My name is Ian Tan, and I come from Kuching (Cat City), Malaysia, SouthEast Asia. Well, if you came here to know me a bit more, what can I say? Here are some facts about myself that I feel are the most key to my identity.
I am ethnically Chinese, and speak Mandarin with my parents and most of my relatives. I haven’t been in touch with my Chinese roots for ages (not speaking or reading the language much). I want to begin sharpening my knowledge of Mandarin, and possibly getting into Chinese literature. I enjoy a diverse literary range, from Romanticism era poetry to modern era poetry, and from classics (e.g The Iliad) to newer works showcasing previously hidden voices (e.g the Song of Achilles). But really, I am pleased to try anything that highlights the flaws of society while celebrating its qualities and the hope of a brighter today.
Being an INFP, I value freedom and mobility in my work and everyday tasks, even if I mess up. Because then I can learn from my mistakes and ask for help on my own terms. Not that I don’t appreciate guidance though, especially if it comes from someone with greater experience. I feel at my peak when the work at hand is some sort of creative, literary project. Another INFP trait is that I tend to make myself an emotional outlet; I want to make everyone feel heard, and during conflicts, I usually try to take the other person’s context into account. This has helped me navigate many difficult occasions and preserve my relationships with others.
I think I can say I love living in the city, especially one as pretty as Harrisburg. Being at the hub of so many businesses, opportunities for nightlife, and festivals has helped me see how lively urban settings can be. It is so much fun walking around remembering new hangout spots, what routes are the most peaceful, and finding new favorite eateries. Future choices of cities to live in are Philadelphia, Washington DC, Rome, or GeorgeTown (small coastal capital of Penang, Malaysia)
Favorite things (in the spirit of Savannah’s format)
Character: Edmund Pevensie
Tea: Classic Chinese Green, the subtle bitterness helps get me into a more alert state
Organizational Strategy: Memorizing tasks, and occasionally to-do lists
Candles: No solid preferences yet.
Season: Midsummer through Fall
Candy Bar: Kit-Kat
Weather: Thunderstorm for sleeping warmly indoors, or a cool sunny day for a pleasant stroll/jog
Singer: Karliene (Youtube singer/musician who creates Celtic, fiction influenced music)
Color: Forest green paired with silver
Dinner: Roasted chicken thighs and steamed jasmine rice
Book: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland or the Chess Machine by Robert Lohr
This year, I am working in two placements – Habitat for Humanity as a grant writer, and St Stephen’s Episcopal School as a staff member in the after-school program. Both are rewarding in different ways. The first allows me to utilize the skills I sharpened in college, like analysing texts and building narratives, while the second gives me the chance to help nurture children. It sounds cheesy, but I appreciate this chance to work with the next generation, because I can see my past selves in a number of the students and I’m aware of how they might feel in certain situations and what they would need. I hope I can walk away from the Service Corps with lessons that can help shape my future journeys in professional writing and handling children.
As for church service, I recently thought it would be good for me to try my hand at joining the Finance Vestry, and so far I have attended one meeting. It was a lot of scouring budget records and keeping track of so many expenses that St Stephen’s had to oversee. That was such uncharted territory, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel out of bounds, but it was time I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned how institutions like the Church run its books. I am thriving in my space amidst my housemates. Yes, I know I am the sole male and person of color here but my housemates are as aware of it as I am, and do their best not to agitate anything about it, which I am so appreciative of. I hope that we can continue to grow and learn around each other.