Every two years, I’ll draft up a short FAQ about myself, and I was quite fortunate to have a friend who did the drafting out this time round.
Long story short, I was supposed to have an interview for a feature, but before they could hit “publish”, I pulled the plug and recommended someone more worthy of that interview. (Before some one calls me half-baked and run-of-the-mill trash.)
It is not my first time meeting people who’d want to write about other people (namely me and this other bunch of people Jin (my friend) called weird; but I decided to not go through with the interview because I think that it is unnecessary for me to go back into the light myself – especially when I have so much to do already.
In reality, what is on FaceBook/Twitter/Path is just a very small part of the bigger picture, and maybe one day I might find the means to talk about it publicly like I did with my depression.
But yes, the questionnaire I got, and edited with permission; awesome people, and I hope to work with you guys in the near future.
Before you go off (and skip the entire section), shave a happy (though belated) Chinese New Year!
1. Tell us briefly about yourself – what you do, interests and beliefs.
My name is (obviously) Derrick, and I enjoy a wide variety of things that get me thinking and moving – like performing, chilling out with friends and reading. I am a Christian (be surprised!) since I was very young, so it lays the foundation of things that I believe in – but in this age and time we are very much liberalized by what we see and do with life.
2. You’ve been behind the scenes for many performances by a cappella groups while working within the scene, tell us about it.
It is very humbling and electrifying, to meet some of these awesome performers and really talk to them. Sometimes we exchange per-show tips, or just joke around. I’m usually working front-of-house, so my time is limited to during sound check, unless I’m also stage-managing for the production.
Highlight of my work includes being part of the Asia A Cappella Festival in Hong Kong in 2010 and 2011. I was there with two groups that differs vastly with stage presence, style and also how they operate. It helps me see people through less-tinted glasses, as well as look at things positively.
3. You have a portfolio that includes designing, acting, directing, conducting, teaching and you are currently working on a little research. What is it that you want out of life?
Our lives are akin to houses, we fill things in to create a deeper sense of meaning in our lives. Like the song, “A House is not a Home”, I strongly believe that we have to move boldly to do the things we want to do and get to know ourselves.
With everything I do, I always strive to learn something new, meet people that expands my thinking by challenging me to think out of the box, because I lived through days of very limited expanses where what I want to do is hampered because of a regulation, a code, or a policy is in place – nobody deserves that. Rules are in place to set the pace, doesn’t mean you get stuck in too slow a pace, or too small a limit to work with.
To answer your question (Haha!), my passion is in teaching, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m going to slowly make my way there. The journey of realisation and working towards it has been so fun, and I feel that I’m coming to full circle to it, and I worry because I don’t know what else I can do from there on. Hahaha!!
4. Able to share a time of disappointment that put you down for a long time? How did you get out of it.
Not going to be specific, I was stuck in a rut, between passion and practicality; and it bled into the other aspects of my life. Friends really encouraged me, and the most unlikeliest of individual actually were the push factors to get up and walk away from feeling that sense of disappointment.
I learnt since then, to have down time, and that’s when I just draft writings – on my iPad, to my blog or just random sketches and layouts. I have one major chill off day a week minimum – where I go exercise, physically and mentally to keep myself sharp.
5. You have performed in musical theatre (Songs for a New World, Believe), experimental theatre (Fight Club A Chorus), and as an individual with various a cappella groups (Acappuccino, The Dotz, Urban Harmony), how do you preempt yourself before each show.
I tell myself to have fun, and whatever it is has to be authentic and not just a mere move of improvisation. Every swish, lick or step has to be deliberate and it must add to the show.
It was intensive when both The Dotz and Acappuccino was featured on the same night at the International A Cappella Festival – costumes aside, I thank God my team mates were a great bunch of people who helped me through.
6. You work with youths in general, how does that affect you and does it help you deal with others?
My close friends think I have a very teenager-ish disposition, and colleagues were surprised when I told them I am in my mid-to-late twenties already.
I’m glad these things do help bridge the gap between the people I meet, plus it helps further that working with youths that I learn a bit of sensitivity that really helps. Also, it comes as an added challenge that when people share with you, you have to do a double take and see where they’re coming from and offer what is needed.
7. You are working on a research and a writing project, tell us about it.
I’m working with some collaborators at InSignia MusicWorks (a non-registered collaborative team that I’ve set up in 2004) to bridge Shakespeare with the modern music audience, be it through original pop songs based off the texts, or finding similar parallels to inform and educate people that certain plot lines could have possibly originated from the writings of Shakespeare. The prospects of coming up with a jukebox musical (a life-long dream of mine) based off The Tempest sounds interesting so far.
Writing wise, I’m somewhat devoted to updating my blog on a regular basis, with mostly thoughts and ideas. I tend to dawdle on an idea for very long before settling down to write, so I’ve not been meeting my own “quota”, but the blogs has often been mainly for rants and for me to just push nagging ideas/beliefs off my cranium – whether or not its politically correct, I don’t care.
8. That pretty sums up what you do. Anymore you want to add?
I’m thankful for all that I have and done. Maybe the next time I have something like this again,mi might not be in the arts and humanities field anymore. My good friend from Hong Kong often encourages me to take the leap and learn new things, and I often tell my friends to do that.
Derrick Kam is a Singaporean by birth and sings with local a cappella group Acappuccino while working as a Librarian in a private club and handling other arts projects freelance. He is known to speak his mind, enjoying life while also seeks a fascination with the subjectivity of what is “normal”. He blogs at derrickwrites.com.