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[Tuning In] Carmen Low, founder of Afterglow, reflects on her shifted mindset after working in China

Written by Joanna Ng Published on 

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Carmen Low now shares her experiences with Singapore’s young people and encourages them to venture into China.

At the age of 23, Carmen Low took the leap and left for Shanghai to experience a different professional pace. Since returning to Singapore, she co-founded Afterglow, a vegan restaurant that embodies a sustainable, plant-based lifestyle, as well as Getai Group, an arts and music collective that champions original content and organizes festivals. Also a member of the 16th National Youth Council, she aims to imbue young people with skills and values so they can thrive in a globalized world.

The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

KrASIA (Kr): What motivated you to head to Shanghai?

Carmen Low (CL): Since I was young, I knew that I really wanted to be in an environment that’s fast-moving and fast-paced. While I wouldn’t call Singapore slow, it can be repetitive, and I wanted something that is out of my comfort zone and a bit more adventurous. At the time in 2010, China was opening up, and it was a dynamic economy. I wanted a place that could help me in my personal growth, and everything fell into place.

Kr: How did you manage to land a job in Shanghai?

CL: I tried many ways to get myself there, but there was no way. One reason was that I was working for a big American MNC. Like every big company, they would say, “You’re too young. You need a few more years of experience.”

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