Anuj (AJ) Manchanda
Age: 19 Years
Activity: Currently taking a gap year to focus on my start-up, various internships, online courses, and investing in stocks/cryptocurrencies due to Covid-19 restrictions impacting my initial university plans.
Next year, I will be attending the University of Toronto under the Lester B. Pearson full-ride merit scholarship (37 students chosen a year, amongst the most competitive international scholarship in the world). I will be studying in the Rotman Commerce Business School, and am extremely grateful to have all costs including tuition, food, residence, textbooks, and incidental fees covered by the scholarship.
“What would you do if you were me and I was you” seared into my microphone. Closing my eyes, I leaned back to reach the crescendo of my song as my vision lingered to an equitable world. I viewed my original song as a powerful message against injustice and thought my lyrics were incantations that could sew together the gashes of social inequality in Thailand.
Soon after my performance, a parent approached me to commend my ability to craft a “beautifully intricate” original song. Expecting a profound response, she asked me, “what inspired you?” I responded with a clearly articulated statistical account about how the top 1% of Thai’s accounted for 66.9% of the country’s wealth but was quickly interrupted by the displeasure on her face. She smiled and repeated, “I’m not your teacher. What really inspired you?”
I could not respond.
It disheartened me that something that I had worked so hard on could be viewed as disingenuous. Even more disappointing was that I could not address her inquiry.
It was not that I did not care, I simply did not understand. My song was never original, it was a shallow appreciation of that generalized narrative of those less fortunate than me. I stole the song from the people who deserved to tell it. I had lived my life avoiding the hidden slums and alleyways just 5 kilometers from my school; it was about time I addressed my ignorance – to hear their song rather than write it.
Each step I took on the garbage-strewn ground across the Klong Toey slums revealed my song’s superficial motifs. I never pictured the patchwork of flaky metal sheets they are forced to call ‘home.’ When I sang “I only saw the dark but you never gave light,” the darkness I spoke about was obscure. I never understood how employment opportunities were non-existent and that all hope lay on the outskirts.
It took time, but I began to understand the expression that the parent had on her face.
The continuous thumping sounds of the railroads and the incessant crying of babies etched itself in my mind for months. I sought for solutions, not in neat epiphanies, but in sustainable efforts.
Having realized what it means to truly understand, I worked alongside Manish Sethi to initiate a socially conscious business called Rescued Glass. Through developing a relationship with various bars and restaurants around Bangkok, we collect used glass bottles and recycle them into decorative household items like drinking glasses or snack bowls. Rather than falling into the same trap of donating our funds to charity and using quantitative evidence to ‘sell our story,’ the empowering tone of my melody motivated me to take our team to directly interact with the Khlong Toey slums.
With the preliminary funds we gained from selling our products, we purchased over 20 glass cutters and worked with Second Chance in Klong Toey to educate young adults of safe glass-cutting practices to earn an income whilst also empowering unemployed woman in the Khlong Toey slums to earn an income by producing our upcycled packaging made from used clothes.
My realization stimulated my motivation to truly understand the cause of the projects that I choose to delve into. As a financial member of our school’s development bank, I aim to understand the goals of loanees to ensure that our grants and loans are accompanied by successful action plans that will enrich the local community of Thailand and South East Asia. The notion of seeing one of our micro-financed service projects directly impact the community through constructing a football field in the rural village of Knapor, subsidizing chemotherapy for young children, or even purchasing an industrial scale coffee grinder for the Om Goi village in Northern Thailand delights me.
From now on, I tackle my endeavors with a preliminary goal to decipher and understand. As a leader in the student and technology council in my school, my decisions are facilitated by understanding the needs of the student body. After understanding the urgency of protecting endangered species, I used my love for music to work towards planning concerts (called Mixed Up) and funding conservation efforts for the Slo Loris.
Whilst the magnitude of social issues had often overwhelmed me, I knew I could not turn to simple tunes to make a difference. True change meant unmasking the muffling rhythms of my ignorance and engaging with sustained collective efforts to hear the real sounds of my communities.
