Matters of Reflection featuring: Ryan Cheng


Who is Ryan Cheng?

I am a 23 year old Australian living in Melbourne, moving from Singapore when I was 10. Right now, I work in marketing as a content writer but do a bunch of freelance writing and photography. I absolutely love travelling and have visited a bunch of countries including Japan, Namibia and Ireland. I am absolutely obsessed with race and culture, what makes us unique and different, but more importantly – what makes us uniquely connected. I’m interested in finding the stories that provide perspective, that help me better understand those around me – and in turn, better understand myself.


Short Answer:

Top 3 movie, book, or music recommendations:

Top 3 Movies
1. The Pursuit of Happyness
2. Southpaw
3. The Iron Giant

Top 3 Books
1. Fresh off the Boat – Eddie Huang
2. Maos Last Dancer
3. Me We Love Humanity and Us

1. Kendrick Lamar
2. Daniel Caesar (Freudian – Album of the year 2017 hands down)
3. Logic

Favorite quote?

“If it is real, it is familiar.” ~ Eddie Huang

Favorite artwork?

Lior Sperandeo is an incredible documentarian and photographer, and I take inspiration from his work. He takes some amazing portraits of people that I always draw from. His Instagram is @peopleof – so go check him out!

What is travel for you?

Travel for me is about perspective. I think the older I got, the more I realised how sheltered modern society is. Travelling allows me to break through the hazy veil that often impacts our perspective and, fulfills and nourishes the human need for connection and community.

Why is traveling important?

There’s a common thread here – perspective. I just want to learn more, about new places, new people – and create content that inspires others to do the same

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the world today?

What a loaded question! I think the biggest issue in the world today is our inability to be empathetic. I think we live in culture obsessed with ourselves, our problems, our image, how others perceive us. Self love and care is obviously important, but I feel that we’ve been encouraged to become consumed with ourselves and ignore the needs of others. And it takes work to listen and care for others, but practicing day by day will improve not only our own lives, but the overall community in which we live.

What do you hope to achieve from traveling?

I’ve never had a specific achievement for travelling but I would love to incorporate travel into my life and career moving forward! But more than that, I want to keep being inspired. In South Africa, they have a phrase “Sawubona” meaning I see the divine in you. When I meet people, I always try to see God in the other person in order to see the best in them! Continually honing the ability for empathy is incredibly important to me, and travelling helps me shape that!

What kind of traveler are you? 

I am an on the ground, cultural traveler – if that’s a thing! I’m not a fan of tourist sights, and am more comfortable on the ground with locals – sharing a lambs head with a local South African family in the township of Soweto or living in a mountain monastery with some Japanese monks – I absolutely love the real human moments that come with travel.

Favorite place you have been so far? Place you are going next? 

Favourite place – Japan really stuck with me, something about the beautiful balance of modernity and tradition continues to intrigue me.
Next – France, Spain and Morocco!

What is your motto?

Not so much a motto but I always aim to be myself – the way I talk, act and interact with others. There’s nothing worse then having to pretend to be something you are not, so I attempt to live with a ‘take me as I am’ attitude. I believe that if you are truly your best self, you will end up being the best you can for others, and in turn, others will be their best for you!

What is a question you would most like to ask others?

Who are you?

What do people accuse you of?

I can be stubborn sometimes haha and I think that annoys people – but I’m just passionate!

What do you doubt most?

I doubt myself a ton – whether I’ll fulfill the goals and dreams I’ve set myself. Sounds lame but its true!

If you could choose, what would you have for your last meal?

A bowl of laksa – a Singaporean noodle dish with seafood and a coconut curry broth, yum!

What would you never do no matter the price?

Bully someone. Or ignore someone in need.

 If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

I would want people to sit down with others that they normally wouldn’t and have a conversation. I believe so strongly in the power of conversation and the role it can play in changing the world in which we live. So often we get caught up in ideology and forget that our day-to-day lives are governed by us, and not by others.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a story teller – what shape that takes yet I’m not too sure, but it’s a work in progress so you’ll know when I know!

Please feel free to ask Ryan questions in the comment section and if you are looking to connect or follow him, you can find his social media presence at the following platforms. 


Feel free to contact me:

Instagram:  @ryan.chengg


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