{Interview #12}: Doreen Tan – Textile and Apparel Industry Expert

Doreen Tan is the Chief Executive of Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc), Asia’s leading training provider for the textile and fashion industry. Her career has spanned across the private sector, academia and training as well as involvement in government agencies, benefitting individuals and enterprises both at the national and regional levels. She has trained executives from companies such as Club21 (S) Pte Ltd, LVMH Asia Pacific Talent Development Centre and Chanel Asia Pacific Pte Limited, and as Merchandise Director at AMC (known as Target today) she managed a sales volume of US$87 million.

As an International Consultant with International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO) of United Nations, Doreen has completed various projects in the Textiles and Clothing Industry in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mauritius, Romania, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Her husband works in the logistic industry and they have three children aged 16 to 21 years old.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Doreen Tan

Your qualifications
MBA (Macquarie Graduate School of Management – Sydney)

Describe your job
As the CE of TaF.tc, I am actively involved in initiatives that enhance the industry’s capabilities and capacity development. Since 2004, I have conducted training to executives of MNCs and local companies in the various segments of the fashion industry both locally and globally. Under my leadership, TaF.tc developed the Workforce Skills Qualification Textile and Fashion Industry Framework that covers over 70 competency standards and assessments for the textile and fashion industry. We provide relevant courses for people interested in fashion design, footwear construction and merchandising, from the basics of drafting and sewing to setting up their own store.

Tell us about your career path.
I started working in the textile and apparel industry doing global sourcing for US retailers for 10 years and was promoted to Merchandise Director at the age of 26. I went on to complete an MBA in Sydney and joined Temasek Polytechnic as one of the pioneers to establish the Apparel Design and Merchandising diploma programme. During my 7 years in TP, I was also teaching in TaF.tc and worked part time in Nike and Ghim Li as a trainer and consultant.

How did you find your passion?
When I first joined AMC, my boss was unwilling to teach me everything, especially on costing. There wasn’t the internet then, thus I learned from my suppliers who are owners of garment factories and fabric mills. I used to spend hours learning from these owners and took the initiative to organise visits to their factories, mills, YKK zipper plants and button manufacturers. The manufacturing world never fails to fascinate me. I traveled around the US to meet customers and also traveled widely regionally to source for more manufacturers as factory owners venture to different countries with lower costs.

It was an eye opener as I realized that decisions made by buyers and merchandisers often impact the product process and thus the cost and quality. The most unglamorous work is done in the factories where thousands of workers toil for hours so that beautiful clothes can be churned out. These workers will find work to earn a decent salary to bring home to their families. I was disturbed by the extremely low wage of USD58 per month until I visited the villages with some Korean missionaries where I discovered that the farmers earned much less! It changed my perspective, and whether wages are high or low is quite relative.

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
I get great satisfaction from seeing people picking up a new skill and finding a job.

What does success mean to you?
Doing something that you love and believe in.

Does this job enable good work life balance?
The fashion industry is notorious for long working hours. I remember when I first joined the industry, I used to work till 1 or 2 am doing filing. When I reached executive position, I used to stay up late to call my customers in US which is a different time zone. We only have one life and we do the best we can in this one life. If you are passionate about what you are doing it is hard to draw the line. What is personal and what is official? What is life?

You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burnt out?
I take short vacations, rest and recharge by doing nothing on weekends. I spend time with my loved ones, eat, chill, laugh at mistakes, exercise (although I could do more!), read, attend seminars and workshops.

Are you involved in any voluntary work?
I am involved with Don Bosco Phnom Penh. TaF.tc orders cookies regularly from ASPN and collaborates with PLOVE to conduct classes for autistic adults.

One piece of advice to parents
It is important to teach them values and to allow them to learn as many things in life as possible, especially in music and sports. Make sure your children know that you love them, teach them to be independent, and ensure they don’t grow up with an “entitled” mentality. Inculcate a good reading habit and travel as a family to different countries.

One piece of advice to teens
Give yourself many options by studying hard and getting good academic results. Work part time during school holidays and pick up as many sports and musical instruments as possible. Travel to different countries to open your mind and do volunteer work in third world countries. Allocate time for your family and learn to speak some dialects.

To be a good merchandiser, you must have an eye for detail, very high level of commitment, be reasonably good in maths, management as well as coordination skills.

