Out now: Rubbish FAMzine #5

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The fifth issue of Singapore’s Rubbish Famzine has just been published. Created by the Lim family (dad, mum, daughter and son) this small-run hand-made piece of publishing is always a spectacular object. Developed together by the four family members  – when I was in Singapore earlier this year dad Pann described how they held editorial meetings together to make decisions — this fifth issue looks at the life of Pann’s late father Lim Tiap Guan, who died from liver cancer before Pann and Clare’s children Renn and Aira were born.

The issue celebrates Lim Tiap Guan’s life, and attempts to explain his character and interests to the grandchildren he never met. Rubbish has developed a familiar visual style that includes marbled paper effects, but this time those effects are actually microscope images of liver cancer cells. In the opening part of the magazine a series of family portraits have Lim Tiap Guan’s silhouette replaced by the cell pattern, a motif repeated at the back of the issue where the current family have matched vintage and contemporary photographs to bring the three generations together. This has the added element of giving a feel for Singapore then and Singapore now.

Between these two extended sections we learn about the late grandfather’s obsession with parrots, his love of music and other details of his life. These are portrayed via tip-ins and extra pieces of print, with the overall package creating the flambouyant appearance we’ve come to expect from Rubbish: a miniature reproduction of an entire issue of a TV guide magazine highlights a concert Lim Tiap Guan performed at (the exct page being marked by a post it sticker); love notes he wrote are reproduced; and Pann offers personal memories of his father. The whole issue is held together with a rubber band fastened by a small wooden replica of a violin bridge (Lim Tiap Guan played and wrote for the violin).

It’s another gorgeous issue that again combines beautiful print with the warmth of family storytelling.

Read our reviews of previous editions of Rubbish FAMzine: issue three and issue four

We’ll have copies of the new issue available soon in the magCulture shop.

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