If you have seen Dennis Chew in Ngee Ann Poly, looking fresh-faced as always and working enthusiastically with his classmates on their outdoor photography exercise, you wouldn’t think that the popular actor-DJ of Aunty Lucy fame is living with a brutal schedule.
The 48-year-old told The UrbanWire that he still wakes up at 4:30 am daily to record his morning radio show on Love 97.2. Then, he will report to school four days a week for his Chinese Media and Communication classes. His day doesn’t end until 12 am – when he’s done with school assignments and show preparation for the day.
Despite the packed schedule, Dennis said he’s grateful to have a more meaningful and structured life now. “At least now I know 8 am to 6 pm is for school,” said Dennis.
He added that he likes studying with Gen Zs, who bring out a more carefree and livelier him. His classmates also appreciate that they can always count on him to ask questions, as he’s promised himself that he would not be afraid to clarify what he doesn’t understand in class.
Being able to clarify with lecturers directly is the main reason why Dennis prefers face-to-face lessons to online lessons. In fact, he thinks it’s a pity that there’ve been too many public holidays at the start of the semester.
Dennis broke the news that he’s returning to school as a full-time student after he clinched the All-Time Favourite Artiste Award at Star Awards 2022 in late April.
He applied for a spot in the Chinese Media and Communication diploma in Ngee Ann Poly, and went through a series of interviews before receiving a confirmation of his enrolment on 1 Apr.
“The admission officer had to assure me that it’s not an April fool’s joke,” Dennis quipped.
“Coming to Ngee Ann has been many people’s dream,” he added. “In the past, I was only able to see my friends study here. Since I have been given this opportunity, I will treasure it.”
Dennis is enjoying all his modules so far. He was worried that he wouldn’t know how to use a Macbook, but he’s quite an expert now, especially in terms of downloading notes and organising them neatly into folders. He’s also learning to design logos with Adobe Illustrator.
“Now, everything needs to be done with a computer. Even handing in your homework,” Dennis said, while recounting he used to take down notes in jotter books back in the days. He said the only thing that remains the same after all these years is the weight of his heavy school bag!
Visual Communication is another module that he enjoys as he gets to learn how to use a professional camera. “Being in this industry for over 30 years, I’ve always been in front of the camera, but I enjoy filming people as well,” said Dennis, adding that he gets a strong sense of satisfaction when he plans and directs a shot.
Although Dennis is a veteran radio DJ with a string of awards under his belt, he said he’s still looking forward to his radio modules so he can hone his production skills.
While he’s serious about his studies, Dennis said he wouldn’t put pressure on himself to achieve a good GPA. What’s more important to him is that he can learn how to work behind the camera, and get to know young people and understand what they want.
To be able to produce shows that young people want to watch – that’s what he would like to achieve after graduation.
Watch the TikTok video below to know which Mediacorp celebrity Dennis wishes to bring to study at NP!