Influencer, model and co-founder of Kampung Collective
"Rojak" is a great representation of our identity. Not many countries can claim they're a multiracial society, which makes Singapore special. I'm proud of our "rojak-ness" and kampung spirit which still shines through during this pandemic.
Tell us your story, how did you get here?
I hold a few identities in life: an international model, a social media influencer, a dancer, a community builder, the co-founder of Kampung Collective, and a proud gay man. I did a feature interview last year with Honeycombers and was really thankful for the opportunity to get my voice out there. Ever since the interview went out, I got great feedback from my communities, my workplace, and even random strangers who PM-ed me to tell me how impactful the story was for them. One person even told me that he found courage from the story to finally come out to his friends after over 30 years. That definitely meant a lot to me.
Fun facts about me:
I’m the first Singaporean male model who walked for Giorgio Armani in Milan Fashion Week. As a model, I’ve walked in Fashion Weeks and done numerous editorials in Milan, Paris, New York, Bangkok, Malaysia, and Singapore.
After my modelling successes, I pivoted my career into the community-building space in the tech startup ecosystem. I’ve also done work in the youth entrepreneurship space, cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset amongst high school students in Singapore through entrepreneurship boot camps and mentorship programs as the country head of Young Founders School.
I’m now the Culture and Community Builder at HubSpot, focusing on creating an inclusive workplace culture for employees to bring their best and true selves to work, and empowering workplace communities to strive in the hybrid work environment.
As a social media influencer, I showcase my relationship with my partner openly on my platforms (mainly Instagram and YouTube) in the hopes of normalising the queer experience. I grew up without seeing any positive representation of queer folks in mainstream media or on any of the limited social media platforms. Visibility is key and having more representation these days is always better for our future generation – those who are lost in their way and who seek guidance and light to live their truth.
What impact have you made in Singapore?
I co-founded Kampung Collective, a community for community builders in Asia. Our core values, which seek to educate, gather, connect and build, are our key drivers to achieving our vision to elevate community building as a credible professional career. With over 600 community builders across different industries and verticals, Kampung Collective seeks to be a safe space and support network for community builders to share, learn and help one another grow in this space.
I’ve recently been an award recipient for EDGE 35 Under 35 – Ecosystem Builder. During my free time, I work closely with the National Youth Council of Singapore and various local universities as a volunteer to mentor and coach the future generation of youths in topics around community building, career development, and personal branding – preparing them for the future of work.
What does 2022 look like for you?
2022 is a year I wish to expand and deep dive into my work around the diversity and inclusion space. I hope to work more closely with communities and organisations that wish to expand their knowledge and open up conversations around D&I, specifically around LGBTQ+, gender equality, and workplace culture. I’m also exploring taking Kampung Collective in a new direction, seeking to include the D&I aspect in the way we think about building communities in Asia.
What do you love most about Singapore?
Other than Singapore being one of the safest, if not the safest country in the world, I also adore and take pride in our cultural identity. I would say “rojak” is a great representation of our identity. Not many countries in the world can claim they are a multiracial society, which makes Singapore even more special. I am proud of our “rojak-ness” and our kampung spirit which still shines through especially during this pandemic.
What’s the quirkiest thing not many people know about you?
It comes in different phases, but I can eat the same thing every day if I really like the food. Once, I loved this salmon with rice and egg dish from my neighbourhood food court so much that I had the same thing for lunch for three months.
Who is your Local Legend, and why?
My local legend isn’t a particular person but a group of people. They’re the unsung heroes behind Pink Dot Singapore – a non-profit movement started in 2009 in support of the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore. They’ve opened up my mind to the endless possibilities of being queer in Singapore and how we can all play a part to promote the freedom to love and be more inclusive for the marginalised communities in Singapore. I truly appreciate their presence over the years and how they’re making a difference in Singapore’s society.