Believe it or not, fashion and pop culture made their mark this past weekend at the APEC meeting in Singapore–an event which annually draws great media attention, no less this year thanks to the presence of ‘celebrity’ leader US President Barack Obama.
When it was reported pre-event, that the star attendee might arrive late–delayed in the States for the Ft. Hood shooting victims’ memorial service–the official APEC photo shoot was quickly re-scheduled from Saturday to Sunday. And as a result, the original plan for the world leaders to be photographed wearing the traditional attire of the host country was also cancelled, with limited time for them to change on the new tighter schedule.
But, in the end, Obama made it for the originally planned Saturday evening shoot. And perhaps it was Singaporean designer Wykidd Song who breathed the biggest sigh of relief upon hearing this news, because he designed the Peranakan-inspired outfits that were worn by the president and other leaders (blue and red shirts with mandarin collars).
Yet two Singaporean celebrities also present at the meeting weren’t as lucky as Song. Obama missed the performances of Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza, who were part of Saturday’s ‘Our World, One World’ programme, aimed at showcasing the host country’s creative talents and unique culture.
Batisah and Mirza, first and second-season champions of Singapore Idol , have apparently become national household names after appearing in the local version of the popular British reality show (Pop Idol). Meanwhile, Mirza was also the winner of the first and only instalment of the Asia Idol competition that was held in Indonesia in 2007, featuring the ‘top idols’ from countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.