activitiesI have always been heavily in the co-curricular activities: in sports, clubs, and musical groups. This has often been a challenge to balance with my studies and my work: my teachers used to despair at this!
However, one thing stands out: ever since I first picked up a blade in the December of 2006, I have been passionately involved in the sport of fencing. While I've decided to retire (for now) from competitive fencing, I still referee on the national circuit, and spar weekly (where I can).
I started fencing in December 2006 with Absolute Fencing, a club I have continued to train with since then. In 2007, with a few like-minded friends, I founded the Hwa Chong Fencing team in in Hwa Chong Institution's College Section, serving as the Team Captain. We helped to bring Fencing in as a sabbatical short course option for the general student population, which then led to a High School side team starting up soon after. I'm proud to say that the teams are still doing well today and a competitive force in the local schools fencing landscape! Initially, I trained as a foilist, but by my second year, I'd started switching to epee.
I then went on to join NUS Fencing while I was an undergraduate there, competing as a teamNUS athlete in various varsity competitions and medalling at a few in individual and team events (including the Asian Varsity Fencing Championships in 2012, 2015, and 2018). In my years at Waseda, I was also a member of the Waseda Fencing Club (est. 1946), training six times a week under the Waseda Athlete Program. I made many good friends there, and got a true taste of what Japanese bukatsu life was, being the first foreigner to join the team in their (then) 70ish year history.
I thought I was ready to hang up my blades (competitively, at least) when I finished my undergraduate years, but the allure of competition was just too hard to resist. So when I got to Cambridge, I joined the Cambridge University Fencing Club (est. 1896). After starting the 2016/2017 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season on the Men's First Team (affectionately known as the Blues Team), I made the selection for the Cambridge-Oxford Varsity Match and fenced one of the grandest and most nail-biting fencing matches of my life with a team I dearly love. We won, of course, and I earned my Half Blue that day. We then had to face our first and final defeat of the season against Durham at the BUCS Finals, hosted at the University of Bath's Sports Centre, having earned our spot there as the Premier South League champions. But even in defeat, it was glorious.
While training hard within a school/university-based team set-up, I also competed actively on the Singaporean and international circuits. My best result at an international competition to date (and this is not likely to change since I am effectively retired) has been to place 39th at the FIE Satellite World Cup 2016 in Dublin. I've also earned a team silver medal at the Malaysia Open in 2016 (one of the most heart-breaking losses I've ever had was in the finals). While I tried to compete more seriously, the sheer time and cost of travelling hamstrung my efforts to compete more seriously. I've enjoyed competing around the world: Taipei, Hong Kong, Tokyo, North Carolina (in the US), and Stockholm, but perhaps this will have to wait until I hit the age for veterans fencing!
Aside from actual fencing, I've also been involved in the sport as an official. I cut my teeth as an armourer in the Singapore Cadet World Cup 2010, then moved on to serve as a National Technical Official (NTO) at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore for Fencing and Modern Pentathlon. I then went on to serve as an NTO for other events, including the 2015 South-East Asian Games in Singapore, and the 2015 Asian Fencing Championships, also in Singapore. My last event was the 2016 ASEAN University Games in Singapore, where I was the Assistant Competition Manager.
More recently, I've been working on getting my refereeing qualifications. I cleared my refereeing examinations as a Category D epee referee in early 2018, and as a Category D foil referee in June 2019, and plan on working on this more!
other activitiesperforming arts
I was involved in a community youth choir for 9 years, starting from when I was 9. Accordingly, I occasionally miss the thrill of performing choral music with a choir (though I gave it up for fencing). In JC, I was also involved in the large-scale drama production《黄城夜韵》(An Evening of Drama) both in J1 and J2. These activites helped me develop an appreciation for the performing arts, and I enjoy them to this day.
In a former life, I was also active in various scientific enterprises: I was on the science quiz team in secondary school (though I think it was more the quizzing I enjoyed: I was also on the humanities quiz team!) and I served as the Public Relations Officer for the Astronomy Club in JC. However, I think my memory of anything astronomy-related is probably fainter than most objects you can see in the night sky, so I regret letting it slide this far back!
I was also an active member of the Electronics, Communications, and Computer Club (affectionately known as EC3) in secondary school. This is where I picked up quite a few useful skills (though I'm very rusty at them) in programming and some web application development. However, my time there also convinced me that a career in software development was not going to end happily for me, so I decided to pursue my love for biology instead.
other interestsI also enjoy kayaking (I hold a 2-star kayaking certificate) and hiking (if it's not too warm). Hit me up if you're keen to go explore the outdoors!