{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

#2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium
#3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra
#4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness
#5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre
#6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series
#7 – Andrea Decruz Media Personality Owner of CINQ Salon & Belmont Flora
#8 – Ebelle Chong Dance Practitioner / Choreographer SSLD:7 in R.e.P 2015
#9 – Dr Phillip A. Towndrow Research Scientist Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice
#10 – Christine Teo Mental Health Social Worker Founder of Generation 414
#11 – Peter Draw Artist / Cartoonist 4 Guinness World Record holder


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~



{Interview 11}: Peter Draw – Artist

Peter Zhuo, better known as Peter Draw, 31, is an artist who has 4 Guinness World Records under his belt. Largest Caricature, 2007, Largest Art Lesson, 2010, Longest Drawing, 2014 and Longest Drawing by Individual, 2014. He has also been awarded JCI’s Singapore Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore for contributions to Children, World Peace & Human Rights, 2008.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Peter Draw

Describe your typical work day

I am always figuring out how to showcase life’s most important values and lessons in the cutest, simplest way. I start each day with a sip of coffee.

Tell us about your career path

Growing up, drawing was the only thing I loved and helping people was the most meaningful thing I learnt. I believe everything changes but nothing really changes, unless we start doing what we do with love. My entire career path has been to use art to protect children, especially children who cannot protect themselves.

I was very shy, but after my grandfather passed away when I was 16, I found the courage to put my shyness aside and start taking little steps to pursue my dreams.

How did you find your passion?

I fell in love with drawing when I was 3. Even today, I feel a sense of happiness when I see children drawing, and happier when I am drawing.

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

When a child comes up to me and lets me know that what I have done has fulfilled their childhood – with happy hopes.

There have been many incidents which gave me immense satisfaction.

The time when a little boy in Sichuan broke his only sweet into 2 and gave me one before he returned home. He wrote me a letter and secretly put it into my bag. I only found out when I was on the plane home to Singapore.

The time when a girl showed me her jotter book filled with fashion design drawings, all in black and white. She told me she had never owned any colour pencils or crayons before. Knowing it was her birthday (she is the daughter of our local driver arranged by the local ministry of Foreign Affairs), and Yangon was the last city for our tour, I took out over 100 boxes of Faber Castell crayons and gave it to her and told her “Happy Birthday”, and she cried.

The next day, on our way to the airport, her father gave me a gift – a new jotter book filled with more fashion design drawings. This time, all filled with colours, including the words. On the last page, she wrote that she hoped that one day, I would wear one of her designs. I was half happy and half confused, because all her fashion designs are sexy dresses.

The time in South Africa when a group of children waited for me at the airport to thank me and see me off with their school Principal. My flight was at night, but they came in the morning. Luckily, a fellow Singaporean recognised the name on their signboard and took the pictures which they had drawn. I chatted with one of the kids on the phone and thanked them.

The time in Saitama, Japan, when a pair of playful twin girls sat down quietly with me and started folding paper cranes which we later brought to children in Fukushima.

What does success mean to you?

Sometimes, people ask me if it’s worthwhile dedicating my entire life to pursue an ambitious dream to benefit other people. The way I see it, if at the end of my life, I fail, the loss is personal. If I succeed, children for many generations will continue to benefit long after I’m gone. To me, it’s an obvious choice. Just having the chance to do what I love and serve more children along the way, I am already contented.

You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burnt out?

Even though I work very hard, I don’t think I’m incredibly busy. I hope that young people don’t get the wrong idea and focus on keeping themselves busy to feel successful. Sometimes we can’t avoid getting burnt out, but after resting, just get back on your feet and keep going. If it is something you love, how hard can it be?

Are you involved in any voluntary work?

I try to help as much as I can. Next month, I am starting to teach art to a group of elderly, and will be working with them to draw portraits for the younger ones in their neighbourhood. I have children who call themselves “Little Draws” – little versions of Peter Draw, and now we will have our first “Senior Draws” šŸ™‚

One piece of advice to parents

Whatever you do with and for your children, do it with love.

One piece of advice to teens

Sometimes, we don’t realise the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. As a child, I promised my grandfather I would be a great artist and make beautiful works of art to show him. I can’t do that now as he has passed away. Thus, never take anything in life for granted, especially human relationships. Hesitate and you may lose the chance forever.

