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Pursuing their passion

ALSO IN THE COURSE: Mr Titus Tan (above) and Mr Muhammad Ramadan Daud. TNP PHOTOS: CHOO CHWEE HUA

ALSO IN THE COURSE: Mr Titus Tan and Mr Muhammad Ramadan Daud (above). TNP PHOTOS: CHOO CHWEE HUA

Whenever he visits furniture shops, he gravitates towards the wooden items.

He would run his finger down the wood grain and observe how a piece of furniture is put together.

Mr Titus Tan has been drawn to wooden furniture since young.

The 26-year-old was particularly intrigued by a wooden cabinet his grand-uncle made, and how it has lasted through the years.

"To me, the durability of a piece of furniture is related to how good the craftsmanship is," Mr Tan said.

The former IT engineer, however, did not pursue his interest as there were no carpentry courses previously. But when his wife alerted him to the carpentry place-and-train programme, Mr Tan knew he had to go for it, despite it coming at a price: a pay cut of $500.

He conceded that his mother was not thrilled about his decision initially.

Said Mr Tan: "She was worried about me trading a cushy job in an air-conditioned environment for a tiring and dusty workplace. But she soon realised that it's in the blood as she herself likes to make handicraft."

Like Mr Tan, Mr Muhammad Ramadan Daud, 24, realised from a young age that he has nimble hands. Whenever a piece of wooden furniture at home gave way, he would always be the one to fix it.

Sometimes, he would build stools with his father as well.

"We are not a well-to-do family, so we try to save whenever we can," said the fifth of seven children.

PREVIOUS JOB

After graduating from the Institute of Technical Education with a Nitec in Automotive Technology, Mr Ramadan became a traffic marshal.

He needed a job and being a traffic marshal was the closest he could get to biking - his other passion.

The opportunity to turn his hobby into passion came when Mr Ramadan chanced upon the carpentry programme he is currently attending.

Mr Ramadan hopes to take on major carpentry projects after graduating.

"One day, I hope I can point to a piece of furniture in a shop and tell my son, 'Look, Papa made that'," he said.