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Living on the EDGE: Garry Kuan

Karen Poh

Thu Mar 15 2012


A CHEERFUL disposition and a heart of service is how you would describe EDGE leader from Malaysia Garry Kuan. Find out why he chooses to be the first one to give in all things.

What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Garry Kuan, and I’m from a beautiful country called Malaysia.

Where and what course or program are you doing?

I am currently completing my PhD in Sport Psychology at Victoria University.

How long have you been in Melbourne for and why did you choose to come to Melbourne?

This is my fourth year living in Melbourne. I chose Melbourne because of my supervisor, who is a pioneer researcher and writer in sport psychology. But I also love the city because of its cultural diversity.

What got you into the EDGE program? And what are you expecting to get from the program?

I got into this program because my university believed in me and my passion for serving students. I expect the program will push me out of my “comfort zone” and to learn or relearn things, further develop my inter and intrapersonal skills, and to apply everything I’m learning for good.

What does leadership mean to you?

The passion to act on what you believe in. I believe that a leader should have clear goals, wisdom and always be passionate to “make a difference”, show persistence in daily tasks, and have a never give up attitude.

What or who do you draw inspiration from, and why?

There are many philosophers in this world who have made a different to this world and I am rather inspired by all of them. But I draw my biggest inspiration from Jesus Christ. He is a noble man who lived a noble life, served others with a loving heart, made a different in this world, and died for the world. He has inspired me to always do my best in the areas that I am involved, to serve and to help others.

If you could champion one cause for international students in Melbourne, what would it be?

Awareness of student safety and wellbeing. While I always encourage students to fully enjoy the study life in Melbourne, they need to always remember safety should be the main priority in whatever activities they undertake.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to meet friends and new students – helping people makes me feel happy and satisfied. It enriches my day.

I also like to play music with others by joining an orchestra, and various fiddle clubs. I play the violin and saxophone, and I love to teach music as well, especially to children who are underprivileged.

Where is your favourite spot to hang out in Melbourne?

I love being close to nature, so jogging or cycling along the river (like the Maribyrnong river). I also enjoy the solitude of sitting in parks playing music or reading books.

What song gets you pumped or excited?

Blessed Assurance. This is a Christian song which reflects my life, believing that I can have this assurance and confidence with every step I take.

If I had a million dollars I would… work hard to make another million dollars and use the million dollars for the community; or train young people to be the next leaders in their community – giving them education opportunities such as scholarships for those who have a heart to serve the public. I would also like to use it for missionary work in developing nations, to help build infrastructure such as schools, or health care centres.

If I only had $5… I would save it, and try to double it into $10, and work hard again to double it into $20, and so on… Then, when I see someone in need of it, I will use it for charity. I found out that helping someone is the most satisfying investment.

Garry is among the 20 international student leaders selected to take part in the City of Melbourne’s EDGE 2012 program.