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Is an art career ‘pointless’? TODAY readers weigh in on comment by photographer, 19, who aced subject in A-Levels

Is an art career “pointless”? TODAY readers discussed this topic last week after a 19-year-old student photographer aced the subject in her A-Level examination and landed an offer to pursue fine arts in London. Here’s a selection of comments.

Student Yvette Lim (right), 19, from St Andrew’s Junior College with some of the photos she has taken (left).

Student Yvette Lim (right), 19, from St Andrew’s Junior College with some of the photos she has taken (left).

Is an art career “pointless”? TODAY readers discussed this topic last week after a 19-year-old student photographer aced the subject in her A-Level examination and landed an offer to pursue fine arts in London.

St Andrew’s Junior College student Yvette Lim, who received an A in H2 Art, said she remembers being told by others that it was pointless choosing art as a career — something she disagrees with.

Many readers supported her position, saying that there was indeed value in art. Others wrote about their own passion for the arts, and cheered Miss Lim’s success. However, a handful offered a reality check, saying her choice was risky as artists often struggled to make a living. Here’s a selection of comments:



“Her interest and pursuit in art has brought her international recognition and now this will silence critics who cast negativity on her career path.” HANGWAH LIM

“The outdated notion that 'arts' was only painting and playing (the) violin has luckily finally been debunked in Asia. Marketing, web design et cetera are highly paid areas of the workforce, usually with better, more 'liberal' working conditions.” HENRY GEE

Einstein was a violinist and a scientist. The greatest scientists are usually artists as well. Totally understand what she felt. I have been playing the piano since I was four and I am also a dentist who enjoys treating patients. Never limit yourself.

“By saying that the arts are pointless is like saying one side of our brain is useless. In fact many top scientists display artistic appreciation of the natural world.” TERENCE TAKESHI MACHIBUNO CHIEW

“Art comes in many forms. One could even argue that without artistic experience, things like the National Anthem wouldn’t exist… Television commercials would just be lines of text, detailing the pros and cons. There would be no such thing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which came from comics — drawn by hand). Art is communication beyond the ordinary — with its rules and logic. You can disparage it all you want, but you can’t deny life would be boring without art.” GWYN LAU

“Don’t worry. Human creations are always valued, especially in this era of AI and automation.” JIBRAIL IDRIS


“I look forward to more young people continuing to pursue arts… I grew up having my family tell me arts, sports and history are useless. I didn’t pursue any of these passions in the end.” JENN BASHFORD-TEO

“When my kid was young, I sent her for art enrichment classes and relatives all commented 'why art? Useless!'. I could not be bothered with them. Currently my kid, in Sec 2, is happy doing art and talented also. Her dream is to be an illustrator.” LYDIA LEE

Resonates with me. 35 years ago, I happened to ace art in my Sec 1 class. But that subject wasn’t offered beyond Sec 1 and was told that you cannot make a living from art. Hope to see Yvette take off!

“I recall my Primary 2 relief teacher complimenting me on my music, then I remembered how much my mom emphasised on music having no future. Now, I don't even know how to read any music notes or appreciate classical music.” LYNN KAYLEN

“Chase your dreams and you will go far. Pursuing arts is definitely the road less travelled. It’s also a blessing that you have understanding and supportive parents. It’s never easy. My daughter loves art and I hope she can be like you too.” MEOW LING TAN


“Art is not pointless. But when you have a family to feed, reality sets in. Art doesn't make you money, unless you are Yayoi Kusama. Even if you are, at some point, you'll still need to fall back on, mostly distasteful, commercial projects and jobs to maintain your keep. I work in the creative industry, and this is the reality.” PETER PANG

The variance in income is greater for the arts. Unless one is really at the top of their game, chances are, they will be earning less than the average engineer employee.

“If you can make bank with arts as often or as consistently as any Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) job, then maybe it wouldn't be such an issue.” ALFREDO FRANK GARICA

“Not that art is pointless but in order to make it successful, you have to move out of Singapore to study elsewhere as Singapore, being a small market for arts, does not have sufficient grounds for advancement. Most people in Singapore have little time to appreciate art too.” SHANON TAM

“I think whatever point the article claims she was trying to make would have been much stronger if she had obtained straight As and then went ahead to study fine art anyway. But to be honest, with a bunch of Bs and Cs for the other subjects, she doesn't really have many options for university courses to begin with… I do sincerely wish her all the success she deserves, though or there might not be a Plan B in place if life doesn't work out the way she wants it to.” LOON TZE TAN


These comments were first posted on TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] with your full name, address and phone number.

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