King of clubs

King of clubs
Cher Ng started out as a deejay but ended up co-founding Zouk in KL. Today, he has a big job conceptualising and planning TREC, a mega nightlife district in KL.

SINGAPORE - His mother had given her blessings, his visa and air ticket were sorted, and his bags were almost packed.

It was 1997 and all Mr Cher Ng, then 26, had to do was board the plane to England to see if he could cut it as a deck meister on the European clubbing circuit.

Several gigs had already been lined up and he was sanguine about his prospects.

After all, he was a resident deejay at Singapore's hottest nightspot Zouk, had a CD released by an international dance label and even went on a UK tour spinning at some of the hippest clubs.

But something held the young man back. It was the proverbial fork in the road.

"I just wanted to be the best and often that means going against common sense," he says. "But I'd also been toying for some time with the idea of setting up my own event company, organising big dance parties."

After a little soul-searching, he decided to stay put. He went on to organise the first ZoukOut as well as some of the biggest dance parties in the region. He also founded Zouk in Kuala Lumpur.

His latest project is Trec - which stands for Taste, Relish, Experience, Celebrate - KL's biggest entertainment and dining development overlooking the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

His partners in the RM323.6 million (S$127.7 million) project are Mr Douglas Cheng, one of the city's most successful businessmen and property developers, and Berjaya Assets, a subsidiary of the Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya Group.

"Not bad for a polytechnic dropout, huh?" says Mr Ng, now 43, with a laugh. "If I had taken the other path, I would be a very different Cher today."

The younger of two sons, his is a classic rags-to-riches story.

His father, he lets on with great reluctance and a big grimace, did not work, preferring to spend most of his time at the turf club.

"That's why I'm totally against gambling," declares Mr Ng, whose parents split up when he was 10.

His mother raised her two children on her $400-a-month pay as a cook in a childcare centre.

"We didn't know where the next meal was coming from. I've had to break my piggy bank for money to buy noodles," says the nightclub operator who grew up in a rental flat in Clementi.

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