Like one of the many lovable preschoolers joining Club Rainbow (Singapore) yearly, Loh Yi Jie who likes to be known as Leonel now, came to CRS many years ago in light of a blood disorder condition. All grown up with a strong passion for nursing whilst still harboring an aromatic subtle interest where it’s a daily dose of energy for all its lovers – Coffee!
Leonel have been practising his barista skills since 2016 and was given the opportunity to pick up a Coffee Master Course, and eventually succeeded in attaining the highest level as a barista at Starbucks Coffee. A black aproned coffee master, he brewed some tasty coffee with the Starbucks flagship store at United Square until 2018.
His rainbow days as a preschooler to young child…
Apart from signing Leonel up for the various workshops, participating in CRS signature events and community partner organised shows over the many years, his mother was able to access the tuition support for him through the form of study awards.
The Education Awards is one area where it was very useful for the family. When applicants performed well academically, they will be rewarded with the cash award which helped with motivating individuals to focus on their studies and to excel beyond.
As Leonel got more involved and focused on his early years in education, CRS events held during school holidays made it so much easier for him to be able to join and have fun with these activities.
Black Apron Coffee Master
A non-coffee lover, started out on his first part-time job with a local F&B outlet at the age of 16, to earn some pocket money. He went on to a fast food chain before discovering the seed of his interest buried deep within him through Starbucks. In fact, it was already ‘planted’ when he was doing his N levels as the popular coffee hangout was where he usually goes to for revision of subjects. There, he notices the way the coffee baristas were creating designs on the coffee foam which piqued his interest.
Now at 20, Leonel is able to tell the difference between the beans and the flavours. He shared, “During my training with the F&B coffee giant, I was expected to pick up the various methods of coffee brewing and barista services. From the use of espresso machine, Pour Over, Siphon to Chemex, etc. The training also helped to calibrate my palate and smell for identifying different tastes.” Just a book, one month and an assessment was what stands between him and a black apron (the Coffee Master title). Generally, it takes about 6 weeks, but Leonel took longer than others due to his studies and other commitments but he managed to pull through and now stand tall with pride, a proud owner of a black apron and presented as a qualified Coffee Master.
Being a skilled coffee barista is an interest where he hopes that in the near future with extra funds, time or as a retirement plan, he would be able to set up a café and share coffee appreciation with like minds.
A Gentle touch of Passion
An outstanding barista he may be but his heart still lies with nursing and the reason for such a passion was partly because of his growing years where he is constantly in and out of the hospital, being able to witness first-hand the nurses and doctors doing their best for every patient that come through the Specialist Clinic. He could empathise and understood how the other patients felt.
Nursing became his passion since his teen years, he had a caring heart. Teachers have also attested to his caring nature, sensitivity and the ability to empathise with his peers was evident. Leonel openly shared, “I feel that there are others out there who are in much a worse predicament then I am”. He added, “I would always use myself as a form of motivation to my friends by sharing about my condition and encourage them when they feel discourage and lose faith in themselves.”
“Like standing broad jump, aim further, you will go further
but sometimes you fall short and fail, don’t Get Upset. Get up and dust yourself.
There are always other chances.”
To him, life is just a test or obstacle; it’s a matter of how you manage the obstacle. He is contented that he is able to pursue his goals and that he will keep pushing forward to achieve his dreams.