(I’ve joined The Middle Ground, Bertha Henson’s hot new site. Here’s the write-up on me, from them).
Ryan Ong’s official story is that he was rocketed here from a dying planet, saw his foster parents brutally murdered, and was bitten by a radioactive spider while vowing to fight crime. In the more imaginary version, Ryan started writing freelance as a student. He contributed to fantasy and sci-fi magazines while studying in Perth, Australia, and published his first story at age 14. It won him an award for amateur horror fiction, as well as mandatory school counselling.
Upon his return to Singapore, he worked as a marketing executive for a local restaurant, while still writing freelance and playing gigs on the side. He also had to study while doing this, so it’s lucky the songs people want in pubs have only four chords.
Ryan valiantly attempted to study both business and English, despite being told it was impossible. He persisted anyway out of passion, and did not succeed, because that’s what happens when you believe motivational coaches.
After getting just a diploma in marketing, Ryan ended his business studies and instead got an English degree from the University of London (Goldsmith). His rationale was that writers at least admit they make things up.
Later, Ryan ghost-wrote several books and articles on finance for the industry’s leading minds. He learned and applied a lot of the lessons from them, and especially enjoys being able to say “I wrote the book on investments. Literally.”
Ryan made his first serious cash during the 2008 crisis, thanks to the financial education that came out of his work. He still believes that finance professionals ultimately write books to learn, not to teach (you really need to know your stuff to fill a few chapters).
Ryan has subsequently written for various other finance sites, and his work has also appeared in magazines such as Men’s Health, Reader’s Digest Asia, and Esquire. By now, his work has covered topics ranging from ball bearings to mortgages to common foot diseases.
Then Ryan got a call from Daniel Yap and was asked to write for The Middle Ground. He rushed right in, hoping for an office in the central district. It turns out that the office won’t be along Middle Road, but in Commonwealth Avenue. He was told he was still to write about finance, but in a user-friendly way for that wide swathe of people who are stressed from looking after kids and parents, like me. He was rold that The Middle Ground was needed because in this age of polarised opinions, changing mindsets and reality TV, it would be good to have a publication that would stay in the middle or even switch sides. He wondered if this showed lack of conviction, then decided that people who never change their minds lack intelligence.
In any case, he thought it would be good to make readers rich because of something he wrote. Then, when they are all high income earners, successful business owners, directors, etc. he hopes to sell you private jets, yachts, and other things they can afford by then.
His life ambition is to travel the world as a nameless stranger, standing in the middle of town to offer large cash rewards to people for completing quests (e.g. save 10 dogs from an animal shelter), and solving puzzles.
Check out The Middle Ground, where I will be posting regularly!