Time's tight for the multi-talented
Name: Alex Fong Lik-sun
Birthdate: 26 Feb 1980
Birthplace: Hong Kong
Occupation: Student, singer, swimmer
School on weekdays and shopping, karaoke or movies at weekends . . . life is simple if you're a student - but not if you're Alex Fong Lik-sun.
For the former SCMP Student of the Year, a quiet life as an average student is something that happens to other people.
His three identities take up almost all of his time - Hong Kong BBA student, an aspiring singer and a swimmer who represents Hong Kong (not to mention being the holder of the Hong Kong swimming records for 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley in long pool, 1500m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley). Busy boy!
You are a student and a singer as well as an amateur swimmer. How do you allocate your time?
Before becoming a singer, I didn't have any big problems studying and swimming, though I had to sacrifice some leisure time for swimming training, especially during competitions - just like those students involved in art, music, dance or sports.
But now I have to spend a lot of time on singing, acting and other promotional activities, especially during the summer holidays this year. My career is at the beginning stage and I'm still able to manage my time. Honestly, I have less time for swimming training and I try to squeeze in two hours a day for proper swimming. I'm afraid time will be tighter in the future.
Which is most important and which one will be your career?
They are all vital at different times. When exams are due, study is important. I will also put more effort into swimming and singing before swimming competitions and album launches.
Since swimmers in Hong Kong are only amateurs, swimming cannot be a career. I study to broaden my horizons through business administration and I enjoy it. Because of my swimming achievements, I was invited by EOL to become a singer. I like singing, so it will probably become my career.
What changed in your life after becoming a singer?
My life changed a lot, the most obvious thing being that my whole day is fully arranged between jobs and swimming training. Another change is staying up all night to act in movies. I have just stayed up overnight for a new movie.
I am now used to these changes which have little influence on my private time because the jobs are mainly packed into the daytime. I still have dinner with my family and I have around seven to eight hours sleep a night generally.
I can't spend much time on swimming during my tight working schedule, and swimmers must have strict and steady training. I'll evaluate the results of the forthcoming swimming competition; if the results are unsatisfactory, I will spend more time on it.
Do your family or coach oppose your career?
No, my family and trainer respect my decision to be a singer and give me their full support. I am glad to have them standing by me, especially my coach, who should be an opponent. He supports me because he realises that an amateur swimmer should prepare for the future.
You have represented Hong Kong in many swimming competitions. Which one is the most important?
The 1998 Asian Games, because my teammates and I had trained for a year for the 4x200m freestyle relay.
You represented Hong Kong in the 2000 Olympic Games, and now you are even better placed to attract the attention of people around you. Are you used to it?
I don't worry how people look at me. I just try to be myself, but I am not used to those who criticise me.
How do you see yourself as a singer?
I do not intend to create an image. My manager and I have discussed it before. We both think it is best to keep my original image which is natural, healthy and sporty. That's why I feel very comfortable just being myself.
But due to my image as an athlete, some people may not accept me as a singer and may treat me as unprofessional, so I am eager to improve my skills to show that I am a professional.
Are you satisfied with your performance so far? How about your first album?
Well, it's just the first album, and I still have a lot to improve on, especially my singing, so I have to put more effort into it. But it's really encouraging that I have made improvements in recording the first song all the way through to the last one.
My stage performance is not natural enough as I am too nervous. I am only a pass student in stage performance. I should overcome this soon.
Do you mind being compared with other new singers?
I don't care about being compared to others. Sometimes it may help improve my performance. Actually some singers are not meant to be compared with others but the media like to put them together.
You are a sports star to many teenagers; who are your own idols?
I like Michael Jordan. His enthusiasm for playing basketball led to him becoming an outstanding athlete.
I also appreciate singer Jacky Cheung Hok-yau who loves and enjoys music. He does very well both in his career and his family life. I enjoy my career and family life just as much as Jacky does.
Would you rather be a normal, average person?
I don't want to be an average person. I like my present life, which is very substantial. Though I'm busy, I enjoy the process of improvement. I can always push myself forward to reach different goals and that in turn gives me great satisfaction.
What tactics do you use in studying?
Consider what you want to be or what you want to do. Set a goal and motivate yourself to achieve it. Be ambitious so that you can do your best.
Peony was a summer intern from Hong Kong Shue Yan College.