Video of me explaining my motivations/ambitions and some of the aforementioned accomplishments 🡪 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhNSrisNggE
Other accomplishments that I am proud of include:
- Achieved the Global Citizenship Diploma with Distinction
- Achieved a perfect 45/45 score on the International Baccalaureate examination (Top 0.21% of all candidates)
- Amongst 39 students to receive a full ride scholarship to the University of Toronto
- Being heavily engaged in trips to build an artificial reef in Thailand’s “Turtle Island”
- Developing various initiatives within school such as producing a show called “Falcon News” and creating an anonymous bullying report system as the vice president of the student council.
- Led and grew an Instagram page called “Humans of Bangkok” or @hobisbkk that shared stories to inspire Thailand’s youth.
- Sang in various events, most notably the Global Goals World Cup, with actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in attendance
In addition to the above narrative which highlights a significant realization in my life thus far and the actions I have taken in response to it, I would also like to take this opportunity to further reflect on myself.
To me, being humble, grateful, kind, hardworking and passionate is what defines success. I try to approach every day with an appreciation for everything around me and what I have, rather than what I do not. As such, I am incredibly grateful to have been brought up in Thailand, a country that has, above all, taught me the value of culture, respect and open-mindedness.
I do not consider myself to be smart or successful, but I always try my best to give everything my all. I believe in never saying no to any opportunity that comes my way, and I always try to do what makes me uncomfortable.
I am extremely optimistic about the future. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and business, and I hope to one day have my own socially conscious business that allows me to give back to the world around me. While I do not have a concrete plan of where I want my life to go, I aim to demonstrate gratitude, global citizenship, passion, and drive every step of the way while never forgetting to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Denis Duilio Trevisan
From: Trebaseleghe, Padua (Italy) – living in Thailand
Age: 23 years
Activity: 4th year (last) of BBA in International Hotel Management at Vatel Business School Bangkok. Interning at Soho Hospitality as Operations Management Trainee.
Hello. My name is Denis. I’m 23 years old and I am originally from a small town in the north-east of Italy.
I grow up there until I was 16. On my 11th grade of high school I won a AFS scholarship to go to study one year high school in Thailand. This changed my life completely. That year abroad, far away from my family, immersed in a completely new culture, helped me be the man that I am today. It broaden my point of view and made me feel more and more a citizen of the world.
My hometown in Italy is kinda small and there are not many activities to do as a teenager so my year abroad in one of the biggest city in Thailand gave me so many new inputs and ideas.
I really enjoyed that year abroad and it changed my future to an extent that I decided to move to Thailand and start my undergraduate university journey in a business school in Bangkok.
At the moment, 5 years has passed since I moved to Bangkok and a lot of things has changed and I grown up.
I always loved to travel and put myself out of my comfort zone. As soon as I finished high school, when I was 19 I moved to London to find a job and I lived there for 9 months on my own. I was working as a waiter at the Ritz London. It was an amazing experience and it made me realize that I wanted to continue my studies in the hospitality sector and that I missed Asian culture.
After that, as I mentioned before, I moved to Thailand and study my first 2 years of university at Vatel International Business School that offers one of the best International Hotel Management Degree in partnership with a local university (Silpakorn University). This program attracted me because it offered a double degree program and one of the two degree is from a recognized French university (Vatel) so, at the end, the degree would be recognized also in my home country.
During my third year of university I joined an exchange program and I studied in Madrid (Spain) for 8 months. It was good to go back a western country close to my home country. I enjoyed to go back to my old cultural habits and customs for a while. This year abroad made me realize that I feel at home only when I am in Asia. I realized that, even if I was born in Italy, I feel myself more as a Thai person for my cultural background.
I really feel myself at home here in Bangkok. It is good to go back, for let’s say 2-3 weeks to my homecountry to visit relatives and family, but after that homesick for Thailand starts appearing and I feel I need to come back.
At this time of the year, I have lots of important decisions to take and that can profoundly impact my future so I need to carefully think about all of the options.
I am interning in the operations department at Soho Hospitality, a dream company in Bangkok for fresh graduates. I might be hired by them in the following months so I can extend my stay in Thailand.
If not, I have to think about what to do next because my student visa will expire and if I will not obtain a work permit I will have to leave Thailand.
Since 2 years ago, I have another passion that I wish that could become my career. I like acting and I wish to be a comedy actor. I am trying to pursuing this as a side job at the moment but it is not an easy journey.
My future goal is either to become a General Manager of a ultra-luxury hotel in one of the big cities in Asia or to underake a career in Thai TV as a comedian actor. I believe I could be a good leader in a few years. I am learning and practicing the right skills to lead teams effectively.
My first choice of career is more stable and solid. The second is more creative and risky but I think it could give me back more happiness than the first. I might find something in between of the two.
I try to be nice with everyone that I met during my life journey. We never know when we can meet them again or when we could need help and support from them.
Even if I am far from my family I still contact them through socials almost everyday. In the last few months I met Min, my actual girlfriend and we decided to live together. She helps me get through every moment and give me the extra smile that I need. It is always good to have someone that wait me at home when I get back from work 😊.
It is hard to change the world because there are so many people think differently than me but at least I can do something that make a positive impact to the community around me. Lately I did some activities with local kids and I help them to get rid of stage fear and be more confindent to speak in public.
I am still young and I have a lot to learn from life and it is important to stay always humble.
Thank you for your time to listen to my story. Have a wonderful day!
From: Lucknow, India
Age: 18 years
Activity: Recent High School Graduate, Entrepreneur
Hello there! My name is Udit, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary dream. I come from a typical nri middle class family and have lived my whole life in KSA and Bahrain. Aspiring real estate investor with an embedded zeal for business and finance. Good in interpersonal communications and enthusiasm for sports. Dabblnig in euntrprenuership I co-founded a company called Requir along with two other assosiates of mine but it never took off. I am what you say is a guy whos in it for the money because unless and until you understand the value and sheer importance of money it will never come to you. I try to come up with strategies in which with hardwork and persevierence the money flows in by itself. So far as a teenager I am only able to sit and watch as others go on the same journey I learn from others mistakes as well as my own. Being an indian it helps you develop mentally physically socially and spiritually the indian culture is one of the most extravagant and intricate cultures in the world and being brought up in an indian household with indian values benefits me giving me dicipline, respect towards everyone and everything and a crtain level of street smarts but living in the Middle east is an expirience in of itself Bahrain being in the top ten countries to live and work tihe Middle East is a vision a vision which was tought by its leaders and converted a desert where even tree wouldnt grow into a thriving metropolis. Living in the middle east is the reason of who I am today and I see myself living and working here in the future ass well. As of now my achievements are limited, I try participating in everything so i have achievements in debate competition, sports, drama etc. I take a umanistic approach towards life because intead of seeing you as a man of a particular religion, caste, creed etc I see you as a friend. My family brought me up in a way in which i am comfortable wherver i am and can easily adapt to new enviroments you might see me servings rotis in the local gurudwara or donating blood in the hospital blood bank. My main goal to help society is to financially literate young children, to promote schools in teaching money handling and to teach children how to live with people in peace and harmony.
Age: 22 years
Activity: Senior Computer Networks student at Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, Mahidol University
As a driven university student in a developing country, I have studied information and communication technology at the Faculty of Informarion and Communicarion Technology, Mahidol University.
In this era, most people might be thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), RoboEc Process Automation (RPA), Edge Computing, Quantum Computing, Blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT). For me, I am the one who thinks about how to secure those things. Therefore, I decided to choose my career pathway to cybersecurity since technologies should come along with security. I desire to maintain the highest security and privacy of these technologies in my country for my goal.
I literally started my journey from scratch in the cybersecurity field in the middle of 2019. This journey is challenging because I have studied information technology since 2017, but the cybersecurity field is beyond that. In order to secure the information technology system, I have to know the fundamentals of information technology deeply. After I finish studying at the university, I watch the video from YouTube every day for 2-3 hours and pracEce 100 cybersecurity questions every week. I always believed that if I really want to do something, I can achieve my goal by changing my behavior.
The cost of completeng my bachelor’s degree is around 18,000 USD, which is not cheap if compared with Thailand’s minimum wage. This situation will not happen if I am in a developed country where the government focuses on the quality of people’s life. Many talented people in my country lose the opportunity to study at university. Moreover, the perspective of people in this country still gives too much value to degrees. For example, even I have the knowledge to perform a job nicely, but I did not have a degree. The company will not accept me until I get a degree.
Now, I have passed some certification exams in cybersecurity. I can say that I am really proud of the eLearnSecurity Junior Penetration Tester (eJPT) cerification. It is a significant foothold if I want to become cybersecurity expertise. Moreover, my next goal is to obtain the Offensive Security Certrfied Professional (OSCP) cerEficaEon. OSCP is the baseline that most penetration testers must pass this certification exam. I am preparing to take this exam in 2021/2022.
I will give my time and skills to society by participaing in volunteer cybersecurity events and publishing essential articles. I am also a bug bounty hunter in Bugcrowd to use my expertise to improve the world’s security field. I am very excited to use my knowledge and skills to enhance and secure people’s lives in my developing country or region in the future.
From: New Delhi, India
Age: 22 years
Activity: Bachelors in Business Administration, University of Wroclaw
Learning as a passion has always opened a lot of new avenues for me. I have always aspired to choose a career in a field that motivates me and holds a natural appeal to me. I feel the need to constantly streamline and upgrade the tools and resources to make our life worth living. Today, I stand at the pathway of learning and have without hesitation, opted to further study the field of business as it excites me the most.
My first step towards business studies was when I first decided to take an Economics course in tenth standard in school. This fascinated me to move towards this field as a career. The desire to pursue business studies motivated me to reserve a seat in the Business Administration program at the University of Wroclaw. Being a freshman, I developed an interest in accounting and finance. The curiosity had me driven to get more detailed training in financial statements and concepts outside the college. This not only provided an insight into how transactions are recorded but also nourished my problem-solving skills.
Under the guidance of my professors, I was able to perform well and was awarded the Rector’s Scholarship for the Best Student, 2019-20, 2020-21, for securing the first position in academic performance in the BBA study program. It was in the fourth semester of BBA that I started preparing for professional training and was fortunate enough to be selected as a Finance Intern at Deutsche Telekom Digital Labs. I gained a fair knowledge of the basics of finance and spreadsheets, applying my classroom concepts to real-life scenarios. I also learned about the nuances of professional business communication. After the successful completion of my training, I was assigned to my first real-time project – accounting policy preparation. Being the only intern in the Finance Department, my responsibilities increased. This gave me an insight into the deeper levels of corporate finance functioning. I am sure that this is the starting of a new phase in my life. Five years ago, little did I know that I would eventually develop such a keen interest in this field.
I am confident that I will complete my studies with a mindset that depicts a zeal to go into the real world with sound foundations. I am a very ambitious person with an aspiration to reach the skies one day. It is of utmost importance for me to equip myself with full knowledge backed by sufficient field experience.
From: Bangkok, Thailand
Age: 19 years
Activity: Music Industry Major and Recording Minor at Northeastern University College of Arts, Media and Design.
Currently working as a freelancing record producer, mixing and mastering engineer, as well as an instrumentalist for various charity concerts, gigs, and numerous fundraising events.
I told my long-time best friend that there are three inevitable things in life: death, taxes, and changes. The first two are obvious and self-explanatory; however, the third one has left my friend with a temporary bald spot on his head from all the head scratching and confusion. Ironically, he has experienced physical change, a temporary loss of hair on his head. On the other hand, the type of change I experienced was rather mental. It was the maturity and self
motivation that resulted in this inner desire to permanently change my traits and the way I want to live that defines me as a person.
Primarily focused on my personal development and growth during the new normal, I have learned and acquired additional skills in hopes of making a difference in the world through one of my passions, the music industry. Song composition, audio mixing, music production, and mastering are skills that I have acquired from listening and exploring new ideas exposed in different musical genres. All the Trap, Lo-Fi, Psytrance, Hard-Style, and Electro House beats that I have produced was like swimming from a narrow river through the vast ocean. In the end, what really matters is the impact you had on others and the legacy you leave behind that becomes permanent. Bill Gates was once known as the richest man alive, now he is remembered as the founder of the largest private foundation in the world. There is absolutely more to the music industry than generating profit, revenue, and reputation as I was able to show others what I am capable of doing by making an impact in my local Thai community in the past. Young children are inspired to follow my footsteps after attending one of my charity concerts in Bangkok, and I have become an extremely compassionate individual through focusing on the needs of others rather than my own.
Currently, I am letting my ambition carrying me to succeed and grow in life through the universal language of music and sound. Through that medium, I was granted the ability to change people’s lives by creating the musical version of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the number of many resources available, lots of flexibility and additional room for success, and barely any restrictions that I am able to channel this desire to help others through sounds and musical notes.
As a musician and global citizen, I am working towards a goal of recognizing and taking action to meet the needs of individuals, communities, and our society through music with a desire for positive outcomes. I have found my place in this vibrant and diverse community, characterized by collaboration, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. By understanding how organizations all around the world approach social issues in support of their communities through the various community volunteers program and service opportunities, I am able to work directly with musical community-based organizations in helping those in need through my experiences and passions in music. Hosting, organizing, and raising funds through charity concerts and gigs, I am directly serving the needs of others that results in a long-lasting impact in the heart’s of these individuals. As long as we believe in ourselves, nothing is impossible.
PRINCE CLER PASCUAL ACOSTA
Hi, My name is Prince Cler, most of my friends and workmates called me ‘Princee’ I was born and raise in the archipelago in Philippines. I was born on November 2, 199x (Hehe). I love listening to music, singing as well, a little bit in dancing. I recently discovered my passion in cooking and baking. In terms of taking care of my health I love drinking tea during breakfast, eating more fruits, less eating of red meat I am a seafood lover, more on vegetables I like salads, and my most favorite meal course is dessert my most favorite is chocolate moist fondant cake. I do light exercise on my free time or stretching, I like to play badminton but I think badminton doesn’t like me (hahaha). Family matters, I have two siblings I’m the youngest in the family, my father was a soldier and my mom is a house wife, my parents are separated since I was 16 years old when the time I heard that they will separate I feel that my whole life will be ruin that time It’s hard to accept the situation I can’t focus on my studies I feel like I don’t want to go to school, everytime I go to school I wanted to be alone I was just looking on one side starring in the air, my closest friends are worried they are giving me advices, when they give advices my mind is out of nowhere it’s difficult to sink into my memory what they have said to me, all I want is to cry, but when my aunt talk to us it sink to my mind that this is not the end of my life I realized that I need to study hard finished my school and enter into the University to pursue my dreams and get high marks in the school so that my parents would be proud of me. That I realized even though they are not together my life will still go on. When it’s time to enroll in the University I have difficulties to choose which course I would choose my parents want me to enroll in Nursing Course, that was my dream when I was a child to become a nurse but there is a reason why I didn’t choose that course because of my sister’s accident I realized I couldn’t take a nurse I’m afraid of blood, I said to myself I want to travel, I need a course that could make me travel, Tourism course might help me to travel so I enroll to that course. While I’m on my college degree course everything is different it’s another chapter to make, you need to make new