Author Archives: Chef

Rising Above Our Fears


His company may be Amazon’s chosen logistics partner, but Mr Syafiq Yussoff was far from the successful man he is back in his late teens – a school drop-out, who scored 39 points for this O-Level examinations.

Nothing stopped the 34-year-old to later achieving his title as the CEO of a multi-million dollars’ logistics company – Riverwood Pte Ltd. Mr Syafiq has come a long way since then, having recently been invited as a workshop speaker at the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs Asia (CAYE-Asia) and Heartware Network Youth Business Conference 2018 (YBC) which was held at Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore on 2 April 2018.

The conference brought together many young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world who had a similar goal: to learn about the growing entrepreneurship scene in Singapore.

YBC2Local delegates having a laugh with the workshop speakers.

Organised by Heartware Network and CAYE-Asia, the aim of YBC was to provide various opportunities for youth (like ourselves!) who are interested in the world of entrepreneurship, in building new networks, and to even exploring new business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific Region. Through YBC, we, as Heartware Network Media Volunteers, got a chance to interact with both local and foreign delegates who come from Commonwealth Asia countries such as India, Nepal and Pakistan. This was a great opportunity for volunteers to learn more about businesses in various industries and countries! Through the workshops provided, we heard from speakers from varying industries: agricultural technology, clean technology, medical technology, and supply chain and logistics.

Going around the workshops and witnessing the open discussions among attendees gave us a glimpse into some of the mechanisms behind these industries as well as the kinds of tactics used by business leaders to ensure their companies stay relevant to the world and continuously evolve in technology. Most importantly, these entrepreneurs shared insights on how to cope with failures in meeting their own goals and ambitions, and how using innovative strategies helped them maintain their competitive edge and legitimacy in their respective industries.

Upon attending the various workshops, it was commonly acknowledged by all speakers that many entrepreneurs would have to deal with the fear of failure in their business endeavours. They take risks all the time, and will need good instincts to evaluate their decisions and understand the implications it might have on their businesses.

To overcome the fear of failure is to succeed in the market.

“In today’s market, the changes are complex. We either go in, disrupt the market and be a game-changer because only then, you will force yourself to innovate.” said Dr Valiant Hoo, during his workshop’s discussion on ways businesses can respond to changes in today’s supply chain and logistics industry.

“We will not know how the market will respond to our products, but we knew we had to try now.” All we need is a leap of faith and greater trust in our products or services, and belief that they will take root in the market.

YBC3Mr Valiant Hoo, Director of Professional Development for Supply Chain Asia, sharing his experiences and setbacks when he first started.

Here are a few testimonies from the Media Volunteer team:

“After YBC 2018, I have learnt that it is difficult to start a business. You really have to start from nothing and build yourself up from there. In order to do that, you will need the trust of many people. A business is not something you can achieve by yourself. You need pillars as your support.

Starting a business requires someone who is willing to take risks and face challenges. You need to be willing to take risks, trust that your innovation will do well and just put it out there. That’s what I learnt during YBC 2018.”

-Meer Faizah, Media Volunteer with Heartware Network

“When I first stepped foot into the conference, I did not know what to expect. At the end of the event, however, I came out with a mind soaked with knowledge on the challenges and successes of young entrepreneurs who have started their businesses from scratch.

I acknowledge the fact that in whatever you do in life, the fear of failure will be a major obstacle for one to overcome and through YBC 2018, I have understood that we should all be prepared to face obstacles when we start something. Overall, I had an eye-opening experience during YBC 2018.”

-Nurul Huda, Media Volunteer with Heartware Network

“YBC 2018 has given me a more in-depth view of how young entrepreneurs respond to various challenges, and how these experiences have helped them be more aware of their business environments and how to better handle the prospects of failing when it comes to making decisions concerning the businesses they’re in.

The fear of failure is something that is common for any entrepreneur especially when it comes to taking risks to help a business grow and stay relevant. YBC 2018 has helped address that and provides a platform for everyone at the conference to have an open discussion on how to better respond to failure when it comes to running businesses.”

