He flies SIA just to collect flight souvenirs

Most people spend thousands of dollars in airfare to travel to exotic destinations.

But not for private tutor Erwin Sim.

He has spent more than $25,000 for tickets on the first flights for eight of Singapore Airline's A380 routes, only to take the same flight back.

The reason? He wants the one-of-kind memorabilia that is handed out only on such flights.

Mr Sim, 48, said: "You get exclusive souvenir stamp covers, certificates and so many other kinds of things that you cannot get anywhere else."

For the past 25 years, he has been collecting Singapore Airlines memorabilia.

Other than the first flight souvenirs, he also trawls the Internet forums and vintage stores for items to add to his collection.

Mr Sim said: "The national airlines is a big part of our history. They have so many items and they tell a great story, but no one here is actively collecting them."

His collection includes key chains, plush toys, stamps and postcards. There are so many items in his collection that he has lost count, but he estimates that they are worth more than $100,000.


Some of them date back as far back as the 1960s, when Singapore Airlines was then called Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA).

"The Singapore Airlines branding is very strong for a little red dot like Singapore and they make things that people do not know about, so I am always on the lookout for more things to add to my collection," he said.

His favourite item is a letter opener in the shape of a silver kris - a traditional Malay dagger - from when Singapore Airlines was still MSA. It was given to passengers who took flights then.

He also enjoys the experience of getting on the first flights of the Singapore Airlines A380s and has gone on their first flights to places all over the world including Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and Frankfurt.

"I do not just do it for the collectibles. It is such a great experience because the crew will put on performances and play games with the passengers, it is like a big celebration up in the air," he said.

Mr Sim's collection is being exhibited in the Potong Pasir Community Club hall this weekend, after it caught the attention of Potong Pasir neighbourhood committee chairman, Mr Chua Kang Cheh.

Mr Sim had attended another exhibition organised by Mr Chua's committee and he took the chance to speak to Mr Chua about his collection. Mr Chua, who has been organising exhibitions for the past 10 years, was impressed by what he heard.

"I have never heard of such an exhibition. I thought that people might be interested in such a collection because of its wide variety," he said.

Mr Sim hopes to soar with his collection.

"It would be a dream come true to have my collection shown at a bigger venue on a larger scale, so that more people can appreciate the Singapore Airlines brand," he said with a smile.

This article was first published on Dec 19, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.