Categories: People

Prestige turns 21! Our friends send their well-wishes and coming-of-age photos

As Prestige turns 21 this month, we commemorate it with the very people who have journeyed with us in this special photo album showcasing exclusive images from their youth.

Whether they are 21st birthday bashes, important milestones or sentimental memories from early adulthood, these snaps convey the very joy and sense of nostalgia we feel here. We are truly grateful to all our friends for taking the time to search for these precious tokens and sharing their most intimate moments with us!

Lotus Soh

“During the time I entered adulthood, my father was ultra-strict and as long as we girls weren’t married, we had to be home by nightfall and he had to know the who, what and where, whenever we went out. Girls today would be appalled by his iron fist! Nevertheless, in those days I was a commercial photography model, and was the first-ever model for Risis and its calendar girl too. That experience was enjoyable!”

Maniza Jumabhoy

“I was at my cousin’s wedding, and listening to the prayers at the time. I was one of the bridesmaids. Turning 21 felt like being on top of the world! I remember feeling full of hope and excitement. I wanted to make a difference in the world. Remember when Prestige was the new magazine on the block 21 years ago? Well, age becomes you! You are as relevant today as you were then. Many congratulations and I look forward to many more years!”

Susanna Kang

“During my National University of Singapore days, I was Miss Photogenic and Queen of the School of Business Administration’s beauty pageant. This was taken during the competition. To the excellent team at Prestige, a Big Thank You is not enough. Our emotional journey is much treasured. Happy 21st Anniversary! Wishing you more years of unrivalled success!”

Adrian Ng and Loh May-Han

“Here, we were aboard a cruise ship on Boxing Day. Congratulations on your 21 years of awesomeness! The best days are ahead, and here’s wishing you a sincere Happy Birthday!”

Adrian and Susan Peh

“This photo was taken in our 20s when my law school classmate Adrian and I were still in university and dating. It was in December and I had brought him to visit my family over dinner at my sister’s home. We got married a couple of years later. Coming of age heralds the capacity for change. It brings new beginnings, because of the multitude of choices we can make, as well as echoes childhood fantasies, in the adult world. It should not happen only once in our lifetime, but in every season of our lives. It is the hope of spring, the energy of summer, the fruit of autumn and the dream of winter. This quote comes to mind: ‘The roads may be long but the glow of youth will always illuminate your life.’”

Ng Yi Ming

“This picture was taken when I was 21 and on a trip with my schoolmates in Seoraksan, South Korea. I was midway through National Service and was contemplating what to study at university. At that age I had little idea exactly what I wanted to do, although I was interested in science and technology. Looking back, it just felt like yesterday! The last 10 years have been great, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring. Hearty congratulations to Prestige! Turning 21 is a big milestone and certainly something to be proud of. Here’s to many more years ahead!”

Tiara Shaw (middle)

“This photo was taken during my 21st birthday party at a nice restaurant with some friends in Australia. I was living in Sydney and studying at the University of Sydney at the time. I believe that coming of age gave me the maturity, confidence and courage to make hard decisions and think for myself. It meant that I was able to accept help from others and learn from their experiences, that I should never take myself too seriously, and finally, that life is a learning journey.”

Serene Chua

“Here, I was clad in my NUS graduation gown, which marked the end of my academic journey but also signalled the beginning of adulthood. This milestone meant saying goodbye to being a kid, and saying hello to growing up, work, responsibilities and exciting new life experiences. This picture was taken at my house pool at sweet 22. I recall fond memories of swimming laps in the pool every few days as a good workout, in-between studying sessions.”

Dana Cheong

“This photo was taken in my room at Howitt Hall, Monash University in Melbourne, as I was getting ready for my 21st birthday celebration. I felt like an adult! Congratulations, Prestige, on being one of the best society magazines. Wishing you a lot of success for another 21 years. Happy Anniversary!”

Jim Rogers (below) and Paige Parker

“As Prestige celebrates the significant milestone of turning 21, we send only the best wishes for continued success and growth! With you coming of age, leaving the giddiness of youth for the more evolved enthusiasm of adulthood, we anticipate only the finest from your magazine, as your strong and able team continues to share and educate the countless readers on the genuine luxuries of life. Congratulations! In this above picture is Jim, in 1965, after his first Guinness World Record for winning the Thames Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.”

Lai Shanru

“When I turned 21, I felt excited to do life! This picture is of me at my friend’s silly pool party using a huge inflatable pool. It was close to my 22nd birthday so my friends surprised me with a cake in the pool! Happy 21st, Prestige! Stay forever young, keep embracing change and doing amazing things year after year.”

Fanty Soenardy and Louisa Ong (below)

“Happy 21st Anniversary and Congratulations! It’s a great milestone and here’s to many more! Arriving at this age is when we are given the baton of responsibility, trust and freedom. It is also a youthful time filled with freshness, energy and enthusiasm with which we advance towards our chosen goals in life.”

