Those were the Days
Need a car? Council members know who to contact first: he is our Head of Public Relations Mr William Chan Hay Kiong. Mr Chan has 36 years of experience in selling and maintaining cars. He knows everything about cars at the back of his hands.
What to consider before buying a car
Price is certainly a factor, as well as size, performance, appearance, maintenance and spare parts.
While parallel imports offer competitive pricing, Mr Chan cautions that buying parallel imports often means sacrificing after-sales service. Furthermore, parallel imports often do not offer the same models as authorized agents, making exact comparisons difficult.
One should also not buy beyond their means. It may be easy to buy a car, but certainly not easy to keep up the payments. As a car dealer, Mr Chan certainly hopes to have more customers come through his door, however, he feels that he has the responsibility to caution his fellow clansmen not to over-commit their financial resources in buying a car. Some consumers believe that they can simply let the car go if they cannot keep up with the payments during bad times. However, it is not so simple. Mr Chan advises that “a forced auction of the car often fetches a lower price than the car loan plus interest, hence the car finance company can still seek payment of the balance, and if you cannot pay, then it may apply bankruptcy against you.”
A Marriage to Cars and an Affinity for People
Mr Chan left his home twon in Malacca for Singapore when he was 21. His first job was at Tan Chong Motors. He was initially in the car repair and maintenance department, and then subsequently went for further training in Japan. He was promoted to be the deputy manager of the repair and maintenance department in the 1980s, and later became the head of the sales department. In 1995, Mr Chan became an authorized agent for Tan Chong Motors. His friendly and extroverted personality has won him many friends from all walks of life. It is certainly the main reason why he is the head of PR at TADG. Mr Chan has contributed tirelessly to local clan events and often travels to Malaysia for the clan’s social events there.
Mr Chan can also be spotted hitting the greens at Changi Golf Club, always in the company of old and new friends.
The Influence of Clan Association Culture
Mr Chan joined the clan association as he was exposed early on to the clan association’s culture. His father used to bring him to the local branch of TADG for activities when he was 3 or 4 years old in Malacca, where he was well taken care of by clan elders. The friendliness he encountered there was to remain in his memories.
Upon arriving in Singapore, Mr Chan came into contact with TADG in Singapore through Mr Tan Kei Tua (Chen Qirui), an eminent TADG council member. However, it was only until in the mid-80s, that he became a member through the introduction of another TADG member Mr Lim Seng Hock (Lin Chenfu). There were about 10 other members who joined TADG around the time Mr Chan did, including TADG’s present counsultant Dr Tan Khee Giap (Chen Qiye) and TADG’s Welfare head Mr Tan Khai Seng (Chen Jiecheng).
The future of TADG
Mr Chan thinks that the Clan Association in Singapore has a different feel from the Malacca branch. Life in Singapore is fast-paced, which does not allow much time for nostalgic reminiscences. Furthermore, young people who are often higher-educated and do not need the Clan’s assistance (unlike immigrants of previous generations) have many options for social activities and clan activities often do not come into consideration.
However, Mr Chan believes that the clan association still has room to develop. It plays an important role in helping new immigrants adjust to local society and provides a platform for interaction amongst youths in different countries.
Mr Chan believes that TADG in Singapore is blessed with the advantage of having its own premises in the middle of the financial district. TADG can continue to be successful as long as council members continue to co-operate and work for the good of the association.