SG Together
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SG Together

Our “Circuit Breaker”

A 56-day sprint to serve global communities

If all of us can live a 100-year life, each of us has around 36,524 days to live. But there isn’t too much time left after we allocate them to our basic needs (meals, sleeps, formal education pathways, careers, etc.) — never mind the life expectancy of 86.1 years for females and 81.5 years for males in Singapore, where it is one of the highest in the world.

If we put our days into perspective and focus on 56 days from 7 April to 1 June 2020 — also known as “Circuit Breaker” in Singapore — some of us might have taken some time off working from home to reflect on our purpose and meaning of life.

No matter who we are, where we come from, what we stand for, when or why we do anything in life, we can’t deny that there are many socioeconomic issues affecting people around us and waiting for someone else to solve.

Yet, do we need to think beyond ourself?

Is “our true self the whole of nature and that all beings are a part of ourself”? (see documentary below).

Video credit: All Is Self (Documentary)

As the saying goes, if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. Some of us started working on solutions individually, but if we all work together, perhaps we could solve more problems with less time?

Together, our Circuit Breaker led to the following outcomes on the ground:

WeFeedback: A feedback platform to serve WeWork members

Image credit: @kae_tai

In April 2020, we set up WeFeedback to bring together WeWork members since the “lockdown” (a term used in most countries). This platform had garnered over US$1 million in disputed fees — mainly from members in North America, Latin America, and Europe — many of whom worked together to file a class-action lawsuit against WeWork in New York, eventually resulting in a favourable outcome for all affected WeWork members. The member network of tech start-ups continued working together on business development and global partnership opportunities to overcome travel restrictions in many countries.

SG Discuss: A discussion platform to serve senior and youth volunteers in Singapore

Image credit: SG Discuss

In May 2020, we set up SG Discuss to bring together senior and youth volunteers in Singapore. For a start, this was done via a calendar of online and on-site programmes with family-centric themes; consultation sessions with beloved seniors; or “Ask Me Anything” sessions with special guests. This platform provided a frictionless way of video conferencing — there was no log-in or download requirement. It was made available to unlimited users for free; with unlimited minutes and unlimited rooms.

Bridging the intergenerational gap in Singapore was crucial for the mental health and wellbeing of seniors, especially during a time when activities in senior activity centres were suspended. The team of senior volunteers and youth volunteers continued working together on intergenerational equity through a partner platform SG 50 Over 50, which will bring together 50 senior volunteers over 50 years old as well as 50 organisations over 50 years old in Singapore.

S$2 million fund: A financing platform to serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore

Image credit: The Business Times

In June 2020, we set up a S$2 million fund to accelerate sustainable finance for many hawker stalls, street stalls, and individually-owned food establishments in the F&B industry. Such micro-businesses are particularly vulnerable because most of them do not qualify for traditional loans from banks and are highly susceptible to unlicensed money lenders — who can often be found loitering in hawker centres. Using the latest financial technology as well as best practices in credit assessments, these small business owners can finally enjoy a timely credit facility that offers them peace of mind to pull through a challenging period.

Image credit: Migrant brothers receiving care bags delivered to their rooms

Unlike many of us living in Singapore, our migrant brothers were not allowed to leave their place of residence except for work. This unexpected restriction would have affected the mental health and wellbeing of any ordinary human being.

A team of youth volunteers rallied resources on the ground and packed care bags that were delivered to several dormitories across Singapore. Among many things, care bag included messages of appreciation and encouragement from Singaporeans. Importantly, this is a long-standing multi-racial and multi-religious effort before the pandemic by the same team of youth volunteers during the observance of Ramadan.

World Together™: A purpose-driven platform to serve global communities

Image credit: together.sg

Together as a global Partner Network, we will co-create a platform for organisations, beneficiaries, sponsors, and volunteers to be doing good together.

Supported by a World Togetherglobal creative movement culminating in a World Together Day™ on 31 December every year, this platform will positively impact millions of people online and on-site at iconic landmarks around the world starting from Singapore in 2021, which was declared the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

The main goal of this global platform is to create new jobs of tomorrow in the creative economy. As summarised by UNESCO, “the value of cultural and creative industries specifically is still largely ignored and their potential remains untapped. A single artist’s work can impact the lives of million, changing minds and behaviours. Yet, the contribution artists are making in critical areas such as climate action and environmental sustainability is largely overlooked. We need to make it grow” (see video below).

Video credit: UNESCO

Using our own time, talent, treasure and voice, everyone can work together to build smart cities, creating new jobs of the future that didn’t exist before and provide growth opportunities for anyone who is passionate to innovate smart solutions for the underserved.

In my personal opinion, doing good is timeless and doing good together is limitless. The ultimate purpose and meaning of life is to serve people — including but not limited to yourself, your loved ones, and anyone whom you have crossed path with during your lifetime.

We hope to be a resource for anyone who is doing good alone so that all of us can be doing good together. We hereby pledge my own “time, talent, treasure and voice” in the area of innovation, financing, and go-to-market strategy. Please feel free to contact my team (team@worldtogether.org) for an “invisible hand” in doing good together, we fully embrace diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I).

Image credit: World Together Day™

No good deeds are too small and they are valued beyond our lifetime. Together, all of us can be doing good together one small step at a time.

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Derek Cheung

Derek Cheung

I build communities. I serve communities.

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