We speak to Hui Ming, People & Culture Lead of the Fast Forward Committee, Enactus Singapore
I first came across social entrepreneurship with Enactus in my first year at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The first project I worked on was with a group of ex-offenders. It was a short experience that taught me a very important lesson about giving. Without understanding the needs of our beneficiaries well, we (i.e. the undergrads) stood high on our pedestal and advised them that since e-commerce was all the rage, they should purchase cheap mobile and tablet covers from China and sell them in Singapore. We pushed this idea fervently to them, but it never took off, as their skillsets and experience were more suited to jobs involving repairs and cleaning, not in doing business over an online portal.
Never assume you know what is best for others without first developing the empathy to ask and listen — A life lesson that I learnt in Enactus which I now carry with me.
The next project I undertook sums up what giving means to me, and provided the fuel to give my all. My team launched Gourmet Guru, a project aiming to empower women from low income families by commercialising their culinary skills as they conducted cooking lessons with traditional recipes. Given the honour to co-lead this project, I poured my heart and soul into continuing the good work sown by my seniors. We had six homemakers in our program who took turns to conduct a weekly cooking lesson on a Saturday at Bukit Batok, starting at 10am. It meant that I had to wake up early each Saturday, to reach the venue by 9am to run through the lesson plan and help our cikgu set up the kitchen with her utensils and ingredients and prepare for the lesson. Knowing each homemaker by name and interacting with them and their accompanying family members reinforced my conviction to put my best foot forward. As they grow out of their nervy uncertainty in the first few lessons to become confident teachers, it warmed my heart to see the huge smiles on their faces after each lesson was successfully concluded. As a student still finding my own feet in life, I was honoured to be in a position to impact homemakers easily twice my age. With this, I knew that Enactus would be that path for me to continue giving.
It dawned on me that impactful giving was not necessarily something that only adults could do. This responsibility is not bound by age. This calling required the maturity of heart.
After I joined the Fast Forward Committee, I helped to organise a Christmas cohesion for the team in Dec 2014. We wanted to have a cycling trip around the North-Eastern parts of Singapore, which required a lot of planning to put in place the safety controls. Planning a recce of the cycling route one week before the actual cohesion, we were able to identify parts of the routes which were more challenging. Routes that were narrow and had to cross major traffic junctions were removed. Safety protocol of having a last person sweep up stragglers as well as rules like no jam-braking to provide collision were also saftey protocols implemented. Even though we had to devote several weeknights and weekends into organising it, it was all worth it as the event turned out to be a success with close to full attendance, helping to team reaffirm our commitment to one another. Without paying attention to the details, this would never have been possible.