- Shayene Winfred, Media Volunteer with Heartware Network

This article is brought to you by the Heartware Network Media Volunteer Team.

Preserving Traditions, Embracing Change


At Heartware Network, we are privileged to receive volunteers who aspire to change the world, make a difference, and leave an undying mark in the community. We aim to help these aspiring youths be even closer to their goals by giving them comprehensive and holistic trainings.

Last year, our training sessions equipped the volunteers with essential skills that helped transform them into competent leaders in the various areas that they served. It helped them build greater empathy towards others, and made them into better persons. This year, we kept these traditional yet vital skills in our training curriculum, but added new twists to inspire our volunteers into becoming the best versions of themselves.

For instance, the Support Our Pioneers (SOP) programme training sessions now teach volunteers how to operate wheelchairs and walking aids. Tuition Programme (TP), on the other hand, introduced in-depth revisions of the school syllabus and goal-setting.

Throughout all of our programmes, we included thought-provoking simulation exercises provided our volunteers knowledge on some of the issues they might face on the ground. Problem-solving discussions nudged volunteers to think out of the box when resolving issues, and have a greater sense of ownership to their respective programmes. Here are some photos from the training sessions:


Support Our Pioneers Programme


We did the Whisper Challenge to see if the volunteers are able to lip-read. The volunteers were mouthing Heartware’s tagline “If it is not from the heart, it is not worth doing”.


Our volunteer, Claudia, tried out the proper usage of a 4-legged walking aid.


Our volunteers listened intently to De Jun, one of the volunteer leaders this year, on his past experiences volunteering with the Support Our Pioneers programme.


Tuition Programme


Volunteers listened attentively to Heartware staff, Denise, who eagerly briefed them on the Tuition Programme.


Our volunteers engaged in team discussions.


Our volunteer facilitator and ex-intern, Syafiq, shared on the MOE Math syllabus to the volunteers.


National Day Parade


Heartware Network Founder, Mr Raymond Huang, encouraged the volunteers to be resilient, and reminded them of their purpose in joining the National Day Parade.


Our volunteers performed a candid version of the Beatles’ walk on Abbey Road Crossing at the Havelock Road Crossing.

This year, we witnessed an increasing number of volunteers returning to volunteer with us once more.

Here from them here:


Cheryl Lim (in red) posed for a photo with Mdm Lily, one of the elderly we visit.

“I chose to come back because of why I started: The desire to do something for the community, albeit how cliché it sounds. Looking back, the faces I never knew have now found a place in the back of my head. In other words, I found new friends; ‘friends’ whose wisdom and experiences abound, there is never enough what we can discover from them – on all aspects of life. In fact, to say I have learnt from the elderly is an understatement, for in them I have found myself. When interacting with them I question and witness how much value they see in their lives, but I too question the values I hold dear as a person. With every visitation I learn new values, old ones become less obscure and more refined.

Also, over the course of 2017, I have learnt the transience of youth. Life before the silver age is so short-lived. I have understood to not take it for granted, and one way to appreciate this asset before inevitably losing it is to learn from the elderly, listen to them just like how I’d listen to a friend.

I never question how much an impact I HAVE made on an elderly, because I don’t want to know that, but I try my best nevertheless, because of the very fact I don’t know how much an impact I COULD make.

The biggest challenge I face as a volunteer leader this year is managing the volunteers, in part because I have to ensure that both volunteers and the elderly are taken care of during visitation sessions. Last year, I merely had to focus on having meaningful sessions with the elderly. Now, I have to prioritise yet ensure that there is a balance between managing both groups of people.”

-       Cheryl Lim, 20 years old


After the meaningful time I had last year — not just as a tutor, but also as a friend to my tutee, it is no wonder that I feel the strong urge to join HTP again this year. The individual fulfilment of being able to fill even a little of the gap in the support these children have is beyond words. Through TP 2017, I have learnt more about my strengths and limits than perhaps through any other experience, but more importantly, I have gained a deeper understanding of the less advantaged side of our society that may too often be overlooked.

The most rewarding change in my tutee has been his improved effort to take his studies more seriously. He began attempting the homework I gave him on top of his usual assignments not long after the first session, and made visible effort to stay focused on learning every session and avoid being tempted by external distractions. It was heartening to watch his progress and I hope that I can ignite it in others as well this year.

That said, I have faced problems in handling the tutees, such as when boredom becomes quite infectious among them and when the tutees’ conflicts with one another or with their tutors begin to affect the sessions. These issues are partly why I am determined to join TP again. A fresh start means new opportunities for me to find different ways to deal with the challenges I have faced last year, and to better learn from the ways other tutors alongside me navigate this journey.

-       Alicia Tay, 18 years old


Trainings-12 Ashley Ang (in blue) presenting in the training session.

“I joined NDP 2018 as I felt that I want to break my own limits and create new limits. I also want to do my part to serve the community. Another thing is that there were some things I saw when I was a General Volunteer which I felt could be improved, so I wanted to join this year to make a difference. I have seen changes in myself in terms of leadership skills and I now have the initiative to speak up. My past experiences each time were different which allow me to learn something unique. I want to make improvements in various areas: timing of food, training, as I think we should focus more on bonding and situation training.”

Ashley Ang, 19 years old


Traditions are to be preserved, but change is to be embraced. We continue to retain meaningful traditions while continuously improve our programmes to help our volunteers become community champions who can make a real difference.

To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, click here.

Taking Our Traditions For Granted

Opening Ceremony of River Hongbao 2018 by Guest of Honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. 

The younger generation nowadays (like us!) see traditions as duties to be observed mostly by parents or grandparents. And when we do involve ourselves in old customs and routines, we often do it without giving a second thought. Come Chinese New Year, for example, we’d instantly expect throwing reunion dinners, giving and receiving red packets, and visiting relatives. We hardly realise how much these traditions are a part of us until we make the conscious decision to skip it.

This year, 8 Heartware Network volunteers participated in the River Hongbao Project as liaison officers responsible for hosting performers from China and Taiwan. This was Heartware Network’s first collaboration with the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clans Association (SFCCA). This event consists of a planning phase from December 2017 to February 2018 where the volunteers researched and planned out the entire itinerary for the performers between 12 and 19 February 2018.


Our volunteers spent many days surveying the ground and discussing the best way to share the beauty of their country (in Mandarin!) to the performers.

Many hours were put in by the team during the planning phase to ensure the itinerary goes smoothly during deployment. They recced the ground, drafted out detailed descriptions of each landmark or tourist attraction, researched for suitable pick up and drop of points for buses, and made contingency plans for wet weather and last minute changes. At one point, our volunteers were met with the unexpected closure of the Singapore Flyer – but this did not take any of them by surprise.


On the eve of CNY, the leader of the Taiwanese troupe gave Ang Baos to each youth performer while they spend this reunion night away from their own homes.

Then the most trying period came: the eve of CNY. The volunteers were bombarded with a barrage of greetings, messages, and photos of everyone spending time together with their loved ones over reunion dinner. Their entire Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with sumptuous meals, bright clothes, and wide grins. Emotions began to stir and the volunteers had a hard time trying to suppress their tears while still fulfilling their role to the highest standards. The main priority for the volunteers were to ensure the performances at River Hongbao were well-executed. This was the moment where they realised just how much these traditions meant to them, having taken them for granted all these years.


Performers Appreciation Night: Our volunteers had spent many long nights preparing a video montage and a few songs items to show their appreciation to their China and Taiwan friends.

The sacrifice our Heartware volunteers gave to ensure smooth flow of the event was praiseworthy. It gave every one a deeper sense of appreciation for their own families and traditions. The dynamics of the team had definitely grown in synergy and camaraderie as they both laughed, cried and persevered together. 

