Master of ceremonies
Article from the Sun daily by Yee Jie Min (posted on 22 Oct 2015)
AS MARCUS Tan ushered me into his world of emceeing, his animated personality and gift of storytelling came out to play, transforming the interview into an entertaining conversation. He is no ordinary moderator however; Tan specialises in emceeing weddings.
“Weddings are not something everyone automatically wants to pursue, and not many gentlemen go into this business – it takes interest and passion. My sifu (mentor) Stephen Foong being one is in fact different, and maybe it is in my blood to want to be different from the rest,” Tan said.
Tan started emceeing when he was in university, and it has been a passion as he likes to be onstage to lead events and command crowds. He began emceeing weddings three years ago, and it was with his sifu that he learned tremendously.
“It is because of him that I have something to talk to you about,” he noted.
Tell us briefly what you do at wedding receptions.
I usually start with a bow which is a very respectful gesture in Chinese tradition. After a short introduction, welcoming of the parents, VIPs and the couple, a few words of what a wedding is about and what it means to the couple, it is about managing the flow of the event.
You have to engage the crowd, and choose your words. What I do is I smile and make a lot of eye contact. I am very conscious of the words I use, and how I use them.
How do you define a good wedding emcee?
A wedding emcee should not steal the limelight but reflect the attention on the couple. It takes talent or skill to do it. You need to get people to like you in that short moment onstage, and the moment you are offstage they must forget you.
Another rule of thumb is to go by a script so the mind doesn’t wander.
I also realised I need to be physical in order to engage the crowd. During dinner, I’d go to each table to get to know the guests. I do it to show hospitality on behalf of the couple.
What's your favourite memory from emceeing weddings?
The best compliment I got came from a Datuk. He came up to me after the wedding and said, “You are one of the few emcees I’ve seen who knows what he is doing, says only what he needs to say, and says it well.” That brought me to the moon and I never came back.
How would you advise aspiring emcees?
You have to practise voice modulation and enunciation. I am still learning, and watching videos help with practice but I don't necessarily imitate a voice because it wouldn’t sound like me anymore.
I used to have stage fright and still do sometimes, but if you are prepared you will be able to do your job well. The moment you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
What are your plans for the near future?
My sifu will be retiring very soon and I will be on my own. They're big shoes to fill but if I have the privilege to take the helm of his reputation and business, I am up for the challenge. If not, I will still try to do it on my own.
I think it is a privilege to climb on the shoulders of giants, but I don't believe we should be riding on their success for a long time. It is always good to have something to call your own at the end of the day.
I would like to experiment and see what I can do. I think I have enough experience but there is a lot I can improve on. I believe in hard work and slogging even at this age.
» Elixir: Hot water with lemon slices.
» Go-to skincare product: Eversoft cleanser since he was 13.
» His downtime: Going to the gym.
» Destinations of choice: Islands, and Bangkok for shopping.