To be a good artist…

If you have created a work that you and others keep falling in love with, you have made a great work of art. Make something people love, and you can only do that with love.


{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine


#2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium

#3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra

#4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness

#5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre

#6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series

#7 – Andrea Decruz Media Personality Owner of CINQ Salon & Belmont Flora

#8 – Ebelle Chong Dance Practitioner / Choreographer SSLD:7 in R.e.P 2015

#9 – Dr Phillip A. Towndrow Research Scientist Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice

#10 – Christine Teo Mental Health Social Worker Founder of Generation 414


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

{Interview #10}: Christine Teo – Social Worker

Christine Teo, 37, is a Mental Health Social Worker and Founder of Generation 414. She achieved the Golden Key Award for academic excellence, won first prize in RMIT University’s Business Plan Competition 2015 and attained the Litmus Group Productivity Award.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Your qualifications

Masters in Social Work
Masters in Counselling
Graduate Diploma in Theology
Bachelor of Business Management
Diploma in Human Resource Management

Christine Teo

Describe your job

I support people living with severe and chronic mental illness with complex issues by providing a more coordinated system response to their mental health needs. I work closely with the client, carers and family by getting multiple sectors, services and support they may come into contact with to work in a more collaborative, coordinated and integrated way, ensuring the best possible outcome for their recovery.

In my work at Generation 414, we provide dignified employment and personal development opportunities for women affected by human trafficking. We offer skills training, educational support, and a long-term sustainable income channel through the online sale of bags and clothes handmade by the survivors of the sex industry.

Tell us about your career path

I started out in the corporate world as a consultant in one of the Big Fours. I loved the challenges the job offered and the money was great and I enjoyed my time there. However, after a while I started to question that there must be more meaning in life than this.

I regularly volunteered in mission trips and enjoyed the interactions I had with the communities that I worked with, so I made the decision to change my career and applied for a post-graduate course in the helping profession.

I was privileged to be granted a full scholarship so I quit my job, packed my bags and moved to Australia. It’s been 10 years now and I’ve never looked back.

How did you find your passion?

I have always enjoyed helping people. My parents, being traditional Chinese Singaporeans, are not very supportive of my career move. It’s been 10 years and they are still trying to convince me to go back to the corporate sector so that I can “make more money”, and to “give up my ideals”. I am very blessed that I had a grandmother (who has since passed on) who was the kindest, most selfless role model.

I had the value instilled in me that there is so much more to life than making lots of money which you cannot bring into your grave anyway. I am glad I listened to that advice instead and have never been happier. The satisfaction and fulfilment I get out of being able to be a positive impact on the lives of others is priceless!

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

I find it a huge honour and privilege that I have been given the most broken and fragile of people (mental health clients or survivors of trafficking) to journey life with, to walk alongside them, to care for and support them in their journey of recovery to make a better life for themselves.

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is when I work myself out of a job! When the person I have journeyed life with comes and tells me, “Thank you for all that you have done for me. I don’t need your help anymore because I can do life on my own now.” That is the  best thing a social worker can ever hear.

Does this job enable good work/life balance?

You learn to set healthy boundaries and with experience you know that if you don’t set yourself good work/life balance, you will burn out quickly. We are in this profession for the long haul. It is a marathon not a sprint, and if you don’t take care of yourself first, you will not be able to take care of others.

When I am at work I give my 100% and am fully engaged with my clients. When I am away from work, I shut that out of my personal life and give my loved ones my 100% attention and also make time for myself to love and care for myself by doing things that I absolutely enjoy.

You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burnt out?

I am very organised and I plan. I plan time to work, to play and to rest. Most people burn out because they fill their diaries with so much work and do not allocate specific time to rest. “No” is a very important word to learn how to say. I also make sure I eat healthy, exercise regularly by doing bikum yoga and going for long runs or swims to help me relax and decompress the day’s stresses. I balance work with a good social life and I get enough sleep.

Are you involved in any charity work?

Yes. I am an advisor and consultant for Atlanta Alliance Against Trafficking, resource manager for Hillsong Church, and I volunteer at the Human Trafficking Resource & Assistance Centre, NightLight International, The A21 Campaign, and in Passion City Church.

One piece of advice to parents

Allow your children to dream and to follow their hearts. Do not be too quick to shut them down just because they may not conform to society’s template. Everyone is unique, with a different set of talents and gifts.

