Dr. Ng King Kang, a celebrity in the Singapore media industry, is not only an accomplished journalist but a talented author (with 18 books to his credit) and a prolific song-writer. He has recorded four albums, and has penned hundreds of Mandarin songs since the mid-eighties for well-known Asian pop artistes. The three-time Mediacorp Star Award winner, for most popular TV theme song, had also won the Asia TV Award in 2002. Dr Ng heads a bilingual lifestyle magazine ZbBz and is also a senior correspondent with the National Chinese daily, both by Singapore Press Holdings. Not every day I get a Singapore interview opportunity, so I am very pleased chatting with Dr. Ng.
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBest. Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I travel very frequently both for work and for leisure. I have explored more than 250 cities in about 60 countries so far. I have been in the Chinese media industry for more than two decades, focusing on lifestyle such as motoring, time pieces and gadgets since day one, which also brings me around the globe. Started writing since college days, so writing comes naturally to me since young. Started writing lyrics back in the mid 80s, have penned hundreds of lyrics for artists like Hong Kong’s Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok, Andy Lau, William Su. China’s Na Ying, Singapore’s Stefanie Sun, Tanya, Fann Wong, Zoe Tay, Eric Moo and many others. The most popular song is “I waited till the flowers have withered” by Jacky Cheung. My first book was released in 1992, I now have 18 books to my credit, most of which are travellogue and reflective pieces. I was also active on stage singing my own compositions in the early 90s, with four solo albums, but have since stopped recording since 1997.
Travel is an essential part of my life. I travel to see the world to make myself a better person. It is because my job can take me around the world which gave me so much inspiration to write that I stay on for so long. To see the world and open one’s perspective is important, especially in this new Internet era, where everything can be googled on the net. You need the see the real thing to decide for yourself whether or not they are true. By looking at different cultures and people, it humbles me as a human being. Sometimes in life you get frustrated and upset with petty issues, but when you realize that the world is so big, and beyond the world there is the universe, you begin to feel that “you are not the most important being on earth”. Therefore you feel better, once your perspectives and horizon is expanded, you become a better person.
Tell us about your news magazine, ZbBz.
ZbBz is a high end bilingual lifestyle magazine, which I head, focused on the finer things in life, which includes travel, gourmet, time pieces, motoring, lifestyle investment and shopping.
Describe your typical work day.
When not traveling, it will be writing, writing and more writing. Constantly brainstorming creative ideas to present to my readers what I have seen and experienced. Day starts from 9am with a morning swim follow by lunch appointments, office work, then dinner or social events till late. Back to home to work after midnight. Day ends at about 4am daily.
What are your personal strengths and how did those help in your professional success?
My life is all about writing and that is my strength. I write every day, even in my sleep. I find confidence in myself by writing, as I know it takes some talent to write, and not everyone can write. That compensates my very normal physical appearance and non-competency in other aspects. I also give regular talks and host seminars in colleges and universities to share my experiences with the young ones.
Talk to us about your published books?
I share a lot of my travel experiences in my books. In the early days, I tell my readers about my backpacking stories, how I travelled from one place to another, what kind of people I met, and what interesting / terrifying experiences I had. I wanted to inspire young people like me (back then) to also travel to see the world.
Lately, I share my travel experiences through writing reflecting pieces, on how the things I saw and people I met inspired me and changed my perspectives in life. I believe his is another level of travel writing, which is what I am very comfortable with now. When I know I inspire my readers, touched them, it motivates me to continue writing.
My books are very easy and good read that can easily get inspired. Readers can look out for celebrity like Fann Wong’s illustrations in OnBoard@2359. There is also a foreword by George Yeo, the former Foreign Minister of Singapore in my latest 3 books.
Among my 18 books, two are academic which touches on minority issues. One is “The Rainbow Connection – The Internet and the Singapore Gay Community”, the other is “Born This Way – BUT”, with a foreword by Ho Kwon Ping, Founder and CEO of Banyan Tree Holdings.
Another very proud project I did was a bilingual coffee table book about Singapore called “Feel Singapore”. I head the project and invited many young talents and personalities to creatively write / draw on their impressions about Singapore.
How and why did you get into song writing?
It was just a hobby. Some friends got together and played with the guitar one day, and composed some songs. It happened at the time when Singapore’s music is entering a new era, we were the pioneer and managed to have a few hits. I have written many songs, some of them are theme songs for TV series which won me some awards for Best Lyricist.
What one thing you would consider as you top achievement thus far?
Not much. But I’m glad that I am privileged to have the chance to see the world. Being able to see half of the world in two decades and gain so much life experiences, I would consider that an achievement.
Could you talk about your publishing house, KangCuBine?
KangCuBine is a very small publishing house set up solely to publish and distribute my own books.
Any upcoming projects or initiatives you would like to disclose at OpenBeast?
I’m hoping to have my next book published in English in the 2nd half of 2012. Also hoping to be able to write a musical / play. movie script soon
What are your favorite weekend activities?
If I’m in town, will catch up with some sleep….. to have a nice dinner and watch a play or movie. I try to do a weekend trip to somewhere near by once a month to chill an relax. If I’m away for work during weekends, I try to make full use of it to enjoy a good dinner or take a stroll in wherever city.