#HOGA Meet the Team – Alvin

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 very Affable Alvin!

1. What do you do at Give.Asia?
Hello, my name is Alvin and I’m a product designer at Give.Asia. My job is to make giving a pleasant experience and to solve any problems that you encounter when interacting with our website.

2. What inspired you to start giving, and what does giving mean to you?
I think it came from my dad, who was always very generous. I always admire how he gave up his opportunity to further his studies in order to support his siblings. I remember how my parents would let my brothers and me take turns calling the donation hotline whenever a charity programme was on television.

They would also give us money to donate whenever we see someone in need on the street. Beyond that, I feel a strong sense of connectedness and privilege. While the world is unfair, what we can all do is share.  

3. What causes are you most passionate about?
Mental health, education, and poverty. In general, causes that are affecting those who’ve been left behind or misunderstood. 

4. Describe an experience that changed how you view the world?
I was travelling in Australia during my younger days and stayed in many youth hostels, most of which were what you’d expect, like a student dorm. But there was this one youth hostel, in Murwillumbah, I remember walking into the room and there were soft toys tucked in bed.

The manager, Tassie, would dress up in a costume and distribute ice-cream every night. There were many guests I met who would come back every year during their holidays. It made me realise that if you put your heart into something, especially the little things, it can create so much joy in the lives of others.

5. If you invented something new, what would it be and why?
It would be a bed that plays my recent likes on Spotify as the alarm, and would slowly tilt until it is not possible for me to remain in a supine position.

6. What was the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
“Every child is born in the garden of humanity as a flower. Each flower differs from every other flower… As grown-ups, we can remind young people that they’re already beautiful as they are; they don’t have to be someone else.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love.

This was not the actual advice that I was given, but I found that this quote is the best expression of it. Everyone belongs to this earth equally.

7. Are there any books, movies, songs, etc., that have left a lasting impression on you?
Fight Club. I watched it when I was 18 and it sparked a strong desire in me to figure out how to live a more meaningful life.

Wreck-It-Ralph. This movie is, hands down, one of the best executions of the hero’s journey.
I could talk a lot more about these two movies but I have a strong distaste for spoilers. I am that guy who avoids trailers and synopses. Please watch them so I’ll have more people to share my enthusiasm with.

8. A quote or saying you live by, and what it means to you?
“Be curious, not judgemental.” I find myself becoming more narrow-minded whenever I choose judgement and always pleasantly surprised by the new perspectives I gain whenever I choose curiosity.

Judgement comes from a place of fear, fear comes from a lack of trust, trust comes from understanding, and understanding comes from curiosity.

Just last week, I met an 81-year-old uncle on my run. He was lost and I decided to accompany him home. We ended up having a long conversation after we took the wrong bus because of my mistake. He wasn’t bothered by it in the slightest as he cheerfully shared with me stories about his childhood and his family. I was struck by how peaceful and accepting he was despite the hardships that he had experienced (and also how much trust he had placed in a total stranger who had just taken him further away from his home). I was quite mentally exhausted before my run but ended up with a new friend and a renewed appreciation for life!
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Alvin, 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 him know. I, for sure, love the idea of the Spotify bed and alarm clock!
Have a wonderful weekend!

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