Own Your Story #26 with Derek Chai: Being ‘M.A.D.’ and making a dent in the world


Everyone told me that Derek is an amazingly ‘crazy’ guy when I met him over a dinner gathering.

“He has been visiting homes consistently for 10 years without fail, 10 years!”

When I got to know more about his story, I learned that he had been juggling between a fulltime job and social work since the beginning, founded his own NGO ‘Developing Youth Organisation’ 2 years ago and started a social enterprise ‘Bluup Events’ recently to connect corporates with homes.

The intention to set up his own company was caused by a health hazard that created the sense of urgency — what more can he do to make a difference?

1| Consistency comes from planning

Derek started visiting homes because of a first-hand exposure when he was still a student, and he thought he could contribute his time to make a difference in the children’s lives.

While the feeling of satisfaction from giving is one of the reinforcers of his consistency, Derek said that he was able to sustain the effort by setting short term goal, having a timetable and reminded himself of the priorities every single day.

Interestingly, Derek also mentioned that daily meditation helps him to gain clarity and focus on things that matter.

2| Action wins support from important people in life

The hardest challenge Derek faced in his journey comes from the doubts and critics from people around him, especially the closest ones such as his parents. Besides this, there are people who didn’t believe that there are (MAD) people like Derek who are willing to give without expectation.

Derek had gone through the hard time when everything came crashing without supports from people around him. He resorted to taking action, showing his determination, and persisting his effort to convince people that what he does is worthwhile and comes from his heart.

3| You need to be full before you can give

When it comes to giving back to the society, many people thought that they are not capable of giving when they are barely making ends meet. Through his NGO, Derek creates a platform and avenue to reminds people that there are many ways everyone can contribute their effort besides monetary means.

However, Derek has a practical advice for young people: you have to sustain yourself before making a difference in the world. In Derek’s words, ‘remember who pays you’. It is important to empower oneself before spending the time and energy to empower others.

Everyone has the power to make a difference

Throughout this journey of giving and making an impact, Derek’s proudest moment comes from seeing the little kid he coached 10 years ago turning into a driven young leader today.

Having the ‘M.A.D.’ spirit running in his DNA since young, he believes that everyone is capable making a difference in people’s lives by taking small, simple step.

When we are able to come together to help one person beside us, that one person will help another person, and it will create a ripple effect that magnifies the power of one.


Derek's FB

Developing Youth Organisation

Bluup Events

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