We’re always trying to break ourselves out of our New York bubble and keep an eye on what’s happening in skating in other parts of the world. As jaded as it sounds, we’ve consumed way too much content from the same big skate hubs over the years, so we’re always looking for something less obvious to get us hyped.
Even though the level of skating isn’t always as high in these emerging scenes, the spots and the styles are always new, and we like watching something raw grow and blossom, too. That’s why when we were sent this new Kenny Kamil part, “Eirie,” we were down to share it with all of you, who have probably no idea where Singapore even is on a map.
When researching Singapore, we found one consistent thing travel guides want you to know: leave your damn chewing gum at home. Weird, right? Turns out Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world, with a list of fines to make sure it stays that way. While fining people for littering or jaywalking makes sense, we couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of an alleyway Trident bust.
Avoiding the laundry list of fines would seemingly make Singapore a hard place to skate, but with its untapped spots and eager skate scene, we learned there’s plenty on offer.
Q&A with Kenny Kamil
Is it true that you’re sponsored by a barbershop? Do they give you free haircuts?
Yeah. Actually, it’s funny, I had never heard of anyone in Singapore getting sponsored by a barbershop. It’s a new thing for everybody. Since then they’ve sponsored other people for free haircuts. I was shocked, and I showed it to my friend like, “Hey, this guy at the barbershop wants to sponsor me.” I just have to put the sticker from the barbershop on my board [laughs].
So you’re always looking fresh in your clips?
[Laughs] Yeah. Anytime I have an event I get a haircut.
Some people don’t realize that Singapore is completely surrounded by water. Do you ever have beach days or try to surf?
[Laughs] We don’t have any waves over here. It’s flat. Around Singapore, the water has too many offshore ships and the sea is full of oil, so if you go to the beach there’s no point.
I saw that you visited LA recently. What was your first impression?
I went last year. I couldn’t believe I made it there. I met so many pro skaters. I met Stevie Williams at J-Kwon. We talked about where I’m from and how long I’m going to be there.
The time before we went to [the US] we went to Phoenix, Arizona, and I skated Phoenix AM. It was a good experience even though it didn’t go well. It was my first big contest. Oh, I was also surprised to see a three-wheeled car.
Did you got to In-N-Out? Do you think it’s worth the hype?
Oh yeah, it was good. I am a Muslim so for me it is hard to find food to eat. It needs to be halal. I only ate halal rice and sushi because most of the sushi is halal.
Have you seen any American pros in Singapore?
The New Balance team came here, like Jack Curtin. That’s the only guy I can remember. Nyjah has been here before [laughs]. Also Wes Kramer.
What’s something about skating in Singapore that people may not know?
The best part is that we have so many spots. Lots of marble ledges. Anything you want to skate here is around the city. You can go anywhere and find skate spots. Since we have good ground, you can cruise almost anywhere.
Is the no chewing gum thing true, and is it really that clean there?
Yeah, chewing gum was banned by the government. I think most people do it anyway. We smuggle it from Malaysia and bring it back here. When I went to LA I was shocked. I didn’t expect it to be not this way.
“Yeah, chewing gum was banned by the government.”
I’ve heard stories about Singapore cops being dicks. Any standout stories there?
I got fined once, like $300. I think that happens rarely, but if you’re unlucky then you get fined. It used to be cops chasing skateboarders, and I’ve heard stories about how cops see skateboarders as criminals, but now I think after the Olympics happened everything slowed down.
Do you have any plans to represent Singapore at the next Olympics?
I’m actually not a contest guy. We don’t have many facilities here to train. In Singapore, we only have two skateparks. One has been there for like 15-20 years, and same with the other one. They are building a new one now.
So between Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, who has the best skate spots?
I think for me it’s Thailand. Bangkok has so many spots there. They have more fun spots to skate, and most people in Asia will go there to film. It’s hard to find food there though.
You wear a lot of Levi’s and vintage tees. Do you thrift in Singapore?
Every thrift shop in Singapore is expensive. It costs like $40. I always travel to Malaysia, their capital city [Kuala Lumpur]. They have cheap thrift stuff. I always go with my friends and I am always the first one to find good stuff. I always find the collared tee shirts with the buttons.
Do you have a job or is skateboarding paying the bills?
I am currently serving the nation. In Singapore, we have something called National Service that is compulsory for every guy above 18. You serve for two years. There’s like army, firefighter, or police officer. They will throw you out to one of these three.
Which one are you doing?
Firefighter, but I work in admin. My job is sending guys to the other courses, like medic, firefighter, driver, and others. I have five months left and I’m gonna end my two year service.
Did you have to go through military training though?
No, I didn’t do any of that. I’m not interested in that. I don’t want to risk my life.
“I am currently serving the nation.
Service is compulsory for every guy above 18.”
How much does it pay a year?
As an admin I only got paid $630 [usd] every month.
Do you look forward to visiting America again so you can chew gum freely?
[laughs] I would be hyped to go to America again and chew gum [laughs]
Did you ever consider trying to smuggle in American gum into your country? Would it be easy or very hard?
I’m kinda scared to answer this kind of question [laughs] Singapore is a strict country.
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