Snooze Button Enthusiast to the Top of his Cohort
Story by: Michelle Yong
For Samuel Caleb Wee, SBM alumni, who graduated from the Diploma in Mass Media Management in 2010, school wasn’t always on the top of his agenda. He recalls missing classes while at SBM, succumbing to the snooze button every morning.
That later changed as he encountered a lecturer at SBM who pushed him to pursue something that he had a flair for – writing.
“My teacher didn’t make fun of my writing as much as my production videos, so I ended up doing a degree in English Literature at NTU,” he says.
He graduated from NTU (Nanyang Technological University) in 2016 at the top of his cohort and won the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal and Koh Tai Ann Gold Medal. A good feat for someone who didn’t have much interest in school at the beginning.
Samuel recalls a memory from the age of five. He stapled a stack of papers together, declaring to his mother that he had made a book, despite the pages of the book containing nothing but plain white sheets of paper. Even then, Samuel was certain that he was born with a talent to write.
Now working as a freelance writer, where his work has appeared in Esquire and August Man magazines, he also had big rock star dreams of being in a band. But soon realized that he was better off with a pen than a guitar.
It wasn’t all that bad as Samuel managed to meet some of his music heroes that inspired him dearly and he also got to write for the music blog, Power of Pop, all through his second and third years in polytechnic.
With the amount of experience that Samuel had gained through writing, he quickly embarked on new adventures, such as writing his first book, collaborating on a book together with his friends and taking up a writing residency in Korea.
“The writing residency is called the Seoul Art Space_Yeonhui residency,” says Samuel. It is organised by the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture (SFAC), a foundation governed by the city of Seoul.
“Basically, it's like a little village in the heart of Seoul for international and Korean writers to live in and write and mingle and get inspired by each other. I'm looking forward to it tremendously,” he adds.
Samuel also collaborated with his course mates from NTU on a book This is How You Walk on the Moon, which was launched at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2016. The book is an anthology of experimental fiction. The book launch was an inter-disciplinary experience involving electronic music and video installations.
In the future, Samuel plans to kick-start his Masters in English at NTU and is even considering taking up a PhD somewhere down the line. He says: “I’ll probably continue working on magazine features as a freelance writer while also working on my debut poetry collection.”
On advice he would give to aspiring writers, he says: “Do it. Just do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow, so just do it!”