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Meet a CQTian: Lian Chorng Wang

19 July 2013

Chorng Wang has been a laboratory technician at CQT since October 2010. In his spare time, he travels, cooks and takes photographs.
Who are you?

I'm Chorng Wang, I'm 41 and I'm Singaporean.

What is your job at CQT?

I am a laboratory technician. Most of the time the lab tech's job is to support the lab research, helping researchers to design whatever they need, electrical or mechanical, and helping them to source things.

How did you end up in a quantum physics centre?

Before I worked here I was in an industrial semiconductor firm, but previously I'd worked as a lab tech at Republic Polytechnic. There I found out that actually it's more fun to work with people than with machines. When I saw this opening on the NUS website I thought I'd write in to give it a try. I joined two and half years back, in October 2010.

What is your expertise?

I am quite general. Originally I trained in plastic injection moulding, doing a National Trade Certificate. Here, when I asked what my job scope should be, they said they needed a handyman that is an all-rounder.

So what kind of jobs do you do?

I enjoy doing the mechanical design. I look forward to seeing the thing being produced, the end result. One project was designing and building some laser covers and sensor covers — the covers were sort of like clear plastic boxes, so you could see how the light moved. I use Solidworks for mechanical design. Since I came to CQT, I've also learnt to use the electrical design software Eagle.

For my part, I also try to introduce researchers to local suppliers. Getting parts from overseas sometimes has a long lead time, and if there is something wrong with the thing then there's difficulty in changing it. But I also understand that people are used to a particular brand and they trust that brand will give them a particular result. I've seen that doing research really takes time. You can't afford to have any mistake. If let's say changing a certain part could affect the result, they don't want to take the risk.

What do you enjoy (or not) about working here?

Chorng Wang has travelled extensively in the Himalayan region. He took this photo in Bhutan.

I find it is quite fun because you get to work with a lot of different people. But this is also a thing that I don't like, because getting to know a person is not easy. It takes time. For me, I am not very outspoken, I am more of a background person.

How do you spend your free time?

I am a very typical Singaporean, I think. I work, go home, sleep, enjoy food with friends, take photos. I think most Singaporeans do that, and then when they have extra money they go overseas to travel and look around. I have covered most of the Everest region, travelling in Nepal, Tibet, and last year to Bhutan. I like the scenery. When you look at the mountains, it is kind of amazing to think what Earth created. When I was younger I did a bit of trekking and climbing, mostly on tropical mountains. The highest was Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. I also did the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. Other times I like to take a 'horizontal holiday' where I go and lie on a beach and rest.

And at home it's food and photos?

Yes, I like to eat all kinds of food. I also cook, and I believe I am a very good cook! My parents were hawkers with a food stall in Toa Payoh, so I could say I learnt cooking from my Dad. I liked to cook in the first place and when I was young, my brothers and I would often help at the stall, so from them I picked up some skill. Our stall did different things — chicken rice, Chinese mixed vegetables, another time noodles. I cook Chinese food and Western food, particularly pasta.

For photography, I am using a Canon 5D, a very old one. I like to capture things that are unknown, or that people will easily forget — old buildings and old streets, and kids because when they grow up, the photo shows how they were when they were young. Singapore is a fast growing country and things change from one moment to the next.

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