Share with us a place you were extremely fond of as a child:
Pastamania at Toa Payoh Hub (laughs). I actually don’t know if it’s still there anymore, but this place is special because it was the place we’d go after an exam or test—more specifically, our swimming test—so I always looked forward to going there. While other kids had Happy Meal at McDonalds, I had carbonara with a whole bottle of cheese at Pastamania.
How often do you find yourself replacing the old with the new?
If we’re talking about objects, then not at all, unless I absolutely have to. I might be a mini hoarder (laughs). It’s not a trait I’m proud of, but I’m someone who attaches meaning to the smallest of objects and gifts. I still have random art pieces I did when I was five years old, and letters/friendship bracelets from my gal pals back in secondary school!
If your friends had to give a testimony of three of your traits, which ones do you think they’d pick?
A tough question but I think they’ll describe me as confident, passionate, and level-headed. My involvement in dance since a very young age naturally birthed the confidence I wear today, and I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by affirmative friends and loved ones who never put me down! I’ve always been the rational one in my friend groups, though I’m still a terrible enabler.
Personally, what’s something you’re working to be better at?
Receiving criticism and letting myself off more gently. I can be a bit of a perfectionist with my ‘if I can’t do it well, then I won’t bother’ mentality, so failure or disappointment scares me still. I read somewhere recently that if the goal is to be 100% perfect whenever you do something, you’ll probably fail most of the time. But if the goal is to just be brave enough to try, then just doing the task is already counted as a success.
We understand you work in a non-profit organisation—could you share with us a little more about what first started you on this path?
I’m a community executive at a non-profit called Our Better World, and we basically produce and tell stories of good across Asia to inspire others to take action. I’ve always been a bit of a stubborn kid (laughs) and never did things unless I saw meaning or derived enjoyment from them. A more pivotal moment took place during my second year of university, when I was the co-chair of an overseas volunteer trip to Laos. It kind of opened my eyes to how flawed the world can be and it didn’t feel right to me if I went back to Singapore and simply went on with my life. I’ve also always been interested in current affairs and social issues, so being in this social impact space is a nice crossroad between all the things I love and enjoy!
What’s a constant worry that you usually have on your mind?
What am I going to eat for lunch? It’s a very real and relatable one! On a more serious note, I do think about how I can be a responsible and compassionate human being, without being a hypocrite. My work forces me to confront many ugly truths of the world, and sometimes I want to run away or put myself first.