Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Born and raised in Singapore, Lavinia Tan is radio DJ and travel host on the Discovery Channels Globe Trekker travel series. She is well versed in the language of Singlish, which is Singapore's own brand of English, experienced enough to know that under arm deodorant is a must on a humid tropical island, and that the world is her oyster. She was raised single-handedly by her mother and doting grandmother, with an older sister, who to date is her best audience of one. Her sense of humor has played an integral part in her life. Since young, she has learnt that it not only helps to see the lighter side to things, but that humour gets you through the tough spots in life. Her education took her through ten years in the all-girls Singapore Chinese Girls School, which was followed by two years in the Anglo Chinese Junior College, which marked the end of her 'semi-nunhood' allowing her to finally came into contact with the opposite sex - much to their good fortune. When not out Globe Trekking, she is currently studying for a degree in Business Management at the Singapore Management University, majoring in Marketing and Law. In spite of many parents throwing up their arms in disgust about how television is a bad influence, it was a television ad on the Discovery Networks Asia that alerted then 23-year-old Tan about the search for a new Globe Trekker host, and gave her a life changing opportunity. She applied, and was invited to round 1 of the search in Singapore.
In round 1 Tan and the other contestants were spilt into group of fives. The whole group got onto the stage and questions were read out, and they all had to jump in to answer and try to spontaneously explain, or make up the meaning of strange foreign words, for example, "What is a tuk-tuk?"
Then in round 2 once again, the contestants were split into groups of five. The MCs gave them envelopes to choose from and Tan had to wait nervously for her turn. When she was up next, she had to rip open the envelope which contained a card with a subject matter on it. All the contestants had to improvise for five minutes, fact or fiction, on that topic, while they were given an object (like a snakefruit) to talk about.
Next came round 3 - The Globe Trekker Audition. Lavinia and the other contestants had to make speeches in front of a live audience, consisting of mostly mall shoppers. Masses of people were there, all curious and amused by the sight of the eager beavers sweating it out. The tasks were designed to test how spontaneous and confident the contestants were in the face of pressure, and whether, between their frayed nerves and stage fright, they had an ounce of credible humor. First, these contestants had to jump in and answer questions posed by the MCs, like explaining:
"What is a haggis"?
Lavinia takes up the story from there...
"I hear some of the strangest things that rightly confirmed my general knowledge needs an upping of sorts. I grabbed a question with slight hesitation: 'What is a karioke?' On realizing that I was the only one stepping forward to lay claim on the question, I concluded firstly, I wasn't the only one who had no clue what it was and secondly, that I had just laid out a nice noose for a quick self-hanging. To this day, I haven't got a clue what it was. However, my fabricated answer (that it is the name of a group of people who love everything to do with karaoke singing) seemed to have gone down well with the judges and I got through to the next round."
"Then it was down to just ten of us thereafter, and once again our fate was in our own hands. We had to repeat round 2, and pick an envelope with a subject on it. When it reached my turn, I opened the envelope and stood there dumb-founded for a spilt second. Lo and behold, the thing that was to decide my fate on travelling around the world was, unexpectedly, a pretzel, in all it's plain flour goodness. I must confess that (1) I love eating them and (2) that was all I knew about pretzels. So for those five minutes, I said the most unbelievable things about the origins of the pretzel and what else one could do with a pretzel besides eating it. For example, that its shape made it the perfect edible Frisbee, of sorts."
"Sadly, I was eliminated from the final three who would represent Singapore in the search for the new host for Globe Trekker. I boil my loss down to my unsavory belief of the pretzel's origins (that it was the sight of an unknown baker's turd in the loo) that failed to go down well with the judges. I walked away that day saddened by dashed hopes of a pretzel company sponsorship, and yet proud that I had make it so far in the competition."
"But a few weeks later, once I had recovered from my loss and was able again to wolf down another pretzel, I got a call from a rep from Discovery Networks Asia. She informs me that I have been selected as a 'wild card' for the final round. I was so overcome with happiness that I swear if I was eating one then, I would have choked on a pretzel. A week later, I was informed that I had made it to the final four and the next step was to do a screen test. The location was the bustling Little India, a tourist hot-spot in Singapore. We each had to do three things in front of the camera: make an introduction to Little India, buy something and talk about it, and interview locals about the area."
After that, it was a few more weeks of waiting with both toes and fingers crossed hoping for the best. It must have worked because Melvyn Goh from Pilot Productions in Asia called me and - whoopee-bring-out-the-champagne! I was the new host for Globe Trekker!!!".
