Singaporean "toy nerd" has collection of 6,000 Barbie dolls

Singaporean "toy nerd" has collection of 6,000 Barbie dolls
Doll collector Jian Yang poses with part of his collection at his home in Singapore on Monday, Sept 2, 2013.

SINGAPORE - The white exterior and spartan grey staircase of Mr Jian Yang's tidy rowhouse give no hint of the shock that lies within - a pink living room floor and his collection of more than 6,000 Barbie dolls. 

The 33-year-old Singaporean favours minimalist decor, but the Barbies and 3,000 dolls of other kinds dominate three sides of the main room and spill over to fill nine mirrored cabinets in his dressing room and the shelves of his study.

"Incongruous is kind of me," Mr Yang told Reuters. "When you meet me outside of this, I'm not that kind of guy. I'm not what you expect from a guy that collects dolls."

Mr Yang has a professional interest in toys and consumer trends as director of strategy at Omicom Media Group. But his Barbie collection began at age 13, when he bought the "Great Shape" model in a turquoise Spandex gym outfit and striped leg warmers.

"Before I knew anything about social norms, I was a boy that watched this on TV, liked it and wasn't allowed to have one," he said. "As I grew older, got my own allowance, that's where I started getting the freedom to buy whatever I wanted."

His boyhood interest turned into a "crazy obsession" that his friends support and his family has come to accept.

"I'm very into collections, I'm very into amassing," Mr Yang said. "I've also got the ex-girlfriends who get insecure about this kind of stuff... They look at dolls and go 'Okay, that's the competition', which is quite troubling but it's a reality."

The self-described "toy nerd" reckons he has spent at least S$500,000 over the last 20 years on his collection, which also features hundreds and hundreds of dolls from the Bratz Girls, Monster High and Jem and the Holograms lines.

 

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