Andy Lin & Shawn Ng: The Dynamic Duo at PKUSZ
“Right Here Waiting”
In the dazzling spotlight of the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School (PKUSZ) 2023 New Students Welcome Gala held late September, two young talents graced the stage, leaving the audience in awe with their mesmerizing performance. The dynamic duo, Andy Lin, a second-year Finance graduate student at PKUSZ from Canada, and Shawn Ng, a second-year master’s student from Malaysia, delivered an unforgettable rendition of the song Right Here Waiting.
"Right Here Waiting"
Andy was born in Guangzhou, China and moved to Canada before attending middle school. He graduated from the Financial Economics program at University of Toronto. Shawn Ng, born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, graduated from Finance and Economics program at Monash University.
In the summer of 2022, the duo found themselves in the Master of Finance program at Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS), set sailing on the seas of knowledge, friendship, and international experiences. Following their smooth and melodious dual chorus of Right Here Waiting, let’s take a voyage through stories of the duo, who navigated from diverse origins to their shared destination at PHBS.
“Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you.” Originally sang by Richard Marx, this song was resonated by the duo at this summer night. The harmonious blend of their voices was nothing short of exceptional, painting a vivid emotional landscape in the hearts of all those present upon the arrival of the Mid-Autumn festival. It was such a perfect pitch that no one could even notice the subtle quiver in Andy’s hand while holding the microphone.
“My hands were trembling all the time.” Andy said, “We were very nervous in front of such large audiences. Since we invested countless hours polishing this song, we want every note, every word, to be as perfect as possible.” Shawn then added with a relieved smiling, “We didn’t want to leave any room for regrets, and we did not.”
Andy and Shawn Performing on Stage
Unlike other vocal performances, Andy and Shawn opted for a live performance instead of any prerecorded broadcasting support, a decision that allowed no room for errors. For this, we might find the answer from their personal aspirations. Shawn is a “music prodigy”, quoted by Andy. After he had gotten out of the pressure of singing -- shadow from the past, he rekindled the love for the stage, as well as the electric atmosphere of a live audience. Andy, on the other hand, saw this as a chance to challenge himself and conquer his anxiety in public places. "There's an indescribable thrill in performing live," he said, "I wanted to face my stagefright and overcome them." Besides, “The truism of live is live.”
Surprisingly as it may sound, Right Here Waiting was not the duo’s initial choice for their performance. They had planned to showcase their talents with a Chinese song, reflecting their cultural roots. Nevertheless, the final choice was proved to be a complete success. It became a symbol of their commitment to adapt and connect with a diverse, international pool of audience. Andy explained, “While we wanted to celebrate our cultural roots, we also wanted to embrace the spirit of unity and togetherness that this event represents. Music is a universal language, and we wanted to convey that.”
The Duo’s Singing Stories
Andy embarked on his singing journey at 12th grade in Canada, a decision that surprised those who knew him at the time. "I was probably the last person anyone expected to take up singing," he laughed, "I was quite introverted, and my vocal abilities were questionable at best. If someone had asked me to sing, I'd have probably gone searching for a coffee instead." Andy was always impressed by those who can sing and dreams to be able to tell stories through music like they do. And so, starting like a complete blank piece of paper with no music related background, he began to learn how to sing. And facts have proved that with passions, it was never late for Andy or anyone to get involved with singing.
Shawn, however, is another story. His talent was discovered at a very early age, even though it seemed to be a “curse” rather than “blessing”. “I was under a huge pressure of singing when I was in high school.” Shawn confessed, "Everyone knew I could sing, and they expected me to sing for public situation. It was a little stressed from wanting to perform well. Singing then became a source of stress."
During the pandemic, Shawn found solace in reconnecting with his love for singing. “Spending time at home gave me time and space to think about what I really wanted with music.” Shawn smiled, “The world was sort of like on a pause, so I had the opportunity and time to explore that space.” On Tik-Tok , his passion for singing was rekindled. With a string of short-videos and thousands of followers, Shawn realized that he wanted to share his music with the world at a larger scale. Now, with new songs in the pipeline, Shawn was ready to embrace the stage that once felt like a source of pressure as a platform for his talent and creativity. “Have a signature with Shawn as early as possible”, Andy said, “it might be that of a future Super Star!”
PHBS UK: Where the Duo Met
As introduced, Andy was originally from Guangzhou, China, and later moved to Canada. Meanwhile, Shawn's root traces back to Malaysia. Their paths converged when they met at Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) in the United Kingdom, where their enduring friendship got started.
