My Memories of LASALLE

Published on 25 November 2014

As LASALLE College of the Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary, singer-actress Kit Chan reminisces her years as a student at one of Singapore’s most esteemed arts schools.

By Kit Chan

I started my dream of being a professional performer at LASALLE’s Faculty of Drama in 1991, but dropped out after two years because I was offered a recording contract and had to move to Taipei. But those two years of education gave me a solid foundation to work from – be it technical skills and knowledge, professional attitude, or even the integrity required of a professional performer. It gave me clarity as I navigated the strange and chaotic world of the entertainment industry.

I had always intended to finish school when I had the chance, I just didn’t think it would take so long. I eventually went back to LASALLE to complete my studies in 2006. The lecturers there impressed me: I always felt they understood the industry and the practice of being a professional artiste. They weren’t just teaching from books. I felt I could translate my years of practising the performing arts into something academic; and it was a good time for me to take stock, reflect and try to put into words what I had been doing all this time.

From Practice to Theory

I was already a very mature student then – with 15 years of very diverse industry experience behind me – and it felt more like post-graduate work I was doing. I was more ‘in discussion’ with my lecturers than being ‘lectured’ to. I worked privately with them on my dissertation, which was on achieving peak performance – an area I was very interested in.

There wasn’t much published work in this area, so I did research on sports performance and tried to draw parallels with the performing arts. It was really quite a humbling and revelatory experience for me. (Editor’s Note: She graduated with first-class honours).

Returning to school enabled me to develop what I call my second career. The degree gave me a passport to corporate work – what I used to call ‘real work’ in my early days – but which I now merely see as an extension of myself.

The Best Year of My Life

I remember my first year in Drama School: It was like a roller-coaster ride every single day. After years of being in a regular school and having felt particularly strapped-in during my Junior College days, I was like an animal returning to the wild. Everyday was an adventure!

I was working so hard at everything – dance classes, voice and singing classes, acting classes, even homework. I was becoming a model student, and it felt quite effortless.

It was then that I realised it was my true calling, because I was willingly slogging for it and I wanted to do well. No one was making me do it. No one could stop me if they tried.

That first year, we were based not at the main LASALLE campus, but at Kallang Theatre – using their rehearsal rooms and dance studios. We were very much isolated and we felt like a rebel troop. It unified us as a faculty.

I made some good friends, hung out with some weird people, and they all taught me so much about life and humanity. Our weaknesses and vulnerabilities bonded us together. I miss those friends and our teachers, who taught with such passion and cared for us. I loved every single day of my first year as a drama student at LASALLE!

Catch Kit Chan in the Singapore International Film Festival’s screening of Ms J Contemplates Her Choice (Rating: NC16), National Museum of Singapore, 6 Dec, 7.30pm. Tickets available via Sistic.

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