Who am I?
That is a question we don’t ask ourselves enough, and more often than not, a question that leads to an evolution of ourselves. I am who I am. So who am I? My name is Wong Kin Leong. That is a start, in Feb 1974. Over the years, I have found that my name is just that, a name.
Not a Julius Caesar who got his name into the calendar. Not a Nelson Mandela who is adored and revered. Not a Aung San Su Kyi, who resisted peacefully. Not a John F. Kennedy, who took bold smart calculated decisions and ultimately paid for it.
Now those are names, names that I grew up with and stuck to me and many others, generations over and maybe more to come. Which, that, is where my point is heading. My name is Wong Kin Leong, and I am Not famous, Not adored, Not even remembered, except for some close friends and acquaintances.
Over the years, I have gone down many paths that I found talent in. I am a willing bandsman, played clarinet from Swiss Cottage Secondary School onto Anglo Chinese Junior College. Even drafted into army and continued honing that talent. I am also a willing photographer, got so good at it that I had advertisements the size of a concert hall plastered on a billboard. It was a most satisfying talent, one which made me lots of beautiful friends, one that made me realise how much can be done with determination and handwork. Gumption became an ingredient I lusted after.
But oddly, all these paths led me back to a constant theme, the theme of education.
You see, my evolution have always been about education. I have tried to escape this path, even gone tangent to it, a revolution on my conscious part. Again, every time, I am back to where I left off.
It is truly odd, but everyone around me seems to get excited learning things from me, be it music, photography, or my bread and butter English, Mathematics and Science. It is like a merry go round with differing themes. I set off learning a new skill, getting better at it, and eventually, people will start asking me to teach them.
Never did it sound awkward, nor unnatural. It just became a chance for me to teach what I knew. It always starts innocently as how did you do that? And the answer provides me with the opportunity. Oddly, it just goes from answering, and onto teaching the lot. It was as if I want everyone to know what I knew. The future is in safe hands if they knew more of what we know.
Looking back, I did a Steve Jobs and connected the dots. My aunt whom I grew up with, was a teacher. Cousins are all mad over the Carpenters in the 70’s. And they brought me out when they bought their first SLR to take sunsets, a two hours drive to the beach and another two back. Those memories lasted in my mind, till now it seems like just yesterday.
So Mr Wong Kin Leong, now at 41 at the time of writing, is still a tutor in Singapore. The only difference now is that I own a tutoring business with a staff of 11. A healthy student population and growing. Two centres and growing. Dreaming, planning, and doing my best in getting the kids to achieve their best and that too, is growing.
Growing it seems to me, starts at the magical number of 40.
I have decided that since God has my destiny figured, I shall do my best to heed that path, in educating our future, and let my destiny unfold. My evolution it seems, is less of a revolution, and more of an evolution. Now if I had figured this out long ago, I would have been further down this path than I am right now. Except, I wouldn’t have known that I would be so good at this, become much wiser over the years or even know enough to figure out the complex intricacies of a child’s mind. And allow me to state the obvious, a Singaporean child’s mind evolves so much over recent years, that I consider it a revolution in Singapore’s contextual educating scheme.
Carl Jung quotes:-
“Stupidity is the mother of the wise, but cleverness never.”
I reckon my wisdom comes with age and being untimely stupid. I learned so much more by doing stupid things than smart things that further research on my part into this topic leads me to believe that I am on the right track. Clearly, my indicators are starting to look rosy for running off the blocks later than earlier. And doing stupid things along the way just made me understand more now than if I took the smarter safer path.
Obviously, I didn’t know that 20 years ago, feeling everything I have done was a mistake. Only to understand now that my mistakes made me wiser than ever. Resisting going off in a tangent was never my forte, but of course on hindsight, we get a 20/20 and it all seems to make sense now. With more dots to connected, the picture does become clearer.
So here I am, six years building what I call eduKate Singapore. And now, my gloves are off and here’s my true madness. I am going to dedicate myself and my madness to my calling, and if education is my calling, I mustn’t lose it. So here I am, my name is Wong Kin Leong, eventhough a Not, but I am most willing.
Education shall be my evolution, it shall be my final revolution.
For that, I shall quote my fallen hero, whose name will never be a Not, a most beautiful mind, and a person who inspired me from young,
“You are only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”