Impressions of the Dreamers [Part 2/2]

Read PART 1 of the JYP shortlisted candidates’ interviews and can’t wait for part 2? Sorry this is a tad late in coming, but I was waiting for the interview notes to be completed, and also waiting for some info confirmation from those shortlisted.




SHAUN CHUNG (19)

 

Pursuing his Diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Management at the the Temasek Polytechnic, Shaun is also a Kpop enthusiast. When asked about the motivating factor that pushed him to go for the audition, Shaun said, “I just wanted to try it out, to give it a shot.” He added that he has always been the one chasing idols, so why not be one himself?

We were curious if he had always harboured the dream of becoming a star, so we posed him that question. Well, when he was young, he wanted to be an actor, but it changed gradually when he was in primary school as he started to like Taiwanese pop, and then eventually, he has moved on to Kpop.

Even though Super Junior is not his favourite group, Shaun looks up to Leeteuk and sees him as a role model. He said Leeteuk works very hard, and he has trained for a very long time. A good and effective leader, Leetuek is also very thoughtful. Shaun shares that he really wants to learn his qualities.

Of course, that’s practically begging us to ask the question if he’s actually eying the leader position should he be selected to form a group. Shaun said no, not really. He feels that being a leader has its burden and it can be tiring since there will be a lot of responsibilities involved.

Shaun revealed that he was actually quite nervous during the audition. He was sitting at the side waiting for his turn as his group watched the previous batch before them carry out their auditions. The experience was nerve-wrecking and it was the first time he had had to audition in this sort of environment.

His audition item was SNSD’s Into The New World. He had wanted to perform a ballad from FT Island or F.Cuz initially, but when told that there’s no background music, he then decided to switch to a fast number. Since he is very familiar with SNSD’s songs, he decided to just pick Into The New World as he knows the lyrics by heart.

Surprisingly, that audition was the first time he sang to an audience; yes, even his family and friends have never heard him sing. That audition boosted his confidence and he now wants to learn more about singing and wants to gain more confidence as well. When asked of what he wishes to learn or improve in, Shaun shared that he can’t dance at all, and hence hopes to become better at dancing.

Shaun’s parting words to me were, “I’m thankful that I got shortlisted, I didn’t expect this in the morning, and life is really unexpected. So hopefully more unexpected things will come up for me.”

CELYN LIEW (20)

The sweet-looking and bubbly girl has just graduated from Temasek Polytechnic (Leisure and Resort Management) in April. Instead of going to university like most of her peers, the 20-year-old decided to take some time out to plan for my future route. Her own words were, “I want to put some serious thought into where should I go from here. I know ultimately I won’t see myself settling down in an office job. It’s up there on the stage that I wanna be, doing what I love most.”

So whilst she is now working with the Singapore Tourism Board, her heart really beats for her dream. She has even decided that she’s gonna fly to Korea next year no matter what, be it to train, or to study the language.

Why the affinity and strong draw to Korea, you might wonder… Well, Celyn has really strong reasons to feel so attached to Korea. After all, her mother is Korean-Taiwanese. And nope, Celyn is not yet fluent in Korean since the family has been living in SIngapore and they have been conversing in English and Chinese since she was young. But she has been learning Korean for half a year now and she says she’s able to have a simple conversation with Koreans in Korean. Her aim is to be able to watch a Korean movie without subtitles by next year, keke!

For her audition item, Celyn had sung 2NE1’s IT HURTS. In terms of singing and dancing, Celyn loves to sing and also counts dancing as her secondary passion after singing.

For singing, she had taken lessons at Focus Music previously, and her coach was actually Roy Li Fei Hui (singer/composer and former Project Superstar judge.) Celyn loves singing so much that she would stay up till 4-5am after work just so that she can keep practising her singing. She said yes, it’s tiring, but at the same time, it’s also fulfilling cos she’s doing something she has loved for a long time in her life.

As for dancing, she has been learning since young. About three years back, she started taking up formal dance lessons again, this time at Oschool. She is now totally in love with Waacking, Reggae as well as G-Style. And yes, she loves Kpop and the Kpop dances too! Soon, you will probably see her do a Kpop dance cover!

She took part in a dance competition (Taiwanese star Jolin Tsai’s 美人计创意舞蹈大赛) this September and flew over to Taiwan for the finals. Although she did not win, she did make it all the way to the Top 35. Here’s the clip^^

When asked if she has a role model whom she looks up to, she mentioned Jo Kwon because he had started at such a young age, and at an age when everyone was still playing around. He finally made his debut some seven years later.

Celyn is more than prepared to just drop everything here and fly to Korea without any hesitation so long as the chance’s given to her. She is just waiting for her big break, and she’s all ready to go.

What were her parting words to me? “I am not afraid of hard work, tough times, failure or sacrifice. In fact, I am more than willing to go through whatever it takes, because I just can’t describe how much I wanna get there, it’s been my dream since I was a child. My mind and heart might just be that very thing that sets me apart.”

