And Used to Do

A “good” friend used to ask those whom he is “concerned” about what they were going to do with their lives. Allow me to introduce what I do with my life.

 Hello my friends

Thanks for holding out with me.

You have managed to plough through the rather text-intensive introduction of myself.

If you have made it this far, I assume you are truly interested in what I have to offer.

For the haters, I thank you for making me someone of significance in your life. Most people don’t mean anything to anyone, and by hating me, I mean something, at least to you.

So what do I do?

There are quite a few domains, and one of them should matter to you.

Lee Lin Cher – GCE O Level English Tutor and Teacher

Of all the domains I have stuck my feet in, this must be the one that’s the longest-lasting.

As mentioned earlier, I started my tutoring career in 1993, when I was still a Year 1 student at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

My involvement in tutoring didn’t spring forth because of a passion for teaching. And no, I really had no intention to “mould the future of our nation”.

My motivations were more practical in nature. I needed pocket money to fund my hobbies and past-times, and since tuition was one of the many part-time jobs that undergraduates used to take, I took it.

I really didn’t know better then, but what started as a part-time job would eventually end up as a lifelong pursuit of some sort.

Tuition was something that lasted, even if I had a job in the logistics sector after my graduation.

In 1998, I joined a tuition centre as an English tutor teaching classes (I had other duties other than teaching, one of the main ones being to market the centre), and in 2002, I joined the Ministry of Education (MOE) as a contract teacher before being accepted as a trainee teacher at the Nanyang Technological University – National Institute of Education (NTU-NIE), graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) [with a Merit in (paranthesis)].

I taught the English Language as my Core Subject 1 (CS1) and English Literature as Core Subject 2 (CS2). I enjoyed my CS2 more than my CS1, but that’s really another story (that also explains my predisposition towards stories).

I would serve out my bond at Westwood Secondary School, a school located along Jalan Bahar, and thereafter remain as a Flexi-Adjunct Teacher for a little while more, before continuing my journey as a Flexi-Adjunct Teacher at Cedar Girls’ Secondary School.

Officially, my life with the MOE would come to an end in December 2010, when another passion of mine would consume me.

Lee Lin Cher – The Copywriter and Publishing Guy

In 2007, as I was doing Flexi-Adjunct Teaching in Westwood (yes, a lot of Flexi-Adjunct Teachers have outside commitments and interests, and that explains why we would remain Flexi-Adjunct and intentionally not move up the scale), I had an opportunity to go on a meditation retreat to Australia, where I would spend one whole week meditating day and night, and being vegetarian all throughout.

In all sense of the word, it was a mind-bending experience, and I came out, somewhat convinced that I should embark on a writing venture.

RedWordTree – Breathing Life into Words

And that was how RedWordTree was born.

Forgive me for that cheesy tagline – it was quite common those days, in 2007 – but RedWordTree, a copywriting outfit, would be my baptism of fire in the copywriting and eventually publishing industry.

I remember fondly my very first assignment: write a 1-page corporate profile for a company well-known for its long history in curry puffs.

The payout? $150 for that one-pager in 2007, together with a bag full of curry puffs, butterfly fritters, youtiaos and what-nots.

I would spend the next 2 weeks trying to eat the stuff from that one huge bag. Unfortunately, there was no way I could finish them, so the bulk of them ended in the bin, even if they were really good.

Through RedWordTree, I also became the editor of a health magazine promoting alternative therapies and treatments, and that really explains why I am still all into complementary therapies and healing modalities of a different kind.

But most of all, RedWordTree would become the editorial and publishing consultant to many an aspiring author.

Writing and publishing your own book can be a rather complex task, especially for the uninitiated.

Even if you are savvy, the time and effort taken – together with all the nitty-gritty that comes along with it – might not be worth your attention.

And that’s where I came along.

RedWordTree would go on to punch above its weight class. As a very small outfit – yes, I prefer the word ‘small’ rather than ’boutique’ (what does it mean anyway? why not just call a spade a spade?) – it would go on to be the catalyst for the Who’s Who of the real estate and financial advisory industries to get their copy ready for print.

At its peak, there would be 3 of us (including me), and an offshore editor based in the Philippines. Yes, that was before the days of Work from Home.

