Christmas Reflections

Christmas is perhaps like any other day for me and I am not a big fan of showing love and care by buying presents for family and friends for the season.  I rather not received gifts as well.  Showing love, care and concern for all should be a daily affair, isn’t it?

When I was much younger, the festive was a stressful one. I kept asking myself what gifts to buy, would they like the gifts……thus in a distant year, faded from my memories, I stopped buying gifts! I was bombarded with questions from the receivers. Are you in financial trouble? Are you suffering from stress? Did I offend you?  Thankfully, most of them accepted my reasons for the decision.

I am not against how commercialization of Christmas, it is about appreciating the true meaning of Christmas.  I wanted to focus on the other values in life and this is more so when we are in the midst of a pandemic / endemic.

The relationship and support built over the years through interactions, during Christmas and every other occasion has also allow us to remain steadfast and balance during this period of Covid.  It has also reaffirmed that beyond materiality, the strength provided by strong relations is very important to cope with the challenges brought about my COVID.   

I am also thankful to clients, associates and partners who have stayed with us from our early days as a co-operative to today’s status as a pte ltd.  The trust that you have given us, inspires me and my team to strive our very best for you.

Have a Joyous Christmas season everyone!

Year End 2021 and heading into 2022 (Education / Schools / Workshops)

It has being a challenging year for all with the pandemic and we are grateful that we have successfully navigated the journey with quiet confidence and determination.

Notable mentions on the Education / Schools / Workshops segment for 2021. Our trainers, Ronald Low & Bernard Teo secured honorable mentions in the 2021 edition of Our School Our Stories (OSOS) competition for Precious Moments (Junior Category) and Video (Youth Category).

Image 1: Our School Our Stories 2021 exhibition @ HeartbeatBedok

We also piloted a workshop in 2021, whereby we integrate Augmented Reality into the Storytelling Via Photography curriculum in a secondary school. A big shout out to our associate trainers, Andrew and Colin from Ascendis for partnering us to develop the programme as we continuously explore innovations and relevancy for our workshops.

Image 2 & 3: Augmented Reality & Storytelling Via Photography Workshop / Face to Face and Online Sessions

Heading into 2022, we are excited about the opportunities and we are also humbled by the fact that majority of the schools that we are teaching at, have being us since we started. Cheers everyone and enjoy the festive season!


We are excited to know that Art & Market is partnering with Jason Lim, artist and Artistic Director, Singapore Ceramics Now to present the “Singapore Ceramics Now: Marking | Making” on A&M Marketplace.

It includes artworks and essays related to ⁣’Marking | Making’, the inaugural exhibition of Singapore Ceramics Now 2021, that showcased of 19 Singapore-based artists through ceramic art.

Istoria is also thankful for the opportunity to have our associate photographer, Bernard Teo of Influx Productions, to photograph majority of the works for the event and publication and we have already purchased a copy!

Visit the following link to get your copy soon as it is limited print run:

Re-Imagine Photography Workshops (13-21 March 2021)

We are launching our pilot 1:1 Re-Imagine Photography workshops from 13-21 March 2021. It is an 2 hour workshop and you can choose your time slots as per details provided and subjected to availability.

This workshop is suitable for all as the focus is to appreciate the beauty of the world that we live in via photography. Photography is an expression of who U are, what U feel of the world…..

To sign up or queries clarification, please email to with the subject header “Re-Imagine Photography”

See you soon!

Singapore Art Week 2021

Singapore Art Week 2021 #SAW2021 celebrate visual arts and the 9th edition took place from 22 to 30 January 2021.  There were many events such as the 7th Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF), #NEVERBEFORESG by The National Museum of Singapore, Aisha Rosli: Black Eye Solo Exhibition at Cuturi Gallery, All Things New at the Esplanade, S.E.A. Focus 2021 and so many more.

What was exciting for us was the increased representation of millennial artists during this edition of #SAW2021.  Perhaps it was the pandemic but it is so refreshing that #SAW2021 became a bigger stage for the young artists to be seen and heard. Amazing!

We also discovered a young ceramist by the name of Shao Qi, whose works were shown at Gajah Gallery, Ceramic Expressions at The Substation and Singapore Ceramics Now at Gillman Barracks.  We were fascinated by the many pieces showcased that highlighted the ephemeral qualities of nature. Beautiful, intricate and poignant. 

CosmicWander: Expedition by Choy Ka Fai had us intrigued as well as it documented the various shamanistic dance cultures in Asia. The manner in which the video installation was presented was fantastic!  

