosphere that made the flea market feel like a community gathering of contemporary oriental aesthetics.
Though I didn’t understand the majority of the songs they were singing since the lyrics were either in Mandarin (or Cantonese or Hokkien, I’m not too sure), I swayed to the light rhythms nonetheless.
Once you pass through the heavy metal door and enter the cafe, you’re bombarded with several more rows of vendors specialising in visually enticing works.
From the quirky characters of Sshown Chang‘s 线 . 在说故事 (The Storylines) to Oldstuffs Onnosoon‘s collection of vintage film cameras to Floyd Grey‘s minimalist seductions to About Art‘s (Alicia Lau, Mei Kei Ho & Ong Cai Bin) crafty trinkets: there was no doubt a variety of ways you could splurge hipster-style.
There were two booths in particular which caught my attention.
One was BOK TJUV‘s library of graphic books, design magazines, pocket zines, stylish notepads and stationery, all of which I had the pleasure of glancing through and thus tempted to purchase.
The other was Elena Kravchenko‘s ‘Last Dandelion’ booth displaying some amazing art prints. The friendly Russian artist was just recently accepted into the Sembilan’s Art Residency Program and was also a part of Thursdvys’s Potluck happening simulatneously during the weekend. Her passion in manufacturing visual masterpieces in a short period of time – as evident in her participation of the #the100dayProject and #the100dayofBeastiarium – allows her to perfect a style that’s simple and easy to digest yet imprints a memorable image in your mind.
There was also a Nail Saloon booth for the ladies to get their manicure fix and a barber corner if you ever feel the need to have an impulsive haircut. Looking at the queue and the happy faces of the guys (who seem to look better after the cut), made me wished I’ve kept my long hair to just experience this hairstylist’s magic hands.
The Other Things Flea Market definately suits the name. It is a collection of things that is beyond the ‘similiar’ (though there is some relation) and has that quality of the ‘Otherness’.
I will definately be returning to the cafe to hang out with Amoi Artisans and perhaps even taste some of their delicious treats.