Upon returning to Singapore in 2005, he was fined for not having done National Service in Singapore, although he was studying in London during the time he was required to serve, he had already started a busy concert career, and he had already acquired British citizenship.
During his development as a pianist, Tan developed a passion for the fortepiano, which he has promoted throughout his career, and thereby changed other musicians' perceptions of this instrument. He has now returned mainly to the pianoforte and performs a wide-ranging repertoire from Bach to Messiaen.
- Duchen, Jessica (1 February 2010). ""Tan, Melvyn."". Grove Music Online / Oxford Music Online.
- Mattison, Ben (6 December 2005). "PlaybillArts: News: Pianist Melvyn Tan Cancels Return to Singapore Over Draft Controversy". Playbill, Inc. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009.
- "Ministerial Statement on National Service Defaulters by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean". Ministry of Defence. 16 January 2006.
- Jasper Conran Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection Video Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine