MEET THE A LIST AMBASSADORS

Published on 26 October 2017

Find out more about out how these extraordinary Singaporeans pursue their artistic passions alongside regular occupations.

ALVIN WAN, 39

Profession: Auditor
Passion: Music

While many people start learning the violin as children, Alvin only picked up this instrument when he was 20 years old after watching a VCD (video compact disc) of Vanessa Mae playing the violin in the Royal Albert Hall.

“I started borrowing instructional books and video tapes from the library and imitated those instructors. From there, I progressed to proper violin lessons when I was 25,” he recalls.

Within a few years, Alvin managed to obtain the ABRSM Grade 8 in violin performance and is the principle of the 2nd violin section of Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra (BHSO).

“I joined BHSO because I love making music with other people. You get to make friends, exchange ideas, and get inspired by each other,” he says.

Besides rehearsals every Sunday from 3pm-6pm, Alvin makes it a point to set aside “me-time” during certain weekday evenings to practice the violin if he is not travelling for work or taking work conference calls from the US.

“Being able to play in an orchestra is a dream come true for me. BHSO may be a community orchestra, but I strive to be the best that I can be.”

GABBY TYE, 18

Profession: Student
Passion: Fiction  

The writing bug hit Gabby young at the age of eleven.

“It was after the end-of-year exams and I was just bored. I wrote 300 words a day to see where it would bring me,” she recalls.

These spurts of writing eventually led to her publishing a bestselling dystopian trilogy RunHideSeek. Earlier this year, Gabby released her fourth book Ever as a sequel to this series, and a 5th book After is in the works.

Her love of writing stems from her love of reading and she has always viewed writing as a way to express herself.

“I read a lot, and I would notice some things in the books that I didn’t like very much. For example, why were all the main characters boys? I didn’t feel that was fair. This is why in the RunHideSeek trilogy, my main character is a girl,” Gabby says.

As a Veterinary Bioscience student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, her current priorities are doing well in her studies and writing books.

Her tips on “practicing” writing?

“Read more and give yourself more exposure to different writing styles, and if you like a particular style, then you can adapt it to your own way of writing.”

MATHANA SUBHAS BALAN, 28

Profession: Educational Therapist
Passion: Dance

Mathana has always enjoyed dance since her school days, performing for Teachers’ Day and Deepavali concerts and taking part in dance competitions with friends.

“There was this rush of adrenaline whenever I received applause on stage,” she recalls. “This spurred me to constantly seek out avenues to keep dancing.”

She joined a well-known Indian dance group Sangeshtraz where she picked up a variety of dance genres such as contemporary and salsa, and even performed at Mediacorp’s Vasantham variety shows.

However, in 2015, she decided to focus on Indian classical dance and is now a serious student of the Bharatanatyam repertoire at the Bharathaanjali School of Dance.

“Pursuing classical dance has humbled me and given me a new perspective in approaching dance. The Bharatanatyam is harder to master at my age because flexibility and endurance has decreased over time, but I’ve learned that improvement comes with practice and perseverance.”

In the future, Mathana hopes to combine her teaching career with her love for dance.

“Juggling work and dance does get me exhausted sometimes. But without dance, life would be so mundane.”

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