Meet Alden Tan.
The 26 year old Communications and New Media graduate took the path less travelled last year when he left his full-time job in a marketing role for an established company in the consumer industry to follow a roadmap of his own intent. With nothing more in his backpack other than a resume that boasts more than just grades and transcripts (having intern-ed for a lifestyle magazine during his time in NUS and flying to Los Angeles), and some pretty adamantine belief in his desire to create value to those people living around him, Alden started working on a full-time blog dedicated to personal development from a very genuine perspective.
Alden must surely be lauded for his audacity and sense of adventure in being an atypical NUS graduate. Between interviewing personalities for his blog and challenging his readers to step out of their comfort zones, Alden translates his sensibilities on life into the art of breakdancing, or “B-Boying” as it is more commonly known. He is also fast gaining traction in the blogosphere despite having only started his site last year, interviewed on several occassions by magazines on personal mastery among several others. As if to reinforce the fact that his path after graduation simply escapes any tepid categorization, Alden also doubles-up as a bouncer at the Zouk nightclub to keep, well, young drunkards in check.
The Kent Ridge Common goes Upfront! With Alden Tan in this alumni series interview.
KRC: Thanks for speaking to us, Alden! Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you first decide to major in communication studies in NUS?
Thanks for having me man.
Honestly, I chose that course only because nothing else caught my attention, and that’s not to say communications and new media made me super excited or anything.
KRC: When did you first develop a passion for B-Boying and how did you nurture this passion over the years while being an ungrad?
I started B-boying when I was 16. I just thought it was something cool to pick up and a good way to keep fit, since I hate sports.
The passion started developing when I discovered the passion for B-boying other Bboys had for it. There’s actually a lot of history and culture involved in our dance and I love how Bboys extend this culture into all aspects of our lives, like we aren’t just practicing for the sake of looking good and learning new stunts.
I was and am still practicing consistently. I put up to 10 hours a week into it.
KRC: What were some of the questions you had for yourself when you graduated, especially with regards to what you wanted to do in life and as a career?
I actually just told myself to chill out and take a break after graduating. I gave myself a bit of time to relax.
Then, like most, I started wondering which job I should take up.
I didn’t really care about the pay or career advancement. I was more concerned on finding out what I’d love to do for a living. That being said, yeah I didn’t think so far ahead. I never do.
KRC: How did you find the answers to those questions?
I went with my gut feeling and grabbed whatever opportunity that came about, or to put it in a better way, I tried out all sorts of shit which came along.
My first job was actually that of a financial planner. I was only at it for about 3 months. Others may say I gave up too easily, but I call it giving it a try and see what it was like for myself.
The question was answered, so I moved on, and I never looked back.
KRC: What’s the biggest challenge you had graduating as as university student in Singapore and how did you overcome it?
I think like most graduates, the biggest challenge was finding out what you love to do in life and along the way, dealing with the disillusion that a degree actually brings forth a not-so-stellar life.
I overcame it by trying out all sorts of shit. Then I ripped off the band aid by leaving my job and starting my blog since I love writing and I want to be a writer on my own terms.
KRC: What made you leave your full-time job in marketing to pursue blogging?
Passion man. You gotta do what you love in life, cause life is just too short.
It was a good job, but eventually I was feeling listless to the point I didn’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning.
Prior to leaving, I read up a lot on internet marketing and it seemed like a great platform to move forward with your passion. Also, my ex-boss brought me around and I got to meet a bunch of rich, successful people, and that ironically spurred me on to venture out on my own and leave.
I mean, if they can do it, why can’t I?
KRC: Did you get any sort of support from your friends and your family in giving up a full-time job to pursue a calling of your dreams? Or were they critical?
I’d say neither, which has its good and bad.
I had to deal with the lack of understanding people had with blogging. Most people here think blogging is becoming the next Xia Xue or Dawn Yang (they have their own value and influence, and I respect that), but I want to take my blog in a whole different direction.
So, in explaining what blogging is to me, sometimes I got to deal with looks of disbeliefs and questions like, “Why are you wasting your degree?”.
But conversely, I get props for daring to do what I love.
KRC: Do you think that young graduates like yourself are confronted with an environment in Singapore today that is conducive or encouraging to people chasing/fulfilling their dreams?
Mostly not conducive.
You know how it is in Singapore…
It’s all about salary, jobs and when you are going to get married.
Unless you surround yourself with really positive people, no one else is going to care about what you love in life.
KRC: If you could state your life’s beliefs in one sentence, what would be it?
Stay true to yourself and good shit in life would automatically manifest for you. The only trick to it is to not give up.
KRC: Any thoughts on what the future would hold for you?
Lots of success.
Visit Alden’s blog at http://www.alden-tan.com