Actually getting a tattoo, the experience itself, is an intimate experience. Several months ago I decided to get one. On an impulse I went to a studio to see their pre-drawn designs and check the prices. I realised at once that I didn’t want a tattoo that someone else might have, so I designed my own with the tattoo artist. Whatever design someone chooses, remember that it’s for you, it stays with you, so you might as well have one that means something to you.

The process itself is simple.

The artist makes a precise outline of the design on the desired part of the body, then fills it in with the chosen colours. Yes, it hurts. But I’d bet that the last time you cracked your head getting out of your friends car hurt a whole lot more. For a small tattoo, the whole process might take as little as fifteen minutes, larger ones may take several sessions.

An experience like this, and the tattoo itself, is addictive. I recently decided to do it again, to get a few more small designs to complement the first. In Singapore, there are a few prime choices as to where to go.

I went to Alive Tattoo in the Ming Arcade, (21 Cuscaden Rd, #01-06, Tel: +65 6735 6598). This is a small studio with a good selection of designs, and a staff willing to work with you to make your own. I saw more than one person bring in a photo or drawing of what they wanted, and, given time, the artist will make a tattoo of it.

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Starting at about $100 for a small tattoo, the prices rise quickly, and you can spend many hundreds on a custom design, but you will get exactly what you want. This store also offers body piercing and branding, as well as UV tattoos and temporary tattoo paint, so if you’re looking for a complete makeover, this is the place.

Regardless of where you go, if you do decide to get a tattoo, keep a few things in mind. First, agree on a price before someone actually starts the work. You don’t want to wind up haggling afterwards with someone holding a sharp mechanical needle that shoots permanent ink.

Secondly, make sure your tattoo is something you really like and want, it’s not a good thing to get home, peel back the bandage, and realize that it isn’t what you thought it was. Finally, and most importantly, make sure the studio you go to is clean. Clean means gloves, sterile needles and the like – this whole experience is meant to be fun, not dangerous or painful.

So, if you’ve been thinking about it, just do it! But do it right – be choosy and safe – and remember that if you get one, there will probably be many more…

Get your tattoo in Singapore

Alive Tattoo: Ming Arcade, 21 Cuscaden Road, #01-06, Tel: +65 6735 6598, enquiries Operation hours: Monday – Saturday: 12 pm – 9 pm, Sunday: By appointment only

Galaxy Tattoo Studio: 35 Selegie Road #B1-04 Parklane Shopping Mall, Tel: +6333 3221, Fax: +6333 3221

Johnny Two-Thumbs Tattoo Studio: #04-15 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, Tel: +65 6737 4861, Fax: +6737 4861 for appointment. Email: chak@ richard@ meng@

Primitive Art Piercing & Tattoo: 14 Scotts Road #04-101 & #04-83 Far East Plaza, Tel: +6735 3710, Fax: +6735 3710, Operating Hours: 12am to 10pm daily, come in by 8pm for tattoos.

Sacred Souls Tattoo: 18 Cross Street #02-02 China Square Central, Tel: +6327 8059

Skin Mechanic Tattoo: 5 Koek Road #B2-02 Cuppage Plaza, Fax: +65 6887 4645, Mobile: +65 9764 6116 (Jeremy), Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 4pm to 10pm, Monday & PH: Closed. Email: kinmechanic_tattoo

Spirit of Tattoos: 77B Boat Quay, Tel: +65 9022 9882, Email: spirit_of_tattoos

Visual Orgasm: 35 Selegie Rd, Parklane Shopping Mall, #03-19, Tel: +65 6336 5884, Mobile: +65 9856 9478, (Joseph). Email:


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