Secret Life of Fatbacks is a luxury travel, dining and lifestyle website. It is a companion platform to the Instagram account @larvitar. Both platforms are founded by Shawn, a full-time lawyer based in Singapore. (For intellectual property reasons, he is unable to name the website anything related to the titular Pokémon character.) Feel free to ask him in person what “Fatbacks” refers to.
Shawn began documenting his food experiences since he started reading Law at the National University of Singapore. Initially, he turned to food for solace from the rigours of university life, and food eventually became his safe haven away from the horrors of legal practice. Shawn approaches food writing by way of satirical humour, turning the self-important, don’t-ya-wanna-eat-what-I’m-eating-cuz-I’m-a-public-figure self-indulgent gravitas of Instagram foodie-ism on its head and conveying his thoughts about food in a manner which is at parts decidedly obscure and others, frankly nonsensical.
In 2017, Shawn began delving deeper into his second passion – experiencing and writing about luxury hotels, hotel loyalty programmes and general travel – with a continued focus on incidental dining and bar experiences. He retains the satirical edge to his writing, which now cheekily takes jabs at the clothes-shedding, latissimus dorsi-flexing, window ledge-sitting, staring at the distance-broody, look-at-my-numbers, brand name-checking fabulousness of travel-based influencers and those who want to become them. He is particularly fond of visiting new luxury hotels on their first day or week of operations, and has successfully been the first guest to check into and write about various notable properties in the Asia-Pacific region.
Shawn is not a professional critic, blogger or photographer. He is simply a person who loves writing about food and luxury hotels very much and (likes to think that he) has a quirky sense of humour. When Shawn is not premature ageing and turning his hair further grey due to stress and vicious deadlines, he is somewhere spending an exorbitant amount of money trying out new dining places and hotels. To him, while story-telling opportunities come in many forms which include collaborations and partnerships with properties and restaurants, he firmly believes it is important to have some skin in the game and for him to pay for most of his various experiences in order to be in any position whatsoever to make observations and comments about the respective industries.