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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In conversation with Tan Jie Yim Priscilla

An edited version of this article was featured in the July 2011 issue of ENGINEERRUS (The official magazine of Temasek Engineering School) under the title of "Tower of Strength". Below is the original transcript of the article that I had written before it was sent for editing and publishing.

Standing at a mere 147cms tall, Tan Jie Yim Priscilla can easily be mistaken for an ordinary girl who follows the ideal life of a student. This is true until you take a closer look at what she does. Unlike many others, this former TP student, who graduated in 2010 with a Diploma in Business Process and Systems Engineering (BZE), has a rather unique and rare pasttime of stilt walking. She works as a performer with Tian Eng Dragon and Lion Dance Centre and has been regularly performing with them at several major events and shows that include Resorts World Sentosa. She credits her penchant for learning and the interest to try out new things in life as the key reason to why she was attracted to the sport.

“Stilt walking is not an easy task and it needs balancing which is most important” says Priscilla who has been performing since 2004. “When I started off, it was very scary and I took a few hours to learn and balance myself fully”. Standing at a height of two meters, seeing Priscilla perform often leaves viewers in awe in addition to giving them goosebumps. “After you tie everything up and are ready to take the first step, you are always wary of falling and keep wanting to hold something” When asked if she had any bad experiences while performing, Priscilla mentions a time when she fell during one of her performances after accidentally stepping on a patch of water and some flowers. “The key is to fall forward with your knees bent, instead of backwards, as the shin guards and hand pumps offer protection and support.” She mentions determination and discipline towards practice sessions as vital traits of a stilt walker’s success.

She acknowledges her family and friends who supported her during her studies and encouraged her to work hard towards her aspirations. “I had a hard time coping with my studies, but I always had my family, especially my Dad and boyfriend, whose constant encouragement kept me going” recalls Priscilla who now works as an Admin Executive at Trillion Lifestyle Pte. Ltd. She hopes to work hard and eventually tour the world with her parents who, despite setbacks, kept going and never gave up.

With her hardwork and persistence, we are certain that she will reach even greater heights in life - those that lie beyond the realms of stilt walking.