• Judy Tay

7 Singaporeans Who Beat The Sh*t Out Of Life & Won

Credit: @marklee444; @ryanxgo

Rags-to-riches stories always make us go awww, especially if they happened near us. In Singapore, we have so many talent people who are under the radar. For some of them, despite the curve balls thrown by life, they managed to dodge them or simply learned to make the most of it, to eventually beat the system and emerged victorious.

Here, we'll talk about 7 of these unique people and maybe some of you can draw inspiration from them!

Royston Tan

Some of you may not know who he is, but the rest of us do. His name has cropped up in many award-winning homegrown films and he managed to carve a niche for himself in this industry. A Singaporean filmmaker, Royston Tan went through a turbulent childhood and his father even had to declare bankrupt. Yet instead of letting these issues drag him down, he let his experience shape the works he eventually produced. One of his film, 881, topped the entertainment power list in 2007. Till today, his works remain one of the most powerful local productions we've ever seen.

George Quek

Credit: sgsme.sg

BreadTalk is seen as one of Singapore's most successful bakeries; one that may even be seen as overly-commercialised. The towkay of BreadTalk, George Quek, also owns familiar brands like Din Tai Fung, Food Republic and RamenPlay. But did you know that it has a humble beginning and touching story? George Quek had to make a living selling dragon beard candy due to financial reasons. While it may seem like an unglam job for many of us, his grit and hard work, coupled with his marketing sense, allowed the business to take off. Today, this corporation is an internationally-known brand with outlets all around the world.

Mark Lee

He's known affectionately as Mark gor to people in the industry and around him, and he has been a face we all learned to love since the 90s. Mark Lee is also known as Singapore's favourite ah beng - a label he has learned to embrace. He openly shared about his gambling addiction he face in the past and how it has impacted his life. Today, Mark Lee is a successful businessman with a hand in many renowned brands like Old Town White Coffee, Monsoon Group and even a chicken rice eatery. Well known, SG's funnyman!

Charles Wong

Credit: Vulcan Post

Ever walked past the glittery shopfront of Charles & Keith and wondered this Singaporean has made it big? Never have we! Many Singaporeans do not know that this fashion retailer was the brainchild of local businessman Charles Wong. Like the rest in this article, he did not have an easy start to life. At 22 years old, he took a gamble and started Charles & Keith despite failing his 'O' levels examination as he was inspired by his mother's shoe store. Today, Charles & Keith has gone international with 300 stores and 70 designers.

JJ Lin

What's there not to love about JJ? A graduate of Saint Andrew's Junior College, JJ Lin may have been a little cleverer than some of us academically and would probably have done well in industries like engineering or banking; instead, he embarked on a singing career and become a trainee, writing songs for artistes like A-mei and A-do. We all know the entertainment industry is cutthroat, so it is amazing how far he has come since. Aren't you proud of this fellow Singaporean?


Xiaxue may be a controversial figure due to her outspoken nature, but we can't deny how far she has come and what she has braved to become the person she is today. As one of Singapore's earliest bloggers who made her mark on the social media scene, Xiaxue is a force to reckon with. She has spoken outwardly on her displeasure about her looks, and the painstaking steps she took to correct them. While there are definitely haters, we can't deny how passionate she is about her causes.

Ryan Tan

Ryan Tan catapulted to fame as a cinematographer and art director of the famous YouTube channel, Night Owl Cinematics (NOC), especially after the viral split with his ex-wife, Sylvia, which made headlines internationally. He left the Institute of Technical Education, and together with Sylvia, started NOC with almost no money. Little did they know that one of their videos, Shit Singaporean Girlfriends Say went viral and had over a million views. Today, the NOC channel has close to a million followers on YouTube.

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