Your actions, even more than your words, are critical in helping children adopt good moral and ethical standards. If you are a good role model from early on, that is the best thing you can do for your children. The provision of material possessions, although good, is not the crux of it all. If you raise them well, your children will be resourceful enough to be able to provide for themselves and take care of you in your old age.

One piece of advice to teens

Be the change you wish to see in your world. Not all of us can do great things but we ALL can do small things with great love. Dare to dream. The only person who can truly prevent your dream from becoming your reality is yourself.

To be a good social worker, it takes someone… who will not give up on doing small things with great love. If you work from a framework of unconditional, unjudgemental love, the people you are working with will appreciate the efforts. Their lives may not become perfect overnight but to know that someone out there cares enough to want to help and support them changes their world for them.

{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

#2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium
#3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra
#4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness
#5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre
#6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series
#7 – Andrea Decruz Media Personality Owner of CINQ Salon & Belmont Flora
#8 – Ebelle Chong Dance Practitioner / Choreographer SSLD:7 in R.e.P 2015
#9 – Dr Phillip A. Towndrow Research Scientist Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

{Interview #9}: Dr. Phillip A. Towndrow – Research Scientist

Dr. Phillip A. Towndrow, 59, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is married to an administrative assistant in a foreign embassy in Singapore and they have two children aged 23 and 12.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Your qualifications

BA (Hons.) Philosophy, University of Essex (UK)
MA Applied Linguistics, University of Surrey (UK)
Ed. D., Durham University (UK)

Dr. Phillip A. Towndrow

Describe your job
I work in an educational research centre. I plan, organise and manage studies in how teachers teach and how students use new media in their learning. A large part of my job involves working with teachers and other educators to design lesson tasks and activities around particular topic and thematic curriculum areas. I’m also expected to publish my work in academic journals and tell others about my research findings through classes, seminars and conference presentations.
Tell us about your career path
I started teaching English as a foreign language. I then moved into the planning and supervision of a large computer assisted language learning project at a university in the Arabian Gulf. It was at that time that I did my Masters and I realised I had an interest in learning and academic writing. In the effort to progress in my work and studies, I moved to Singapore to do a Doctorate in Education. By the time I finished my coursework, I already had a number of publications under my belt. I continued writing and researching on various projects and used (as much as I could) all opportunities to meet people and collaborate.
How did you find your passion / area of interest?
It was unplanned and, in part, opportunistic. I’ve always liked learning new things and explaining concepts to others. My first degree was in Philosophy and that is where I learnt through my excellent professors and teachers at the University of Essex to craft arguments and write concisely, logically and convincingly. I remember writing a 500-word essay on Plato and getting an A+. That came as a bit of a surprise (I’d always been an average learner in school) but I decided to continue with Philosophy because I was good at it. My professors encouraged me and that’s how my ‘love of learning’ began. I have been passionate about trying to understand things all of my life.
Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
I derive great pleasure in making things and helping others express their ideas. Ultimtely, I want to make sense of life and the world around. My greatest joy comes from shining light in parts where darkness, ignorance and injustice prevent people from doing all that they can to make the world a better place to live and work.
What does success mean to you?
I guess that for many, success in what they do is linked to their material achievements and performances. Of course, it’s important for me to have citations, sell books and give many talks etc.. But, for me, I feel I’ve been succesful when my students, colleagues and the people I meet go out of their way to say, “Thank you. You made me think differently. I now understand (X) better.”
How do you balance your time between work and family?
Well, my starting point is to draw a line between paid work and the rest of my life. I strive to put God first in everything and then family comes next. That said, I can’t stop thinking about my work. There’s always an idea that pops into my head. I’m constantly writing and rewriting sentences in my mind, in notebooks and on my computers. Anything and everything I look at, eat or hear can spark an idea in my mind. So, I have to be very careful. At least I know I can’t be at or in work all of the time!
You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burnt out?
Prioritisation is key and I must set limits. I have multiple ‘to do’ lists on all of my gadgets and devices. I set myself a number of things to do each day. I try not to leave things to the last moment and to give myself a lot of lead time when it’s possible. If I have a large job, for example, read a 250-page thesis, write a book or plan lessons, I break the task down into small parts. Read a chapter a day or write a page a day, and so on. I know there will be unplanned events, contingencies to deal with and other urgent things to complete but I try to keep focussed on what’s important and not on what other people say is necessary.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed or burdened, I know that work–life balance issues are looming. For me, the solution or remedy is to back off and go to a quiet place to pray and reprioritise. Ultimately, itā€™s always important for me to slow down and reflect on what Iā€™m doing and why.
Are you involved in any charity work?
No. But I do some unpaid service work to the community through talks, meetings, tutorials and writing.
One piece of advice to parents
Your children are a precious gift from God. Find all ways possible to learn from them who you are and what it means to live a full and meaningful life.
One piece of advice to teens
Listen to and obey your parents. When you feel like running to your room to hide from or avoid a situation, turn around and instead give your Mum or Dad a big hug and kiss. It will change your perceptions.
To be a good research scientist, it takes someone… who has a clear and precise vision of a transformed world through education and carespassionately about the quality of the work they do for themselves and others.

