A Pressman’s Progress


Leaving one place does not mean that you have a definite destination in mind. For Tan Thean Peng, the conditions of a journalistic career saw him working for a long line of employers throughout the region, from Sydney to Bangkok to Hong Kong. Finally, he ends up owning his own custom publishing firm, and thinking that his old hometown, Penang, is not a bad option for a retiree.

THE STRAITS ECHO WAS Tan Thean Peng’s first employer. He joined as a reporter in 1978 after finishing his A-levels at St Xavier’s Institution only to discover that he could not gain entrance into local universities. The New Economic Policy (NEP) quota system was already in place.

But soon, working in Penang felt too constraining. And so this Pulau Tikus native left for Kuala Lumpur to continue as a sub-editor with The Star. He was 20 years old.

But after five years working as a sub-editor in the Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur began to feel limiting as well. A holiday trip to Hong Kong got him dreaming about working there.

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