Monthly Archives: March 2010

Have your say

  • In Haiti, just two months back, more than 10% of donated food supplies, clothing and aid items did not reach its intended recipients, and were instead sold at black markets. What went wrong?
  • What happens when social entrepreneurship becomes more of an economic investment than an act of philanthropy? Do the entrepreneurs’ motivations, intentions and values matter?
  • The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (Singapore) raises money to support poorer school children’s education fees, to subsidize the price of their textbooks and uniforms, as well as provide for their pocket money. Will it cause a systematic division between social classes in children at their tender age? What lasting effects will they have on the psychology of children who have benefited from this organisation?
  • In the heart-crushing documentary The Cove, Ric O’ Barry and his team installed hidden cameras to capture never-before-seen devastating, dolorous and literally bloody scenes of dolphins being killed in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan; which begets the question – is it ethical to transcend the fine line of morality for social entrepreneurship projects?

What do you think?

– lightningpore


Thong Chai Charity Night- Response to Stormypore

As Stormypore has posted earlier on, the Thong Chai charity show has indeed managed to receive double the amount of money which they targeted. Many might say that this amount of donation can really show that many Singaporeans are kind people and are willing to help the needy and hence, it is because of these Singaporeans who made the huge amount of donation received possible. I do agree that these Singaporeans who donated played a huge part in helping Thong Chai medical centre  receive these donations. However, we must not forget the various artistes who helped make the performance possible. Mediacorp and international artistes such as Ann Kok, Aileen Tan, Paige Chua, Zhang Haijie, Kym Ng, Kola Zhou, Kenix Kwok, Sheren Tang, Maggie Cheung Ho Yee, Ada Choi, Eunice Ng, Xie Shaoguang also appeared on the show to give their support. Artistes who performed during the charity show also had to put in much time and effort before hand to prepare their performance to make the show a successful one. Even international artiste Jackie Chan came from overseas to give his support. I believe these artistes really deserve a round of applause, don’t they? 🙂

However, when I was browsing through the Thong Chai charity night forum on the Mediacorp website, I came across some disturbing comments:

Anw, I totally don’t understand how come some of the “patients” are so shameless/thick skinned to come out openly to ask for donations.

Thong Chai is a voluntary organisation providing free healthcare isn’t it? It’s meant to provide free treatment for the POOR!

But how come some of those who came out at the studio (Mark Lee’s wife, the woman with 2 children, the aunty who wore TONS of jewels) looked relatively well-off!!  A few even looked like educated individuals.

All I wanna say is, if they have money, go to a hospital! Don’t go and crap by saying only Thong Chai can provide the medical care they require, when in actual fact they just want free treatment. They shouldn’t go to Thong Chai and deplete their resources until they have to come out & ask for donations?!

Really selfish & 莫名其妙! No


After reading this comment, I really think that this person should not criticize these patients just by looking at what they wear. As Thong Chai charity night is an event which many people participated in and with such a huge audience, these patients also have to dress up appropriately. Well, you can’t expect them to wear clothes with holes to such a big event, can you? Moreover, these patients are also humans which means that they also would want to have a good image in front of so many people and artistes. Some people might not have thought about this, but maybe having a good image will help the patients to have more confidence when they appear on stage. Moreover, some of the accessories or clothes could have been given by other helpful people. I really hope that comments like these will not affect Singaporean’s thinking of the patients continue to give the patients their needed support. 🙂


A good way to spend your Sunday, perhaps.

It’s weekends, the leisure days of the week! (Yes, sorry for reporting a slightly old event.)

Apparently, Start-Up!@Singapore had organized a first-ever 24 hour Business Plan Challenge last month at the National University of Singapore Business School. Participating teams had to create from scratch, a business plan for either of three industries -the silver industry, the social entrepreneurship industry and the interactive digital media industry.

Of course, I’m more interested in talking about the social entrepreneurship industry. This was what I found on an online article. (Full article here)


In India’s Tamil Nadu, 80-percent of rural farmers live below the poverty line of USD1 a day. This poverty stems from a systematic inability to grow income sources due to land degradation. Specifically in the districts of Tiruchirapalli and Karur, only 25-percent of land is arable.

The winner for the social entrepreneurship category, team Smiles proposed a business model called MicroMacro that is an organic agriculture micro-investment social enterprise focused on empowering farmers in Tamil Nadu to increase plot utilization and alleviate poverty. Founders Ivan Chang and Keith Tan are barely in their 20s – Ivan is pursuing a degree in Business Administration from Singapore Management University (SMU) and awaiting for his CPA qualification, while Keith is headed toward NUS for an undergraduate study in Architecture.

