MORE than 20 years ago, Stevie Chan Keng Leong was once a bartender in New York, where he was well-known for his Cosmopolitan cocktail.
As someone who is into the arts, Chan said his bartending gig was to support his other endeavours in the US.
“Bartending was a good job and my base to pursue other things in the US.
“I took art-related summer courses, which was a nice experience,” he told The Star.
Melaka-born Chan returned to Malaysia in 2004 for personal reasons and decided to contest the Port Dickson by-election on Oct 13.
Chan (right) on his campaign trail in Port Dickson.
The 51-year-old social media personality initially wanted to join the fray during GE13, but received a stern “no” from his wife.
“She didn’t want me to run (in the elections) then. She said, ‘if you run, I will divorce you’,” he laughed.
But this time, she is behind him and even approved of Chan moving to Port Dickson full-time if he was elected, he said.
Although a newbie to politics, Chan remains optimistic and does not see losing his deposit.
“If feedback from the ground is anything to go by, I won’t (lose my deposit).
“I would be very upset if I did.”
“Once you decide to go in, you shouldn’t think about it anymore,” he added.
Chan said he has been well-received by locals in Port Dickson despite not being from there, adding that mainstream media played a major role in his publicity.
“People here are avid newspaper readers. So, within a few days, people started to know me,” he said.
Describing himself as an introvert, Chan said the campaigning period, which kicked off on Sept 29, turned him into an extrovert.
“I don’t usually leave the house and keep my travels within a 5km radius.
“But it turns out that I am easy with people and a good listener too.”
Chan arrived in Port Dickson two weeks before nomination day and many people offered to be part of his campaign team.
“I only have one friend here who introduced me to everyone.”
His election campaign has catchy hashtags like #kasichan and #stevie4pd, which Chan said was inspired by his friends during GE13.
Chan has no interest to join any particular political party because he does not want to “toe the party line”.
“I have many friends in politics and I see how they struggle with their conscience all the time.
“I don’t want to live like that,” he said, adding that his campaign was self-funded.
“Even if I was offered RM100,000, I wouldn’t take it because I would not want to owe people favours.”
The by-election will see a seven-cornered fight between Pakatan Harapan, PAS, and five independent candidates, including Chan.