A Crazy Dream

Every big dream starts with one crazy act.

For Edgar Lim and Florence Chua, it was quitting their comfortable jobs to start their very own cafe. If that’s not quite crazy enough, their cafe also supports local music and design, hoping to push Singaporean acts to the forefront, even though ‘local’ is not what many Singaporeans consider to be hip fare.

Housed in a small shophouse off Temple Street in Singapore’s Chinatown, CrazyWorld Cafe offers both comfort food and a space for the city’s dreamers to gather. The cafe periodically hosts ticketed music gigs featuring both local and regional names, like Singapore’s own The Freshman and Taiwan’s Katncandix2. Lining its walls are quirky design products made entirely by Singaporeans. And smack right in the cafe’s center is a small stage where, if we are allowed to be sappy about it, all sorts of dreams come true.

For Edgar and Florence, life before CrazyWorld was work, work and more work. Edgar was a designer who had done everything from designing window displays to producing the cover for the Singapore coffee book featured in the Shanghai World Expo, while Florence was heavily involved in the local music industry, working alongside big names like Billy Koh, JJ Lin, Lee Weisong and so on.

The idea of CrazyWorld was first planted years ago. Amazed and inspired by the cafes and music venues they visited on their many trips overseas, the couple vowed to start their own one day. And they did.

Perhaps what is most crazy about their dream is this: they knew right from the start that they were not going to make big money. It still feels to them like CrazyWorld is a mission, or as Edgar puts it, a ‘Final Year Project’. Their strong passion is, I suspect, how they have managed to survive the nightmare of grappling with Singapore’s many bureaucratic red tapes, all just to get the appropriate licenses for their cafe.

I asked them for their greatest satisfaction in running the place, despite the many challenges and difficulties. “When we manage to get in an appreciative audience for the performers, everyone is happy, so we are happy too. That makes all the hard work and heartache worthwhile.”

Their ultimate goal is for the cafe to break even. “It sounds materialistic, but it’s what we need to keep the dream alive.” They also hope, eventually, to organize an indie music and design festival in Singapore, one akin to Taiwan’s much-lauded Simple Life Festival.

“Ultimately, it’s not what we want the cafe to be, but what we hope the culture in Singapore can become – more vibrant, more spontaneous, more creative, with locals supporting one another.”

When I got them to give some hard- earned advice to entrepreneurs-to-be aching to take the plunge, they simply said, “There’s no shortcut through this, it’s pure hard work.”

Perhaps it also takes a little bit of courage to commit that first act of madness, just as Edgar and Florence did, and the rest is history.

CrazyWorld Cafe

24 Temple Street, Singapore 058569
Tel: 6223 7553