Her travels were greatly enhanced when she was named winner of the Discovery Networks Asia Globe Trekker Search in 2004. Tan beat thousands of hopefuls from Asia to join the stable of travel hosts on the international television series called Globe Trekker. Her work on the travel show has taken her to incredible travel destinations like Florida, Bahamas and parts of Asia. Since then Lavinia has hosted not just for TV, but also for numerous gala dinner events, corporate launches as well as conferences. Her lively presentations as well as her humorous style make her a much sought after Master of Ceremony as she is able to bring a fresh perspective to these events. As a Lush FM99.5 DJ, she can also be heard on radio from 11am to 2pm on weekdays. During the months of May to June 2010, she was working on a reality game show webisode series called “Room 101″ for PSB Academy as the character-host, The “Teacher Extraordinaire”. Tan is also a Master of Ceremony for numerous events like the News Awards, Sony Style Store Launch, Asian First Films Awards, TAG Heuer launch with Lewis Hamilton as well as the Mercedes E Class launch. When not busy filming or hosting, she can be heard on Lush 99.5FM as the host of “The Art of Lush”, Monday through Friday from 11am to 2pm in the afternoon. Broadcasting live from Mediacorp Radio’s first satellite studio located in the heart of town at Orchard Central, she has interviewed many personalities from singer-songwriter, Zee Avi, to music tastemaker, Giles Peterson, the first female CEO of the House of Krug, Margareth Henriquez, and with rising comedian Doc Brown of the UK.
She has even showed some sensuous moves on a dance pole. Yeah, that's right - Pole dancing. She’s different than many other woman. For one, this beautiful girl with a great sense of humour celebrated her 30th birthday last year with vintage champagne and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Hot & Spicy chicken because according to her:
"the champagne is needed for proper initiation into the 30s Club and KFC's crispy skin alone makes life worth living".
Winning the Globe Trekker first regional search for an Asian host in 2005, led to her swimming with sharks in the Bahamas and skimming through the Everglades in Florida with a crazy Seminole indian who insisted on getting out of the boat and harrassing an alligator. Her Florida travels also introduced her to a group of senior citizen baseball players and even senior citizen male dancers who donned their clothes to dance in shiny gold thongs for a rowdy crowd of female senior citizens. She also ended up jumping into a Florida swamp and washing down a couple of attendee Harley Davidsons at the Daytona Beach Bike Week while wearing a bikini. Even though she now hosts the weekday lunchtime show on Lush 99.5FM she remains a pole-dancing enthusiast and insists it would be an Olympic event if Lavinia had her say with Olympic organizers.
Dec 07 – Feb 08 - Follow Me Japan – Hokkaido Winter (Four-part travel program)
Jan – Feb & Jul 06 - Globe Trekker Chinese New Year Special (covered locations in Penang, Singapore & Hong Kong)
Sep – Oct 05 - Globe Trekker Chinatown Special (covered locations in Penang, Singapore and Hong Kong)
Feb – Mar 05 - Globe Trekker Florida and Bahamas
World Wide Web
A series of web videos showcasing various lifestyle gadgets and entertainment systems. Videos can be viewed at asia.cnet.com
Television Commercials and Corporate Videos
Oct 07 Summer Youth Olympics Games (SYOG) 2010 (showcase Singapore as the ideal city to host the SYOG 2010)
Jul 07 - Jurong Bird Park television commercial
Oct 06 - Creative Circle Awards 2006 (interviewer for the judging panels)
Oct 06 - Asia Pacific Breweries Corporate Video
Jun 05 - OTO Bodycare (SIA in-flight commercial)
Feb 10 - Qipao Compeition organized by Orchard Central
Dec 09 - Lush 99.5FM Countdown Party at Orchard Central
Aug 08 - SMUAA Reunion in the City
Jul 08 - 30-Hour Famine Camp 2008 by World Vision Singapore
Feb 08 - Digital Life Roadshow 2008
Dec 07 - One Life AIDS Awareness Launch by World Vision Singapore
Dec 07 - 16th SICC Junior Invitational Gold Championship
Nov 07 - Citibank IPB Dinner and Dance 2007
Jul 07 - SICC Women's Golf Tournament Dinner and Dance
Oct 06 - Official launch of SMUAA
Jul 05 - Closing time @the library
Aug – Sep 04 - Macdonald’s "Fries for Prize"
Jul 04 - Salt! @ Sentosa
Apr 04 - P.I.M.P (SMU bash)
Located on the southeastern tip of the USA, Florida has far more to offer than overrated theme parks. Lavinia Tan takes a look at the attractions of Florida and the Bahamas - the people, places and faces in the sunshine state.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
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