Peking University HSBC Business School UK campus is located in the stunning Oxfordshire countryside, as the first overseas Campus of Peking University. It is designed to be a platform for the University to promote international education and research for knowledge creation and dissemination. Students are expected to gain a well-rounded and international learning experience whilst enjoying the multicultural and intellectually stimulating environment of the world famous university town – Oxford.
PHBS UK Campus
“UK campus is almost an abbey.” Andy commented. The serene environment of the campus provided an idyllic setting for their studies. Nestled atop a hill, surrounded by forests, the campus is like an isolated castle, creating a peaceful atmosphere conducive to focused learning. “Our daily schedule is to take course, learn, and exercise.”
Andy and Shawn's class, primarily composed of international students, experienced a unique sense of unity as they forged strong bonds while facing the shared challenges of their academic journey. “We help each other a lot,” Shawn said, “When I arrived at the UK campus, my Chinese was not as good as it is now. Andy taught me a lot Chinese idioms.” Even now, Andy still acts as a professional language tutor.
In Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, an international melting pot, conflicts arose sometimes, but international students at the UK campus displayed an admirable knack for conflict resolution. They held what they humorously called "kitchen conferences," bringing together small groups of about 15 students to openly discuss and address their concerns. Just as Andy said, “In a close-knit environment, even if differences arose, students were eager to maintain peace and harmony, realizing that mutual understanding and cooperation were essential for a thriving academic community.”
Reflecting on their time abroad, Andy and Shawn highlighted the friendships that blossomed during their academic pursuit. The journey was not without its hiccups as occasional differences in standards and expectations did happen from time to time, but these were overshadowed by the sense of togetherness. No one could doubt, that these memories and friendships cultivated during their academic journey at PHBS would last long forever.
PHBS Shenzhen: Where the Story Continues
After their sojourn in the tranquil UK campus, Andy and Shawn finally arrived at the Shenzhen campus. The picturesque, forest-like surroundings of the UK campus gave way to the bustling cityscape of Shenzhen, a fairly young city.
Andy & Shawn at the Welcome Gala
“Shenzhen is a completely modernized city,” Shawn could not help but to exclaim, “There is barely any homesickness for me while being at Shenzhen, it was just like Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. No matter the weahter, the cityscape, or the prosperity.” “From UK campus to Shenzhen campus, there are more people, more challenges and more opportunities. ” Andy added, “Just like rivers flow into the sea.”
At PKUSZ, the duo took on a different living rhythm. Having completed most of their coursework in the first year, they now have the freedom to focus on 1-2 remaining courses. This newfound flexibility allowed them to explore this fascinating city as well as their own passions.
Shawn, ever committed to his songwriting, diligently crafted his artworks. He sometimes ventured beyond the campus to explore the vibrant city, and to find some inspirations for the muse. He now collaborated with famous music producing company. He found himself a perfectionist in arts, and would stand for his own standard even in front of those experienced music producers.
Andy tried to embrace various roles at the campus. As an teaching assistant, he guided newcomers, mainly first-year graduate students at PHBS, through academic challenges. He also started to learn to play the guitar, instilling in himself a sense of musician. His energetic presence as a tennis coach on campus showed his commitment to maintaining a disciplined lifestyle. Additionally, he joined the PKU Weiming Innovation and Investment Association, FinLab, and Commercial Banking Association, engaging in round table discussions with students from various backgrounds to gain insights into different industries.
As they navigate through the labyrinth of academic and extracurricular activities, Andy and Shawn envision their futures in unique ways. Andy's thirst for knowledge and the dynamic nature of the finance industry leads him to remain entrenched in this field. He aims to continue enriching his personal experiences, expanding industry insights, and making new friends along the way.
For Shawn, the journey is not only about career goals but personal growth as well. He wishes to enhance his Chinese proficiency to explore the vast landscapes of China with his family. As for the future, Shawn embraces the idea of staying open to the myriad possibilities that life may offer. His philosophy echoes, "No matter the choice, it will be the best choice."
From Oxford, UK to Shenzhen, China, it’s sure that the duo’s unwavering dedication to music, study and life have left an indelible mark. As they continue their journey, while paths may diverge, but their friendships will last. Starting from the moment, from here in PKUSZ, may their futures be filled with success, creativity, and boundless opportunities.
Article by He Zixuan
Edited by Wang Shunlun & Yan Yuchen
Pictures Credit to PKUSZ Graduate Student Union, Andy Lin, Shawn Ng, & Yan Yuchen
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