We’re just about to wrap up our pioneer course for The Nas Academy and it’s really bittersweet.  We started this with the mission of teaching budding content creators to make videos. Honestly, the students from our batch went above and beyond. They came for classes with unbridled energy, they pushed their personal boundaries and one trait clearly shone through: their persistence.

It was uplifting to see how refreshingly optimistic the students were, each who came with their own stories and backgrounds. One story that really resonated with us was that of David Hoe. Don’t let his shy persona delude you — David wasn’t afraid to go knee-deep into the course right from the beginning. He even challenged himself to make more than three videos by the end of the course — and he succeeded! The surprise one-minute “Thank You” video really made us all squeal in delight. 

We took some time to find out his motivation behind joining The Nas Academy and how he hopes to use this skill to make a difference.

Share with us a bit more about your background and personal story!

David Hoe, The Nas Academy

My name is David Hoe and I’m a Community Partnerships Officer at the Ministry of Education. But I’m more comfortable with seeing myself as an educator. Disclaimer: it was never my childhood dream to become a teacher. In fact, my childhood ambition was to be a chicken rice stall uncle (for now, I’ve postponed this, and maybe this will be my retirement job plan). I spent the last 3.5 years as an Economics teacher at the funkiest college in Singapore, Eunoia Junior College. The most interesting thing was that I had the privilege of starting the school, and had no students for six months! Besides teaching, I was also the teacher in-charge of the Outdoor Adventure Club and the Deputy Head for Student Leadership and Talent Management (understudy). 

Many would say I had a pretty rough childhood, because I had to work with my mom on the streets after school to make ends meet. We used to go to NTUC as my substitute for aircon and I will dip my head into the freezer. One day, it dawned upon me that the cost of a chicken was quite low & with each plate sold, the “poor” looking uncle actually made a lot of money. Hence, that was my “game plan” — to break out of my life and be rich.

Things changed when I was 12, and it was an accidental discovery that made me realise how much I enjoyed teaching. So, I decided to set my mind to become a teacher. The journey was faced with many insurmountable obstacles, but I met many amazing giants who turned my aspirations into reality. In the same way, I live with a motto of paying it forward.

What made you decide to sign up for The Nas Academy?

The simple answer is because I wanted to learn how to make videos.

What type of videos, you might ask?
As strange as this sounds, I wanted to make economics videos but with a slight twist because I wanted to put a heart around this cold subject. After teaching economics for the last three years, I found macroeconomics to be one of the hardest concepts for most students to appreciate. This is because Singapore is such a well-governed country, so we don’t see significant inflation, unemployment issues, let alone economic sanctions by other countries. Hence, many things they know are at a head level, but not at the heart.

Also, I do make it a point to fund my own trip during my breaks. I will visit countries such as Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, Thailand and Zimbabwe to collect lesson resources (e.g interviews) that I can use in the classroom. In doing so, topics we covered in class no longer remain as just an idea. Students are able to put a face or an object to it. After years of travelling, I have documented interviews and hope to do justice to them through videos.

How has The Nas Academy changed your perceptions about making videos?

David Hoe, The Nas Academy

I think what I find most inspiring about coming to The Nas Academy is listening to why each instructor wanted to make videos. The responsibility is huge because your videos can change how people perceive issues. I think what The Nas Academy has unknowingly done for me is, it has expanded the type of videos I would like to make. It started out with the goal of making economics videos. But now I’m always thinking about how to make videos that can inspire goodness in everyone.

What is one advice you would give millennials about content creation?

This is tough, but as uncle Ben once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Every single content you choose to create carries a powerful sphere of influence, and it is our responsibility to use this influence in making the world a better place. So, don’t make content for the sake of making content, but give it some careful thought. Oops, that sounds like two pieces of advice haha.

Any advice for people who want to learn to make videos but just don’t know how to begin?

David Hoe, The Nas Academy

Start by watching videos and for each video you watched, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What do I like about this video? [Content]
  2. Why do I like it? [Content] 
  3. What were some of the shots in the video that caught your attention? [Filming]

I find that by going through those questions, it will help you realise things that we usually take for granted. Once you are comfortable with it, the next step is to compare other videos of the same channel.

In one sentence, tell us why do you think it’s important to make videos for a world we want to live in?

Videos have the power to help people understand and only when people can clearly understand the message, will they take action.

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