To have someone seasoned like Tengku Djan Ley as a mentor is a dream for many as he has vast amount of experience in his field and the results to back him up. Jay Choong is one of the lucky few who have been honing his drifting skills with the Prince of Drift himself, but the mentorship with Djan is not the type that you would usually encounter. “Our relationship isn't the regular teacher/student dynamic, we are more like good friends which I feel is even better”, said Jay. “He is a mentor/training partner that genuinely wants you to improve, that he is willing to stand under the sun, smell the smoke and get blasted with dust and rubber for you,” he added. Recalling on the days when he first started off, he was nowhere close to his pace of today. But even when he was much slower during the tandem practices back then, Djan will wait for him and explain on the areas that he could improve in the future. And what sets Djan different from the others is that not only he could drive brilliantly, he could also teach in a very simplified manner that is easily understandable to the student. “Fun, is a word I would use to describe him. In the beginning it was more serious as I was basically clueless but he's never failed to add that fun factor at every training session we had. We are always laughing and having fun throughout the past two and a half years of practise”. Although Jay now is able to go door-to-door with Djan during the tandem practices and the runs are more fun than serious, Djan still takes his time to point out if there were any mistakes done and made sure they are corrected so that there is always something new to learn from every outing.
As mentioned earlier, the relationship these two share is more than just the usual teacher/student routine as standing in as a mentor also provides that extra push to further improve himself.
“Having a mentor/training partner helps to push you to be better. Let's face it, all of us have that competitive urge within us, we always try to be the best in everything we do and having a partner that is motivated, drives us to want to do as good or maybe even better.”
Aside from being a motivational force, it also made the learning curve far easier where the mentor could use the years he spent in the field in making the learning experience more hands-on and interactive. With their ability to spot things that might slip through the less experienced, they are able to spot a mistake that you would not otherwise have known and most importantly, correct it.
Of course, acquiring a new skill is entirely possible through reading materials and videos on the internet which is a great source of knowledge. But to have someone who has “been there, done that” to guide you through the ropes is an entirely different experience that does not only save you the time, you might also get some secrets of the trade that you will not be able to find anywhere!