#HOGA Meet the Team – Gia

The team at Give.Asia is made up of passionate and engaging individuals who all share the love of giving. In our ‘Meet The Team’ series, we’d like you to get to know us, and some of the faces behind Give. Asia and what makes each of them tick.

This week, let’s get to know the InGenious Gia!

Tell us briefly what you do you do at Give.Asia
I’m the product team’s lead. If something is broken on our website, it’s likely to be because of my tempering 🙂

What inspired you to start giving, and what does giving mean to you?
I think it starts with my interest in building useful stuff. To me, giving means I can build something that other people can get value from. I started working with Give.Asia in 2011 when I was at NUS. It was around the time when I was quite impatient with just studying alone and wanted to do something beyond myself. I met Give.Asia’s co-founders by chance and really liked the mission of the organization. I thought I could channel my interest in building useful stuff into actually creating products that can help, even indirectly, to make someone’s life better.

What causes are you most passionate about?
I believe in all causes that empower children. I always think any kid can have endless potential in their future if they are taken care of and allowed to pursue their interests and dreams.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I guess it might be having our first kid while being away from our families during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. I think becoming a parent is one of those experiences that no matter how much we prepare for, we would never be ready for. But then our first kid was great so we decided to have another one 🙂

What’s one thing you think everyone should try at least once?
Living overseas for an extended period. I think the experience of figuring things out by ourselves, from learning the language to understanding the culture and people, would largely change how we understand ourselves, perceive the world, and deal with challenges.

Describe an experience that changed how you view the world.
It’s related to my previous answer. I was given a scholarship to study in Singapore when I was 15. I only fully realized how kind and empowering that opportunity was many many years later. Not only did the experience of living by myself allow me to understand myself better, but I have also been able to see how big, deep, and diverse the world is and to hang around with interesting people such as the team at Give.Asia.

If you invented something new, what would it be and why?
A new kind of school. I think the three most important and difficult jobs are being a mother, a doctor, and a teacher. I can’t do the first two, but I like the third. My parents are high school teachers and I have been inspired by them as well. I think the world is always changing and I would love to create a school that can evolve with the world, but is still grounded in solid principles.

What’s one of your favourite jokes?
What is a scarecrow’s favourite fruit? – Strawberries!

If money were no object, where would you travel to and why?
Mars. I want to see our home from another world. But I also need a return flight.

What was the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
My dad always tells his students the three “Ss” a person needs to have. One needs to have Self-respect to know what’s important, regardless of how other people may view those priorities. If one has self-respect, then one needs to be Self-disciplined to do the necessary things, even if they might be unpleasant. And if one can be self-disciplined, one can be Self-confident, even in difficult situations.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest (dead or alive), and why?
My wife. I can talk to her every day about anything.

Are there any books, movies, songs, etc., that have left a lasting impression on you?
“Born a crime”, the audiobook version written and read by Trevor Noah. He’s an excellent storyteller and narrator. His stories have lots of eye-opening lessons told in a humble and funny manner.
“Don’t you have time to think?” by Richard Feynman. His brilliance comes from both his intellect and his ease in conveying difficult, abstract concepts in simple ways.

A quote or saying you live by, and what it means to you
“It’s harder to be kind than clever” by Jeff Bezos’ grandfather. I’m not exceptionally smart but I know I’m gifted with a decent level of intellect. But I’m definitely not a kind person by nature. The quote resonates with me a lot about the need to make a deliberate effort to be kind. Then hopefully one day, being kind would come to me more easily.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Gia, and the sneak peek into the experiences that shape him. If some of his thoughts resonate with you, please feel free to comment and let Gia know.
Have a wonderful weekend! And to all of our Muslim friends – have a blessed Ramadan

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