Your Burning Changemaking Questions — Answered

To be or not to be? That may (or may not) be your question. In ASK ME ANYTHING, readers write in with their social innovation queries, and the Social Space team finds a changemaker to answer them. In this issue, we pose these inquiries to JIEZHEN WU of THE HIDDEN GOOD.

“In which moments do you feel the greatest sense of achievement in your job?” — Li Xinwei, 22

I feel the greatest sense of achievement and satisfaction when I see the values and ideals that The Hidden Good stands for being put into action. I am especially inspired by the growth of our youth community (known as “Hoodies”). Seeing the good that each Hoodie brings to the table as well as to his/her own communities gives me great affirmation that The Hidden Good is making a meaningful impact on society

“Do you think Singaporeans need to engage in more community service?” — Harresh Krishnan, 26

I think we need a re-envisioning of what community service looks like in Singapore. Rather than asking if we should have more or less of it, perhaps the more pertinent question is to look at the issue qualitatively. It is often in the smallest actions—whether it’s behaving respectfully to an elderly person or extending a kind gesture to a stranger—that the greatest impact is felt. Perhaps then, this is where the conversation should begin: first answering the question of why it matters to engage in community service and doing good, before thinking about doing more.

“Could you describe what a “social start-up” is? How is it different from other traditional NGOs?”      — Neil Bore, 24

A social start-up, at least in Singapore’s context, concerns the underlying impetus of doing social good/pursuing a social cause and making it sustainable (financially, especially) to do so. It is often grounded in values of creativity, technology and innovation, and is lean and nimble. More traditional NGOs tend to be bigger and grounded in years of organisational history, which helps inform the work they do, though it sometimes makes it harder for them to pivot and respond as quickly. Many social enterprises are taking to running their social good organisations like start-ups, hence the “startup” terminology. The Hidden Good is one such example—our work involves partnering with individuals or companies to spread messages of social good through video campaigns or social experiments. As an apolitical and non-partisan organisation, we are uniquely placed to engage governmental/ non-governmental institutions, MNCs, schools or any other organisation or entity looking to do good or to create positive social change in Singapore. The permutations for partnerships are vast, and we are constantly on the lookout for patrons who value and believe in the work we do.

“If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?” — Claudia, 22

I’d like to foster empathy in more people and have it become an intrinsic part of how we interact and coexist in this world. I see empathy as fundamental to being human— if we all saw one another as worthy givers and recipients of all things good, we could work so much more efficiently towards tackling social problems.

Jiezhen Wu is Director of The Hidden Good, a social initiative that aims to uncover the good in Singapore. Through the use of new media, guerrilla community activations, and innovative social experiments, THG serves as a platform for youth to create and celebrate the change they want to see in the world. Jiezhen graduated with double Honours from Wellesley College, where she majored in Political Science and Peace and Justice. Prior to moving back to Singapore to run THG, she worked in education in San Francisco. Connect with her at

Do you have a burning social innovation question or two? Email them to and we’ll find a changemaker for the occasion!