Award-winning PA art teacher learnt to draw on sand
He grew up on a fruit farm, and his parents could not afford art materials.So his father taught him to draw on sand.
After teaching art for nearly 40 years, Mr Yap Tay Soon, 67, recently received an award from the People's Association (PA) for his service to the community.
Mr Yap still teaches students from primary school to university level at the Yuhua Zone 3 Recreational Centre in Jurong East.
He won a PA Stars Trainer merit award in 2015, and the Young Artists' Club (YAC), which he founded in 1986 with 16 students, celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.
Mr Yap, who is married with three children, told The New Paper that his teachers saw his potential and bought him art books and materials. He also worked part-time to finance himself.
In secondary school, he studied under Singapore pioneer artists Chen Wen Hsi, known for his avant-garde Chinese paintings, and Chen Chong Swee, co-founder of the Singapore Watercolour Society.
Mr Yap has done more than teach.
Allied educator Quek Hian Hua, 40, who studied with Mr Yap for nine years, said: "My family was not well-off, but I begged my mother to let me take art classes."
Seeing his determination, Mr Yap waived his fees for three years.
His other students included Mr Kelvin Tan, 37, who had trouble focusing in class and now runs an interior design firm, and Miss Tan Yen Ping, 43, whose father disapproved of her learning art and now runs a graphic design firm.
Mr Yap said YAC has produced more than 50 architects.
"There is no point teaching them to win awards. I need to teach them practical skills," he added.
Madam Toh Li Chuin, 38, a senior associate director at DP Architects, said: "The most memorable were the life lessons he taught us. Even our parents went to listen to his stories."