Siew Hock Meng was born in Johore in 1942 and educated in Singapore . He dropped out of school and joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. But after one year he found himself more interested in aesthetics than painting. He abandoned art and became a rubber tapper in Malaya so that he had more time to read. In Kemaman he discovered Marxist-Leninist literature and became a Labour Party activist for a few years.

In 1975 Siew returned to Singapore to run an art gallery and did portraiture for which he gained a growing reputation in the region. He then began to explore other subjects and themes such as human figures and life and culture of Asia where he has traveled widely. His experiences in Bali , Myanmar , India and Cambodia have significantly enriched his art.