Singapore may be a tiny red dot, our HDB houses are frequently described as shoebox flats, and we’re always broke – but we’ve got some of the greatest collectors in the world living amidst us. Not just collectors of anything – some of the finest purveyors and connoisseurs of pop culture are right here in our country!

If there’s a collectible, there’s a high chance that there’s a collector of it living among us. Here are some of the greatest collectors in Singapore that you need to know. Some of them are even world famous!


1. Jian Yang (Barbie)

We’ve previously mentioned (and he confirmed!) that Jian Yang is a brony, but did you know what his main passion is?

Barbie. He’s one of the world’s top Barbie doll collectors, with over 9,000 Barbie dolls to his name. Some of us out there don’t even have $9,000 in our bank account, so imagine the kind of dedication you’d need to amass such an incredible collection.

He started collecting when he was young, and his dolls come from over 50 different countries. That’s quite an expat community there. Sometimes, he brings some of them on his travels too. Life is good if you’re one of Jian Yang’s dolls.

Jian Yang’s collection ranges from Barbie dolls made in the 60’s to a limited edition one sold only in the boutiques of Comme des Garcons fashion label. Fortunately, he’s got supportive friends and family who would even call him from overseas if they’ve spotted a Barbie doll that they know he might want to collect.

So that viewers don’t confuse human photos with those of his dolls, he uses a #jianhuman hashtag on Instagram. Such consideration.


2. Ian Toh (Iron Man)

Ian Toh. Credit: The New Paper

Ian Toh. Credit: The New Paper

Iron Man is a hot favourite for many fans, because one could actually become Iron Man, given enough money. Well, a lot of money, because each Iron Man suit would cost a few hundred million dollars to make.

The next best thing? Building your own Iron Man costume (that doesn’t fly or shoot repulsor rays). That’s exactly what Ian Toh did in 2010, and he’s since made more than 12 Iron Man suits.

Toh has been a Marvel fan since he was 10 years old, and discovered how to make Iron Man costumes from online forums. While he used to take six months to build one, now he’s such an expert at it that he only needs a month to make one suit.

Even Tony Stark can’t build them that fast!


3. Bill Teoh (Comics)

If Bill Teoh looks familiar, that’s because he’s also an actor on many Singapore television shows, including Tanglin.

When he’s not in front of the camera, the 83-year-old runs his comic book store, Comics World. It’s been open for 30 years now (a shop that’s older than some of us out there), but his love of comics began when he was 11 and picked up his first comic book.

His favourite character? Batman, because he’s a detective – just like Uncle Bill was. Uncle Bill became a police inspector when he was 19, and that’s why he can identify with the World’s Greatest Detective (Batman).

We’d love for Uncle Bill to be our grandfather. He’s got so many cool stories and interesting experiences to share!


4. Eric Sia (Superman)

Eric Sia, a Superman superfan. Credit: The Straits Times

Eric Sia, a Superman superfan. Credit: The Straits Times

Eric Sia is one of Singapore’s Superman superfans – so much so that he even sleeps with a Superman blanket and pillow! The collector started when he was 14, and now has over 200 Superman action figures and 500 Superman comics.

And he’s got a supportive family too – his wife doesn’t mind the Superman-themed decor of their bedroom (and his collection).

His proudest piece? An 8kg, 76cm-tall full-scale bust of Superman. Given that the superhero is traditionally noted to be 190 cm (6′ 3″) tall in the comics, a life-size statue would probably be too difficult to carry by hand, unless you have super strength.

We hope Eric liked the new Justice League movie and was happy to see his favourite superhero come back to life!


5. Terence Ho (Pokemon Go)

When Pokemon Go first came out, there were only 145 Pokemon.

And it took Terence Ho just 10 days to catch them all.

Granted, he’s an app developer, so maybe he would know the ins-and-outs of such a game better than we mortals. Also, he had help from overseas friends to catch Pokemon that were country-specific.

But still – would you have been able to do that? Even if it were just the regular, original Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, would you have been able to complete the game, defeat the Elite Four, and complete your Pokedex?

This guy did it all in 240 hours.

Pokemon: I Choose You Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Pokemon: I Choose You Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

But what about the original Pokemon, with its popular tagline “Gotta catch ’em all?” If you’ve forgotten how Ash (Satoshi in the Japanese version) first became a Pokemon trainer, Pokemon: I Choose You (dubbed in English) retells this classic tale of how everyone’s favourite Pokemon trainer began his journey to become a Pokemon Master. It’s not a exactly a reboot, but more of a reimagining of the first season of the original Pokemon cartoon.

If you’re a fan of the classic Pokemon, then you’ll be thrilled to see old favourites like Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander back on the big screen, alongside… Caterpie (and his useless evolution Metapod). Well, we didn’t say you’d see all the useful Pokemon, just the old ones.

For anime fans, you can even choose to watch Pokemon: I Choose You in its original Japanese dialogue, complete with English subtitles! If you’ve never seen Pokemon in its original language, it’s quite a unique experience. All true Pokemon fans should watch this movie twice – once in Japanese, and once in English.

After all, don’t you want to 2.B.A. Master?

Credits: The Straits Times, The New Paper, Golden Village Cinemas