The leadership trait is strong in this bright, bespectacled, 21-year-old: The fighting spirit and vocal candour flows effortless from Model United Nations delegate, Tan Chee Yong, over brunch at a mamak. Despite his age, the Khazanah Nasional Scholar of International Relations at King’s College, London, wears multiple hats, including Perdana Fellow, debater, speaker and writer.
The humble student believes that these achievements wouldn’t have materialised were it not for the untimely passing of his parents in his formative years. His father’s death affected his studies in primary school, followed by the sudden loss of his mother, Jane Wong, the Malaysian manager of Fendi, in 2016.
As an only child, the Kajang lad was left to pick up the pieces. “It had a huge impact upon my thinking and my way of comprehending the meaning of life. I realized that time is limited,” Chee Yong reflected. Rather than dwell on his misfortune, Chee Yong set about carving a new life. Within a few years, Chee Yong had snapped up a coveted scholarship, won awards at international debates, and founded Malaysian youth leadership platform, The Hubb Movement. This is how Chee Yong does it, In his own words.