Many people spent 24 hours on that day and came up with many other great business plans under social entrepreneurship too. In just 24 hours, you might actually come up with a great social entrepreneurship plan with your friends! Can anyone sense the possibilities of young social entrepreneurs here?

Instead of spending your weekend enjoying a movie or going out to play, why not find some of your friends and come together to think of social entrepreneurship? Yes, it may sound boring and impossible, and you might think that any ideas come up with will just sound silly – but that’s not true. Everything starts from scratch! For one, there are successful examples of youths doing social entrepreneurship in Singapore, like the SoulE.

Perhaps this presents us a thinking space on how constructively we are spending our free time.

If you readers out there are any interested in social entrepreneurship in Singapore, you may like to visit Startup@Singapore to keep yourself updated on social entrepreneurs. There’s a competition going on, so you can go and check out some rising social entrepreneurship groups.

24 hours may seem short – but within that amount of time, someone can actually think of a plan to help others in their community.

Till then, Stormypore again.

Singaporeans and Stars turn Charity Night into a success

For those who didn’t catch the Thong Chai Charity Night last sunday, here’s what had happened. (What! Another Charity Show so soon this year? – Don’t get confused, this is the charity fundraising for the Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institute. By the way, this is their first ever television charity show.)

Big international superstars and local Mediacorp artistes came together to pour in all their efforts to reach out to Singaporeans and pull in donations.

This was what I read from Channel

During the press conference on Monday, Lim Guan Lee, chairman of Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institute, outlined the objectives of their first ever televised fund-raising programme.

“At present, we provide free consultation service and free Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to 600 patients daily. To cater for the increasing number of patients and to continue to provide free and comprehensive TCM medical care to our patients, our clinic has to be expanded, medical facilities and equipment need to be replaced and upgraded and the medical fund needs to increase.

“This year, STCMI needs an operations budget of S$6 million and the fundraising target for the coming ‘Thong Chai Charity Night’ is S$3.5 million.”

And guess what?

Thong Chai Charity Night raised S$7.23m.

I, for one, also asked my family to pick up the phone and called their donation hotline to donate.

Seeing that the amount of funds raised was DOUBLE of their initial goal, I was quite taken aback by surprise. At the same time, I felt really happy to know that so many Singaporeans willingly donated for the charity show, turning the Thong Chai Charity Night into a huge success. This goes to show the kindness within Singaporeans who contributed as much money as they could, and the artistes who put in physical effort. I’m really touched by the positive outcome of this Charity Night.

So here, I would like to appeal to those who haven’t donated to dial the hotlines too, as the telepoll hotlines for donations are still open. (:

It doesn’t matter how little or how much you will donate to help Thong Chai Medical Institute. What matters, for everyone should well know, is the charitable heart that is willing to donate.

1900-112-1122 – S$5
1900-112-1133 – S$15
1900-112-1188 – S$35
67360366 – Above S$35

The hotlines close on 31st March midnight.


Kudos to Levis

Am I just slow or slow?!

i’m sure everyone has heard of or come across this advertisement: Looking to replace your jeans? Now is the time! Levis is giving you 50% discount if you bring in your old jeans for trade-in.

yes indeed, i have heard it too.


i never knew the intentions behind this wonderful discount (till recently)!! To my awe, yes, my awe, you didn’t see wrongly, this promotion was organised to maximise help in society:

  • Exchange your old jeans (any brand) for an instant $50 discount off regular priced Levis (Levi’s) bottom ($100 and above). Old Jeans will be donated to the Salvation Army.
  • Your old jeans will be transform into gorgeous items by JUNK’s upcoming designers and the proceeds from auction will go to Malaysian AIDS Foundation to support HIV/AIDS awareness. The balance of the old jeans collected will be donated to charity for the under-privileged.
  • Trade in to Levis and help stop animal cruelty. With every trade-in Levi’s will donate $1 to the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals).

The well-known brand Levis is using this promotion to help aid in social issues and contribute to social entrepreneurship globally. I never knew there were branded shops out there who wanted to help the society and not just earn money money money. So i guess this discovery came off as  unexpected and definitely turned my perspective 360 degrees.

