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Profs in the fast lane

No professors in an ivory tower, these four NTU profs could have been sports champs in another life, as Derek Rodriguez discovers

Professor Adrenaline

Asst Prof Sonny Rosenthal

This high-flying prof is an adrenaline junkie who gets his fix from a variety of high-octane hobbies. When Asst Prof Rosenthal, a communication specialist in environmental sustainability, is not in his office or classroom at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information, or recording lectures in his home studio, you’ll find him scaling the walls of a climbing gym or flying off the watery ramps at East Coast Park.

Extremely good company

My parents had me on snow skis before I was two and water skis when I was eight or nine. When I was a teenager living in the United States, I began rock climbing with friends. In my early 20s, I took my first surfing lesson with my brother. All my life, the people I hold dear have been into these kinds of sports, and it rubbed off on me.

The high life

I do indoor rock climbing and I go cable wakeboarding at Singapore Wake Park every week. And every year, I take trips to places like Japan to ski. In the last few years, I’ve also been on climbing trips to Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Laos. I visit Hawaii every year to surf and spend time with my dad, who lives there.

Falling for sport

When I go to the wake park and do something new, it’s invigorating. Water is reasonably forgiving, so I can push myself to the point of crashing, although I broke my ribs once. It’s the same with rock climbing. If I fall, the rope catches me. Truth be told, I’m completely afraid of crashing and falling, but I keep doing it.

Secret dream job

In one of my classes this semester, I wanted to ask the students what their dream jobs are as an ice breaker. But I didn’t want to admit to them that mine is to be a professional skier. So instead, I asked them about their favourite food. They were shocked to learn I absolutely love durian!