Here are a few testimonies from the team:

“It was a huge exposure to see how River Hongbao functions behind the scenes as it is one of Singapore’s major festive celebrations. Especially when it comes to the overseas performers and our local Ambassadors sacrificing their CNY to be able to be here with us to perform and celebrate is truly remarkable.

From strangers to teammates to best buddies and friends, through the good times and the bad times throughout this event, through the tears we shed and the laughs we shared, this was one memorable and rewarding experience for us to remember forever, knowing that we were part of River Hongbao 2018 team as an Ambassador.”

-Shawn Tan (Team IC)

“It was definitely an eye opener for all of us. Having been to River Hongbao all these years, I have never really thought about the ambassadors sacrificing their CNY away from their family until this year.

Instead of spending CNY with my loved ones, I spent my CNY with the performers. Contrast it with the festive, relaxed atmosphere back at home, the performers backstage are constantly on tether hooks, ensuring they are ready before their act, and to ensure the performances on stage are seamless. Amidst the stress, we laughed, we cried, and ensured all went smoothly and safely. That was the most rewarding experience of all to the ambassadors on the ground.”

-Liow De Jun (Assistant Team IC)

“I feel that it is a completely new experience for me in which instead of having a relaxing reunion dinner with my family, I had to undergo a tense operation to ensure the welfare of performers. However, it is still a fun experience as I enjoyed the reunion dinner with the performers when we had Yu Sheng together, as well as admiring the firework shows and doing the countdown together. I think it is a really unique experience that actually allows us to forge friendships and deepen our bonds during this special season.”

-Chen Shu Dan (Research Team)















One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

We buy and consume all the time. It’s a habit difficult to throw, especially when we are always buried in slogans that shout “Out with the Old, In with the New”.

In time, we pile up useless things that clutter our living space. What can we do about this? Rather than throwing them away, we can send them over to the good ol’ Rag and Bone man. And imagine not just having 1 man collecting these useless treasures, but a 250-strong team.

On 11 November 2017, Heartware Network supported 250 students from Singapore Institute of Management University of London (SIM-UOL) in a Home Refurbishment project under Rag and Bone. Rag and Bone involved a full day hunt collecting recyclables from residents staying in Sengkang. Proceeds raised from the sale of these items would fund two subsequent projects: a Children’s Carnival and a Home Refurbishment project for our Support Our Pioneers (SOP) beneficiaries.


A volunteer waited patiently to collect unwanted items from a resident.

With the residents’ help in gathering recyclables like newspapers, unwanted clothing, and old electrical appliances, the volunteers managed to purge and clean the entire Sengkang estate. A whopping 29,665 housing units were visited in just one day!

Some volunteers claimed that this was their first experience being part of a Rag and Bone effort. They faced multiple rejections from the residents, and had to manage their own expectations and emotions. The greatest takeaway for these students was gaining more patience, resilience, and compassion amongst other amicable virtues.

Here it from them:

“I feel that Rag and Bone has a really meaningful purpose. I am honoured to be able to organise and execute such a big event. I felt that it went smoothly despite a number of hiccups. It was because I had all my members with me that we were able to solve those hiccups quickly and calmly.”

Lydia Leong Kit Min, 21, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

“The purpose of Rag and Bone is to raise funds to help the needy. However, to me, it is not just a fundraising event. It is also an opportunity for students to be more aware of what is happening in society. I want the students to also know that all the little things they do mean a lot to the people they help. Lastly, it was a good break from our studies – to shift the newspapers and other collectables. It makes for good, light exercise.”

 Justin Yeong Xiang Ping, 25, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

Later on 16 December 2017, the students kicked off the Refurbishment Project in conjunction with our Support Our Pioneers. The students targeted 15 homes of our underprivileged elderly in the Lengkok Bahru area. 130 student volunteers worked tirelessly the entire day; they cleaned, painted, and changed the furniture in these homes. Some volunteers even stayed longer than the stipulated time just to see the refurbishment to the end.


A volunteer sought consent from the elderly before discarding expired food and medicine.

