ask Rovik about
cheap food • chinese food • comfort food • night markets • nightclubs • mega club • cocktail bars
a bit about Rovik
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm currently a student but I also travel frequently and contribute to my YouTube Channel back home that produces social experiment videos to envision a better future for Singapore. My life is driven by the hope that communities are the foundations of societies and that the unbiased narratives that shape these communities together with the values they ascribe to ought to be the focus of any nation-building effort. Singapore has a multitude of communities and the mix is constantly evolving as more of the world becomes excited about us. Being able to engage with that dynamism requires constant learning and understanding but that's exciting.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?
Being a boy scout. I've not had many bad jobs, but being a boy scout in Singapore was one of the most challenging times I remember. All uniformed groups in Singapore are unfortunately militarized to prepare students for a career in the Armed Forces, and that permeates to even the most innocent of uniformed groups such as the Scouts. We'd do up to 100 push ups a day, our seniors would yell at us for no good reason and I'd spend nights on end doing scout-y stuff. My time in the army was much easier as a result of the preparation but a 15 year old shouldn't have to go through all that.
Were you born and raised in Singapore? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Singapore?
I was born in India but my family brought me to Singapore when I was 4 and I've been a Singaporean ever since. It really goes to show that the idea of Home is not as simple as where you're born. I do make regular trips back to India to see my grandparents but everytime I do, I think back to Singapore and the sense of familiarity that I miss.
What’s your current hood in Singapore and what’s the best/worst thing about it?
I bop around a bit so there's no real 'hood' for me - it goes well with the nomadic lifestyle of my generation. I do frequent Holland Village a lot though, but that's because it's a convenient eat-drink-live venue. It's become extremely convenient because of the public transportation around the area, but at the same time it's still a decently pricey neighborhood.
What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?
I listen to a good amount of hip-hop, R&B, rock, electronic and indie music. I wouldn't say I hate any kind of music but I'm definitely still trying to understand heavy metal. I'm open to it though, especially because the fact that there's a whole community around that kind of music means there must be something I'm not seeing yet.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Lots of Bon Iver. Just pure Bon Iver.
Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?
I follow a lot of the HBO series - Game of Thrones, The Wire, Sopranos etc. They explore the human condition in so many different and unique ways. I also love Survivor as a show of wit, and How I Met Your Mother.
Name some spots in Singapore that are good for a Tinder date.
Mt. Faber is a favorite spot for me. I also like to explore speakeasies in the Chinatown/Outram area and grab food at the newest concept restaurant.
Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).
Every Singapore politician - I think politicians in Singapore see themselves as infallible. We're electing representatives so sometimes it's difficult to see the humanity in our leaders. A good roast like the WH Correspondent's Dinner would be a good show for everyone.
Who’s your hero and where in Singapore would you take them out for a serious hang?
I have many people I respect and admire. I would say I'd wanna hang out with either Richard Branson or Anthony Bourdain and I'd take them to explore the old Istana Woodneuk as a look into old Singapore.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Online. I believe in the power of the internet.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
Singapore's generally safe so I don't think you want to really avoid any place. I would say though, if you're eating steak in Singapore, you should either spend $5 at the hawker center or $30 at a nice restaurant. Don't settle for anything mediocre.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Take the public transport and know that I can reach anywhere in the country.
Where do you go in Singapore for a casual night out?
Late night supper in Singapore is amazing. Grab coffee at a coffee shop or have some prata. It's really such a comforting feeling.
Where would you go in Singapore to celebrate some freaking good news?
I'm gonna have to go with Zouk. It's always been zouk.
What’s your choice of transportation in Singapore and why?
Uber. Although I've heard Grab is making a strong showing. I just like the convenience, especially in Singapore where there's so much to do and so little time.
What are the Singapore spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
I think the touristy stuff in the bay and city is valid, but don't spend more than a day. Hit the cultural neighborhoods (Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam esp. Haji Lane) and then go even further into the history in Changi, Woodlands and Pulau Ubin. Enjoy the sights from Mt Faber and Southern Ridges as well.
What are the Singapore spots tourists should run from screaming?
Most restaurants in Orchard aren't worth it (with some exceptions). Also definitely have a plan when you're going to Sentosa. The place can be fun if you know what to check out, but don't get trapped by the tourist-traps. Also choose between the Flyer and the top of Marina Bay Sands. You don't need to do both.
Tomorrow’s your last day in Singapore. How do you spend it?
Grab breakfast/coffee in Haji Lane. Go prawning in one of the urban prawn ponds. Eat the delicious seafood. Grab an afternoon beer at the Ann Siang area. Watch a local show/musical somewhere in town. Have a fancy dinner at one of our many acclaimed restaurants. I'd recommend Burnt Ends. Cap your night off at one of Singapore's many watering holes including Clarke Quay. Grab supper at Swee Choon Dimsum.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Berlin. It has great food, nightlife and people, and it's a launchpad to the rest of the world.