Chuan-Jin Tan is an exchange student from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, part of the National University of Singapore. He is enrolled in the Masters in Public Management course, which entails spending two terms in Singapore and the last in either the KSG at Harvard or SIPA at Columbia University. (He chose Columbia because it's in New York and because he believes there is a more practical slant to Columbia's approach.)
In real life, he's in the Army in Singapore. He spent some time training at Quantico, was the Army Attache in Indonesia, and led the humanitarian assistance effort to Aceh, Indonesia during the Dec 04 Tsunami. He had to deal with the media during and after the mission, which was interesting in itself. He also had to deal with locals, other militaries, the various UN agencies, NGOs and "disaster tourists."
His hobbies include photography, which he has pursued in New York.