Singapore Kopitiam (27 Jan, 2010)

From Vancouver to Singapore

When he’s not teaching, Canadian expat Shawn Tripp spends much of his time doing volunteer work for various welfare organizations. Singapore Kopitiam talks with the former Vancouver native about family life in Singapore.

Singapore Kopitiam Team | 27 January 2010

Shawn and Nicole Tripp at “Chef’s For A Cause”

As an active social worker, Shawn Tripp has participated in several volunteer projects during his six-year stay in Singapore — the Canadian expatriate along with his wife of three years, Nicole, was recently involved in the “Chef’s For a Cause” project, an event aimed at helping children from under-privileged countries.

While his enthusiasm for social work is both refreshing and infectious, Shawn also professes a passion for gastronomy. Formerly in the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry, Shawn’s vast experience is today being tapped to help train the next generation F&B hopefuls at Temasek Polytechnic, an institute of higher learning.

The Singapore Kopitiam dropped Shawn an email to find out about his perceptions on social activism and what he enjoys most about working and living in Singapore.

Singapore Kopitiam (SK): What made you agree to volunteer in Project Happy Feet? Who approached you to be part of this project?

Shawn Tripp (ST): Grace Chia, a colleague of mine, put a call out for volunteers. My wife and I wanted to be a part of it as we are familiar with the organizations they are supporting. They also support F&B related organizations that help teach young people usable skills, an industry close to my heart.

SK: Have you volunteered in similar projects before? How is Project Happy Feet different?

ST: We have volunteered with “Room to Read”, an organization building schools and libraries in Afghanistan and Tabitha, house-building in Cambodia. We also financially support other groups as well.

SK: You’ve worked in the F & B industry for a few years before landing the gig as lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic. Why the industry switch?

As much fun as the industry is and filled with wonderful people, it can be very hard work and long hours. The chance to teach and share the knowledge and experience I have gained with the future leaders of the industry has been incredibly rewarding and led to a marked improvement in my quality of life.

SK: You’re from Vancouver, Canada. Are you close to the Canadian community here? Please describe your relationship with them.

ST: Nicole taught at the Canadian International School for 6 years so much of our social circle here is made up of Canadians. We also attend events put on by the Canadian Association.

SK: How long have stayed in Singapore and are you enjoying your stay here? Do you notice similarities between Singapore and Vancouver?

SI: We have lived in Singapore for almost 7 years. We absolutely love it for being so clean, safe and easy to live in.   We have also taken full advantage of the travel opportunities around the rest of Asia.

SK: Tell us a bit about your family. How and Where did you and Nicole meet, and how long have you been together?

ST: We met while working at a restaurant in Canada. We came together to Singapore in 2003.  We got married in 2006 in Canada.  Our son, Graden, was born in November 2008.

SK: Do you find it a challenge raising a family here in Singapore?

ST: Not at all. We have a wonderful helper, Mary Ann, from the Philippines who takes wonderful care of Graden while we are working.  At only 1 year old he has already been to 6 countries. While it is unfortunate to be so far from our families back home, our friends here have been filling in admirably.

SK: Food—the unavoidable question. What is your favourite Singaporean dish and why?

ST: We love the Indian food in Singapore. Butter chicken, vegetable makani, fish tikka and naan. Roti prata and chicken rice are also favourites too!

SK: Any New Year wishes you’d like to share with our Singapore Kopitiam readers?

ST: Remember that life is about experiences, not things. Spend your time enjoying the people and world around you.