What first sparked your interest in lighting design?
I watched The Lion King musical at Marina Bay Sands when I was 14, and I remember being amazed at the sunrise sequence where the animals came out. They were silhouetted at first, but later came into the morning sun. It was so cool! I was like, “I wanna do that”.
Around that time I also watched a video of some lighting designer “busking” at a metal concert (busking is when you control the lights live, instead of pre-programming it to the song). I’ve always wanted to be a rockstar, so I figured if I can’t headbang on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans, I could play the lighting board in the tech box behind them and headbang also.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I really enjoy seeing random ideas in my head end up on stage, and creating that artwork. The last show I did, I had an idea a week before going into the theatre, and I had to pull some favours to get it done. When it was up, everyone told me that it looked great! So I’m really thankful for the trust on that one.
Another big draw is that I get to press clicky buttons that make stuff happen (laughs). My favourite part of each show is actually doing the show, and pressing the big ‘GO’ button on time. Sometimes, when I get the timing right, it feels just like timing lightning strikes to hit with thunder sounds—I feel super shiok.
What do you hope to achieve in your career as a lighting designer?
When I was just starting out in theatre, I wanted to win a Tony award (laughs). But right now, I just want to be an all-rounder in performance technology. Basically conquer lighting, audio, and video. Which is why I’m joining an event media company full-time right now, to learn more about all the various things I can do with tech stuff, and hopefully implement this knowledge in my own art.
What are you thankful for right now?
I’m thankful for support. Sometimes, I get stressed because I see that my friends are taking on high paying jobs at banks and stuff, and I think that I should get a corporate job. But my parents and my girlfriend Kim were supportive when I wanted to go into lighting design instead. In fact, they were more concerned that I wanted to do something for the money. My dad always says “Do what you love, and the money will follow”.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done recently?
I walked out of a theatre show! Okay, it doesn’t sound super crazy, but it kind of messed with my morals man. I mean, I used to tell myself to just sit through any performance because I know how hard people work on these show. But it was a student performance by my alma mater, so it wasn’t super great to begin with, and I just wanted to walk around the school again and reminisce.
My friends and I spent the rest of our evening creeping through the school, looking at old classrooms and hangout spots, and dodging the security guards. Felt like I was 17 again.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I wore braces for eight years, and my teeth still aren’t perfectly straight. Eight years leh! I put them on in Secondary 1, and only took them out when I was in my first year of university. My original dentist even retired halfway through, and the new dentist was this man who was clearly overwhelmed with the transferred patients.
I always had to wait two hours at each session, but I did most of my readings for school in his waiting room though, and I did pretty well for that first year, so no complaints. In the end, I got so fed up with the whole process that I just got my dentist to remove the braces completely.