Celeste Basapa

“The photo was taken when I was 21 years old in my future husband Lawrence’s family home in Belmont Road. There was no special occasion for it except that he had just purchased a Nikon film camera, I was his ‘captive’ subject matter, and the garden was beautiful then! It became a perfect memento of that afternoon, and our earlier life together. Turning 21 in those days gave you the licence to make certain decisions independently; and given my personality, I couldn’t wait for that!”

Michelle Eng (left)

“Happy 21st Birthday, Prestige! Congratulations on this amazing milestone. Here’s to many more wonderful years ahead. Just like you, I was celebrating my 21st birthday with friends in this picture.”

Peggy Jeffs

“It was my first time to Tahiti, and it was for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) conference. I was with the Indonesian team, and we flew in on a small light aircraft to Pago Pago island. I remember spending more time sightseeing with the ladies’ delegation than attending the conference, as not all Indonesians spoke English at that time. When I was 18 or 19, I liked to tell people I was 21 or 22 years old. Once I reached 21, I felt old and refused to reveal my age from then on.”

Lars and Serene Sorensen

“This is one of our favourite photos, taken in 1999 at a tropical Hawaiian-themed party. Happy 21st Birthday, Prestige! Thank you for your companionship all these years. May the journey of your success continue in the years to come. Keep inspiring!”

Jacelyn Lai

“I was 21 years old here, at Kurumba Maldives. It was my first time travelling alone, which marked my entry into adulthood. It had taken lots of promises and assurance to have my parents’ permission to go off on my own. When I arrived at the destination, I felt like my whole young life was recalibrated. The crystal blue water, the breeze, the pretty sky above and everything felt so liberating, as if signalling a new beginning. For Prestige’s 21st birthday, I wish for the team to have the same freedom to charge into new beginnings, bravely face whatever the future holds and emerge stronger than ever!”

Renee Tan

“I was at Fort Canning, I think! Turning 21 is definitely a milestone. For me, it was a time of liberation and getting that proverbial key to freedom. Therefore, many congratulations to Prestige! Wishing the magazine and team many more good years.”

Sharon Heng

“This was taken at a professional studio when I was 21, to commemorate my birthday. I felt truly like an adult for the first time. Back in the day, parents would issue their children a key pendant as a symbolic gesture of attaining adulthood, so it was a really significant moment for me when I received it. Congratulations on many years of stellar content! Here’s to many more years to come. I look forward to seeing Prestige grow and evolve even more from the game-changing title that it is.”

Jin Lu

“Congratulations to Prestige on turning 21! It’s a great achievement for any organisation. For a young person, turning 21 marks taking one’s first steps into the adult world. While that may seem daunting at first, one should be ready to embrace what’s ahead… I am just reminiscing on what was on my mind when I was 21! I had just graduated from university and was eager to take on the world and what it had in store for me. So, go forth and seize the opportunities!”

Nina Ng

“This picture was taken in a photo studio with my younger sister. My family had just moved back from Perth as my dad had built a hotel right outside Sentosa called Harbour View, and we came back to run it. I remember that Prestige came over and did a shoot with us and called it ‘Daddy’s Girls’. Turning 21 was a huge milestone for me. It was also the year I got engaged to my husband. We held a huge celebration at the Grand Hyatt, and it was so much fun. For me, turning 21 felt like I was finally an adult and had full control of what I wanted to do, but since I was raised in a traditional Chinese family, I still respected my parents’ opinions.”

Lai Chan

“In the photo, I’d returned to Ngee Ann Polytechnic for my graduation ceremony after completing the first three months of National Service. When I turned 21, I was at the crossroads of my life. I decided to stay in Singapore instead of pursuing fashion in Paris after National Service because my family is most important, and I want to be close to them. Congratulations on your 21st anniversary in Singapore! Prestige has always been fashion-forward and supportive of Singaporean talents. Let’s look forward to many more exciting years together.”

Samuel Tan and Karen Ong-Tan

“This photo was taken at The Fullerton Hotel! We were there for our usual Sunday brunch, which we loved. We enjoy long, slow meals and live jazz, and the hotel was the only brunch spot that actually had a jazz band that played our favourite swing and big band pieces. Turning 21 together with my best friend and soulmate was a blessing that is priceless to me. We were just in the early years of our shared journey as a couple and it continues to evolve to this day in the most unexpected and exciting ways as parents to an amazing little person. It is special to us that Prestige has been a part of our journey even before we had our daughter. We wish you a fabulous 21st anniversary, with many more years of friendship and priceless moments together.”

Vihari Poddar

“This photo was taken when I got engaged to the love of my life Abhishek at his home in Mumbai! It was the day our two families gathered to give a token to each other as a confirmation of our marriage. Wishing Prestige a fabulous 21 years and many more successful years ahead! The future will be bright and you shall shine!”

Benjamin Kim

“In my early 20s, I was already a pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Here, I was at a local airshow in Tucson, Arizona, where I was training. As I came of age, I found myself more reflective and less impulsive. I put more thought into my actions and tried to always have the big picture in mind.”

Race Wong

“This picture was taken on the set of Aaron Kwok’s music video when I was 20 years old. It marked my very first acting experience. Coming of age means to become more comfortable with who I am and my identity. Congratulations for coming so far, Prestige. May the stories you carry bring about a positive influence on our society.”

