I loved to sing and make a ruckus growing up in Singapore and at the age of eight or nine started playing the piano. Not that I received much musical encouragement from some of my teachers. In Primary One, my report card said: 'Hanjin wants to sing but doesn't have a very good voice.' I think it's funny that a teacher wrote that in a report card - very left field. Then in Primary Seven or Eight, my piano teacher said I wasn't good at sight reading. In fact he told me that I should give it up because I couldn't do anything with music. Despite all that, I enjoyed my schooling up to O-levels because it was fun. Everything after, though, seemed daft and redundant. I went to the Anglo Chinese School, one of Singapore's elite schools for my primary and secondary education. I was among very clever schoolmates who were interesting and quirky. The teachers were pretty cool too. My Primary Five class teacher taught us almost everything in that year and was also in charge of swimming. He would ask us to spell words such as chlorophyll and oxymoron and we thought him eclectic and eccentric. In Form Three I had another teacher who was also a real character. She taught literature and was called Tan Choo Gan. She was bubbly and really liberal, and you had the feeling she didn't really get along too well with the school administrators. I grew up in a family that was part of the island's second-generation middle class and quite conservative. Mum worked for a fashion label and flew all over the place. But I was still taught the importance of things such as table manners which I don't think have been instilled into successive generations. I wanted to do pursue music full time but my parents said: 'Music's good Hanjin. It's a really good hobby.' That philosophy of playing safe is all part of life in Singapore. You feel such support from the system and it's easy to fall into contentment and be happy with the air of peace. It was a great environment to grow up in but it can breed complacency. I also wished there could have been more niches because there was a lot of opportunity to be exposed to all forms of creativity academically. For kids like me, that meant things like fine arts and photography. Sure, we were exposed to it but there weren't many avenues open to you if you wanted to take it to the next level. So, if like me you wanted to play jazz fusion you could go to two jazz pubs. But if you wanted to release a CD you likely wouldn't be able to due to a perceived lack of commercial viability. Yet there were no resources to create that demand either. After school I did my national service for 2? years which was character building. After that I read economics at the National University of Singapore. I have to say I was a very bad student but hoped it would get better. I found the emphasis was on individual learning and that it didn't promote relationships with classmates. There was a lot of taking notes and rote learning. I performed music in pubs while at university which helped to pay my tuition. And after graduating, I started to write Chinese pop songs and decided to try it out as a career. I also have the support of my parents now. They believe that as long as I can support myself and I'm happy, that's fine. Music is my way of expression and it's an obsession. Without it I start feeling a bit useless. When I look back on school, I wish I'd been better at developing my personal perspective instead of feeling I should get on the best course to give me the best options open to me.