TEXT: AJ LEOW
PHOTOGRAPHY: FRENCHESCAR LIM
ALL FYRED UP – Graffiti artist CPL (NS) Mohammad Shahril bin Selamat (Shah), who painted the murals at our Bukit Batok Clubhouse’s I Am… café, says he is very blessed.
From kindergarten storytelling to dikir barat (traditional Malay choral singing) in his teens, Shah’s been on stage a lot. He studied accountancy and economics in junior college at his parents’ behest, but had really always wanted to study art.
Luckily, his first job after NS – as a Police Academy fitness instructor who also trained NSmen, regulars and reservists in unarmed combat and weapons handling – gave him space to nurture his talents. With an events management company, then Takashimaya, Shah handled events, dealing with and managing clients, co-workers, performers, stagecraft and activities at the mall.
Shah also gigged as a rock singer under the stage name Shafyre at events, weddings and concerts. “I was lucky, during NS, to have buddies who liked to perform. It was as if God had arranged for me to be among talented and energetic people.”
He also got into mural painting and started his own company, Fyre Flame. He is now also into decorative home murals.
He says his NS stint required him to handle people from all walks of life – it was like a crash course in teamwork, public relations and customer service. “It’s helped me deal with, supervise and work with volunteers for my mural projects. Some of the artwork is done by the schools, including the kids.”
Shah adds: “Fyre/fire can be a force for good or bad, and also references passion. I see it as a positive driving force in my life’s journey. My mum and wife have good singing voices, and my sister is in retail fashion, so I’m inspired to explore music, art and fashion in my work.”