This is a recycled blog entry which I am migrating from my old blog. Reason being it is important for my ego-building. 🙂
Back in January 2006, I needed recommendation letters for this Asian Young Filmmakers Forum (AYFF) that I was applying to be a participant in. If I had gotten in, I would have flown to Korea then, to spend 10 months there to hone my craft in filmmaking. (I didn’t get selected in the end)
Hence I send out SMSes a day before I was compiling my application papers; asking for help from close friends to write me testimonials. Here are the testimonials written by those who responded to my call for help.
I edited away some parts that contained personal information or corporate references. Before reading, please be warned that the testimonials are heavily sugar-coated as are all testimonials are, but particularly so when it’s written by definitely biased friends.
Okay, here’s the first one.
Leon Kiong (currently a freelance content producer, formerly at MTV Asia)
I have known Alvin since the start of our university days, however we have started working together only for the past three years.
An extremely great pity we could not have started earlier.
My collaborations with Alvin are mainly those of multimedia in nature: films, video, web, graphics.
With regards to projects involving the moving visual, Alvin can be metaphorized into the following entity: a diving board.
He is the platform that prods, guides and, in times of creative dire straits, hassles you, the diving enthusiast ( read: film-maker, artist and what not ) towards the edge. He will provide the impetus that gives you courage to take that leap of faith and plunge headlong.
Into a life-stream of creativity that is sightless.
Alvin sees things which are not there. Yet.
That amazes me and is one of the main reasons why I enjoy working with him.
He tears down forlorn ideas and re-dresses them with his own vision, a patchwork of style that can be only be called: Alvinism.
Alvin also belongs to what I consider a rare breed of creative film-making person who is able to balance both the artistic and pragmatic traits of the trade.
He is artist and accountant. Amalgamation of the two.
He is painter and planner. Product of both.
He is filmmaker and financial consultant. Fantastic. Simply.
What I am saying is that Alvin is both gifted in the left and right side of the brain.
All you have to do is to work with him,
And whatever preconceived doubts or notions will be dispelled.
You plunge headlong into
Wherever he chooses to take flight to.
Written with all the humane biaseness I can gather,
To my friend,
Low Lai Chow (currently the editor at Youth.SG)
Catwoman once said, I am woman, hear me roar. For the four years that I have known Alvin Lim, I have never heard him roar much. But that’s just because he is soft-spoken, disarmingly polite and never pushy. Where it comes to any sort of creative work – doodling, photography, filmmaking, designing; Alvin just approaches it with a lot of claws and no less of an attitude. He really does thrive on ideas and concepts. I am sure if he could, he’d eat these for breakfast every day.
And oh gawd, it goes without saying that other filmmakers would enjoy exchanging fresh thoughts with him. Let them pick each others’ brains out. It’ll be worth everyones’ while.
Therefore; yes, I’ll highly recommend him for the filmmaking forum. Please, put the guy where he belongs.
Yours most sincerely,
Low Lai Chow
Teh Joo Lin (currently a journalist at Straits Times)
We were on our own in the streets of Beijing at night, having broken away from the rest of the group. As we walked along the food-stall carts that dotted the dark streets, he suddenly stopped, approached one of the hawkers and asked for a bowl of chou dou fu (pungent tofu).
I expressed shock when he asked me to try it. The stall didn’t look hygienic in the least. More so, the fare didn’t look appetizing – true to its name, the tofu smelled repulsive. It would have been my first time trying the delicacy and I wasn’t keen to.
But Alvin said: Why don’t you just give it a try? If you don’t try, you will never know, and be your own judge of how good or bad it tastes. One should never judge a book by its cover, he added.
Failing to find fault with his argument, I took a bite. Initial trepidation turned to pleasant surprise. Five minutes later, I was burping in approval and entertaining the thought of buying another bowl.
This one incident during our two-week trip to China as part of a Singapore delegation of undergraduates spoke volumes for Alvin’s character. He loves to try new things and he does so because of a deeply-seated curiosity that is almost child-like. Yet he also displays adult maturity when he listens attentively to what you have to say about an issue. He believes in learning by experience. He believes in keeping an open mind.
Needless to say, he was a hit with our Chinese counterparts. His personal anecdotes were hard to match. Throughout the trip, my Chinese friends kept asking after him. I could see why. I myself was keen to know him better. He is that interesting.
