Reconnecting with a teacher

I didn’t set out to be a journalist. When I was in the communications school in NTU, we had to decide which division to go to in our third year. We got a taste of the four divisions (then) in our first two years in school. I wasn’t interested in communications research or public relations. Between broadcast and journalism, broadcast seemed more fun. For some reason, the broadcast division was oversubscribed that year. The lecturers must have done such a great job, we all wanted to go in there.

Then I had a chat with Mr Tan Lai Kim who taught me a news writing module. I think the lecturers were asked to even out the spread of students. He spoke to me about considering journalism since I did well in the module. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he managed to persuade me to change my mind. I’ve not looked back since. I’ve never regretted not going into the broadcast division.  I went on to join the campus newspaper Nanyang Chronicle where I met my husband. Not long after graduation, I joined ST and spent 12 years there.

I lost touch with Mr Tan after graduation. In the last 16 years, I’ve thought about the man who steered me on the path of journalism. For some reason, I remembered him saying he would go back to the US to retire on a farm. He’s not of retirement age though. I thought that must be where he went. I thought wrong. An ex-colleague, Chin Hon, shared an article this week, by an editor with the Boston Globe – and there it was, written by L. Kim Tan.

I dropped him an email to say hi, to say a long overdue word of thanks. And he replied. It’s so nice to be reconnected, to finally be able to thank someone so instrumental in my choice of a career.


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