the story of faddho



The name “Faddho” is purely unintended. It wasn’t sought, neither searched nor identified at all. It was merely a sign. A sign to leave a little mark. That is all. A little mark to justify it’s own existence.

It begins with “Faidhon”. It was an Arabic name given to me meaning flood. That was what happened to my village when I was born. I couldn’t imagine how it was like, when all the description that I heard of my birth is simply full of non-stopping rain for days and filled with heavy flood. This is the second name given to me out of four. And the fourth name became my official name. And so, the second, third and fourth name still lingers with people around me. The first? I guess I shall not mention it.

Running a business wasn’t in the thought at all. That idea of running a business shouldn’t even be crawling in my brain, let alone walking on it. But since 2008, Faddho has been a running company.

The passion of writing, of calligraphing, of drawing words, the intimacy with the pen is always intense. Quietly intense. If this hand doesn’t write, it will always write in my mind. Sometimes like burning whispers, and sometimes like slicing thunders. So, I’m not sure what actually happened inside me when I was as young as 2 years old. I copied any words that I was taught, and  if I got excited, it will be a whole chunk of text. And no, not on the walls, tables, beds, cushions or chairs, but just doodling on papers. And illustration was another passion too, a little much when I can copy better, that’s as young as 3. Then the first calligraphy lesson began when I was 10. It was made compulsory by my math teacher. And that’s my first calligraphy teacher, a Math-teacher-cum-school’s-discipline-master-cum-calligraphy-teacher, Mr Foo Joon Ee. Thank you Mr Foo.

My training in Roman (or Latin) calligraphy continued through my secondary school. Then, training as a designer in the polytechnic. And as a quiet hobby when I was in the army. Little did I realize that it was in the army that I took calligraphy seriously. I learned to master all the 5-6 different historical Roman scripts on my own. Then, Arabic calligraphy came with a gentle knock in me out of simple curiosity: how does that Arabic writing technique works?

With grandpa’s blessings, I learned with a local calligraphy teacher for about 3 years. Then studied in full-time intense training in Shah Alam, Malaysia for one year. When I returned to Singapore, I have started to experiment with different kind of mix and effects of calligraphy and painting. While calligraphy fundamentally involves in the art of ink, to translate it into painting is totally a different art from calligraphy itself. Having a perfect balance to achieve both is always not easy and may involve plenty of collision among its “fundamental-particles”. But these experiments are highly intoxicated. So trying a few is fun, and soon more when I got involved in some works, exhibitions and events.

In the artists’ world, an artist’s signature on a painting or a piece of artwork is important. As much as I couldn’t care less, is as much as I couldn’t agree less. It is the culture of authorship in the art world. It is a piece of history and a responsibility for granting authenticity to that piece of art itself. So signing “Faidhon” on my artworks, is like signing my baby name. The only name used on me by both of my grandparents. Despite the desire of being anonymous in my works and towards myself, the more I feel that way, the more I feel the need to treasure that name. It grew more as I painted more and I signed more. Is there a way that I can own or “buy” this name forever? Unfortunately, I was clueless to the culture of intellectual properties.

Signing “Faidhon” was a bit too long. Searching the meaning of this 5-lettered Arabic name, I discovered its root-syllabic-consonant (not root word) and use those letters instead. And it ended up as a 2-lettered Arabic name: Faddho. The name is simple to be signed, it is short and easy to pronounce, and it has meaning. Happy.

Faddho Logotype

And yes, it has means in its meaning. In Arabic, “Faddho” is: to open, to unlock, to unwrap, to break open, to unveil, to unseal. Such ‘simple’ meanings, guess I don’t need to explain more. It is forever intriguing in me. Thinking along, the only way to own it with a certain extend of credibility in ownership is by registering it as a company name. Just a tiny little company, just to keep that name.

That happened just in time when I kicked myself out of the design agency. Then hey, I got my own company! So, from freelancing, it grew to small official business practices. Then to consultancy services, then now to: don’t know why I even open a blog out of this.

So what is “Faddho”? Apart from its meaning, I really do not know. The name just came and I can only associate it with things that I love doing. Calligraphy,drawings, illustrating, designing, conceptualising, or producing anything creative. I summed it all with a humble word called: crafts. That’s all I care. Crafts from the heart. Crafts of ingenuity.

I was fundamentally trained in calligraphy, drawing, pottery, paintings, some mystical aesthetics and religious aesthetics from grandpa, and yes, design and photography too, and I don’t know what else. If you ask what is “Faddho”, the best way I can put it: Faddho is me. And I am Faddho.



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