Name: Daniel Yeow Yee Kai
Date of Birth: 5th December 1981
Eyesight: Myopic, -7.00 both eyes.
Favourite colour: Red
Home is: where the heart is…
An only child, adopted from an unwed mothers home in Taichung, Taiwan in September 1982 at the age of 9 months by John and Doris Yeow, a childless couple from Hong Kong. John is a chartered accountant of some repute, has a PhD in commerce and works at the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). Doris is also qualified accountant (although of considerably lesser repute) and is credited with introducting John (at the time a failed Med student from the University of Sydney) to accountancy.
Enrolled at the Quarry Bay School, an English Schools Foundation school, in September 1986 at the age of 4 years. He finished at Quarry Bay in 1992 and started at the South Island School (another ESF school) in September that year. In 1996, he left (he was forcibly taken from) South Island to go to the Scotch College, an all-boys boarding school in Melbourne, Australia.
He graduated from Scotch in 1999 and, after a failed application to read Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, began a bachelor of arts/bachelor of science double degree at the University of Melbourne. After finally finishing undergrad after a sum total of 6 years (the arts/science double is ordinarily completed in 5), he went on to do honours in mathematics, which he completed after only 1 year.. His undergraduate majors are Pure Mathematics, Philosophy and Archaeology. He has failed one subject every year except for first year where he actually managed to pass them all, although he made up for this by getting exactly 50% (the pass mark) in three subjects (out of 8). The second-to-last year of his undergraduate degree was an exception, as he failed three out of four subjects in one semester and managed to front up to the unsatisfactory progress committee (and live to tell the tale) on three consecutive occasions.
He subsequently applied for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to do an MPhil in International relations at Oxford University and was rejected at the first round. Since then, he has applied for the MA in International Relations at Yale (rejected), the MPA/ID at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (rejected) and the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University (rejected).He has been fortunate in gaining admission to Columbia University’s MA in Climate and Society which he completed without too much drama and not a single failed subject (!).
After interning at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society as a photographer and at UNICEF, he moved to the Netherlands in order to train full-time for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver as a speed skater, a standard career-path for Columbia University MAs.
Despite not making the games, has continued speedskating and is now coaching the Danish team, while living in Denmark and saving the world by working at the Worldwatch Institute Europe (he built the website).
In 1989, at the tender age of 7 years, Daniel was invited to a birthday party at a roller skating rink in Tai Koo Shing (in Hong Kong) by classmate Rianna Oyston. At this party Daniel was by far the worst person on skates, even among those who had just started, despite this, he went on to take up lessons in the sport.
About a year later, the coach of our regular skating class was absent and her husband took the class. He introduced us to “speed” skating, competitive roller skating with the object of crossing the line first at the conclusion of a predetermined distance around a predetermined course. Although new to the concept, Daniel excelled at “speed” skating, particularly in the area of expertise known as “starts”. So outstanding was his ability, the coach singled him out and suggested that he would be a shoe-in for the 1995 asian roller skating championships. Dismissed by his parents as a preposterous prediction, he would eventually be proven correct, with Daniel attending his first asian championships at the age of 13 in Nagano, Japan in October 1995.
Moving to Australia initially seemed like the end of Daniel’s skating career, it turned out to be quite something else. Daniel joined the Eltham Roller Skating club and began competing at the much higher level of competition which was offered in Australia. Slowly but surely his times got better as did his overall technique. In 2001, Daniel won the Victorian 300m road time trial and walked away with a silver medal in the 500m which, along with his visit to World Championships in Barquisimeto, Venezuela in November 2003, remains a career highlight.
After having attended World Championships in Italy he changed his training dramatically and with some success as indicated by a 4th place (and p.b. of 17.931s) in the 200m at 2005 oceania championships. He is now a regular Australian representative at Oceania championships and is training hard to represent Australia at World Championships.
After a very long hiatus due to academics, he switched to long track ice skating as his preferred choice of self-propelled speed and despite not qualifying for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games to represent Australia, now coaches the Danish team.
While at the South Island School, Daniel was exposed to all manner of cultural and intellectual stimuli. Among these were regular assemblies where guest speakers and various other people would come and speak about stuff. Charities, religious organisations, political organisations and clubs all bombarded students with a million and one reasons to join their particular group. There was one organisation which caught Daniel’s attention (although not enough to actually make him do anything about it) and that was Amnesty International, a human rights organisation which, well… did something to do with defending human rights. Despite the fact that Daniel had other things on his mind, like starting the Inline Skating club at the school, the seeds were sown.
Later, much later in fact, at the start of University in Melbourne, Daniel got dragged along to a speaker’s night for Amnesty International. Although the speaker wasn’t a particularly good one, Daniel was inspired to come along to some meetings and see what all this human rights defending business was all about. After his first meeting, despite the fact that foremost in his mind was the favourable male to female ratio, he was inspired to take up the cause. The next year, he became the secretary of the group and, the year after, president. He established a regular trivia night and has gone on to organise a comedy night not unlike the “Secret Policeman’s Balls” which were organised by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, also for Amnesty International.