Levis has tried to make use of the advantage of being a branded good to attract customers to trade in old jeans for a worthy discount to help the needy. Many people don’t know the reason behind this promotion, for example:

yes that’s right. it does sadden me and I feel disappointed and also disturbed that there are people out there criticising the “misleading” Levis advertisement because of their miserably greedy miser-like mindset. I hope they are aware that Levis’s promotion is not organised to cheat their money, but rather, to encourage people to help the needy and show some compassion.

Well honestly, the fact that Levis doesn’t try to put herself in a glorious, heroic lime light is what makes her contribution to the society so remarkably admirable and respectable.

I beseech all of you to participate actively in this Levis promotion as it is a reasonably fair way to aid the needy and contribute to the World of Social Entrepreneurship.

And all i can say is: Kudos to Levis!



Sharing is caring

Malnutrition is a social issue most are familiar with. However,  the rising rate of obesity  has been commonly overlooked although it is almost just as pressing a problem, and is thus now an epidemic. More often than not, it leads to life threatening and transforming diseases –  hypertension, diabetes, cancer and a variety of cardiac problems, just to name a few from a disturbingly extensive list. It affects more than just an individual’s health and arguably, aesthetic appeal – it even perturbs society as a whole. America spent well over $147 billion in 2009 on healthcare for this entirely preventable condition – the result of fast-food chains dominating the food industry and reduction of food prices which has led to products for consumption becoming increasingly unhealthy and highly processed.

After decades of aborted attempts and debate, The United States Senate has, alas, passed a healthcare reform bill. With so much importance placed on healthcare in America by her President Barack Obama, what better time than now for social enterprises to step into the open market to make a truly remarkable difference? As obesity and food consumption share an undeniably intimate relationship, it is really no wonder that obesity rates have shot up significantly since unhealthily convenient meals and snacks with lesser nutrition have become so easily attainable and I admit, tempting.

While the recently passed bill deals with the consequences of obesity, prevention is always better than cure, and this is where social enterprises can play their part. Social entrepreneurs or enterprises can set up small businesses or if possible even come together to start a chain of eateries  to sell organic or healthier food. While merely one shop at the crook of a street might at best only marginally improve the health of its few frequent customers who live nearby, there is certain strength in numbers. When organic food eateries start populating the food industry, popping up in every town, city, and state, there is a high chance that an organic food commodity and frenzy might catch on. It might take years or even decades for these eateries to be of any challenge to fastfood powerhouses like Macdonalds, Burger King or Hungry Jacks, and Pizza Hut, but there is a good chance it might happen if the proposed healthier food alternatives are marketed well enough, and if they are as convenient and delicious-tasting as those oil-teeming burgers and fries are.

Possible fast-food deterrence.

We cannot forget that social entrepreneurs are still entrepreneurs after all, and the idea of setting up a business from scratch is rather risky monetarily. For entrepreneurs who do not want to jump into an open sea with unpredictable tide, they can invest in local food systems which produce more organic crops or food that is more beneficial to the human body, so the fastfood giants will less monopolize the food industry.

It is important that the rate of obesity declines, for if it does not, it will decrease general productivity of a society and lower rates of mortality. It puzzles me as much as it saddens me, how one side of this incomprehensible world has too much calories and how the other has none. It is very heartcrushing, when there is obviously enough to go around. Sharing is a virtue. It is.

Just sharing my two cents worth.
– lightningpore


This is a video of an interview done with Mr Shaun Koh of Syinc, a social enterprise.

SHAUN KOH: I didn’t really really really get involved until I watched a film actually. The short story I told you about you know, about this young person watching the film and gets to ____, that was actually me.

PERSON: okay.

SHAUN KOH: Yeah, um, um, two years ago, two three years ago, yeah three years ago before i went into the army I had some time in between JC and the army and I er, watch this vid called BLACK GOLD it’s about uh, about friendshipscourt happenings?! It’s like oh companies like starbucks, at that point of time, will pay very little to bargain and it would end up, you know, not making enough money to sustain themselves and end up doing drugs, and and that in turns destructs the community and i was like wow, i gotta do something about this.

When I watched that, I was naive enough to get out of my chair, go to my neighbourhood uh coffee bean and tea leaves, walk up to the four waitresses down there, and asked them “Hey um, under what social economic condition were your coffee beans grown under?” And um, she was like “What?” You know and I, I didn’t ask like “Um um wait, are you being fair trade? You know fair trade? ” And they’re like “Uhhhh, sorry, can’t really help you, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” And I’m like “Will you, will you be growing a bean sprout?”. “Oh I can help you with this,” and she drag out the garbage bin bag and um, she brought out the tablet and all that kind of thing and it’s not what i need .