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Q&A with Wah Chun: Leaping Through Time

Ng Wah Chun knows that time waits for no one. He spares no hesitation in the pursuit of ambitions. Today, he is a grassroots volunteer, entrepreneur, Associate Director at a fund management firm, and, not to mention a husband-to-be. In a time that’s difficult to move ahead, Tropika Club has a chat with Wah Chun to see how he presses on as he balances between his passions.

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*The interview below has been edited for clarity.

No Time to Read? Here’s a Snappy Summary of This Article

  • What was your first memory of dance? And how did this passion evolve over time?
  • How did all that lead you to Jeté Studio?
  • You seem to have a deep passion in finance too, especially in wealth management solutions. What led you to this passion?
  • You’re involved in grassroots activities too. Tell us more about what you do!
  • What is the guiding philosophy in all that you do?
  • How do you cultivate and sustain the motivation to do all that in your life?
  • Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. What’s your secret to time management that lets you do so much?
  • What’s one habit that everyone should learn to master time management?
  • How are you getting through all the challenges posed by the COVID-19 in everything you do?
  • What’s next in store for you?
  • Amidst all the bustle between your passions, your career, and volunteering, how are you taking care of yourself?
  • What is one message you’d like to tell all the big dreamers like you out there?

“…an individual who is meant to achieve much in life will correspondingly be tested repeatedly with setbacks and frustrations.

Q: What was your first memory of dance? And how did this passion evolve over time?

A: My first memory of dance was in a ‘free movement’ class in a dance studio at the old Funan Mall. I remember I was just tumbling around and personifying the term ‘free movement’ very literally.

After that class, my parents enrolled me in a ballet class and from then I started learning ballet and grew an interest in it. I was fortunate to learn under a nurturing teacher, Ms Lena Foo, who was pivotal in helping me build a strong foundation in ballet. Because of that, I was able to achieve distinctions for the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) Ballet Examinations, from Grade 1 all the way to the Advanced level.

With my firm foundations in ballet, I thought of exploring another genre of dance. So I took up Chinese Dance as I studied in River Valley High School and National Junior College, learning from Mr Benedict Soh and Mr Wang Da. I began competing nationally at the Singapore Youth Festival around then as well.

I continued dancing as I entered university, joining the Contemporary Dance club at Singapore Management University. There I had the good fortune to be under the tutelage of Mr Dan Kwoh. And with his guidance, I had the opportunity to compete internationally with my dance friends and won 1st place in the 2013 Bolzano International Dance Competition in Italy, as well as the 1st Place and Championship Title in the 2014 Barcelona Dance Grand Prix in Spain.

Q: How did all that lead you to Jeté Studios?

A: Being trained in ballet helped solidify my foundation in exploring other genres such as Chinese Dance and Contemporary Dance. I felt that it would be beneficial for young ballet dancers to have similar cross-genre exposure as well. I put that idea across a few like-minded friends, and they felt the same way. That’s how Jeté Studios started, and that’s how we got to focus on providing a holistic, progressive dance curriculum to develop versatile dancers.

Q: You seem to have a deep passion in finance too, especially in wealth management solutions. What led you to this passion?

A: It was the sudden realization that my parents have been protecting me from our actual financial situation, and the desire to provide for my family. That led me to start this path in personal finance and wealth management. As I deepened my experience and knowledge in this area, I was able to improve my family’s financial situation. At the same time, I saw that this knowledge could help not just investors, but many others as well. This led me to find solutions to both educate and help improve the finances of those around me.

Q: You’re involved in grassroots activities too. Tell us more about what you do!

A: Having benefited significantly from the community, I felt that it was only right to pay it forward. With a strong interest in financial literacy, I saw the grassroots as a viable platform to propose and implement initiatives to improve the lives of the community where I live in, especially for the underprivileged.

Being a part of the Boon Lay CC Youth Executive Committee, I had the opportunity to launch Skills for Good, an initiative for the local community in response to the nationwide push for everyone to upskill and reskill to get ready for the new economy. Participants can learn new skills for a small fee, and the proceeds are channelled to charity organizations. In addition to Skills for Good, I’ve had the privilege to organize financial literacy talks and workshops for the community as well.

Q: What is the guiding philosophy in all that you do?

A: The Chinese saying “修身, 齐家, 治国 平天下”-  First improve yourself, then your family, your country, and finally, the world.

“修身,齐家,治国,平天下”

Q: How do you cultivate and sustain the motivation to do all that in your life?

A: It’s an extension to the guiding philosophy. I would like to contribute my efforts, however small, to improve society and make an impact, from the concrete such as wealth and actual dance classes to the intangible such as community involvement through financial literacy and career development.

To do that, I have to continuously improve myself. I have to keep learning new ideas and be a better version of myself day after day. Providing for my family is a huge part of who I am. Though I’m definitely far from being able to make an impact, I care about how I can change the world around me for the better. In time, hopefully! So I’ll start small, doing my best to serve my immediate community.

Q: Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. What’s your secret to time management that lets you do so much?

A: There’s no secret so to speak; when you find something that you enjoy doing, somehow, you’ll find time for it. I’m just fortunate that whatever I’m doing right now happens to be both enjoyable and rewarding at the same time.

Wah Chun (right) performs on stage.

Q: What’s one habit that everyone should learn to master time management?

A: Learn how to use your calendar and to-do list well; a really successful senior that I respect a lot taught me the importance of a to-do list back in SMU. It has helped me a lot in making sure tasks are done (I know, it’s embarrassing to admit that I learnt how to have a functional personal to-do list only once I entered university)

Q: How are you getting through all the challenges posed by the COVID-19 in everything you do?

