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Misfits: Interviews with Unconventional Singaporeans

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#36: Khailee Ng — Conversation about Necker Island, Marriage and the Gig Economy

Khailee Ng is a managing partner of 500 Startups, a venture capital firm. He has led more than 180 startup investments, with a few “unicorn” successes such as Grab and Bukalapa. Khailee has previously founded Groupsmore which got acquired by Groupon and Says.com, which got subsequently acquired by Media Prima, Malaysia’s largest online media company. BUT, even if you have zero interest in startups, this episode is well worth the time. This is really about the habits and beliefs of a...


#35:The 34 Years Old Internet Millionaire Who Sold Everything Away, Alvin Poh

Alvin Poh is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Vodien, a cloud hosting company. Vodien was founded in 2002. It was later acquired by Dreamscape in 2017, and was valued for S$ 30million. Shortly after being a millionaire at 33 years old, he sold most of his belongings (including his Lamborghini) and embraced minimalism. Alvin holds a masters in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon. He is now travelling and snowboarding around the world. In this conversation, we spoke about: Links...


#34: Conference Hacking, Self-Awareness and Personal System with JR Hinds

JR Hinds is the owner of Hinds and Associates, specialising in employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Today, over 90% of his business is developed through referrals. He has a private pilot’s license and flies a Cessna 172. He also jumped out of an airplane twice (but never one that he was flying). JR rappelled down the building the day before his wedding day and threw a surprise wedding for his 50 guests. One of his favourite things to do is to spend time with his 4 nephews and his...


#33: The Magician Behind the Higher Education Revolution, Michelle Jones

“I don't think we ask deep enough questions and give young people enough credit for being able to have those answer within themselves.” – Michelle Jones Michelle Jones is the founder of a higher education institution, Wayfinding Academy. It is a new 2-year college aiming to revolutionize higher education. They have been approved to offer Associate’s degrees by Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. She has taught in traditional colleges for 15 years. Some of the institutions...


#32: Building a Million-Dollar Design Agency, Daniel Lim

“It is not a failure if there are lessons to be learnt from it.” – Daniel Lim Daniel Lim is an entrepreneur and business coach. His coaching and training practice aims to help people to redefine success, build businesses and do work which is aligned with their values and purpose. Daniel's former design studio, Studio MDS work with clients such as Capella Hotels, Singapore Flyer and National Heritage Board. In 2017, he designed and ran a retreat called #howtohuman for DesignSingapore...


#31: The 25 Years Old Kid that Took the AI World by Storm, Annabelle Kwok

Annabelle Kwok, 25 is the founder of NeuralBay, an Artificial Intelligence company that specialises in vision analytics. She consults with companies on A.I. driven solutions and was previously the founding CEO of SmartCow. At 20, she travelled alone for 6 weeks to Togo, West Africa. She has witness people fainting from malaria, getting robbed at knife-point, and balanced buckets of water on her head. At 22, she met U.S. President Barack Obama under a youth programme representing...


#30: The Psychiatrist Who Started the Addiction Management Department at IMH, Dr Munidasa Winslow

"No one says that decided to start drinking because my ambition in life is to be an alcoholic. It’s rubbish.” – Dr Munidasa Winslow Munidasa Winslow is a psychiatrist and the executive director of Promises Healthcare. He has been practising psychiatry since 1988 and is known for his work in addiction medicine and impulse control disorders. He was also responsible for the setting up the Addiction Management Department at the Institute of Mental Health. His last appointment at IMH was the...


#29: The Couple that Built JobsCentral and Cashed Out, Lim Der Shing and Huang Shao-Ning

Lim Der Shing is currently a private investor, Venture Advisor with Jungle Seedplus and board member with several organizations. Huang Shao-Ning is the Managing Partner of Hub Ventures Fund and a Partner at Entrepreneur First, the world’s leading company builder. Together, they are the co-founders of JobsCentral Group and manage a regional portfolio of over 17 angel investments in startups. JobCentral grew from a 2-man startup into an organization with 150 employees over a period of 14...


#28 - From Building the Red Rhino to Creating an Iron-Man, Peter Ho

Peter Ho is the CEO of HOPE Technik, an engineering company specializing in Unmanned systems, Defence, Bio-medical, Smart Logistics and Special Vehicles. The company has delivered over 400 projects across 18 countries to date and projects included (but not limited to) the last 4 versions of Red Rhino for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). HOPE Technik was awarded the Most Technologically Disruptive Collaboration (Collaboration Towards Smart Factory Using Autonomous Guided...


#27: The Singaporean Toymaker Who Kickstarted to the Global TED Conference, Michael Sng

Michael Sng is the principal designer of Machination Studio. He is the creator of the Codename Colossus - a Walking War Machine with 435 individually 3D-printed parts. Michael is the first Singaporean who spoke on the main stage at the TED Conference (2016) in Vancouver. He holds a Bachelor of Graphic Design (Advertising) from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (2000). In this conversation, we spoke about:


#26: Claire Chiang - The Woman Behind the Banyan Tree Resort Group

“If you allow all these barriers and challenges around you to impact you, you’ll never walk out of the house and have terrible mental health. So, get over it.” – Claire Chiang Claire Chiang is the co-founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. She was the Singapore's Woman of the Year (1999). She was the first of two women who to break the long-standing tradition of an all-male member of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI). Claire is the chairperson of the Wildlife...


