When Sabrina Ooi (24) took up Business Management at Singapore Management University, she never thought that she would one day be a DJ. She also did not know that she would soon be working for a startup in Singapore, Sugar.
“Most people know me as DJ Sabrina.”
Sabrina helms the decks at Fenix Room and Empire on the weekends, formerly at Dream and Mink, all popular clubs in Singapore where the generation Y party goers would frequent during weekends.
“While it’s a bit difficult to spot me sometimes due to my being rather vertically challenged, my friends (and some fans) tend to notice that I’m playing when I dish out my favourite indie-influenced tracks.”
Sabrina is among many generation Y who are cultivating a second skill to fulfil their aspirations, and doing the things that they love while having fun. Coffee art with the lure of setting up a hipster cafe is yet another area that fascinates many generation Y.
Walking The Unconventional Path of DJing
For Sabrina, it all started when she was clubbing at Fash at Butter Factory in 2009 when she noticed her friend Dave Tan (of Electrico fame) DJing as he dropped a Red Hot Chili Peppers remix.
“So I thought to myself, “Hey, it’d be pretty cool to be up there instead of down here in the dancefloor” and I hustled him to teach me how to DJ shortly after. I also learned DJing at Debbie Chia’s FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp (when it was called “Miso Flamingo Girl DJ Bootcamp”), picked up some tips while at SMU under Stereometa (in-house DJ/Digital Music Production club) and from DJ friends Gemstarr, Stas and others along the way.”
Other than sharing the music that she loves to the crowd, Sabrina loves the empowerment and the control when she is behind the deck, in a slightly twisted way, to gain the “power” to control the dance floor.
“The latter was especially exciting as I later realised that as a DJ, you have nearly absolute power to make or break a partygoer’s night based on your song choices/mixing – the other factor being the influence of alcohol on him/her.”
Resilient To Economic Changes With Second Skilling
Sabrina agreed that having DJ as a second skill helps makes her a more interesting candidate for new opportunities or in meeting new people.
Second skilling has been an area of attention even during a parliamentary debate on the President’s address, brought to mention by NTUC Assistant Secretary-General (ASG), Patrick Tay. To ensure lifelong employability and to fulfil aspirations, Patrick called for Professionals, Managers, and Executives (PMEs) to spend time cultivating a second skill.
Patrick also urged the Ministry of Manpower to look at second skilling all PMEs, especially those matured PMEs so that they can weather any financial storm. In his speech too, Patrick cited an example of a banker with strong events management or counselling abilities. In the event of a downturn and layoff, he or she can then take up work outside of the banking environment and work in an events company or even join the social service sector to put his or her counselling skills to good use and also make a living.
Other than second skilling, unions in Singapore can also do more for PMEs by helping them with workplace issues.
““Stable” and “high paying” is relative – I feel that the job market today is significantly more uncertain compared to the days where our parents or grandparents first started out. As a business graduate in Singapore, a “stable high paying job” equals a job in banking or consulting. These industries are especially competitive and command exceedingly long hours, so I figured taking on two jobs that I actually like would actually make more sense. The finance industry is also experiencing slightly rougher times recently, so I wouldn’t say being a banker is especially stable,” shared Sabrina.
While Sabrina could have taken up a job in the government sector or in the private sector within her chosen field, she’s drawn to the excitement that DJing and the tech industry offers. When opportunity came knocking on the door to DJ professionally during her last semester at university, she jumped straight into it.
Worst Part Of Being A DJ? Late Hours, and Song Requests.
Of course, while being a DJ has its perks, there are also things which Sabrina do not enjoy, as with other professions.
“The worst part is probably the late hours. I’m quite the morning person, so playing DJ sets till 5am at times screws up my body clock on the weekends. Some DJs may say the worst part is the song requests that we oftentimes receive from clubgoers, but I find those quite amusing and sometimes try to incorporate those requests into my set. It’s a fun challenge to take up – building up a set of tracks towards the strange song request, while making someone exceedingly ecstatic at the same time. Last year I got lots of requests for Ylvis’ “The Fox”. So I played it (more than once),” she said.
So who’s Sabrina by day? Well, she will soon be working at Sugar, a discovery app in Singapore.
“I’m a #geekgirl by day, DJ by night, and full-time foodie as well as fun-seeker. You can call me Sab.”