Interview with Wong Yingming
Class of 00S48
Wong Yingming is a seasoned entrepreneur who currently wears multiple hats. He’s the co-founder of cafe Hello Arigato and restaurant-bar The Refinery, and is also a consultant to several companies, helping them with their expansion in Southeast Asia.
1. What is 1 life lesson you learnt in your JC years, that shaped the person you are today?
Yingming: The biggest lesson I learnt is perseverance, grit. I have only ever ran more than 2.4km once prior to attending VJC but within the first 3 months, I was out running 5k, 6ks on a weekly basis and by the time I left, I was comfortable clocking distances north of 10k and went on to compete in triathlons and other endurance races. The training process especially during the initial 3 months was really tough, both physically and mentally, but that process shaped my character and helped me in my entrepreneurial journey.
2. What is your fondest memory of VJC?
Yingming: The friendships I built in VJC are one of the longest lasting ones I have and I still keep in touch with many. In fact one of them is my business partner in an F&B business which we have managed for more than 7 years.
3. If you could go back in time, what would you say to encourage your younger JC self?
Yingming: To study and play harder.
4. Where’s your fave hangout spot in VJC, and why?
Yingming: The benches just behind the gym. That was where we headed to for a game of carom to take a break from studies. We had epic carom “battles” but even better conversations which led to amazing friendships.
5. What was your most challenging experience in VJC, and how did you overcome it?
Yingming: Keeping up academically was always tough but I think the biggest challenge to me was getting used to the famous running culture of VJC. It was a real jolt to the system. Thankfully I had friends who were supportive and accompanied me even though I was probably running at half their speed. That and a little pride helped me get past it.
6. In your opinion, what is unique about the VJC experience?
Yingming: The most memorable would be the people I have met and friendships I have fostered over the 2 years. And of course the running culture.
7. Name one person you met at VJC (could be a schoolmate or teacher or coach, canteen staff etc) and why you’ll never forget him / her.
Yingming: Fortunately, I have too many to single out just one person but there is one instance I would never forget which is Mr Tan barking at me from his car at the bus stop when I was late but still walking to school.
8. If you could use only one word to describe VJC, what would this word be?