Nick Shen was caned for pursuing Chinese opera

Nick Shen was caned for pursuing Chinese opera
Nick Shen Weijun, local actor-host, in his Chinese opera performing costume, with his father.

When he was 13, local actor-host Nick Shen Weijun told his father that he would be staying over for a month at a friend's home.

During that month, he was secretly performing with Chinese opera troupes without his father's knowledge.

When his father found out, punishment for Shen was swift and painful.

"He caned me the whole night," said Shen, who is in his 30s.

"My dad was furious because he saw no future in Chinese opera and wanted me to focus on my studies instead."

Two decades later, his father's reaction to him being a Chinese opera advocate is different.

He is at all his son's performances and even helps out with the costumes.

"I think he slowly saw meaning in the work I do and decided to support me," said Shen.

"What really touched me was how he would help out backstage when we need it. The work we do together now is meaningful."

His father is not the only one to recognise his work in Chinese opera.

Shen was recently named one of Junior Chamber International's Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) in the category of cultural achievement.

He beat more than 200 nominees in Singapore in April and will be one of the 10 shortlisted out of 150 contestants in the world to receive the award in Germany on Nov 28.

JCI, which is based in the US, is a worldwide membership-based non-profit organisation of young active citizens aged 18 to 40 who are committed to making an impact in their communities.

The award honours 10 outstanding young people under the age of 40 who provide extraordinary service to their communities each year.

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