Treehouse Chats with the 5th: Meeting the Tania Cheong

For many, inspiration sprang forth from a font; yet, for the CSC’s new Arts Director, Tania, it sprinkled from a shower head above instead. Indeed, between measured mouthfuls of breakfast, the budding Year 2 sociologist readily attributed the witty ideas for her CSC campaign posters to the many showers she has had in the bathroom. And as I was to soon find out, those posters were but glimpses of the brainstorm brewing effervescent beneath her calm façade.

Tania belongs to a rare breed of Singaporeans, the kind who holds a special aptitude in both the arts and sciences. Despite society’s unfortunate and rigorous bifurcation of education into these broad categories, Tania has managed to traverse between the two in her academic pursuits. Back at Meridian Junior College, Tania was a ‘science stream’ student with an immense interest in biology. Yet,she too enjoyed General Paper (GP)equally. .Amidst soft laughter, she admits that she had often consulted her GP tutor not because she needed help, but rather because she had enjoyed the stimulating discussions they had between them instead.

Why sociology then? While Tania had contemplated studyinglife sciences, she could hardly imagine herself living out the rest of her days caged like a lab rat, conducting research in corporate laboratories. With that option thrown out the window, Tania, took up on her GP tutor’s sound advice, enrolling in a module for sociology, whence she has never looked back. Sociology, she testifies, endows herwith a ready perspicacity that other disciplines did not necessarily offer. That same acumen translated also as an insatiable curiosity for society and culture that extends far beyond the classroom.True enough, we struck a resonant chord when she shared a similar interest in acquiring new languages. Besides a stable mastery of Japanese, some dabbling in French, she’s also ready to start adding Thai and Korean into her repertoire.

She recalled how Japanese came in useful on her backpacking trip to Japan last summer, where she recounts hiking up Mount Fuji in the dead of night as probably the “most YOLO thing I’ve ever done”. Perhaps more impressively, was braving an unbridled typhoon out in the open at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station to purchase bus tickets back into the city from the vendor who spoke only Japanese.Without Tania, and with the lack of other tourists due to inclement weather, her party may have well spent another night stuck in the confines of the souvenir shop with the winds howling outside.


Wherever the winds or her whims may take her next however, Tania’spassion for biology will never be extinguished. Biology continues to profoundly shape her life – a chance to take Dr. Van Wyhe’s Darwinian Revolution module was reason enough for her to apply to Tembusu. Thankfully, neither the module nor Tembusu disappointed. Big on wildlife conservation, Tania is also glad to have found like-minded individuals who shared her passions. While she isn’t a full-fledged vegetarian,she pointed out that it was “simply easier to avoid meat in Tembusu”, a sentiment which I could not but concede with a quick laugh.

Vacillating between her far-ranging interests, Tania has found herself in her niche as Tembusu’s Arts Director. Having had experienced the best of both worlds she too wants Tembusians to explore their artsy side no matter their disciplines, advocating ventures into what even Arts students might find esoteric: the literary and visual arts. Although future projects are still in the pipeline, ideas are already beginning to flow freely. Caught in a momentous rapture, Tania interrupted our conversation to wax lyrical about an idea freshly conceived that same morning during a shower. Undoubtedly, Tania is ready to sweep Tembusu off its feet and onto a roller coaster whirlwind ride with her boundless ideas.


Photos from Tania’s personal collection.

Editor: Jensen Goh