COVER STORY Before Television The Packaging Born and raised in the country to a Taiwanese mother and a Cantonese dad who has his own restaurant called Mr. Poon, he wanted to be an engineer when he grew up. “As a child, I would destroy my toys and then rebuild them again,” he says. After earning the degree Business Management from De La Salle College, he initially helped out in the family business for six years – cooking Oriental dishes for their customers. He was already singing back then with his band and playing the guitar. It was when he picked up his sister from one show that he was discovered by a talent scout. Unfortunately, his father was against the whole music business. “He had wanted me to be just working for our family chain,” Poon says. “But I wanted to try this out and so I pursued it.” “I was told I would sing standard songs, but not like those sang by older people,” Poon says. “I was also told that I would sing classic songs, but I would change it a bit. I would make this more appealing to children – energetic in which the chords and melodies are soft.” So when he was launched at ASAP back in 2008, it was an exhilarating experience since not too many people have gone this same path. To be admiringly different and unique is what sets Poon apart from the rest. Show Bands Poon started with a show band for awhile, and then in 2002, U-Turn was formed which was supposed to be a contender for MYMP. This acoustic group lasted for four years when Poon felt that his artistic freedom was being restricted. He had wanted to sing original songs in the group but wasn’t allowed to. So he bid goodbye to the group and after the disbandment in 2006, he chanced upon the manager of Sam Milby and Yeng Constantino, and wanted to pursue singing again. “I wanted to start a band again, but my manager wanted a solo career for me,” he says. “So I refused.” It was only during one riveting performance in his church that he finally realized that he was fit to sing solo, after all. The Challenges In showbiz, criticisms are a way of life. Some people in the industry and certain close friends have said that he wouldn’t make it, which surprisingly, even Poon had told himself once in a while. Since he had wanted to be part of a band in the first place, going solo was already a challenge in itself. “So I just went on with the show,” he says. “If you are to learn how to swim, sometimes you just have to be pushed. In my case, I was like that. So that was what they did to me – I was pushed.” He was also advised that he would be getting a lot of flak, especially from the jazz community, saying that maybe he was too young to be singing these kinds of songs. “But I am open to criticisms,” he says. “You just need to learn, and learn. And when you make mistakes, you bounce back.” Once, he actually missed the lyrics on cam, but just like any other performer, he didn’t let this get in the way of his singing.