The volunteers demonstrated incredible passion and dedication towards helping the elderly own a safe, hygienic, and comfortable home to live in. It was most heart-warming to see the relief and approval on the elderly’s faces when they saw their homes completely transformed.

Check out some of these amazing transformations:

RagandBone4 RagandBone5 RagandBone6 RagandBone7 RagandBone8

 “When I first visited the elderly’s home I was assigned to, I found his home in a horrid state. The house reeked of urine and there were bed bugs crawling around his bed. When we talked to the elderly, he did not expect much from us but I felt that we could definitely help him live in a more sanitary and bug-free environment. During the refurbishment, we had our sponsored pest exterminator to help get rid of the bed bugs, and people to paint his whole house. With the help of my volunteers, we managed to finish the refurbishment in time so that he could have an early rest. I have learnt a lot from this experience and definitely felt that I have done something to help better someone’s life.”

Vincent Seah Yong Qiang, 23, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education)

“I feel that the home refurbishment was a very meaningful endeavour, and the satisfaction felt at the end far outweighs the tiring recces and preparation work. I hope this event would continue to be a tradition for the SIM-UOL Transformers family, as a little kindness goes a long way, especially so in this busy society that we live in.”

Jasper Oh How Chuan, 22, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM Global Education) 

Heartware Network is glad to be part of this fruitful engagement with the SIM-UOL students. In 2018, we will strive to have more collaborations with community partners as well as youth volunteers to better address and serve the needs of our beneficiaries.

The Support Our Pioneers programme aims to bridge the inter-generational gap and promote active ageing by empowering youths to reach out and serve the elderly. 

Join our volunteer team to make bi-monthly home visitations and organise activities and outings for the elderly. Click here to find out more!


29 Questions with Jessie Ye

29 Questions

The Heartware Network team met up with Jessie Ye, a volunteer leader for the Support Our Pioneers Programme 2017 on her usual Saturday morning. Here are our 29 questions with Jessie:

1.     What’s the first thing you do in the morning?


2.     What did you have for breakfast?

Strawberry cake.

3.     Do you have a nickname?

Yes, so many. Umm, snail?

4.     How old are you?


5.     If you could pick any age to stay for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

15, in Secondary 3 because it was very relaxing.

6.     What’s one thing you could never live without?


7.     What are 3 items that I can definitely find in your bag?

Wet tissue, medicated oil, and lip balm.

8.     What are you doing today?

Visiting the elderly.

9.     Other than the Support Our Pioneers programme, what do you do over the weekends?

Binge-watch dramas.

10.  How many elderly have you befriended so far?


11.  What happens if no one opens the door?

I’ll write a note and leave it at their door, and let them know what time and date we’ll be there.

12.  How do you feel when you see the elderly?

Happy and excited!

13.  What’s the toughest thing that happened in the Support Our Pioneers programme?

Probably the first visit when we didn’t really know what to do.

14.  What scares you the most?


15.  If you have one super power what would it be?


16.  What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Be yourself.

17.  Who was that advice from?

My teacher.

18.  How do you think Mdm Leong is today?

Usually she is quite chirpy and chatty.

19.  What do you and Mdm Leong usually do?

We talk about how she is, what she has been doing, what does she want to eat etc.

20.  What do you want to say to your 60-year old self?

Stay active.

21.  What’s the most beautiful thing in the world?

A mother’s love.

22.  What is one cause that is close to your heart?


23.  What’s the best gift you have ever received?

Handwritten letters.

24.  Do you think you are a giver or a receiver?

Probably a receiver, but I give back too.

25.  Do you think you are a leader or a follower?

I’m a leader who is not afraid to follow.

26.  Do you think the youth could make a difference?

Yea, of course.

27.  What do you need to do/have to volunteer with the elderly?

Be patient and open-minded.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

28.  What kind of difference do you want to make in the world?

Just to be kind to everyone.

29.  Last question: Is SOP worth waking up in the morning for?

I’m here, so ya!

To see the full video, click on the link below!

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