Anthea Indira Ong
A full-time human being,
and part-time everything else.
Workplace and Employee Wellbeing (21 Nov 2018)
Migrant Workers and E-Payments (14 Jan 2019)
Drug Rehabilitation and De-Stigmatisation (15 Jan 2019)
Legislating Food Waste, We Can Do More (12 Feb 2019)
Valuing Caregivers: Financial & Psychosocial Support (13 Feb 2019)
Mental Health Must Be A Whole-of-Government Priority (27 Feb 2019)
Protection Against Harassment (8 May 2019)
Road Rights and Limited Shared Spaces for the Vulnerable (8 Jul 2019)
Fire Safety for Elderly and Disability Populations (5 Aug 2019)
Youth Activism: What Loving Singapore Looks Like (7 Oct 2019)
Working Together Towards a Zero-Suicide Singapore (25 Mar 2020)
Tax Reliefs and Incentives for a Carbon-Neutral Economy (26 Mar 2020)
Never Let A Good Crisis Go to Waste (6 Apr 2020)
A Weaker Mandate in a Covid-19 Election (4 May 2020)
Continuity of Public Access through Live Streaming (5 May 2020)
Closing the Digital Divide: Learnings from COVID-19 (26 May 2020)
Emerging Stronger, Inclusively and Sustainably (5 Jun 2020)
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.
The 3Ms of my heart are: Mental Health, Marginalised Communities (including Migrant Workers) and the climate crisis of Mother Earth.
**The first book on the NMP Scheme, foreword by PM Lee Hsien Loong
Although more than 30 years have passed since the NMP scheme was introduced in 1990, it remains controversial and poorly understood today. Have NMPs raised views that elected MPs - on both sides of the House - could or did not? Have they kept voters way from he Opposition, or been a bulwark of loving critics in the midsts of a parliamentary supermajority?
So why the book? “Why hasn’t there been one?’’ was my first thought when I was feeling this immense gratitude for the privilege of being an NMP one morning in June 2020, after meditation.
So I initiated this book as a editor - and also contributed a chapter, and brought 20 NMPs together across all 8 parliament sessions since 1990, including the first NMP Prof. Maurice Choo, to discuss our experiences in office, from the Population White Paper to POFMA, and what being appointed has meant to us personally.
Deeply grateful that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong provided a foreword and former Prime Minister & ESM Goh Chok Tong launched the book on 9 Sep 2022 at the Parliament auditorium.
Nominated Member of Parliament, Parliament of Singapore (2018-2020)
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.
What did I do in Parliament:
I could not have done this NMP work without the passion, dedication and generosity of time and talent from so many (whom I call 'Legislative Angels', also LAs) including Eden Teoh, Peck Hsiao Shan, Estelle Challian, Lim Jing Zhou of Cassia Resettlement Team, Abhishek Bajaj of 6th Sense, Corinna Lim/Shailey Hingorani/Chong Ning Qian of Aware, Daniel Tay of SG Food Rescue, Desiree Leong/Jaya Anil Kumar of HOME, Ethel Pang, Haolie Jiang, Ang Huan Ting, Joel Yew, Juliet Tanuwira, Khadijah Madihi, Michelle Yeo, Nicholas Oh, Radha Basu, Ranganayaki Thangavelu of Beyond Social Services, Robin Rheaume, Shawn Hoo, Tan Tatt Si of Humanist Society Singapore, Michelle Yeo, Limonium Sua of Readable, Ho Xiang Tian of LepakinSG, Tok Xinying of Climate Conversations, Rachel Kwan, Hor Wen Qin, Carol Yuen, .......
Welcome in My Backyard, WIMBY (Founding Member)
In April 2020, I was concerned about Singaporeans shunning our migrant workers when the announcement that some of our migrant workers performing essential services will be rehoused to Redhill at the onset of the outbreak in the dorms. More rehousing efforts could be underway in more neighbourhoods. Migrant workers are already living in fear and distress given the high numbers of COVID-19 infection within the dorms. WIMBY aims to pre-empt tensions caused by the rehousing effort and counter NIMBYism by amplifying the message that migrant workers are Welcome In My Backyard, or WIMBY. Our mission is to mobilise all of society to create a safe space for migrant workers within their local neighbourhoods, with the wider goal of normalising relations between migrant workers and Singaporeans.
SG Mental Health Matters (Founder)
Founded in Jan 2020, SG Mental Health Matters is a citizen-led initiative that started off as a simple public consultation exercise to support my preparation for the Budget 2020 debates focusing on mental healthcare and mental wellbeing. What was to be an effort to gather feedback from a few Singaporeans turned into close to 400 responses from the Public Consultation, within a matter of a couple of weeks! My amazing team of volunteers and I decided that there is a need for a centralised source of data, research and commentaries for more informed mental health advocacy and education efforts. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and PM me if you wish to volunteer with us.
WorkWell Leaders (Founder/Chair of Board)
In May 2018, I came together with 20 other C-suite leaders to create this private sector effort for leaders to champion mental wellbeing at workplaces as a strategic priority, beyond it being merely a HR responsibility. This community grew to 135 CEOs and leaders in 2020 that represented 70 organisations that take care of over 300,000 employees across Singapore. Incorporated formally as a public company limited by guarantee in August 2021, WorkWell Leaders is Singapore’s only non-profit organisation and collective of CEOs and leaders singularly focused on championing workplace mental health and wellbeing as a strategic priority and board agenda, beyond merely a HR responsibility. Our social mission is to build mentally healthy places across Singapore as a community of leadership practices and cross sector collaboration so that employee mental wellbeing becomes a foremost urgency for employers. The focus is on leaders who can make the change in workplace culture. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to contribute as a corporate member and/or CEO.
A Good Space Co-operative Ltd (Founder/Founding Chairperson)
Started in 2017 as a ground up experiment by me, A Good Space is Singapore’s first co-operative to gather diverse changemakers, activists, dreamers, social entrepreneurs, charities and more, to create the Singapore of our dreams, together. We believe every citizen can be a changemaker. As a co-operative, we hope to do six things for Singapore: Cultivate empathy towards diverse social issues through innovative experiences created by our members; Encourage active citizenry by supporting ordinary citizens to start and amplify their initiatives for good; Deepen collaboration between diverse changemakers to solve some of Singapore’s most pressing social issues; Create financial sustainability as changemakers struggle to find funds and revenue to sustain the good work they are doing - we want to help change that; Enable companies to mobilise their employees and resources to benefit the communities around them; and Nurture civic leaders by creating more strategic change through opportunities like workshops and closed door dialogues with key influencers.
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.
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 (Former President (2014-2016)/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 2015-2018)
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 2017-2018)
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 2013-2017)
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.