HAFIDZ OMAR (23)

Ahhh… our first model in the lineup of nine!! You can check out his portfolio HERE.

Hafidz is currently in his final year of pursuing a banking and finance degree at Nanyang Technological University. Recently, he was on an exchange in Bangkok, where he did a six-month stint at Thammasat University. Whilst in Thailand, not only did he pick up the language, he also developed a passion for modelling. He did a few photoshoots and even a TV commercial there. (And psst! Will let you in on a not-so-little ‘secret’, Hafidz was actually nominated as one of 2009 Female magazine’s 50 Gorgeous People!)

Hafidz ia someone with those exotic looks and his features are really strong and distinguished. I suppose many of us would be curious about his ethnicity and no, even though he jokes about it, there ain’t no Thai blood in Hafidz aka Nickhun-wannabe, keke! Seriously, his dad is Indian/Malay and his mom is Malay with Chinese lineage. Ah, the total Singaporean package, if I may say so!

He had auditioned on the third and final day, 11th Dec… with a heavy and not-so-optimistic heart too! You see, he had read the news about the earlier auditions and he was uncertain about how the people from JYPE would take to his looks. After all, most Koreans are less familiar with the Southeast Asian ethnic groups.

Hafidz enjoys Kpop, and counts FT Island, 2AM, 2PM, 2NE1… (yes, the list does go on) as amongst his favourities. He mentioned generic Kpop a few times, and I’ll take that to mean he’s not a diehard fan of any particular Kpop artist or group. But that said, he did reveal that he does pay a bit more attention to 2PM as their songs are really catchy and their dance moves really sleek. (Hey, Hafidz can even hum a few lines from 2PM’s songs!)

When asked about whether he has always aspired to be a star, he said, “Not really. Everything’s a learning journey, I’m sure along the way if I can be a star, I will definitely go all the way out for it. But I would say I’m talent-less, for I can neither sing nor dance.” But Hafidz wants to learn dancing, and he thinks he can definitely be good at hosting since he is quite outgoing.

“And (I”m) shameless.” he added laughingly (and I found his sense of humour tickling my funny bone, keke!)

Well, Hafidz is all ready to pack up and go if offered the contract. In his own words, “Why waste time when this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, right? In fact, if I am not well-received in Korea, this might open up many opportunities to model in other parts of the world. If all that fails, there’s always my degree to fall back on.”

I also asked him what unique qualities he possesses to set him apart from the rest, he said, “My determination and persistence. I will go all the way to achieve my goals, even it seems impossible to begin with. And to be superficial, I feel that my smile is special. It helps me to get what I want sometimes.” *winks* (ah, that sense of humour again!)

Leo Narendra Putra (25)

Okay, this one left a rather deep impression on me… Why? Coz he’s the one who had flown in from Indonesia for the audition. Of course, you can say Indonesia ain’t all that far…. But hey, there are aspiring singers/dancers/models right here in Singapore who don’t even have the guts or will or whatever it is that makes the difference between success and failure to go to an audition even if it’s just a train ride away.

Leo appeared to be initially shy about his age. Yea, only 25 years old and he’s shy that he’s the oldest… But I personally believe that no one’s too old to dream. So yea, Leo’s subsequently prepared and ready to shout out loud that he’s (only!) 25.

Currently working in Jakarta as an architect/drafter, Leo has always loved singing. But sometimes, commitments and even ‘kind advice’ from the people around you become obstacles to your dream. But I think it’s a wonderful thing that Leo has decided to step up, stand out and be counted. He had auditioned at the last audition on 11th Dec and he had sung CONFESSION OF A FRIEND aka 친구의 고백 by 2AM.

From his choice of audition song, it is hardly surprising that Leo is more into ballads. But i was a wee bit surprised when he named LIM CHANG JUNG as his favourite singer (okie, I’ll confess, I had to look that up >.<) And oh, also likes Yoona for her talent and IU too.

I asked Leo this question, “If offered the contract, would you just pack up and go without hesitation?”

Here’s his reply, “Well, I packed up and flew out to Singapore just for the audition right? Haha, so yes, this is a 100% yes, without a second thought. This is an opportunity. As much as I am conscious of my age and people around me make sure that I am very much aware of it, I know my dreams. One can call me stubborn, I guess. I know my dreams, and I’ll do what I can to achieve it. So yes, this is an opportunity where I will FINALLY get professional training in something I’ve always wanted to do, and I will surely not let it go to waste.”

His parting words during the interview session two Saturdays ago were these, “I would like to be a good entertainer. Not only that, my greatest goal is to be a great role model; I want to do more than just that, and taking a step further.”


And now that’s a wrap!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience covering this for TIFFANY. Like I’d said in Part 1, it’s important to never lose that ability to dream. So now, dream away, dream away!

p.s. would like to thank LYDIA from (X)CLUSIVE for her kind assistance so that I was able to complete this entry.

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