Kelly Keak

“This photograph is precious to me because it was taken with one of my closest colleagues at work, whom I consider my sister. The location was Wheelock Place, which was our first outlet. It was my 21st birthday, and the team surprised me with a cake. Looking at this picture makes me feel like it was only yesterday that I was 21. I’m grateful to still be alive, embracing every moment of life’s ups and downs. It’s not been a smooth-sailing journey, but each good or bad experience enriches me with wisdom to share.”

Tan Min-Li

“I was on a post-graduation tour of Europe! Coming of age was a turning point for me, when I transitioned from being a child to realising that I now had to take responsibility for my actions. But with that came a great sense of the infinite possibilities that lay ahead… I wanted to conquer the world! My heartiest congratulations on your coming of age, Prestige! May you continue to grow from strength to strength!”

Pauline Chan

“At that age, I was determined to graduate from university in Quebec, but it was also a time when I was having fun with best friends, flying home and looking for a job! I looked serious in this photograph as it was taken for job applications!”

Serene Tan

“Turning 21 comes with so many milestones. Reaching that age meant the completion of my undergraduate degree, which opened up in-depth conversations with my parents on career planning to align with my postgrad education options. In this photo, I was enjoying summer break in the UK where I studied.”

Rasina Rubin

“Happy 21st Birthday, Prestige! This photo was taken in Bristol at a party with other university students. I must have been about 20, almost 21 years old. Coming of age for me was about greater responsibility and independence. It is also about developing character, and becoming and defining your own person. It is a very exciting life chapter and certainly sets the foundation for the next years. For me, it was certainly about exuding confidence and establishing your identity.”

Amanda Leong

“This photo was taken at my 21st birthday party. We had a photo booth and a special guest star – an albino python named Charlie! I thought I had come of age when I turned 18 and became independent in a lot of ways. And then I realised I knew nothing about coming of age when I had my first baby! Even now I feel like a child sometimes. I guess we have a whole lot of growing up to do our entire life! Congratulations and Happy 21st!”

Josh Quan, son of James and Winnie Quan

“This photo was taken at home on my 21st birthday. Mum ordered my favourite Japanese meal. I grew up catching glimpses of my parents appearing in Prestige, so I feel connected to the magazine. Happy 21st to the both of us! Keep going and growing. The best is yet to be.”

Elaine Lim-Chan

“This was taken on a ‘reward myself’ trip to Chicago after my final exams at Southern Illinois University. Going to Chicago was always a treat, with visits to all my favourite Chinese restaurants. Coming of age to me means to stop reading other people’s books and write my own story. Stay true to myself, follow my passion, work hard, grow up, and Make It Happen. No one but I can and will get me to where I want to go.”

Sulian Tan-Wijaya

“This image was taken while on holiday in London, where I was scouted by a photographer who persuaded me to do a photo shoot at his studio. At that age, I was modelling part-time with Carrie Models while studying law at NUS. My coming-of-age moment happened the day I started my first corporate job after getting called to the Bar. Literally overnight, from playing truant and working as a deejay, band member and model on the side, I became a serious and responsible banker.”

Trina Liang-Lin

“Turning 21 years old was overwhelming but exciting at the same time. Excited to finally conquer the big world out there but unsure if I’ll be able to live up to expectations! Congrats, Prestige, on your coming of age! It is through hard work and heart work by the editors, creative talent and staff, and an unwavering eye for perfection that you are now one of the foremost magazines in Singapore! Wishing you many more years of being at the top of your game!”

Kevin and Iroshini Chua

“This is one of our favourite memories studying in Ireland, where we were classmates at the Royal College of Surgeons! It had just snowed and we had a playful snow fight outside Kevin’s house in Dublin. Our heartiest congratulations to Prestige on your 21st anniversary!”

Joan Chang

“This is a photo of me on my 21st birthday, which felt like a milestone from teen to adulthood. Congrats, Prestige, on the 21st anniversary and crossing this milestone!”

Chia Ngiang Hong

“This was taken during my favourite niece’s birthday celebration in the late 1970s in my mother’s garden. Turning 21 was such a fleeting moment – it seems like only yesterday, and I still remember my carefree student days with lots of fun and adventures, including moonlighting as a part-time model to earn some extra pocket money! I wish Prestige a wonderful 21st birthday, with many more successful years to come.”

Tan Khar Nai

“Here, I was celebrating my 21st birthday at the Luna Coffee House at Apollo Hotel (now Furama RiverFront hotel) in the 1980s. The occasion signified my official transition into adulthood, and I felt like the world was my oyster. Being 21 meant that I had more liberty to make my own decisions and to take responsibility for my actions. It also gave me the courage to build my aspirations and to face any failures along the way. I wore it as a badge of confidence as I earnestly embarked on a new journey. Happy 21st Birthday to Prestige! May you see more spectacular years ahead.”

(Main and featured image: Cottonbros)

This story first appeared in the September 2021 issue of Prestige Singapore.

PrestigeOnline Singapore

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