James Yi

Managing Partner, Public Relations
Confidence comes from within… the biggest lesson in life – just be yourself.

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American-born James Yi settled in Singapore sometime ago to found his own public relations firm with his business partner, and is well-versed at solving crisis situations in the office. But he’s no dull corporate type; this gentleman enjoys a good challenge outside of the office.


AM: What is one thing you own that speaks of your personality? What’s the story behind it?
JY: I have with me my cello. Although I haven’t opened up the case in years, I still hold on to it and have transported it halfway across the world with me! I had to even purchase a separate air ticket to bring it over to Asia. It is a special memento for me, as it was my first real success in life – my acceptance into the Juilliard School. I remember all the hours my mom spent in taking me to lessons and pushing me to practise harder, and now I appreciate her efforts in exposing me to this different life and culture. I’ve learnt to appreciate the arts much more in general, and often long for more performances to come to Singapore so I could attend. I had to leave Juilliard early due to my move to Costa Rica, but I continued with cello performance with the Costa Rica National Youth Symphony with a number of performances. But then my interests in other activities such as sports took over.
Singapore has become more crowded, making it difficult to really enjoy city life. When I first came here, it was much quieter, and much more enjoyable. I also feel the expats and foreigners at that time were more in tune with the local culture and more respectful of it. Now there is construction everywhere, traffic has become bad, the streets are overcrowded with people and there appears to be an increased number of incidents with foreigners. Despite this, I am happy in Singapore, and try to live a simple, easy life amid my busy schedule at work and my gym/basketball/golfing. I enjoy travelling to different and same places – really just depends on the people for me, the places are all pretty much the same now.
AM: Your personal style and elaborate on that… your style in different scenarios.
JY: On the topic of fashion and confidence, just a few comments. Fashion is often reflected by my personality – I wear lots of sporty stuff or try to keep it simple. I feel many fashionistas overdo it, and more often than not, simple is better. Confidence comes from within, not from trying too hard or by covering yourself with labels, but the biggest lesson in life – just be yourself. That will be the first step to achieving happiness.