I suppose his open mind and views on life in general have translated themselves into film-making, one of his key passions. I am not an expert in film, so I really appreciated it when he bothered to explain to me the basics of it. As it is, a passionate film-maker is hard to come by. A film-maker willing to spare precious time teaching others to love the craft is even rarer.
Truth be told, I did not really know him until that trip to China. Before that, I had seen him ambling around in school. He sported weird hair, toted a weird bag and looked totally out of the mainstream, so imagine my surprise when I was told he was one of the most conscientious and intelligent students in school. These attributes showed when he graduated as one of the few top students in the cohort.
Now, I hear he is working for one of the top creative advertising firms in the world. I am happy for him, but when I last met him a few weeks back, he didn’t look too happy. He told me that at work, he had been trying very hard to pick up interactive advertising, a medium he was not trained in. He wasn’t happy because he was still not satisfied with his level of competence. He will not be happy until he is as good as the best there. I am sure he will achieve his aim.
Because the thing about Alvin is he will try his best, even if he falls. Because if he falls, he will pick himself up. And when he picks himself up, he will be sure to pick up something extra as he rises. This something iis called experience.
Lye Peixian (currently working in a bank)
Having known Alvin for four years, he struck me as a unique individual who is equally creative and analytical.
From someone who enjoyed drawing and doodling on his lecture notes, Alvin’s pursuit towards his passion on art and film production has been relentless. He picked up graphic design skills and took part in various illustrations and graphic design competitions, winning various recognitions.
On the other hand, his interest towards film production which was sparked in university where he joined our campus TV station, Spectrum, as a production crew for two years encouraged him to go as far as initiating his own video projects. Alvin was very actively involved in various film competitions of a national scale and it was this strong interest in film making that drove him to initiate Simulcra Productions – a set-up with a few like-minded school mates. To date, Simulcra Productions has serviced a wide range of accounts.
Besides being extremely creative, Alvin displayed strength in his analytical side as well. He majored in Communication Research in Nanyang Technological University and did extremely well to graduate with First Class Honours, as well as remained in the dean’s list for 3 years.
A hardworking talent with a good balance of pragmatism and creativity is hard to come by. I believe that Alvin’s ability to balance his rational side and imaginative mind makes him a good asset in the film industry, being able to manage a film project, yet inject innovative directions in its artistic direction as well.
Most importantly, Alvin is very passionate towards his interest. His exposures and experiences in various film projects and initiatives have proven that he is willing to indulge his time and efforts just to make films.
Alvin is definitely worthy of the support from the Asian Young Filmmakers Forum. His wealthy experience, strong passion and his unique balance of rationality and creativity makes him a very strong candidate and definitely a future talent to our film industry.
Andy Koh (currently working in finance)
I have known Alvin for four years in university, of which, in the last two, we had spent a considerable amount of time together working on both academic and non-academic projects. We did three videos together: a video documentary, and two conference videos in which we traveled to Brunei and China (Kunming).
He is different from the masses because he is able to see things in another perspective from most people. He does not voice different opinions for the sake of being different; he believes in what he says. He is not afraid to express his views, whether they be jarring or unconventional. His thoughts are provoking and yet stirring because they do resonate with people. And that is why he is interesting.
One day, he may throw in the towel in exchange for a white-collared shirt and tie. This would surely be a waste. Instead of adding another nameless working professional in our economy, please do consider him for the programme.
In all sincerity,
Andy Koh Woon Khai
Jeremy Koh (currently a broadcast journalist at News Radio 93.8)
I was Alvin’s coursemate during our 4-year undergraduate studies in Nanyang Technological University.
During these four years, I have had the opportunity to work with him on many occasions- from project work to filming assignments.
What amazes me is the utter dedication he puts into every single thing he does.
For proof of that, look no further than his grades.
They speak for themselves.
However, Alvin is no mere bookworm.
Besides immersing himself in books, he also found time to explore his passions, and traverse new grounds.
For instance, he was part of Fusion Radio (a campus radio station) in his first year in university.
Thereafter, he was a part of Nanyang Chronicle, a campus newspaper.
On top of that, he had been honing his filming skills in project after project, competition after competition.
While the accolades did not come early, that only spurred him on to work harder.
And his efforts have come to fruition.
His filmmaking skills are gaining recognition, slowly but surely.
While he may not have won any major filmmaking award so far, he had won quite a few smaller awards for his videos.
And that surely, is a sign of greater things to come.
With guidance and support, I am sure Alvin will create a splash in the world of filmmaking.