{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

#2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium
#3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra
#4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness
#5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre
#6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series
#7 – Andrea Decruz Media Personality Owner of CINQ Salon & Belmont Flora
#8 – Ebelle Chong Dance Practitioner / Choreographer SSLD:7 in R.e.P 2015

~ www.mummweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

{Interview #8} Ebelle Chong – Dance Practitioner / Choreographer

Ebelle Chong, 39, is a Dance Practitioner and Educator. She was part of a wave of contemporary dance artists who shook up the local dance scene in the early 2000’s. Her latest work SSLD:7 premiered in R.e.P 2015 to great critical acclaim. Ebelle’s choreography for CHIJ Katong Primary School bagged the Certificate of Distinction at the Singapore Youth Festival 2014. Her husband is in Corporate Communications and they have 3 boys aged 8, 4 and 2.


This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

Your qualifications

Bachelor of Business Administration, NUS
Diploma in Contemporary Dance, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts

Photo credit: Jingkai (SSLD:7 premiered in R.e.P 2015, Raw Moves)

Describe your job
As a Dance Practitioner, I often collaborate with independent artists from different genres, or work with a Company to create a new piece of work. Most often for theatre pieces, I collaborate with a Music / Sound Composer, Lighting Designer and the Performers. Rehearsals are always work-in-progress where we try new material and see what works or doesn’t.

As an Educator, I go to schools to teach contemporary dance techniques and choreograph the Dance CCA. I also teach a program called Program for Active Learning (PAL) for Primary 1 students using dance to aid in learning of creation and cooperation.

Tell us about your career path
After obtaining my BBA, I went to LASALLE-SIA to pursue dance. Upon graduating in 2001, I joined TOUCH entertainment and was part of the Magic of Love production team. I was the production manager, choreographer and dancer all rolled into one. Then in 2003-04, I was the General Manager, Production Manager and Dancer for a local dance company Ah Hock and Peng Yu (AHPY).

In 2005, some friends and I, all independent artists from different genres formed Collective MAYHEM. In 2008, my work “w a l l s” was commissioned by the Singapore Festival of the Arts and I performed a solo title “Mama:Machine”. I took a hiatus of 7 years to take care of my kids and this year, I premiered my new work SSLD:7 at R.e.P 2015 by Raw Moves. Most recently, I have finished co-creating Open Homes-SIFA in September 2015.

How did you find your passion?
Interestingly, it was when I helped out backstage at a LASALLE-SIA Dance Graduation show. I saw what the dancers / choreographers did and was moved by what they had to say through their dance. That’s when I decided, “Hey, if they can do this, so can I!”

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
Creation šŸ™‚

How do you find time to balance work and family?
It’s tough but I try to be away only 3 times a week. With that in mind, I plan my projects so that when one finishes, there is enough leeway to prepare for the next. I am very aware that I am also a mum and a wife, not just a dance practitioner / educator.

What does success mean to you?
When I have inspired or at least facilitated a thought process either through my teachers or creations.

Are you involved in any voluntary work?
Currently I am volunteering in World Dance Alliance Singapore as the Conference Secretary in organising Asia Pacific Dance Bridge: Connectivity Through Dance, which was held in Singapore on 16-18 October 2015.

One advice to parents
Let your child try it out for themselves because only they will know if this is what they really want.

