On the surface, Dhammakamo appears to be a typical Thai monk, but he is Singaporean and his name was Hendrick Phua.
When he was only 10, Hendrick was already beating up his mother. At 14, he fought with his father and nearly killed him. He led a life of sex, violence and debauchery. Then, on a trip to Thailand, he decided to try out being a monk for a month. At the end of that month, he decided to stay on. He remained a monk for 16 months. After disrobing, he realised he couldn’t quite fit into the layman’s world anymore. The video below shows his return to the Sangha. Hendrick is currently in Thailand.
John (not his real name) loves his tattoos. His lower legs are tattooed all round with a curious mixture of Gothic images and verses from the Bible. With his tattoos covered, John can strut down Shenton Way like any other lawyer.
John shocked his colleagues when his legs were exposed during a overseas trip. To make things worse, his father teaches in a prison. But John is a professional and not a wayward child. He is comfortable with his tattoos and his love for rock music.
Day or night? Good or evil? John believes that only God can judge. That’s the theme of his back piece.
Born to well-to-do parents in Singapore, Australia girl Lauren lived like a princess, had good grades and everything that a girl could ask for. Then, family issues cropped up and to seal her fate, she was raped by someone close to the family.
Lauren’s life took a downward spiral into depression, self-injury and sexual confusion. Where therapy had failed, tattoos seemed to have worked. She began to ink her body, found new friends and a new lease of life. So fond of tattoos was she that she studied and wrote a thesis on it.
Destined never to work in an office, Lauren is now a model and a performer, working with fire and snakes. With so many tattoos on her body, what stories does she have to tell us? Check it out in our book, Leaving The Pain Behind.
Below is a video documenting Lauren’s tattooing session with renowned local artist Elson Yeo.
Famous for his tattoos and his shocking antics on TV, Singaporean DJ Chris Ho is a strong critic of the Establishment who is without any political agenda. The younger readers may not know his colourful past, but Chris is quite a character as author Chan Joon Yee found out for himself. What makes this man tick? His music? His tattoos? Or his deranged mind?
Read about Chris Ho’s love for music and freedom. Read about his hatred for hypocrisy and censorship. Read about his tattoos. It’s all in our book, Leaving The Pain Behind.
Athena (not her real name) is not Thai but Singaporean. She tattooed the word “jao ying” (meaning princess) on her neck as a hint to a Thai boy in her dragon boat team. He was in ITE. She was in an elite school and their love was never meant to be.
From a straight-laced Singaporean point of view, Athena’s life spun out of orbit after her A Levels. Instead of moving on to university, she took up several jobs from an air stewardess in a budget airline to a dancer in a strip club in Canada.
Like a rolling stone, she gathered rich and exotic experiences. The tattoo on her lip is the most bizarre. Earning a good income from modelling now, she became a fan of plastic surgery too. Where is she headed? Will she eventually get back on track here in Singapore or will she just drift off to become the next Annabel Chong?
At first sight, Lydia looks like any average kueh-loving Peranakan girl. But beneath the sarong kebaya, lies a permanently etched, painful past. How did a sweet, innocent girl end up tattooing herself? Read Lydia’s story and full-colour photos of her tattoos in our book, Leaving The Pain Behind – available at Toy Outpost at Nex and Plaza Singapura. Author signed copies are available online.
When he was only 10, he was already beating up his mother. At 14, he fought with his father and nearly killed him. He led a life of sex, violence and debauchery. Then, on a trip to Thailand, he decided to try out being a monk for a month. At the end of that month, he decided to stay on.
So many narrow-minded people in Singapore think that tattoos and tattooed people are evil. I don’t have a single tattoo myself. I decided to find out more while writing this book and I discovered that I was right. Tattooed people may want to look nice. They may want to look bad, but at the end of the day, the heart is not shown on the skin.
Leaving the Pain Behind is currently rolling off the press. Watch out for it next week!