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Saturday 12-Dec-2015
To the beat of a different drum

JUDE TSANG YEUK-WAH is a 23-year-old singer and songwriter and one of Warner Music Hong Kong's most talented signings. I caught up with Tsang in the corner of a snazzy coffee shop to while away some time and have a natter about her time at boarding school and how her career took off.

So, back to the start. At the wee age of eight, Tsang upped sticks and jetted off to the UK.

The first thing that struck me was how she seemed to fit into British society with ease. "Unlike typical Hongkongers, I was weak in Chinese. I had to get along with the locals. It certainly helped joining at a young age, there were lots of opportunities for us to mingle," she said.

Tsang studied in Oxford and loved the city, its atmosphere and residents with ambitions and a real spring in their step.

With an interest in photography and music from a young age, Tsang's dreams fell into place in the vibrant and musical surroundings.

"In Oxford, I had plenty of opportunities to watch up-and-coming indie bands perform. I was sort of lost in my own little musical bubble. Sometimes I worked as a part-time photographer for a band."

Her boarding school also played a part. "I had the chance to perform as a guitarist in the school choir, which helped me to perform on stage later on," she said.

Tsang spoke proudly of the "freedom" she had at boarding school. She chose arts subjects so she could enter the art room and use the equipment whenever she felt inspired. "I loved to stay in the room to create my own world. My freedom stayed in a frame, but the frame was so huge - without any borders," she said.

The freedom students have in the British education system would be difficult to find anywhere else in the world, she said, adding that it is the boarding system that encourages the "opening of minds," "maturity" and "being responsible for one's own decisions."

Now, if music and photography are so pivotal in Tsang's life, how does she decide which passion to pursue? "I'm so blessed that I can do both. My career merges both music and photography."

Her music career is certainly going from strength to strength. The song, Wandering Glasgow, reached No 2 in the Ultimate Song Chart.

This chat with Tsang got me wondering about how Hong Kong students should see themselves and pursue their dreams. "To current students, I say never give up. I had depression and I got through it with my love and passion for music. If I can do it, anyone can," she advised.

Hong Kong students are inundated with tutorials and subject classes. Must our kids follow the traditional route or can they try the "Tsang way?"

 

Samuel Chan is a director at Britannia StudyLink

 

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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