The 26 letters of Hipster Alphabet: The ultimate A to Z Singapore hipster guide

How hipster are you?

Medha Lim| September 22, 05:15 PM

What makes a normal person want to be a hipster in Singapore? Is it because Singapore is so economically developed we have too much time and money to spend on other essential things in life? Can hipsters think? Aren't they bothered by the dirty looks they get on a regular basis? Were they dropped on their heads as babies?

We are not definitely sure about the answers to these frequently asked questions, but being a hipster is not only about an Instagram-fueled cafe-hopping existence.

This is because Hipsterism is in your bones.

It is in the organic coffee-scented breath you exhale, the socially-aware footprints you leave in the soil, and as a start, it must be in the words that roll off your tongue that has grown used to mainstream tastes.

So you want to be a hipster?

To get started, here's the A-Z guide to help you down the path to hipster nirvana:

A is for:


Artisanal brings to mind someone toiling over the earth to produce something in small quantities. And then an expert, who dedicated his life and picked his craft over his wife and children, will coax the essence of that thing out.

But it is actually just a cup of coffee.

However, now you know why that small shot of espresso costs $6. It is this mental image it conjures.

B is for:


Bespoke used to be a term reserved for suit tailoring where every part of the suit is tailored specifically to an individual's body shape.

These days, there is bespoke hair, bespoke coffee, bespoke shoes and bespoke beards.

C is for:


When hipsters gather, it's not just a meeting or gathering. It is a collective.

There are now art collectives, thought collectives and breakfast collectives. It is just an arty farty way of saying "bunch of people with too much free time".

Therefore, don't be thrown by this term "collective". It can easily mean "organisation". Or "group".

D is for:


Exclusivity, mystery, intimacy -- that's the hallmark of a great cafe that hipsters love. Somewhere that stumps regular map readers and normal people.

Which explains the big crowds and long queues at these discreet and hidden-in-plain-sight cafes.

E is for:


Because plastic is too mainstream, enamelware is the material of choice because nothing makes food taste better than the clang of burnished metal fork on enamel plate surface.

F is for:


Why would you pay $0.90 for a cup of kopitiam coffee when you can reward the hard work of coffee bean farmers toiling close to the earth and perpetuating your sense of fairness and justice?

G is for:


Wherever hipsters go, communities get more exciting, property and rental prices shoot up as well. They are the new Midas.

H is for:


To hipsters, this means no eating from cafes that has their food delivered in nondescript crates and boxes from "some supplier".

Real food must be handsourced from the market, even if it means making daily multiple trips to the wet market for the freshest produce.

Handsourced somehow means food that is prepared by hand delicately with a finesse reserved for the anal-retentive.

It is almost as if the char kway teow seller doesn't use his hands to source and prepare the food he cooks.

I is for:


Instagram is not just a way of life. Instagram to a hipster is life itself. If you don't see life in squares with filters applied to whatever you are looking at, it means that life didn't happen.

J is for:

jewel biscuits

Nostalgia, quaintness, forgotten childhoods. These biscuits are eaten solely because it projects an image of innocence lost. You know that kind of achy breaky nonsense that is poignant and make good captions with skinny fonts?

K is for:


Kale is basically kai lan but frillier and tougher. But kai lan doesn't sound that magical when you tell your friends what you partook during lunch.

L is for:

Lemon desserts

Face-wrinkling sensations are the favourite of hipsters who eat these kinds of foods as a test of their resolve in maintaining a straight face or a consistent starving artistic scowl on their face.

M is for:


This yeasty WWII food is kind of weird-tasting for the rest of the population but hipsters embrace it as it makes their dietary habits look more subversive and they imagine that it brings them back to another era.

N is for:


Romanticising Nature is one of hipsters' favourite pastimes.

If you notice, hipsters ingratiate themselves with artificial grass turfs whenever they can or go on those photo shoots in lalang fields at dusk to capture the twilight. All in a bid to be natural and close to the earth.

O is for:


Or at least that's how they imagine themselves.

P is for:

pop up shops

It's almost as if permanence is a concept hipsters cannot grasp. Anything temporal will float a hipster's boat. This is most probably due to a deep-seated fear of commitment.

Q is for:


Normal people would say "interesting" or "nice" if they don't have an opinion. To hipsters, the equivalent word is "quaint". A quaint shop. A quaint piece of clothing. A quaint cuppa coffee.

R is for:


Hipsters like to channel the past -- wear their granddad's clothes, listen to vinyl -- but not acknowledging people in the past used to die of chlamydia and dysentery because that was the reality of brutish conditions last time.

S is for:


Food pairings that are not obvious at all. Because why eat them separately when you can eat them together and claim a modicum of originality?

T is for:



U is for:


Powered unicycles. Because walking is like, too plebeian.

V is for:


When Inkwell, Hudson and Mayfair becomes too plebian, there's always VSCO Cam for the Instagram artists.

W is for:

wooden utensis

Because metal is passe and plastic destroys the earth.

Y is for:

yacht parties

Because hanging around mainland Singapore is just too mainstream.

Z is for:


Capture the spirit of the moment. Pander to your present hedonistic self. Ya, whatever.


Top photo via qozop

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