英文撰稿：Teo Yong Ernn
Learning Karate to protect his loved ones
Sitting before me on a weekday at lunch, Hong Tat dons a professional outfit that stands out amongst the weekday (school holiday) crowd.
Having arrived promptly for the interview, Hong Tat waited patiently for my arrival and even expressed his apologies, insisting that I had taken time out of my schedule to interview him and that he felt bad. Such a gesture was certainly unexpected since it was the other way around – him doing me a favor by accepting my interview on a workday.
As a citizen of Generation Y, I was indeed impressed by the humility that Hong Tat possessed – a rare trait displayed amongst they young nowadays.
My encounters with Hong Tat have not come a long way – well, let’s say that I’ve only known him for about less than a year. However, this gentleman has indeed left a deep impression because his modest disposition that he never fails to carry and his ability to interact so actively with just about anyone from any generation.
As a graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Engineering faculty, Hong Tat shared his experience back in school. He was an active hall resident and participated in numerous hall activities. His exposure to activities from a broad spectrum increased his versatility in his dealings with day-to-day issues. Leadership roles are definitely not foreign to Hong Tat as he chaired a local expedition with his fellow hall-mate and together with the other committee members, organised a series of activities which included high elements, night-cycling and kayaking for fellow hall residents. The process of doing canvassing activities to fund the 2 days 1 nite activity was indeed a challenge but they managed to pull through.
In terms of personal well-being, Hong Tat started taking up Karate classes at the age of 22. He is currently a brown-black belt holder. When asked for the reason behind such a decision, he said that it was for self-defense and to protect his loved ones as well as to increase his health and fitness level. In addition, he felt that taking up such a martial art could actually build up his mental discipline in striving for his aims in life. He also goes jogging regularly and enjoys KTV sessions with friends.
Hong Tat is currently the Deputy Head of Lifestyle Section of the Tung Ann District Guild Council. Being one of the youngest members in the board, he finds it really interesting to be able to work alongside with fellow committee members who are many years his senior.
When asked about why he decided to step up and be one of the members of the board, he added without hesitation that it was because he wanted to contribute to the Guild in one way or another.
Searching and taking root at Tung Ann District Guild
Hong Tat’s experience with TAGD started many years back when he used to tag along for the AGMs that his grandfather attended. He was scouted by the current Head of Culture and Education Ms Lim Li Peng and became actively involved in the activities held by the Guild. During the times spent in the Guild, Hong Tat made many friends of all ages and has acquired greater knowledge and PR skills in the process. He highlighted that interacting with the older generation has allowed him to learn life-skills that cannot be gained even through the mainstream education system. Most importantly, it all ends up in a ‘win-win’ situation where both the young and old benefit by understanding each other better.
It was without our notice that the interview gradually turned into a conversation and sharing session between Hong Tat and myself. It was interesting as we started exchanging views on how we, as Gen Y of today’s world, view the Guild. He added that the presence of the young did matter, as it would then serve as a catalyst to bring in new blood. It would then be a pity should there be a discontinuation in such a tradition.
Currently carving out his career as a financial planner, Hong Tat explains the force that keeps his adrenaline running – he emphasizes the importance of adding value to anything that one undertakes. In addition, one has to be aware of one’s purpose in doing something. If one feels that something ought to be done, then just do it so that there will be no regrets when one looks back in the future.
Hong Tat also believes strongly in the following idoms: ‘do not do to others what you do not want to be done to you.’
Also, Roman Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said, ‘Life’s like a play. And as it is with a play, so it is with life – what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how great it is.’