Another highlight was to have the opportunity to speak and visit Sim Chi Yin’s residency at Gillman Barrack by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art. She is a Magnum Photos nominee member and for a Singaporean to achieve this milestone is so inspiring for the next generation of documentarians and story tellers. 

Finally, we are also gratified to have the opportunity to photograph the exhibits for The Inaugural ‘Singapore Ceramics Now 2021 (SCN) exhibition in Gillman Barracks which aims to make its mark as a visionary platform of contemporary ceramics that surveys the work of 19 Singapore-based artists. SCN is founded and led by Artistic Director, Jason Lim, a renowned Singaporean ceramicist and performance artist, and curated in partnership with SEED the Art Spac.  The exhibition is on-going till 13 Feb 2021 and details can be found here:

The Journey Of Socialpreneurship

Sharing by Mr Ronald Low, Chairperson & Founding Member, Istoria Co-operative Singapore Ltd

Socialpreneurship is a challenging journey to embark on. It is made harder by the very structure that the co-operative needs to have ie 5 ordinary members in the Committee of Management. It used to be 10! Humans as we know are the hardest to work with, even in pairs. Whether its parent to child, girlfriend and boyfriend and between spouses, friction often occur for many reasons. Personally, I feel that the ego of an individual is often a major cause of this conflicts. Different stakeholders often have different viewpoints on a particular issue and it’s very tough to resolve since it involves compromising oneself. When it cannot be resolved, it often leads to personal attacks.

Thus at the early stage of any start-up, the human resources need to be aligned and when it is not, decisive actions have to be taken before the toxicity spreads like a cancer. This is in addition to the need to grow the revenue of the business and balance it with the social mission, as co-operatives are regulated social enterprises. They are often misunderstood as charities, which they are not. To do good, the co-operative needs to do well as they cannot be dependent on donations.

It is now the start of the 3rd year in 2021 and having only assumed the leadership of the collective in mid of 2020, there are many important lessons that I have picked up along the way and thus decided to put it down in writing, for the purpose of sharing. …juz a couple of points 🙂

1. Evolve

Evolution is so necessary in today’s disruptive environment. We are not talking about the products / services that we sell but also how we sell them. Businesses need to develop something that had never been done before to be successful and often a minor adjustment in the strategy and improvement in the product is all that is needed. Take photography courses as an example. It can’t get more real than this, since the collective is in this business segment. Face to face courses were popular years ago and there was serious money to be made. But with the advent of YouTube, you can learn the basics of photography in the comfort of your home and spend zero dollars. So how?

There must be value add to potential clients and consumers to motivate them to buy. Are there intrinsic benefits and reasons to consume, that a seller has failed to identify? Consumers are humans and we constantly evolve, in terms of needs and wants. Sellers have to be sensitive to that.

2. Pilot & Iterations

When you are first starting out, you will have many ideas that you want to try out. You have your internal discussions on SWOTS, market positioning and strategies etc. However, most of it remain as it is, theory.

It is important to test out a few ideas as a collective and this acts as a hedge, in the event that 1 or more of the ideas actually fail. Basic rule, brainstorm a quick way to put together the most basic form of a product(s) to send to potential customers. You need to do this as the business environment is constantly changing. When you roll out the product, it is real time information on how successful the product might be in the market versus the various assumptions that you put on paper. With the market info provided, it allows to fine tune your product offering so that demand is actualised. Remember this, no matter how good the quality of your product is and the market doesn’t demand it, it is an useless product. Period.

3. Think for the present and be flexible

The old school method was to have a 3-5 years business plans or strategy. That was good for a time long gone.  The world is not revolving any more, it is spinning out of synch with so much disruptions. 

It is advisable to have plans as they are road-maps.  But  focus on the short terms and immediate future. I usually plan for 3-6 months and a year, depending on the situation.  No point crafting long term plans as it will lose its relevance as the environment changes and we need to be flexible and adapt.

For the last 2 years, I had to change the business focus due to changes in the competitors’ offering, disruption in human resources etc. Once you catch a wave, ride it and look for the next wave. Be nimble.  

4. Work Sufficient and Play More

We often hear of stories of entrepreneurs working 24/7 because they are so passionate about their business or are simply hungry for success.  I personally do not agree to that as it leads to burnout.  Without rest and play, the heart, mind and soul will not last the journey till you find success.

Never sacrifice family, social life, health and fun!  This can help clear your mind so you’ll make better decisions or arrive at realizations that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

#collaborate #cooperate #teamwork #positivevibes #harmonybreedsprosperity