Shu Yar Cheng, Partner of Uniform & Shentonista

After receiving a Facebook email from an old school friend, this young entrepreneur is now working in her dream job.
What’s your story?
My background is in finance and the arts. After graduating, I tried a couple of banking internships and realised that while I could do it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in it. So I took off and spent some time in Japan. I was nomadic for a few years until I received a Facebook message in 2013 from an ex-classmate, Darren Lee. We attended a film-making course together and he was looking for people to join his team. I came back from Japan and started work the day after I returned. I have been with UNIFORM and Shentonista ever since. I’m now a partner and I consider this my first ever “real job.”

What excites you most about your industry?
That it is constantly changing and there are constant curveballs thrown at you all the time. Nothing ever goes according to plan. We always have to think on our feet!

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m of Shanghainese, Cantonese and Indonesian descent, and proudly Singaporean. #majulahsingapura

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Of course Singapore lah. It’s safe, efficient, clean, cosmopolitan, the food is good and public transport is relatively cheap.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It is a Chinese saying that loosely translates to, “You learn more by traveling thousands of miles than by reading thousands of books.”
Since I was a child, my father emphasised the importance of travelling and encouraged us to “go see the world.” I’m really thankful because I think it moulded me into the person I am today. I’ve learnt to adapt quickly and I always try to approach things with an open mind.

Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from anything, anyone and from anywhere. I believe that we shouldn’t limit ourselves when it comes to discovering.
For example, I’m inspired by my 85 year old grandma and her voracious appetite for learning. She just got herself an iPhone. I’m also inspired by the trio of triplets I watched on YouTube; when given a snack, the eldest of the triplets makes it a point to feed his younger siblings first. They’re only 4 and they already know how to be selfless!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the entire Central America only has 1 Chinatown that’s in San Jose.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have continued with piano. According to my mother, I kept yawning during class so she ended my lessons. I wished my mother was one of those tiger moms who forced me to continue through to Grade 8.

How do you unwind?
Being constantly surrounded by people at work, whilst rewarding, can sometimes be draining. In my downtime, I try to spend some me-time reading (I love self-help books) or watching movies. I also enjoy travelling and make it a point to go on one “destination trip” per year. Last year was India, and this year will be Trans-Siberia.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Possibly Kanazawa. Kanazawa’s known as “Baby Kyoto”, minus the throng of tourists.  It was also where I first experienced homestay and true Japanese hospitality. I guess I’ll always have soft spot for Kanazawa.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Steal Like An Artist (and 9 Things Nobody Told Me) by Austin Kleon
An easy one-hour read that serves as a pick-me-up when you’re starting to feel slightly worn out at work. We all have days when we’re not feeling so great. We’re all humans after all!

Shameless plug for your business:
UNIFORM’s at the service of people who want to tell good stories. As such, we recently launched a little project on Shentonista called Family Pawtraits — a series of four interviews with dog owners and lovers, revealing more about the joys and challenges of welcoming a dog into their homes and lives. It’s Shentonista’s first pro-bono project in conjunction with Save Our Street Dogs Singapore (SOSD). We are hoping to raise awareness about the plight of street dogs in Singapore and to educate owners about the responsibilities of owning a pet.
The campaign will run from the 4th to the 25th of February with an interview released each week on the Shentonista website.

How can people connect with you?
Our websites and

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <>
Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from

About Callum Laing

Leave a Reply