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Sarah Giam
Urban, The Straits Times
Friday, Aug 1, 2014

7 things in her bag: Narelle Kheng

Urban, The Straits Times | Sarah Giam | Friday, Aug 1, 2014

A s a child, Narelle Kheng used to think that having an office job as an adult was a must.

But then she grew up, became part of folk pop band The Sam Willows and realised "it's just nicer to pursue your passion and live happy, instead of forcing yourself into a mould".

Kheng, 20, is the band's singer and bass guitarist. The quartet formed in early 2012 and have enjoyed success both in Singapore and overseas.

Two people she recently met have also helped reaffirm her decision to pursue her passion - veteran theatre actors Lim Yu-Beng and Tan Kheng Hua. She met the married couple when The Sam Willows performed at the recently concluded The O.P.E.N, a public engagement initiative that ran from June 26 to July 12 as a prelude to this year's Singapore International Festival of Arts, from Aug 12 to Sept 21.

"I still have to constantly remind myself that it's okay to pursue my passion, but people like Kheng Hua and Yu-Beng make it easier because they do what they love," she says.

The second-year communications student at Nanyang Technological University is appearing in the new Channel 5 variety show-cum-situational comedy, Do It Yourself, together with her brother Benjamin, 23, who is the acoustic guitarist and singer for The Sam Willows. The first of 13 weekly episodes aired on July 15.

In each episode, the siblings build two pieces of furniture for clients under the guidance of furniture and antique shop owners.

"I thought we were going to make small things, but we made a cupboard and a bed. It was quite scary handling tools like saws at the beginning, but it got better along the way," she says.

Before this, the only furniture she had ever assembled were her desk, bed and cupboards from Ikea.

The siblings were invited to audition for the show in April by the show's assistant producer.

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