One advice to teens
It is demanding being a dancer / choreographer, and you need to be strong mentally, emotionally and physically and just carry on. If possible, further your studies in dance as the lifespan of a dancer is quite short. There are many other areas in the industry where you can move on to, such as Arts Management, Dance Reviewer / Researcher / Academia etc.

To be a good dancer or choreographer, it takes someone with passion to press on, an open mind to learn more, and sensitivity to all that is around you to gain inspiration.

    {Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

    #1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

    #2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium
    #3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra
    #4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness
    #5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre
    #6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series
    #7 – Andrea Decruz Media Personality Owner of CINQ Salon & Belmont Flora
    ~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

    {Interview #7} Andrea Decruz – Media Personality

    Andrea Decruz, 41, is a Media Personality and owner of CINQ salon and Belmont Flora. She is married to Pierre Png, a leading Mediacorp Artiste.

    This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

    Your qualifications
    Bachelor Degree in Clinical Psychology, First Class Honours

    Andrea Decruz @ CINQ

    Describe your job
    I run the behind the scenes work at both CINQ and Belmont, dealing with human resource as well as public relations matters.

    Tell us about your career path
    I returned to Singapore in 1998 after a year of working in the San Francisco County Jail to join a private practice as a psychologist in Mount Elizabeth Hospital. I was soon scouted by MediaCorp (TCS back then) to join them as a full time artiste. I left the industry after my health failed in 2002 and took a long sabbatical before joining forces with my two current partners at CINQ in 2006 till today.

    How did you find your passion?
    As a child, I had always loved to pretend-play by washing and styling my mum and sister’s hair! When I was asked to get involved in the beauty business, I jumped at the opportunity.


    Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
    When I see our clients’ attitudes and emotions change as they walk out of the salon feeling like a million bucks especially when they walked in like they had the worst day ever.

    How do you rejuvenate yourself with your busy schedule?
    Sleep to me is very important. I need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to feel well equipped to begin my day. Once a week, I make it to Java Gaya for a detox lymphatic massage, and I make sure to get in a good 30 minutes of high cardio tebata workout three times a week.

    What does success mean to you?
    Success to me means having built a dream, weathering the storms and knowing that you are still above water.

    Are you involved in any charity work?
    I sat on the board of Make A Wish Foundation for the past five years and continue to do my best to support the foundation as a volunteer.

    One piece of advice to parents
    Always support your kids’ dreams no matter how out-of-this-world they may sound. You never know – they might just turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg!

    One piece of advice to teens
    You will have plenty of time to figure out all the other issues later on in life. In your teens, all you need to concentrate on is school, because without a good education, you are nothing.


    {Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

    #1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

    #2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium
    #3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra
    #4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness
    #5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre
    #6 – Ruth Wan Children’s Book Author Timmy and Tammy series


    ~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

    {Interview #6} Ruth Wan – Writer and Editor

    Ruth Wan is a Children’s Book Author and Managing Editor of Armour Publishing. She created the popular Timmy and Tammy series which was presented by President Tony Tan to Princess Charlotte as part of Singapore’s gift to the royal baby in 2015. Five Timmy and Tammy books were also selected for the SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift Pack which was given to all Singaporean babies born in 2015. She is in her late-30s and is married to a policeman. They have 3 children.


    This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

    Your qualifications

    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies

    Ruth Wan
    Describe your job

    In the morning, I go to the office and work with authors, illustrators, designers and other editors to produce books for the local market. These could be books on marriage, family and parenting. Or, they could be christian books or children’s books.

    As managing editor, I plan the publication schedule for Armour Publishing – I do this six months to a year in advance. This involves meeting up with potential authors to discuss book ideas, dealing with contracts and conceptualising book series.
    Tell us about your career path

    I worked in government for 7 years until I gave birth. Then, I sat around on maternity leave and decided to extend my leave. I ended up extending my leave for two-and-a-half years before returning, but insisting on a part-time basis only.

    I found it difficult to work part-time in a largely full-time environment. So I left the Civil Service to work for an award-winning graphic design firm that had a small publishing arm, called Epigram.

    When the publishing arm started growing, it eventually became its own entity, Epigram Books. I started as Editor in Epigram Books and became Managing Editor. Subsequently, I left to join Armour Publishing as Managing Editor and as I have the autonomy to decide what to write and publish, that’s where I started my own children’s series, Timmy and Tammy.

