Anthea Indira Ong
I made a conscious choice to engage fully with the community so as to contribute and learn about what makes us human. It's a real privilege and gift to be able to live each day in meaning and purpose, to receive with every giving and in receiving, I have more to give. I'm especially inspired to bring disparate groups of people together for conversations that allow us to see the humanity that binds us, amid the differences. Decidedly passionate about empowerment and education because I believe that there can be no societal transformation without personal transformation. This inner change, I believe, has to come from a practice of silence and mindfulness. We must be the change we want to see in the world.
Nominated Member of Parliament, Parliament of Singapore
A Nominated Member of Parliament is appointed by the President of the Republic of Singapore. I am privileged to be selected and appointed on 26 September 2018. It's an honour to lend a voice the ground issues in the highest hall of office and also to make policy making more accessible to the communities.
How would I contribute? Mental Health, Diversity & Inclusion and Volunteerism.
A socially cohesive society is not necessarily demographically or socio-economically homogenous but is one where all members feel a sense of belonging, recognition and legitimacy. We may need policy wonks, academics and experts to solve the social inequality problem but offering acceptance, support and friendship to those who are not like us is what we can all do as individuals, and also with inclusive employment by organisations.
Employers needs to be roped in to fight this war against stress and depression - workplace mental health needs to be a leadership priority. Mental health education needs to be made compulsory in schools. I see volunteerism as a way to address both the issues of social inclusion and mental health, not merely as an act of altruism. Volunteering can help dispel prejudices, challenge stereotypes and create acceptance of diversity. Volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.
WorkWell Leaders Workgroup (Founding Member)
Together with 25 other leaders (CXOs, HR and CSR Leads), of DBS, Johnson&Johnson, NUHS, Deloitte, British Council, NVPC etc, we have come together to create this private sector effort amongst employers to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices for a more caring and resilient workplace for all, including PMHIs (persons with mental health issues). Employee wellbeing must be seen as a strategic concern, a leadership priority. Beyond a hip office and the great coffee, how can we build a supportive culture that builds empathy, resilience and innovation? How do we create an environment that allows for conversations about stress and mental health issues? This is an adaptive effort, and a national one for now. The leaders are looking forward together to influence change — much work to be done. It is our hope that we move from sharing to collaboration to collective action — for happier workers, better business and a better, and happier, Singapore. How can you care more? Email me at email@example.com if you wish to contribute.
Hush, the Silent TeaBar (Founder. Chief Revolutionary.)
Founded in 2014, Hush is Singapore's first silent teabar (and possibly the world's first). We are a social movement that is committed to bringing self care and social inclusion to every workplace with tea and reflection, completed led by our lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators. We produce so that we can employ - our staff is made up completely of Deaf and PMHIs (persons with mental health issues). We also trained over 30 Deaf 'TeaRistas' on project employment basis. The more Hush@Workplace projects we do, the more empowerment we can give to the Deaf and PMHIs.
Hush@Workplace is our primary sustainability model. We are touting it as a new responsibility model where companies can transform responsibility into opportunity by integrating the need for innovative employee wellness initiatives with community-empowerment efforts. We do this as popup sessions at the workplace for organisations such as DBS, Google, Raffles Hospital, British Council, Far East Organisation, Ministry of Transport, Parkway Cancer Centre, HDB, US Embassy etc. The Hush Experience is a carefully-crafted 4-zone journey to awareness and peace, completely guided by our TeaRistas. We also have Hush@Community, Hush in A Box and #YoungXHush as our platforms for reach and change.
A Good Space (Co-Founder & Senior Curator)
A Good Space is a placemaking movement that aims to transform ordinary public spaces into places of purpose by offering a refreshing calendar of events and gatherings to bring together diverse members of society to share and discover our common interests and purpose. It is crowdsourcing meets citizen engagement for integration and inclusion, for the community by the community. It is also a space for the giving community to come together to reconnect, refuel and re-engage for self care and development, and to build partnerships that expand and enliven the giving community. We are a community of community builders.
Playground of Joy (Founder)
Founded in 2013, Playground of Joy (POJ) is Singapore's first integrated learning programme for children that aims to cultivate a different kind of ABC - Attention, Balance and Compassion. Using proven techniques of yoga, play, art, performance and mindfulness, we strive to develop children in a holistic manner that brings out the best in them. Our curriculum is underpinned by universal virtues such as kindness, honesty, generosity, and each lesson is designed to help the children understand and embody these values. For a better world and happier children, we believe that learning empathy, love and social consciousness is just as important as learning about mathematics and science.
We have served children with special needs and children from families on financial assistance in Singapore. A new POJ is bringing our psychosocial support programmes to Rohingya refugee children in Malaysia and Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, funded by the net proceeds from my book, 50 Shades of Love. .
Project Yoga-on-Wheels (Founder/Instructor)
Founded in 2011, Project Yoga-on-Wheels (PYOW) is a not-for-profit community movement that serves through inclusive yoga. We believe that yoga empowers individuals and communities, and should be made available to all, regardless of creed, religion, race, status and ability.
