In a Land Devoid of Hobbies, What Makes a Sk8r Girl?
Skate to me, baby! Meet Letitia Liew, a 20-year-old Singaporean inline skater who skates more than she walks. Charleen Leonita learns about the teenager’s skating journey and how it has helped her glide through the setbacks in her life.
Letitia skating across various locations in Singapore. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
Places Section Editor
Hype Issue #54
February 9, 2022
Imagine my state of surprise and wonderment when I came across a video of Letitia Liew, 20, flawlessly inline skating through the streets of Singapore after a two-hour scroll on my TikTok For You Page.
Letitia’s ‘Rojak Routine’ where she does her leisure skating practises at her HDB block’s car park. Video courtesy of Letitia.
Inline skating is enjoying a resurgence here in Singapore thanks to COVID-19 restrictions which have pushed people to search for more outdoor activities to take on as hobbies. The sport has become so popular that even influencers have picked it up; just scroll through social media and you might come across viral TikTok videos and new skate shops established in the heartlands.
Letitia speed skating at Marina Barrage. Video courtesy of Letitia.
Maybe it was my lust for freedom, or the calming background music from the video accompanied by the undeniable waves of adrenaline it was giving off, but I was unquestionably smitten with the beauty of the sport and how revitalising it felt.
Before I knew it, I slid into Letitia’s direct messages (DMs) and read everything about her skating account, @localisedxplore, to find out more about her and the sport she loves wholeheartedly.
After a long skating session at Bedok Jetty, Letitia took this commemorative photo. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
“My Instagram username was created based on my goals, a local girl that will explore every nook and cranny of our little red dot. I usually skate five to six days a week, that’s why my friends tell me they see me in skates more often than they see me in shoes,” Letitia says with a laugh.
Skating nearly everyday is normal for Letitia and her friends, even during the holidays. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
The full-time Nanyang Polytechnic student does not let her busy student life get in the way of skating. She would count the number of hours until the end of her lessons before heading down to the National Stadium to skate her nights away.
“I started inline skating when I was 7. Of course, that was all for fun and games. I thoroughly enjoyed skating, but one day I just stopped,” she says. “This was probably because I entered the ‘schooling’ phase of my life, and Singapore’s education system really makes you drop your hobbies.”
This was probably because I entered the ‘schooling’ phase of my life, and Singapore’s education system really makes you drop your hobbies.
Letitia embarking on her polytechnic life (left photo, front row, second from the right) and excelling in squash (right photo, second from the left). Photo courtesy of Letitia.
Before she knew it, 11 years had gone by in which Letitia tried many new sports such as squash and badminton, studied hard to obtain a business and fintech diploma, and gained new experiences by working various part-time jobs.
However, skating never once left her mind.
“It felt like something in my life was missing, an empty feeling. It’s not that I wasn’t happy, but I always knew that there was a missing puzzle piece left to be put together.”
It felt like something in my life was missing, an empty feeling. It’s not that I wasn’t happy, but I always knew that there was a missing puzzle piece left to be put together.
To complete that puzzle, Letitia decided to bring skating back into her life, this time professionally. Picking the sport back up quickly, Letitia amazed the skating community with her natural talent and ability to move with ease.
Letitia and her friends after a fruitful skating session. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
“Every urban skate I go on with Letitia brings fond memories. She is a very fun and likeable girl to be around with,” says Bernard, 30, a fellow skating peer of Letitia’s. “I might be older but she is the one that would introduce me to new skating friends.”
Box, 30, is one of Letitia’s closest skating friends who has skate sessions with her almost everyday. Despite skating together so frequently, Letitia never fails to show up to each skating session with a new surprise for him.
“Letitia brings joy to the group when we skate, and she is a natural in the sport as well. I can’t speak English well so skating has become our universal language and the way we build our friendship.”
Letitia brings joy to the group when we skate, and she is a natural in the sport as well. I can’t speak English well so skating has become our universal language and the way we build our friendship.
With the exceptional growth Letitia has had, it wasn’t long before she started conducting her own skating classes and training sessions.
Skating with children has always been a joy for Letitia as she gets to see their growth in the sport. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
“Teaching students is one of my fondest memories and proudest accomplishments. Just the little things like learning how to stand properly in skates gives me joy. My goal is to go urban skating with my students one day.”
Teaching students is one of my fondest memories and proudest accomplishments. Just the little things like learning how to stand properly in skates give me joy. My goal is to go urban skating with my students one day.
Without a doubt, skating has become an essential part of Letitia’s life. During the days when she had to abstain herself from skating due to her injuries, her day would be what she describes as “torturous”.
Not only has skating been a way for her to destress, it is also an avenue for her to express her thoughts and feelings, bringing her absolute peace.
Skating friends are friends for life. Photo courtesy of Letitia.
When asked what advice she has for someone interested in picking up inline skating, she says: “It’s a fun sport that gets even more exciting with a friend, so drag a friend along and you can laugh together, fall together and grow together!”
You can follow Letitia here.