Meantime it is that editorial project that we have learned to wait like a child waiting for a chocolate egg or a fan waiting hours under the sun for his favorite singer. Every time it is magic, it cannot disappoint you, but only convinces you more that independent publishing is a fantastic thing. It is art that knows how to tell the story, knows how to go deep into the contents and is simply beautiful as hell.

Mentine zine we had it in our hands for the first time in the very first months of Frab's, we had some of the 300 copies produced shipped, with the feeling of having found a masterpiece, then we met Pang Xue Qiang a few months later in Hamburg in a of the main ones international independent publishing fairs, where he amused us with his nice manners and his dazzling smile (he even built a display with a chair, chapeau!). One year later the second number it arrived in our hands directly from Singapore and after an impossible journey (with the Covid emergency and a very tight lockdonw in Singapore, it was not easy to organize the shipment!) it made us the first and only in Europe to be able to browse it . And yes, once again we were thrilled by Pang's unmistakable style and by how we can tell the story of a country in such an original, profound way and far removed from any history book.
Meantime zine is an annual independent magazine that tells the story of Singapore, with each issue from a different point of view.


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** NEW IN STORE ** 📝 MEANTIME no. 1 🧧 ~ Halfway between a fanzine and a personal diary, @ meantime.zine, the editorial project by Chong Kai Yan and Pang Xue Qiang, is one of those editorial products for which you feel love at first sight. You will love it for its artisan flavor, for the torn pages, for the paper boat that ferries you, like a guide of cellulose and ink, between photos and stories, for the photographic pages on waxed paper, for the flyers and inserts lilac color and for the letters written in pen. And then, pure emotion, a flower. True. One of those dried between the pages of a book. Meantime is held annually, what we present on Frab's is the limited edition debut number (300 copies). ~ #magazine #indiemag #indiependentmag #independentmagazine #independentpublishing #rivista #fanzine #magazinecover #singapore #singapore_insta #loveasia #creativity #scrapbooking #paper #paperlover #graphicdesign #print #printisnktdead #rivistaindipendente #independentmaginesmagines #independentmagines

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 (image: the first issue of Meantime, sold out all over the world)

The first sensational number one of this zine told the story of Singapore through old photos and love letters. In this second issue, released in 1,200 copies, the country's history is told through ghost photos and texts, hence the title “Ghost Stories”.

We, as true naïve Westerners, thought of ghosts as the cheerful flying sheets of Ghostbusters, instead we understood that behind them, in Singapore, there is something much deeper. And so, as Pang confirmed in our interview available on our instagram channel, we discovered that this island-state very far from us lives with deep pagan beliefs. Ghosts are plants, people, objects, animals: these have a soul that goes beyond the duration of their earthly life. Beyond this a profane mysticism binds them indissolubly to those who remain in the world. Here is the socio-cultural premise that allows us to enter the heart of this magazine. 

Meantime zine - Issue 2 "Ghost Stories"

(image: Meantime Zine Issue 2)

The issue 2 of Meantine zine opens with a ghost story similar to those we know,  which speaks of churches, cemeteries and abandoned houses and of those who really do it in the Western sense of the term and give us advice on how to find paranormal presences.

But our prejudices about ghosts are soon dispelled to enter the history of Singapore: Deanna Ng is a photographer who in 2019 went to rediscover old photographs of the Haw Par Villa, an abandoned statue park built in 1937, where entire generations have grown up and left their memories. His photographs portray children and then adults in the same places of that park highlighting the changes, sometimes sinister.
Instead, Sharanya Pillai pushes us into the mass tourism of the resort-filled islands of Singapore, where behind the sparkling hotels lie the memories of natives who once lived on fishing and little else.
Pang Xue Qiang tells us about Liu Thai Ker, an 81-year-old architect who has seen Singapore change under his eyes and fill with buildings that he himself helped to design and others that have become real concrete ghosts. Right inside the palaces of Singapore, a guide then takes us to the discovery of shamans and esoteric rites that try to put us in contact with the afterlife. Continuing, a nun tells us about the sufferings of those who confided in her the difficulties and the strongest torments of life and, in conclusion, the ghosts of past things are told by various authors on light and transparent pages of tissue paper.
Inside the zine we also find torn pages, a small pamphlet with a ghost story and some comic passages.


Meantime's editorial care

If there is an object from which to take inspiration when we talk about independent magazines, it is certainly Meantime. This issue has a thermo-sensitive cover that reveals some photographs to heat behind a dark patina (and tell us: how many zines with thermo-sensitive covers have you taken in your hands so far?), Some torn inner pages, a practically perfect thread binding and some interior designs printed on tissue paper. Everything flawless, but what we loved the most are the deliberately ruined and hand-cut edges of the pages. The effect is that of a used magazine, already passed into someone's hands and ended up among ours almost by chance, as if it were a paper ferry from the past. A similar effect, on this precise number of Meantime dedicated to the ghosts of the past, is the perfect exemplification of how the expertly studied editorial object can speak well beyond its own images and texts.

Another curiosity? Meantime is a project that pays its staff entirely, despite the small print run. How does he do it? Singapore is a state where communication channels are dominated by two large private corporations, as Pang tells us, and it is very difficult for other publishers to emerge. The National Heritage Board, a public body that collects the history of this young state, fell in love with Meantime (and how to blame him?) And now funds a large part of this publication, allowing it to continue.
An example of public investment in independent publishing that is very difficult to see in Europe, where often not all members of the editorial staff can be paid for their work.

In conclusion, we are already waiting to see what will happen in 2021 and we have reserved for this issue of Meantime a place in our personal library of magazines. If you are looking for something different, which breaks the mold with intelligence, which tells things in a way that you have never seen before, which gives you love to the touch, here is the magazine for you. And you don't need to be fond of ghosts.

Meantime zine Issue 2 "Ghost Stories" can be found HERE


July 11, 2020 — Clean Canvas Collaborator

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