    How did you find your passion?

    I’ve always loved to read and write. I write better than I speak. I also need to read something in order to fully understand it. I have always had editorial instincts. I spend a lot of time correcting my own speech, and the speech of others, to make the words more grammatical. It drives my husband crazy. I used to think I was weird, but then I found editorial soul mates in my other editor friends. There are more of us in this world!

    When I started having kids, I found myself very passionate about teaching them how to read. I realised that my mum had taught me early on how to read, and I wanted to do that for my kids too. I taught all my kids how to read fluently by the time they were four.

    I did not use any formula, curriculum or method. I just read to them and used my own make-up-on-the-spot method. When I was teaching my youngest daughter to read, I looked around and realised there were no readers in the market with local icons or landscapes.

    I started writing a series that would address this gap – and I’m amazed how well the series is doing. I guess there are a lot of parents out there who want localised preschool books.

    This makes sense because if children see landscapes and items they are familiar with, like the MRT, the Singapore Flyer and Changi airport, they are more likely to be engaged with the text and enjoy what they’re reading. This makes teaching them how to read enjoyable and fun.

    Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

    I really love designing book covers! And I love that moment when you double click on what an illustrator has just sent in and your screen is suddenly covered with a beautiful full-colour illustration that is just so adorable!

    How do you find time to balance work and family?
    I chose to work part-time only, and go home in the afternoon. I spend time with my kids, hug them, and make sure they keep up with schoolwork. We try to go to the playground every other day, but only in the evenings when it’s cooler. There’s also piano practice.

    I try not to bring work home and have this rule that if I do bring work home, it should be in hard-copy and should be mainly something I need to read.

    What does success mean to you?

    Success means pleasing God in everything that I do. The Bible spells out God’s plan for our life – since He’s our Maker, He knows what’s best for us and I have found that when I follow Him, His priorities, His values, His ways, I am blessed.

    Are you involved in any volunteer work?

    I sing in Church.

    One advice to parents

    Let your children know that you love them, you support them, you are there to encourage and root for them. They are going to face all sorts of things with their friends, with their grades, with the world. They need to have your love to have the courage and strength to persevere, to stand up for what is right, to choose to be different and to study for their Chinese exams!

    To be a good writer, it takes someone… who has a reason to write and who believes in what he/she is doing.

    {Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

    #1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine


    #2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium

    #3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra

    #4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness

    #5 – Professor Tan Huay Cheem Cardiologist Director of National University Heart Centre


    ~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

    {Interview #5} Professor Tan Huay Cheem – Cardiologist

    Professor Tan Huay Cheem, 52, is Senior Consultant at the department of Cardiology at National University Hospital (NUH). He is also Director of National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS), and Professor of Medicine at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS. He is a visiting professor to several hospitals in China and is an invited speaker to many international cardiology meetings. He is married to a locum G.P., who spends much of her time looking after their 11 year old daughter.
    This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life’s path.

    Your qualifications

    Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery MBBS (Singapore)
    Master of Medicine (Internal Medicine)
    Membership of Royal College of Physician (MRCP) United Kingdom
    Fellowship of American College of Cardiology (FACC)
    Describe your job

    I am a cardiologist, a heart specialist. Specifically, I am an interventional cardiologist who specialises in ā€˜unblockingā€™ patientsā€™ ā€˜blocked heart arteriesā€™ (coronary artery disease) from excessive cholesterol and fat deposits.

    I do so by inserting a balloon through the wrist or groin artery to access the heart (coronary) arteries. I would first dilate the arteries (which fractures and pushes the deposits against the side of the wall) with a balloon catheter and then implant a stent (which is either a metallic or ā€˜plasticā€™ scaffold) to prop the artery open. That way, it allows for restoration of blood flow to the heart which can relieve patientā€™s symptom (called angina pectoris) and prevent heart attack. The whole procedure is called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

    PCI is a generally safe procedure with procedural complication rates of less than 2%. It can be really life-saving in patients with acute heart attacks. In these patients, their arteries are completely ā€˜choked offā€™ with no blood flow to the heart muscles by blood clot and fat deposuts; and by performing this procedure, the whole process of heart attack can be aborted.

