Timothy Go On What Made Him Leave CNA, His Subway Store, And Why You Should Listen To 938Now

Have you been to a Subway with free Wi-Fi, a communal table, and a bread display?

The ex-Channel NewsAsia presenter is an avid traveller (just look at his Instagram) with a penchant for adventures. After a life-changing trip to Macchu Picchu that sparked his departure from the news industry, the 43-year-old forked out more than a quarter of a million dollars on a Subway franchise, started a tech news company, and very recently returned to the limelight - this time as a radio presenter for 938Now. What's going through the ever-youthful man's mind?

8 DAYS: The last time we spoke, you had already left Channel NewsAsia to run a tech news company and a Subway restaurant. Now you’re back — as a presenter on 938Now.
TIMOTHY GO: I left CNA because I didn't want my life to revolve around global events. The good thing about 938Now is that we were all brought in to talk about what we are passionate about. In my case, it’s news about technology, travelling and aviation. That's pretty much the beat that I'm covering for my show, Your Evening Escape. I don’t have to do much research, because these are the things I live and breathe every day. The extra step is just to record the segments. I'm always travelling, but I can still be on air, which is another plus point. I can do the things that I want to do without having to physically be here. That's the beauty of radio (laughs).

How would you describe the new look of 938Now?
The way I’d like to describe 938Now is that we have all these bits of information about all sorts of things, from lifestyle to tech to travel. It's like little songs we play throughout the day. There's something for everyone, and it's all bite-sized. If you don't like tech, you know two minutes later there’s something else about food or health — you don't have to tune out. Then there's also music. It's definitely very interesting.

You invested more than a quarter million dollars in a Subway outlet in Taman Jurong. Have you broken even?  
Not yet. It's not even been a year. We're still learning several things, such as the behaviour of our customers in the area. For example, we realise that during school holidays, business is slower because nobody is around. But I have a good team and the business is surviving.

We hear you’d occasionally serve the customers.
I still do! I enjoy that part of Subway. It's also good for the customers to see that I'm there. I'm not there as often as I used to be. But whenever it gets busy I still put on the uniform, usually on weekends. The real stars of the shop are the sandwich artists.

timothy go subway
He works hard for the money: Timothy Go at his Subway store at Taman Jurong. “The people who [licensed out the franchise] don't want someone to just put in the money and just let someone else run it,” he says. “In fact, part of the [licensing requirement] was that I have to work in a store for a week. After I left CNA, I was training at a Subway in Tampines. That was when I felt I could run a store by myself, especially if the labour crunch got bad.”

You also have a bread display and communal table which most Subway outlets don't have.
This is because we have the space, and I wanted it to look contemporary. A communal table is also great for students. The bread display helps the mostly Chinese-speaking residents in the neighbourhood to familiarise themselves with the types of bread sold. It's an expensive bread display, by the way (laughs). And no, I don't mind students studying at my shop. We have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and student meals. 

Based on your Instagram feed, you travel a lot. What were your most memorable travels recently?
I managed to visit all the Eight Wonders of the World this year. But the most memorable place was Machu Picchu. On my way there, people were telling me how my life will change once I visit the place. That didn't sink in until I returned to Singapore, when I decided to take back my life. Why? The journey to Machu Picchu was about five days, but I only spent eight hours there. I spent so much time getting to the site, only to spend eight hours there. That was not what I wanted; I wanted to stay and enjoy and not rush back to work. That was 2014 and it started a process of me taking a step back and leaving the news industry. And then I'm back again now (laughs), but on my own terms.

Since you’re 938Now’s tech guy, tell us what your must-have gadgets are.
Increasingly I realise that [my Note 8] is the only thing I really need to survive. I travel around with a laptop, but I've been using it less and less. That's it! I don't play games, watch shows or even listen to music on my phone because I'm so scared of the battery dying. 

Your Evening Escape is on 938Now, weekdays, 6pm-9pm.

Main photo: EALBERT HO. 

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