PYOW has served the following vulnerable communities to-date: victims of family violence, persons with mental health conditions, migrant workers, youths-at-risk, cancer survivors, women from low-income families, vulnerable seniors, Deaf persons, persons with intellectual disabilities etc.
Our Tree Stories (Founder)
Founded in 2017, Our Tree Stories is a social movement to get Singaporeans and residents alike to share their stories about and with their favourite trees, to humanise trees and raise awareness of nature and climate change. Every tree tells a story, your story. We are also the Singapore partner for the Asian Tree of the Year.
Circle of Bliss (Founder/Host/Facilitator)
Founder in 2012, A weekly meditation get-together which is open to all - whether you are new to meditation, or have been meditating for some time. This is NOT a meditation class/workshop- it is just my little attempt to create a safe & relaxed space for a community of friendship and love to grow and blossom. And for us to share the joys and benefits of meditation and mindfulness practice. I invite you to The Bliss Loft aka my humble abode.
WINGS (Immediate Past President/Board Member, 2010-2017)
Established since 2007, WINGS is the only registered non-profit in Singapore singularly focused on promoting active ageing for women. WINGS aims to continue to lead in the areas of holistic wellness for women from the lower-income segments, so they are empowered with skills and knowledge; and plan for their future financially; as well as to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Our mission is to empower women above 40 to age with confidence by enabling them to take responsibility for their health, security and happiness so that they can make a difference for themselves and their communities.
Daughters of Tomorrow (Former Founding Board Member, 2014-2016)
Registered as a charity under the Charities Act of Singapore, Daughters Of Tomorrow complements and supports existing training and workforce-related agencies by connecting volunteers and community resources to enable each woman on an individual level. By deep-diving into practical day-to-day constraints of these women, we offer hand-holding and individual coaching to help each woman reach regular and sustained employment. Our beneficiaries are women aged 20 to 60 from low-income families (surviving on $200 to $500 per capita per month), mostly living in government-subsidized rental flats, and facing multiple stressors in their families.
National Council for Social Service, Social Service Innovation Advisory Council, (Appointed Member since 2015)
The Council advises The Pumpkin Lab with NCSS which is mandated by Ministry of Finance Singapore to encourage and drive innovation within the social service sector.
Champions of Good Judging Panel, Company of Good (Appointed Member since 2016)
Company of Good looks to ignite a corporate giving movement through enhancing capability, advocacy and facilitating giving opportunities for companies. We inspire and activate companies to engage in strategic corporate giving that benefits both businesses and the community. Our flagship initiatives include the Company of Good Fellowship and Champions of Good that raise and recognise a community of givers for their sterling corporate giving.
Futures of Giving Expert Panel (Appointed Member since 2017)
Futures of Giving is a national initiative to bring together tri-sector stakeholders to engage in conversations and discourses about how the macro trends will affect the giving sector and what are the possibilities 10 years ahead for volunteerism and philanthropy for Singapore.
DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge (Judge since 2013)
The DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia aims to identify passionate aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs, who have innovative business solutions to solve social issues and create positive and sustainable social impact in Asia.
US Embassy Alumni Mentoring Programme with Institute of Technical Education (Mentor since 2013)
The United States Embassy launched its Alumni Mentoring Program in 2013 in an effort to give back to the community. The Embassy organized a six-month mentoring program that matches Singaporean alumni from U.S. Department of State exchange programs, such as the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Leadership Programs, and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) with students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The goal of the program is to provide strong, professional role models to inspire these outstanding students to maximize their potential and further them in their personal and professional development.
Cedar Girls Secondary School, School Advisory Council (Appointed Member since 2016)
Cedar Girls is one of oldest schools in Singapore, older than the nation herself with a vision of bringing out the best in our people - Social Innovator, Passionate Learner by nurturing leaders of character. . The school is celebrating her 60th anniversary in 2017. I graduated from the school in 1984 and immensely privileged to return to the school at their 59th Speech Day on 22 April 2017 as Guest of Honour.
Social Service Institute, ACE Capstone Leadership Programme for Non-Profits Steering Committee (Appointed Member since 2016)
ACE Capstone Leadership Programme for Non-Profits is the pinnacle leadership development programme that sets out to groom strategic leaders in the non-profit sector. Jointly developed by the Tote Board and the Social Service Institute (SSI), the programme combines the strengths of three leadership programme providers, namely, Aalto University (Finland), Singapore Management University (Lien Centre for Social Innovation, SMU) and the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership (CNPL). On the foundation of this strategic alliance and collaboration, you can expect a high level of active experiential facilitated learning in the Learning Lab modules, executive coaching sessions and evaluations, and the opportunity to work on a practical issue facing the non-profit sector.
21 Nov 2018: Workplace and Employee Wellbeing
14 Jan 2019: Migrant Workers and E-Payments
15 Jan 2019: Drug Rehabilitation and De-Stigmatisation
12 Feb 2019: Legislating Food Waste, We Can Do More.
13 Feb 2019: Valuing Caregivers: Financial & Psychosocial Support
27 Feb 2019: Mental Health Must Be A Whole-of-Government Priority