#25: ShiGGa Shay - The Hip Hop Artist From Singapore Who Made It

Pek Jin Shen, 25, better known by his stage name ShiGGa Shay is a Singaporean hip-hop artist, songwriter, director, and music producer. In 2012, ShiGGa was named the "Unsigned Talent of The Week" by WorldStarHipHop. He was the first Singaporean hip-hop Artist that made it to iTunes top chart with his song, LimPeh. In 2016, ShiGGa Shay was invited by the US Ambassador to perform at the White House State Dinner after-party. ShiGGa is also a founder member of hip hop group Grizzle Grind...


#24: The Architect Behind the Iconic People's Park Complex, Tay Kheng Soon

Tay Kheng Soon is the founder and principal partner of the architect firm, Akitek Tenggara. In the span of his career, he was responsible for many iconic buildings around Singapore. Some of these include (but not limited to) People's park Complex, Golden Mile Complex and KK Woman's and Children hospital. He was president of the Singapore Institute of Architects (1991-1993); the founding member and chairman of the Singapore Planning and Urban Research Group (1970-1971); chairman of The...


#23: The Head Writer of Esquire SG, Wayne Cheong

Wayne Cheong is the head writer for Esquire Singapore. He is a two-time recipient of the MPAS (Media Publishers Association of Singapore) "Journalist of The Year”, for both 2014 and 2015. He has interviewed numerous iconic personalities, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dev Patel, Colin Schooling, "The SMRT Vigilanteh" and Eric Bana, amongst others. On the side, Wayne performs standup comedy regularly. He has performed at Singapore Comedy Fringe Festival, Talk Cock Comedy 2015 as well as...


#22: The Polymath Civil Servant Who Writes Poetry and Innovates, Aaron Maniam

Aaron Maniam is the Director (Industry Division) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore. He has received numerous awards including (but not limited to), Asia Society’s “Asia 21 Young Leaders’ (2006), Singapore Youth Award (2012), and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2013). Aaron's poems have won many awards including the National Arts Council’s Golden Point Award (2003). His poems have been featured in online journals such as Stylus and Softblow and in print...


#21: Benny Se Teo on How to Turn Your Life Around From a Heroin Addiction

Benny Se Teo is the co-founder of Eighteen Chefs. Benny spent 10 years getting in and out of prison. At the age of 45 in 2005, he opened Goshen and started cooking professionally. Benny is also the author of Honest Good Food - a book where he shares his collection of comfort food recipes that are inspired by his childhood memories and personal experiences. In this conversation, we spoke about


#20: The Most Terrifying Couchsurfing Host… and What He Taught Me, Richard Chong

Richard Chong retired from the Australian Army at the peak of his military career as a Paratrooper after more than 13 years of service, serving in multiple deployments at several theatres of conflict around the globe. He is also a practitioner of several martial arts codes including Krav Maga, Silat, Filipino Martial Arts, slacklining and body flying. In 2010, Richard was my first Couchsurfing host in Melbourne and he had opened up my world. We became good friends and he brought me to my...


#19: The #1 Dating Expert in South East Asia, Violet Lim

Violet Lim is the co-founder and CEO of Lunch Actually, the largest dating company in South East Asia, which started humbly in Singapore. Since 2004, Lunch Actually has acquired 5 companies and now have offices in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Bangkok. She is also the CEO of esync, an online-to-offline dating platform and LunchClick, a dating app that prides itself on disallowing the messaging function. Violet is also the president of Matchmaking Institute in Singapore and...


#18: From Running a Flea Market Stall to a BMW at the Age of 21, Gina Tow

Gina Tow is the founder and owner of Happy Rollies. Happy Rollies was started in 2015 and has since grown from a humble flea market stall selling ice cream at Geylang Serai market to having 20 ice-cream carts and 2 mini-vans now. Gina Tow has since developed other food items such as Churros, Watermelon Volcano, Toasted Smores and Cheese Chicken Cubes. If you are heading down to Geylang Serai Bazaar this year, keep a look-out for her stall(s). She is cooking up some excitement for all of...


#17: The First All-Inclusive Hawker School for the Disadvantaged, Koh Seng Choon

"Success is a satisfying state of the mind, failure is when you stop trying." - Koh Seng Choon Koh Seng Choon is the founder and managing director of Dignity Kitchen, Singapore's first hawker training centre for people with disabilities and the disadvantaged. Dignity Kitchen has trained over 400 individuals and successfully given job placements to all of them. Project Dignity's mission is to build and return dignity to the disadvantaged and people with disabilities through vocation with...