The years between 2009 and 2013 would witness the most active years of RedWordTree.

You would be able to surmise from the way I write about RedWordTree that it remains the chief pride of my life. And pain as well.

No matter how promising RedWordTree might have looked, things were not meant to be.

The years from 2014 to 2016 saw the eventual winding down and up of RedWordTree.

The same period of time would also see RedWordTree changing its name multiple times (sounds familiar?), hoping to inject life into a business that prided itself in its ability to “breathe life into words“.

Officially, RedWordTree breathed its last breath in 2016.

It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings

Officially, RedWordTree breathed its last breath in 2016.

But as the old saying goes, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

No offence to pudgy people, I didn’t come up with this saying.

While RedWordTree shut its doors in 2016, there was always this feeling that the cycle was incomplete, and that RedWordTree would – like the phoenix – rise, once again, from the ashes to fulfill its own karmic cycle.

The opportunity came, in April 2022, when Mr Alfred Chia – CEO of SingCapital – approached me to assist in a book about the financial advisory industry.

I would have rejected the offer, had he not used the most critical words in that fateful telephone conversation.

We are creating good karma with the book.

The ‘good karma’ pitch would see us working through the book for the next one year.

It was the most relaxing book ever done, with me experiencing – for the very first time, perhaps – the spirit and flow of writing.

That was what RedWordTree was all about in the first place.

The ‘good karma’ project came to fruition in July 2023, and the Story of the Financial Advisory Industry in Singapore was born.

To know more about the book, click here.

Forgive me if I sound melodramatic, but in the words of Cassius in the Shakespearean play, Julius Caesar, my life as an editorial and publishing consultant has “run his compass”.

This day I breathed first. Time is come round, And where I did begin, there shall I end. My life is run his compass. – Act 5, Scene 3, Julius Caesar.

RedWordTree started its life as a 1-man copywriting agency producing ad-copies for companies and businesses, and evolved into an editorial and publishing outfit.

It would run his compass by producing its last work as a 1-man copywriting outfit.

Old soldiers never die,
They simply fade away. – from the soldiers’ folklore song Old Soldiers Never Die, made popular by General Douglas MacArthur in his April 19, 1951 farewell address to the U.S. Congress (which has become known as the “Old Soldiers Never Die” speech)

Editorial and publishing?

Nah.

The fat lady has sung.

I shall fade away.

Last Words from Me about RedWordTree

RedWordTree has taken a sizeable chunk in this segment of ‘What I Do and What I Used to Do’.

The years from 2009 to 2013 are by no means short no matter how I count them.

If I factor in the years from 2013 to 2016, the time frame is way longer.

Along the journey, there have been those who have trusted and committed themselves to me, despite the odds.

The only thing I can say is: “Thank you for your trust.”

And while things have not worked out as well as what we wanted them to be, I can cross my heart and honestly say that I have done my best.

In a world where effort doesn’t necessarily equate success, my best can hardly be enough.

An old poem by Mary T. Lathrap says:

Just walk a mile in his moccasins
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
If just for one hour, you could find a way
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse. – Mary Torrans Lathrap, 1838-1895

I have walked more than a mile in your moccasins, and taken pains to ensure that your interests are well-taken care of.

If – perhaps – you could see through my eyes – you would know that I have gone beyond my tour of duty to ensure the best for you.

I apologise if I have been a waste of time.

To Get a Glimpse

Very little is documented about RedWordTree.

We were too busy to record everything that we had done, and what’s remaining is an incomplete history.

This incomplete history has only withstood the passage of time because I lost all access to it, preventing its destruction.

So it’s just there; I can neither add to it, nor subtract from it, much like “the commands of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

Wait! Why am I quoting from the Bible?

Anyway, you can catch a glimpse by clicking on the button.

Lee Lin Cher – The Author

It will be dumb to write for other people but not myself.

I mean, not everyone can write, and I am privileged enough to have the gift somewhat.

Writing ad copies for companies and businesses is one thing, having a piece of work that you can call your own is another.

It’s one thing to be a midwife and assist others in delivering their work, and it’s another to have a baby of your own.

The years of 2007 to 2013 would also witness what I would term as my Golden Age of Writing.

