FROM selling Apple computers in the chaos of a PC show to performing a violin solo with a chamber orchestra in a hushed concert hall in Sydney, Jeremiah Chong has been there, done that.
Now, the 24-year-old is living his dream by pursuing his passions for business, sales and music. He owns and runs The Music Suite, a music school in Mountbatten that has 110 students and is about to expand its operations to Johor Baru.
He did not take a conventional academic route, having dropped out of junior college for music school. Neither did he pursue the path of a professional musician.
The idea to set up his own school began after a conversation with a student's mother. "When the chance came, I thought, oh, this is the one. Thinking back and looking forward, this was the best I could have hoped for," he says.
Mr Chong's journey in music began in 1992, when he first picked up the violin as a three-and-a-half-year-old. His father was then studying for a doctorate in Boston, and his mother always had a desire to see her child play the violin.
His family came back to Singapore when he was seven. A talented violinist, Mr Chong rose quickly through the examination rungs, taking his ABRSM Grade Eight qualification when he was just 10, and his diploma when he was 15.
By then, he had also discovered an interest in selling things, and was making pocket money from a sideline he started in Secondary One at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).
"There was a void deck at Ghim Moh where each canned drink was sold for 40 cents. I would lug 24 cans back to school, and sell them at 90 cents which was still cheaper than the $1 the canteen sold them at. You didn't have to walk all the way down," he says.
"Every year, we would move up one floor, further and further from the canteen. Eventually, I also stocked the locker with chewy bars and granola bars."