friends at school, my old friends during my high school was on the different school I have to stand on my personality to have a new circle of friends, my journey in college was a bit hard because some of my minor class I have in different college department classmates, there were times my classmates are 4th year and I was in my 2nd year I was a bit nervous because I feel that they were very good because they’ve reach the 4th year and I said to myself I need to prove them that I can beat them, I will pass this class with high marks. There are times I’m thinking to have a part time job in this times I said to myself that I should not depend on my parents the other expenses for my studies so I applied as a cashier in one of the establishments in my province I am starting to be independent, this is the start of my dreams to reach. After my graduation I went to the capital city of the Philippines to get a job that is related to my course, but it wasn’t easy to get a job as a fresher you have to bear the discrimination/rejection from the employer, as a fresher in my country you can’t get a job easily if you don’t have experience in the position you are applying for, and if you don’t have a pleasing personality your not qualified and if you don’t have a good backer with high position you will br rejection. In this times I’m so down, but this is not the hindrance to quit,I still pursue applying even though I am walking in the street and the temperature of the weather is hot, I need to bear it to submit my CV and get a job. One day I receive a call from employer He said “I want to make an interview with you but you need to come within an hour” I was shock, I said to myself an hour? Then I realized I need a job, I need to be there, then I replied yes I will be there within an hour. Interview is on going we have a short conversation then finally I got it then he said you will start your work today you need to prepare yourself and be here exactly 4pm. I have only 3 hours to prepare, find a clothes needed and come back, and that’s my dream started. Eventhough I don’t have experience as a barista he trusted me that I can make it and I’m eager to learn. Months pass by, while walking near to the park going home I saw a poster, a job hiring outside the country going to Dubai, I said I want to travel I want to apply I want to experience working outside the country and be independent, I did not give up I pass the interview waited for my visa for a very long time it takes almost a year to get my visa, while I’m waiting for a very long time I almost give up but there is God uplift me, give me strength not to give up and be positive in life, and 8 months of waiting I got my visa, finally I will travel and start to explore learn new things, understand other culture meet new people work with other nationalities. Living independently away from your family was not easy, so many adjustments you need to acquire but if you are brave and strong to face all the challenges in life you will overcome all those challenges, trust yourself fight for your dreams and goals in life, 5 years of battle in the challenges I overcome it from being barista to bartender I reach it through the guidance and support of the people around me and who trust in me. Especially the guidance of God I can reach my goals. Someday I will have my own Café, believe in yourself and don’t ever mind what other people say about you, it’s you who will make your dreams come true not the other people, follow what your heart and mind say. I hope to all readers this will make an inspiration to you to pursue your dreams whatever difficulties in life you may encounter, don’t give up, CHEER UP!!!!.
From: Himachal Pradesh, India
Age: 25 years
Activity: PhD student
First of all, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to introduce myself.
Currently I am a doctoral student at Asian Institute of technology, Thailand, working in the field of Industrial engineering and Manufacturing technology, specialization in supply chain network designing. My research concerns building resilient supply chain networks and the mitigation strategies to handle uncertainties and disruptions faced by supply chain of industries. Looking forward to work on building resilience in a sustainable supply chains and Green supply chains.
I am a person with strong determination and strongly believes in perfection. In this fast-changing world patience, a trait which I feel a lot of people lack, I am blessed to receive an ample amount of it. Nowadays people say smart work is the key to success which is true although but success does not come through magic or luck; without a dream, a goal, an ambition its impossible. It takes sweat, resolution and hard work to achieve it. Personally, I enjoy cooking, Photography, listening to Music, reading books, love animals and riding my bike around. Nowadays, I am learning musical instruments which was my all-time favourite desire since my childhood.
