Photographer in search of S'poreans born on Aug 9 for feature project

Photographer in search of S'poreans born on Aug 9 for feature project
Photographer Tay Kay Chin is taking pictures of 50 people born on National Day, one for each year for his August 9 Babies project.

For more than a year, photographer Tay Kay Chin, 49, has been searching for people born on National Day for his project, August 9 Babies.

He wants to profile 50 Singaporeans born on Aug 9 - one born each year since Singapore gained independence in 1965 - and has been hunting for his subjects via social media and word of mouth.

It started in 2003 when Mr Tay decided to photograph 40 people born on Aug 9 for Singapore's 40th birthday.

"I was also born in 1965, and at that mid-life stage I was trying to figure out what it meant to be a Singaporean, to live in Singapore," he said.

Back then, he publicised his project through appearances on TV, radio and print media to find his subjects.

After two years, he completed the 40 portraits in 2005, and was able to print 4,000 copies of the portraits, which were displayed as posters around the country.

Last year, Mr Tay was commissioned by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to create 50 new portraits of people born on National Day, as part of LTA's Art in Transit programme. The portraits will become a permanent display at Marina Bay MRT station and will be installed by late July.


Doing the project a second time, however, has not necessarily made it easier.

Mr Tay found it difficult to find profiles of those born in the past 10 years because there were few parents of young children in his usual network of contacts.

About fifteen of the 50 profiles will come from his previous project in 2003, and they will be photographed again. Mr Tay had wanted to feature more of them again but he had lost some of their contacts.

He also had to turn away some people with similar profiles, because he felt it was important to feature a diverse group of Singaporeans that represented local demographics.

But there are still some missing years in his project (See report on right.).

For Mr Tay, it was most rewarding to visit people he had photographed a decade ago and see how they have changed.

One example is Faris, then eight, who told Mr Tay that he wanted to be a footballer. Now 18, Faris is an ITE student studying lighting and sound design, and an aspiring photographer.

Mr Tay said: "The feeling of walking into a place I was in 10 years ago and having them treat me like a long-lost friend is priceless. It makes me want to repeat this project every 10 years."

Are you an Aug 9 baby?

Project August 9 Babies is still looking for Singaporeans born on Aug 9 in the following years: 1970, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1986, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2011.

If you are an Aug 9 baby born in one of those years or know someone who is, send proof of Photo ID with date of birth to project producer Bernice Wong at 9769 8301, or e-mail her at

This article was first published on May 23, 2015.
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