Coming soon

Design for deities

Help save Ah Ma's shop!

An interntional heritage design competition

Design challenge

Propose a redesign of this statue of the Monkey God - an ancient mythological figure known for his playfulness, intelligence and tenacity - for a secular international audience.











Judging panel

The competition is organised by Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop, Singapore’s last Taoist effigy-making shop, established in 1896. The goal of this competition is to reinvent this 124-year-old dying heritage business through co-creating new products with the community.

We are honoured that our friends have stepped forward to support by volunteering as the judging panel.

Jerome Goh

Designer, IDEO

New York

Rhea Alexander

Assistant Professor, Parsons School of Design

New York

Chua Ai Lin

Executive Director

Singapore Heritage Society


Chan Chow Wah

Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute


Wendy Chua

President's Design Award winner (2015);

Co-founder, Forest & Whale

Singapore & Buenos Aires



Ng Yeow Hua

aka Uncle Ah Yeow


Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop


Tan Chwee Lian

aka Ah Ma


Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop



(or rather, our humble offerings of gratitude)

1st prize

Personal tour of shop for you and up to 10 of your guests


Masterclass with Ah Ma


1 Monkey God statue

2nd prize

Personal tour of shop for you and up to 10 of your guests


Masterclass with Ah Ma

3rd prize

Personal tour of shop for you and up to 10 of your guests

Judging criteria



Your design should express the story or values embodied by the Monkey God in new ways.

Your design must be respectful. 


Your proposed design must be of an object. It cannot be, say, an illustration, video, or app.

The object must be wood and of the dimensions stated, but can incorporate new materials, design (eg, new textures, posture, weapons), or technology.


The design can comprise more than 1 statue, or the juxtaposition of the statue with new elements.


Shortlisted designs will be shared with the public, who will vote for their favourite design. Public votes count for 25% of the total score.

How to participate
  • This competition is open to all regardless of race, religion or country of residence.

  • Manufacturing of the proposed design is not required.

  • This competition is open to designers of all skill levels - professional, amateur or zero. Technical skills don't matter; we are looking for the creative idea :) 

  • There is no restriction on the medium: drawings, sketches, diagrams and photographs are welcome. 

  • Please submit your design in PDF format and include the following: ​

    • Design concept (Describe your proposed design)

    • Thought process (Explain how your design re-interprets the Monkey God story and the heritage craft)

    • Optional: Proposed manufacturing process (Explain how your design can be manufactured. Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop respects copyright; your design will not be commercialised unless your consent is first obtained)

  • Your design must not breach Intellectual Property rights

  • Each participant can submit more than 1 entry.

  • By participating, you give consent to Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop to publish and exhibit your designs without compensation as long as copyright is attributed to the designer.

  • Selected entries may be invited to partner Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop to commercialise their concepts.


Deadline for submission of entry via


Press Release 1 about public voting of shortlisted designs


Press Release 2 announcing winners

Download photos and 3D scans of the statue to use in your designs

Contact us

Find inspiration here

We hope you can participate! 

If not, you can support us by spreading the word :)