    This job requires me to be on duty some days where I have to be on standby for a whole 24 hours to be activated whenever a patient is admitted with heart attack. This can be very tiring especially when there are many heart attack patients who are admitted on the same day; or when they come in the middle of the night which deprives you of your sleep. In choosing this profession, I have acknowledged that this will have to be my lifestyle. My wife and family accepts it.
    How did you find your passion/ area of interest?

    I have always wanted to be a doctor since young. I still remember writing about being one as a young primary school student. I must have been inspired by the doctors who cured me of my illnesses when I was young. These doctors had left an indelible impression on me. To me, the medical profession is a noble and respectable one. Having become a doctor, I realise that respect from our patients has to be earned and not demanded. It is my wish that all doctors will continue to place the interest of their patients before their own, and not be influenced by extraneous factors such as financial gains or others.  

    I have always thought that I would be an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. This is because I topped the subject in my class. However something happened in my life that changed my initial plan. My mother, who was very close to me, had sudden death from a heart attack when I was serving my National Service as a medical officer. I found her collapsed in the bathroom on my return one day and started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her till the ambulance arrived. She did not make it and died shortly after.

    It was a shocking experience for me and it changed my life completely. My mother was only 55 when she passed away. She was simply too young to have died! I then decided that I would take up Cardiology, and specifically interventional cardiology, so that I can make a difference to heart attack patients in future. Although I could not save my own mother, I hope to be able to save someone elseā€™s parent or spouse. I found myself to have a knack for the field and made sure that I was well-trained in it to serve my calling. Having performed nearly 10,000 cardiac  procedures both locally and overseas over the last 20 years, I believe I have made an impact to many peopleā€™s lives.

    I have been working in NUH since my graduation 28 years ago. I still have many long term patients whom I had previously operated on, under my care. While I am definitely not the richest doctor around, I am very wealthy with the showers of gratitude and thanks which many of my patients bestow on me. That, to me, is the best gift.

    Professor Tan Huay Cheem
    Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

    My job as an academic cardiologist encompasses 4 main areas of work, namely clinical service, teaching, research and administration. I derive tremendous satisfaction in all these areas.

    To be able to save someoneā€™s life at the time when he or she needed you most gives me the most gratification. To be able to teach and train someone so well that he can treat his own patients competently is another satisfaction. To create new knowledge and to come out with new therapies to treat patients better is what I try to do in my research. And finally as a leader in the public institution, I help develop clinical programmes, manpower planning and participate in formulating public health policies, all of which are meaningful to me. What keeps me in the public sector, instead of going into private practice, is that I can be a member of Singapore’s public healthcare system which provides quality, accessible and cost effective care to the people of my country, regardless of their background.    
    What does success mean to you?

    I like the definition of success by American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    ā€œTo find the best in others; to give of oneself; to leave the world a bit better; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived- this is to have succeededā€

    I wish to be a blessing to someone every day, be it big or small. That is my definition of success. My work gives me the privilege to literally do that every day!

    I owe all that I have to God. I hope to be an Ambassador for Christ, to testify of His wondrous works through my work and life.
    Are you involved in any charity work?

    I volunteer my time with Singapore Heart Foundation, a voluntary welfare organization (VWO) that aims to promote heart health, prevent and reduce disability and death due to cardiovascular diseases and stroke among the public. I am the Secretary General for the organization and am actively involved in promoting health in schools and the community through programmes such as obesity management, exercise for life, Go Red For Women, and cardiac rehabilitation. We also raise funds to support needy patients for their expensive treatment in hospitals.
    One advice to parents

    Be a good role model to your child for much of what he/she becomes later in life is shaped by you.
    One advice to teens

    As you pursue your dreams in life, do not forget that much of what you have is owed to your parents and the society. Learn to count your blessings and be grateful.
    To be a cardiologist, it takes someone who isā€¦.. fully committed to the job with passion. Life-long continual learning is a prerequisite. You must also have three core values: empathy, compassion and effective communication skills. Take care of your patient like you would take care of your loved ones and do not allow financial gains to influence your judgement and management.
     

    {Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

    #1 – Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine


    #2 – Jeremiah Choy Creative Director Sing50 Mega concert at the National Stadium

    #3 – Elaine Yeo Musician Singapore Symphony Orchestra

    #4 – Chong Ee Jay Cyber Wellness Educator TOUCH Cyber Wellness


    ~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~