June 22, 2016

If you had walked by Raffles Place today, you’d probably have spotted something that’s quite impossible to miss — posters of children plastered across the walls of the MRT station, and then, a quaint red booth that stands out among the grassy fields at the courtyard where many office workers gather. We’re talking about SK-II’s very public and very prominent event, where the global skincare brand unveiled a new chapter of their renowned #changedestiny campaign, called ‘Dream Again’.

As the title implies, this focuses on our dreams — the ones we strive for, the ones we wish to attain, and especially the ones we might have cast aside while growing up, in favour of more “reasonable” and “practical” goals. In fact, in a Global Dreams Index Survey conducted by the skincare brand, they found that women were becoming less satisfied with their lives as they grow older — particularly, 3 in 4 Singaporean women have given up on their dreams.

Which is why something needed to be done.

SKII Dream Again - Popup at One Raffles Place Queue SKII Dream Again - Child Counselors giving out coffee

In the heart of the Central Business District, we were privy to a social experiment — rather than children seeking advice from working executives and professionals, interestingly, things were flipped around; the children were playing counsellor to these grown-ups, asking them about their dreams and getting, well, us really, to reflect on the things we yearn for that are unfiltered by societal standards and expectations. To “reconnect with their forgotten dreams”, the brand says.

Needless to say, as we were sitting on a beanbag talking to a most adorable 7-year-old boy with big, bright eyes, we felt… refreshed. “I want to be an astronaut,” he said, utterly convicted and unwavering in his tone, all the while relaxed on a beanbag of his own. There was a certain precocious about him when he confidently spoke about himself, and even while sharing his doubts and fears (“I don’t really know how, but I’m sure I don’t wanna go for Mars — they found water there, and there might be aliens.”), he was as assured as few of us can be nowadays. After keying in our dreams on the online form, we were in for a treat — free coffee — and nicely, a tumbler that bore our ideal dream quotes, that served as a reminder of this one experience.

SKII Dream Again - Joshua Tan Maxi Lim Benjamin Kheng & Child Counselor SKII Dream Again - Oon Shu An & Child Counselor

Many prominent local personalities were there as well — SK-II Ambassador, Rebecca Lim, made an appearance, to the resounding cheers of her personal fan club, while others like singer-songwriter Daphne Khoo, YouTube creators Munah Bagharib and Hirzi Zulkilfie also got their time with the adorable children. We heard host Oon Shu Ann, musician Benjamin Kheng, actors Joshua Tan and Maxi Lim talking about chasing their dreams while on stage, and not surprisingly too, as they were the aspirational figures who gave the audience a key message — dare to chase and live their dreams, no matter what.

In just three hours, over 350 dreams were collected at the pop-up and 400 adults were counselled by the children to dream again. “The #changedestiny campaign challenges the belief that destiny is set at birth and celebrates women who have gone beyond limitations to achieve success,” said Markus Strobel, President Global SK-II. “By encouraging women to pursue their dreams and empowering them to overcome personal and societal limitations, we hope to inspire more women to change their destiny.”

SKII Dream Again - SK-II SG Ambassador Rebecca Lim & Child Counselor SKII Dream Again - Munah & Hirzi and Child Counselor

As with many passers-by we heard from today, you might be wondering what all this has to do with a skincare brand, famously known for their Pitera-infused products, “miracle water” of the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, and their bevy of crystal-clear skinned ambassadors such as Cate Blanchett and Rebecca Lim. Maybe little, directly at least, but it says a lot when a global skincare brand is redefining the way we view ourselves, who we are, and then, our worth, stake and definition of beauty in society today. That speaks a whole deal actually.

For a reminder of what we learnt from today’s event, we thankfully only have to look at the short film that SK-II has put out there, tackling these topics of societal expectations, dreams and more — hopefully, as the brand puts it, these simple yet powerful words of encouragement will remind you to never give up on your dreams, forgotten or not.