Work

A second shot at life: Salt Media’s Sherman Ng on almost losing it all to a life of decadence

by Joanne Kwok // November 7, 2019, 2:36 pm

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All photos courtesy of X3 Creative Conference

To a spectator on the outside, Sherman Ng has led a good life.

The ex-banker who traded in his fancy cars for pastoral work to take care of his stepfather’s church, and soon after entered the media industry with a slew of Christian films and his own cinema, seems to have done it all with a kind smile and gentle demeanour.

But the founder of Salt Media & Entertainment has always been quick to debunk the pretty picture, as he did once again at the X3 Creative Conference, which took place from November 1-2, 2019.

“The Lord spent a lot of time on my internal life,” Ng revealed, after a brief introduction of what the company did. He had grown up in a broken family since the age of 7 when his parents divorced and he was left to largely fend for himself.

Without the affirmation of a father figure, Ng took a turn down a rebellious path, moving out of his mother’s house by his early 20s, convinced he could do things his way. He became very successful in the finance industry, but it came from a spirit of arrogance and wanting to prove his worth.

Then, all this took a nosedive in 2011, when three big disruptions happened. “I lost everything,” Ng said.

It started with a personal financial crisis in which he lost both his house and car. He later caught his then-girlfriend cheating on him and soon after his stepfather, a pastor, announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, with only six months to live.

“It felt like the age of decadence coming to an end – everything came crashing down.”

Having made a promise to his stepfather to take care of the church, Ng became a vocational pastor. “It was my act of reconciliation with him,” he said.

And it would not be his last, now that he had lost almost everything precious to him and God had “got his attention”.

What to do when everything goes wrong

“I took the same determination I had in the commercial world to my relationship with him. Then I reconciled with everybody I had odds with before, because of my brashness, arrogance and bad behaviour.”

The two years following the downturn turned out to be the years of forgiveness he needed. God brought spiritual fathers into his life, bringing much-needed affirmation and love that he desperately sought from childhood.

Although the departure from his successful career had left him feeling incompetent, with all doors seemingly shut for those two years, Ng found himself involved in a film production with some friends. Using his banking experience and knowledge, he helped them to find a way to finance the project.

This was the miraculous opening of the door back into the marketplace, and in a field Ng had never explored nor considered. Soon, ad hoc and freelance projects turned into an actual business plan to produce, distribute and screen faith-based content in Singapore.

This saw the birth of Salt Media & Entertainment in 2016, and Salt Theatres in 2018. The company has since brought in films such as Overcomer, The Heart of Man and Unplanned.

This upturn would not have been possible without all the internal work the Lord had put him through, Ng confessed. “God is more interested in the close-up shots of your life, rather than the wide-angle shots of the big things He can do through you.

“Every time I reached a new milestone, it was because I was able to forgive and bless someone new.”

This was how, out of the valley, he finally found the calling of his life: to make values-based, wholesome entertainment accessible to all.

“When you discover your calling, you’ll realise it was never about you anyway,” Ng concluded, referencing the superhero movies that people find themselves drawn to, where the hero often goes on a journey to discovering his greater purpose. “And you have a calling. You are that superhero.

“All the Lord needs from you is your heart and your courage.”

THINK + TALK

  1. What are some heart issues God has been drawing your attention to?
  2. How have certain downturns in your life become moments and areas of growth?
  3. Why is it important to allow God to deal with these issues before pursuing our calling?
About the author

Joanne Kwok

Joanne is a bundle of creative energy commonly heard before she is seen. She believes in the triune power of good conversation, brilliant writing and bold ideas. She also likes milo.