A: Like most businesses, we have gone digital as well. On the Hedge Fund side, we have been relying on zoom calls since we cannot meet in person, we transited quickly to incorporate DocuSign in our onboarding process to replace paper-based forms too.

For my dance school, we were quite affected as we were forced to close for 3 months due to COVID-19, and we’re lucky to have some support from our parents who have been ensuring their children join in our online dance classes. We have since opened our studio with the Phase 2 reopening measures and adopted strict safe distancing measures such as mandatory temperature checks and reduced class sizes.

Q: What’s next in store for you?

A: My focus is still to reach out to investors keen on a strong diversification allocation to their investment portfolio, especially after the market upheaval between February and April this year that impacted many investors.

For my dance school, it is to launch our new dance curriculum Jete+, where we hope to offer our students the best of both worlds; the rigour of a Classical Ballet education and a creative environment to realise their fullest potential in the wider world of dance.

“From a personal improvement perspective, after completing my Masters in Computing last year, I’m trying to fill up gaps in my business foundation knowledge with an MBA course that I am currently on as my understanding of some of the business concepts is mostly gained on the job so far.

Q: Amidst all the bustle between your passions, your career, and volunteering, how are you taking care of yourself?

A: It’s getting increasingly difficult to do so, but I try to make sure I have enough sleep and rest! Apart from my weekly Bukit Timah Hill hike with my fiancée and my future in-laws, I have short online workout sessions with my fiancée every other day as well.

Q: What is one message you’d like to tell all the big dreamers like you out there?

A: 天降大任于斯人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空乏其身,行指乱其所为,所以动心忍性,曾益其所不能。

That Chinese quote could be translated as: an individual who is meant to achieve much in life will have a corresponding amount of setbacks and frustrations.

It is only through persistence and determination that one trains their discipline to keep taking whatever life throws at them. Then, eventually, one can take on increasing responsibilities.

And, last but not least, we have to remember those who helped us along the way and pay it forward whenever we can.

Check out the two companies that Ng Wah Chun is a part of: Jeté Studios and Salzworth.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this Q&A with Wah Chun, one of Singapore’s most talented and versatile dancers and choreographers. He shared with us his journey, inspiration, challenges, and tips for aspiring dancers. We admire his passion, creativity, and dedication to his craft, as well as his willingness to experiment and collaborate with different artists and genres. He is truly a role model for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams and express themselves through dance.

If you want to see Wah Chun in action, you can check out his upcoming performances and projects on his website or social media pages. You can also support him by following his work, sharing it with your friends, or attending his workshops and classes. He is always looking for new opportunities and partners to create and perform with, so feel free to reach out to him if you have any ideas or proposals.

Tropika Club Magazine is proud to feature Wah Chun as one of our local talents who are making waves in the arts and culture scene. We believe that dance is not only a form of entertainment, but also a powerful medium of communication, expression, and connection. We hope that by showcasing Wah Chun’s story, we can inspire more people to appreciate and participate in dance, as well as to discover and celebrate their own unique talents and passions.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is contemporary dance? A: Contemporary dance is a genre of dance that emerged in the 20th century as a reaction to the rigid forms and techniques of classical ballet. Contemporary dance is influenced by various styles such as modern, jazz, lyrical, and ethnic dance, and often incorporates elements such as improvisation, contact, and expression. Contemporary dance is also known for its versatility and creativity, as it can explore various themes, emotions, and movements.

Q: Where can I learn contemporary dance in Singapore?

A: There are many dance studios and classes in Singapore that offer contemporary dance lessons for beginners and advanced dancers. Some of the popular ones are Danz People, The Dance Place, EV Dance, and Singapore Dance Theatre. You can check out their websites or social media pages for more information on their schedules, fees, and instructors.

Q: How can I improve my contemporary dance skills?

A: To improve your contemporary dance skills, you need to practice regularly, learn from different sources and genres, and challenge yourself with new movements and choreographies. You can also attend workshops, masterclasses, or online courses to learn from professional dancers and choreographers. Additionally, you can watch contemporary dance performances or videos to get inspired and appreciate the art form.

Q: Who are some famous contemporary dancers and choreographers in Singapore?

A: Singapore has a vibrant and diverse contemporary dance scene, with many talented dancers and choreographers who have made their mark locally and internationally. Some of the notable ones are Wah Chun, Kuik Swee Boon, Albert Tiong, Christina Chan, Silvia Yong, Daniel Kok, Lee Mun Wai, and Raka Maitra. You can read more about their works and achievements on Tropika Club Magazine or other online platforms.

Q: How can I support the local contemporary dance scene in Singapore?

A: You can support the local contemporary dance scene in Singapore by attending their performances, events, or festivals, such as M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival or da:ns festival. You can also follow their social media pages, share their works with your friends, or donate to their causes. Furthermore, you can join their communities or groups to network with other dancers or enthusiasts, or volunteer for their projects or initiatives.

Meanwhile, Check Out Tropika Club’s Ecosystem of Websites

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Terence is the deputy editor for Tropika Club Magazine. He is an analytical individual who enjoys learning about animals and different cultures. He has a curious mind and is always seeking knowledge and understanding. Terence is also a friendly and approachable person who enjoys making connections with others. He is passionate about his work in the publishing industry and takes pride in his collaborations with authors and editors.

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