He now holds the official position of being a committee member on the Victorian Branch committee. He also attends meetings of the women’s team and the Melbourne University group as well as co-convening the Victorian Youth Network (the “Youth Freedom Project”) and pseudo-semi-co-convening the national youth network. The second of his comedy nights, which occured on the 9th of October 2004 was a huge success as was the third night – the last that he was personally involved with. “Stand Up For Your Rights” is looking to become an annual affair with the ffifth night – the second to be organised in his absence, already a great success.
Daniel is also heavily involved in the national youth body of Amnesty International Australia and has been invited to organise, speak and co-chair national youth summits.
After moving to New York, despite a desire to concentrate wholly on his studies, Daniel has managed to become involved with a girl in the Amnesty group at Columbia University as well as organisations tied to the objective of bringing freedom and democracy to Burma. Within his first month he has managed to attend several protest marches, candle light vigils, written a website for the CUAI group, conceived an event and attended a conference at the United Nations.
Although relatively quiet on the activism front while living in the Netherlands, since moving to Denmark, he has slowly resumed with memberships to Amnesty as well as a background support role in a certain whistleblower website started by a friend.
Other random and trivial information which doesn’t really fit anywhere else on the website.
Despite failing a year’s worth of university subjects, he somehow gained admission into Columbia University.
Despite majoring in mathematics, Daniel is useless at mental arithmetic.
He acheived his full school colours (fancy school blazer pocket embroidery) in Table Tennis
He is an able trampolinist, having completed many courses while living in Hong Kong
He was a member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (previously the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club) until the year 2000. He was an oddity in the club in that he was one of the few members who could actually ride a horse.
He was also a member of the “Young Post Club” a young writers club of the South China Morning Post
In 1995, he gathered a group of school mates together and won a roller hockey tournament after only a week’s training and against a plethora of other teams who trained and had coaches. Daniel scored the game-winning goal in a penalty shoot out in the final of the competition. Read about it here.
He was a recipient of the “Clive Steele” award for the most soldierly platoon, for being in the most soldierly platoon in his first year in the Scotch College Cadet unit.
During his time in the cadet unit, he received a marksmanship award for his skill with a rifle and was on the flag party for the year-end “Tatoo” (big parade, lots of marching).
He received a prize certificate (awarded to the top 0.3%) in the Australian Mathematics Competition in 1996, 1997 and 1999
He received an outstanding award (awarded to the top 10) in the Melbourne University Mathematics Competition in 1999
He likes to watch cricket. He also likes to play cricket and was once earmarked to represent Hong Kong in the sport for his uncanny ability to dig out yorkers. Although he prefers batting, in reality he was a much better bowler.
Him and a team of 4 other school mates were first runners up in the Melbourne Uni Maths Olympics in 1999, the team was the Scotch College team, the team name was “Scotch College”. Deciding that the boring team name was unacceptable, he and some friends who were running the school maths olympics in 2005 renamed the Scotch College Team the “Johnnie Walkers”.
He took his revenge by winning back to back in 2001 and 2002 with “Geoff and the normal people” and “Fermat’s Last Lemma”. In 2003, his team “The Fellowship of the Ring Theory” were first runners up. 2004 saw revenge once again with “The Quantum Mechanics: no job too small” victorious by a considerable margin.
He plays the piano, not very well I might add. He failed grade 8 twice in 1994.
On June 25th 2003, he was involved in a high speed motor vehicle accident in a single-seater formula ford in which he smashed into a concrete barrier at 170km/h. He came away with a fractured shoulder, some minor lacerations and his life.
He does classical ballet and tap dancing. In 2003 he did very well in a grade 6 assessment in classical ballet. He is now preparing for his elementary grade.
He has recently taken up the sport of Archery, he is not very good.
He runs with the Melbourne University Athletics Club, he is a middle distance runner (800m, 1500m) by preference although the stopwatch says otherwise (400m specialist)
He was captian of the Scotch College astronomy club
He has worked at the Hong Kong Productivity Council doing odd-jobs (like “project assistant”)
He has sold cutlery for Cutco (an american company as typified by the stupid name)
He can think and speak fluent cantonese
He is learning Arabic and Spanish
He has a certificate in “Food Workplace Hygine Procedures”
He has a 6 kyu grade in Kendo
He represented the University of Melbourne in Kendo in the 2001 Australian Universtiy Games in Adelaide
He represented the University of Melbourne in Athletics in the 2006 Australian University Games in Adelaide
He has terribly expensive tastes, and not only that, he prefers to eat his expensive food in expensive, upmarket restaurants. He considers this revenge on his parents for sending him to boarding school (where the food was neither expensive, nor the surroundings upmarket)
He has a terrible temper, but a long fuse. However, he likes to behave as if he had a short fuse for his own amusement