Yes, I am a meloddramatic and I am full of fluff. Quit reading if you agree with what I have just said.

Having been a teacher teaching English and Literature at the secondary school level, I stumbled upon the rare chance to author – not one – but 16 assessment books for the Educational Publishing House (EPH).

Parents with school-going children would be all too familiar with the staple of books offered by EPH.

Rather, children who are school-going would be all too familiar with EPH.

The endless torture and drills can only be made possible with the myriad choices from multiple subjects by countless authors who churn out – one after another – books that contain practices that promise to make you the Bruce Lee of – not just one kick – but multiple kicks.

I am a firm believer of rote learning. And therefore, I am definitely a firm supporter of EPH.

Because in my eyes:

There’s no learning without memory, and there’s no memory without practice. – Lee Lin Cher, 1972 – present (I hope the present is fulfillingly long enough, and short enough.)

The books published by EPH bridge the gap between understanding and mastery, and mastery demands repetition.

With the EPH, I authored and co-authored a total of 16 books altogether.

Em, this page is – in no way – sponsored by EPH, if you are wondering. Though I really have to thank the team that worked with me a long time ago. I wasn’t – and still am not – the easiest author to work with, but they put up with my madness. Special thanks to Tracey and Adrian, if I remember your names correctly.

Due to the long time period that has passed – yeah, at the point of writing, it is closing in to 17 years, which is a really long time – most of the books are out of print.

Strangely, you can still buy some of them on online bookstores like Amazon.Com and the such, but the survivors still standing high on the bookshelves include:

It won’t be long when even these lone survivors will vanish with the annals (not anal) of time.

But for the time being, allow me to bask in the glory.

Non-Academic Books

If you take a close look at my portfolio, you would have noticed that two of these books look very out of place.

The first one – entitled ‘What Should I Do After My O Levels?: A Guide for Singapore Students’ – strove to provide simple guidelines to assist students in their choice of an education after this critical exam which happens when they are around 16 years of age.

I have since taken this ebook out of distribution, since – at least in my eyes – the book is incomplete in that many of the concepts need to be further elaborated before they are of use to anyone. Which puts me in a bad conundrum – this book is targeted at teenagers and teenagers don’t read ~ at least not voluntarily.

The second book – Xing Yi (Hsing I) Kung Fu for Success: The Philosophy of Power and Personal Achievement – was created to help my teacher (老师) promote the art of Xingyiquan (the Wade-Giles version would be written as ‘Hsing I Ch’uan’), an internal martial art. I was rather ill that year due to overwork and I had approached my teacher to coach me Tai-Chi so that I could boost my health for the better. Due to a clash of schedules – yea, I wasn’t free on Thursdays – she suggested Xing Yi, and I have never looked back ever since.

Xing Yi (Hsing I) Kung Fu for Success was and continues to be my contribution to the art. As a combat art, it would be totally impractical since we are not trained like what MMA fighters undergo (not even close).  But as a health-booster, Xingyiquan is way better than many other exercises with purported health benefits. It just suffers from a lack of publicity.

And therefore the book.

Lee Lin Cher – Today

I have gone through a rather huge extent to give you a low-down on what I have done.

What’s the intention?

It’s definitely not to flex.

All I have is a bunch of books, both to my name, and not to my name.

Today, I continue my life as an English tutor, teaching English classes at a tuition chain on the weekends.

Due to the constraints of habit and locality, I am based more on the west side, so you would need to travel all the way to the Western Region if you want to find me.

The motivation behind this website is to showcase what I have done, so that you can decide on my relevancy.

If you are a parent looking for a tutor to coach your kids English at the secondary school level, this site will allow you to have the most accurate picture of me, and whether my expertise extends to what your child needs to master at school.

If you are a student; well, I must say, you are really rare. But you are mature, and you know what you want. You stumbling on this site will allow you to have the truest picture of the kind of teacher I am.

I think that pretty sums up the answer to my friend’s question: “What’cha gonna do with your life?”

I haven’t done many things with my life, based on what I have outlined here.

But where I have travelled, I have left a definite trail, a trail which you can choose to follow, or ignore.

I guess I have made my pitch. The rest is up to you, whoever you may be.