5 Lesser-Known Singaporeans You Should Be Proud Of

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Singapore may be a small city but its people are nothing short of extraordinary. We have picked out 5 individuals whom you may not be familiar with but definitely ought to be. They have taken their passion and turned it into a way to help those in need. Coming from various backgrounds, these individuals have made a choice to contribute in some way or another and thus, gaining the pride of fellow Singaporeans.

Ziqq, Founder of Design Says Hello

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Ziqq is a man of passion and compassion. He was recognised as Singapore’s Top 3% Graduating Tertiary Design student by Design Singapore Council. His love for Design and his community led him to start “Design Says Hello” which is a movement towards a social change using Design as a catalyst. With a passion for Humanitarian and Social Design, this platform has gathered the support of designers from around the world to teach, inspire and spread humanity through Design.

He recently worked on a project called ‘Cosmic Octave’, an interactive installation that uses a form of voice recognition on Max Msp to match the frequencies of the user’s voice to that of the frequency produced by the other planets to be Exhibited in London Science Museum celebrating Britain’s first astronaut; Tim Peake’s launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on 15 December 2015.

See more of Design Says Hello here.

Images credit: Source (images by Carlotta Solari)

Tengku Ahmad Syamil, Founder of Skolafund 

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Studying at International Islamic University in Malaysia, Tengku Ahmad Syamil started Skolafund to serve as a platform for students to crowdfund their higher education scholarships. With a mission to make higher education affordable and accessible to those who qualify, they allow their site to host campaigns to raise funds to fulfil their mission. He also is the co-founder of Urbane Academy, a teen mentoring and training programme to combat delinquency.

What inspired you to do what you’re doing?

Tengku Ahmad Syamil: During my first year in IIUM, I came across a post in an unofficial university Facebook group called IIUM online, by a student who expressed that he’s tried all he can to get financial support but sadly to no avail. After sharing his plight, he asked if people know of organisations that he can approach to get some aid for his case.

To my surprise, aside for the few who commented with suggestions, many more (hundreds!) commented requesting for his bank account saying that they want to help out with whatever small amount that they can. It was really inspiring.

What if I can come up with a platform to give these students a voice so that they can reach out to supportive people? A platform that can allow community to come together and crowdfund scholarships and award it to deserving students. That’s how SkolaFund was born.

Do you have any advice for young people today?

Tengku Ahmad Syamil: When we are young, we are blessed with energy and passion. We should try our best to use them for positively. Use them on things that can help better ourselves and people around us.

You define your own success and there is no one way to attain it. Don’t be afraid to fail because failing means you’ve done something challenging and there is always something valuable you can learn from it. As long as you learn, you grow and you’ll be one step closer to “success”.

Get out of your comfort zones because that is where we actually learn and grow!

Read more on Skolafund here.

Crystal Goh, Founder of Diamond On The Street

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The story of Crystal Goh is one of hope and miracle. Diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia with no known cure, Crystal, a singer-songwriter gradually started losing her voice. In the midst of her depression, she wrote a song to remind herself on the importance of hope and began sharing this song around. Her voice miraculously returned pushing her to spread this message of hope through Diamonds On The Street. This platform collaborates with individuals and communities to share their wounded histories into stories of hope and second chance.

Find out more on Diamonds On The Street here.

Vanessa Paranjothy, Founder of Freedom Cups

Vanessa Paranjothy, founder of Freedom Cups started this organisation to ensure sanitation for women in underprivileged community. Freedom Cups aims to get menstrual cups to as many underprivileged women as possible. They adopt a 1-for-1 system where you buy a menstrual cup for yourself annd one gets sent to a women in an underprivileged community.

What inspired you to start this organisation? 

Vanessa: Everytime I lamented about the fact that I was having another troublesome period, my mind would wander to the women who did not have the money to buy sanitary products or have clean toilets with running water at every corner.

I learned that about 70% of women across the globe have no access to any form of sanitation during their periods. They use things like leaves, sand, bark, and old cloth to quell the bleeding. To say it is terrible is a massive understatement.

The best solution to this problem is a menstrual cup. It lasts on average 15 to 20 years, requires just a little bit of soap and water to clean out, is sanitary, and leak-free. This allows women and girls to stay in school or go to work with ease of mind.

On top of this, the earth is ailing. Each of us needs to reduce dramatically our waste (especially if it is non-biodegradable) and this is can be achieved with the Freedom Cup.

So in short, poor women across the globe and our ailing earth are what inspire me.

Do you have any advice for young people today? 

Vanessa: Fear drives a lot of us into working jobs we do not like, to buy things we do not want, to impress people who do not matter. Take one step back and look at the bigger picture.

Find out how you can contribute here.

Images given by Freedom Cup. 

Mental Muscle

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Mental muscle is a group of 4 medical students who ran 250km in the Namib desert from the 1st – 7th of May 2016. This run is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for mental health in Singapore, in partnership with the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). They hope to raise about $50, 000 for SAMH through their run. Though the run is completed, their campaigns to raise funds for SAMH still continues. They will be launching new campaigns and projects real soon!

What inspired you to start this organisation? 

Mental Muscle: We started this mainly because we are all outdoor activists and also because of our encounters during our psychiatry postings. We saw how patients were estranged by their families, misunderstood by their friends, refusing to take medications purely due to the stigma of being labeled as a patient with mental illness. We want to spread the word that it should be treated like any other medical disease, that they are due to chemical imbalances in the brain, that there are proper medications available for treatment.

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Do you have any advice for young people today? 

Mental Muscle: Now with the advancement of medicine, we hope the younger generation would educate themselves more on mental illnesses. Understand that it is not a choice, and people cannot just snap out of it. We would also like to encourage them to campaign for causes they believe in.

Anything else you would like to add on for us? Any future plans? 

Mental Muscle: We are still fundraising for SAMH. Our target is $50,000. We are still some distance away from the goal and we hope you would be able to do a shoutout for us. Our website is www.mentalmuscle.org and our donations portal is tinyurl.com/donatementalmuscle. We are currently looking for medical juniors who would like to continue this project but these are not confirmed. We ourselves will continue to campaign for mental health awareness in our own ways.

Read more on their adventures here

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