Parents are the best teachers of our life and dream of our future. My father, Dr. Vinod Kumar Joshi is the first person, from whom I imbibed the fundamental learning character, showing me the joy of intellectual pursuit ever since I was a child. He has always been boosting my morale, whenever I felt a bit anxious or frustrated. With love and celestial smiles, I respectfully thank my mother Mrs. Sushma Joshi, who sincerely raised me with her caring and gentle love. It is their blessing who I am today. Till now my parents are my consistence source of inspiration and motivation. If god takes something from you, then God gives an alternative to overcome that inability. My parents both are handicapped and they both have achieved success in their life by overcoming their disabilities, as my father, a proud professor serving this world by giving eminent contribution in food science field whereas my mother a retired principal of school making our home beautiful with her presence and delicious food. Listening to my father, his struggles stories and his advice, it always has helped me as I have gained enough experience to handle any bad situation that comes in my way. From my mother’s experience, I have learnt how to be an all-rounder as its always better to have a person who is good in everything just like a mother.
I wasn’t a god gifted child or born with superior abilities to shine brightly in this world. Achieving good grades in school was just to make my parents image up in this society. I was an average student who use to wait for 4 p.m. to get into field and play cricket/football with friends. Soon, in my high school, I suffered a back injury which ruined my future plans to play for my country. I still remember the talk that I had with my father 2-3 months before my boarding exams, he said “my dear, I am always with you, if you want to go to sports academy, you can! if you don’t want to do anything, no worries! we will open a store for you! but if you want to study then it’s the time to strike, start studying, I have seen a strong academic character in you, study with full-heart” Since that day, I started studying carefully. I found a significant interest in science and engineering and my curiosity, my hunger for knowledge increased day by day. Knowledge is the key to gain confidence as it helped to overcome my biggest challenge viz an introvert personality, which always stopped me to do things I liked. I started reading books, I found a great interest in psychology, spirituality, inner peace and fun of being an extrovert, within an year, I found a great change in me. Now I am not that lazy fellow who use to say let’s do that tomorrow, my father had ignited a spirit that says forget tomorrow let’s do it now.
Born in beautiful country like India, with a huge diversity, different religions and so many cultures, it has helped me in being interactive to people from different countries and easily understand their feelings. I found myself a more social and fun filling personality while communicating with people of different origins. With 1.36 billion population, the competition level is beyond imagination. Either you have to be best in this world or a son of a businessman on to achieve something here. This drives me to work harder as hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.
My best proud moment was when I stood first position in my batch while I was doing Bachelor of technology (Mechanical Engineering). I have earned a lot of prizes and certificate in sports and other extra-curricular activities, my parent were happy with them also but the smile I saw on my parents face was something as beautiful as a blue moon. Since then, I have kept that blue moon with me! As I am honoured with a gold medal for securing best grades in my bachelors. Later on, I was awarded with AIT fellowship, which sponsored my masters. Recently, I was awarded with His Majesty The King’s Doctorate Scholarship by Thai government. My bachelors major project (Designing and fabrication of roofless car) was inaugurated by first Indian IPS officer Smt. Kiran Bedi. Moreover, I was sportsmen of the year 2013, awarded by my high school. I have three publications (1 in press) and hope to produce more academic contribution to this world. Me and my colleagues worked on several projects like PaanFun- a 3D Extrusion printer, Environmental impact assessment of grocery bags using LCA (SimaPro), Improvement in pull system of inventory control, Diagnostics and fault finding in CNC system, New alternative for Packaging of JAM, Product design and development of Smart Table, Belt driven recreational cycle, Hydraulic powered robotic arm etc,.
With an increase in technology, I feel this world wouldn’t be the same as it today. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have amplified the creativity and imagination of humans. Our future would be exceptionally beautiful, it would be so smart that we can’t even image. It was a dream of people in 18th century to fly high, many people called wright brother idiots but their invention is still making people dreams come true today. Who knows what would be the future tomorrow! All we can do is to enjoy present and live our journey towards human kind.
Whenever people ask me where do to you see yourself in next upcoming years. I always answer them I would like to see myself an improved version of me as compared to my past. Each individual has its own timeline, an own exam of life. I dream to be one of the best teachers in this world. I believe teachers build up future and I would love to be a part of it. Thereafter, once I am capable enough to stand strong in this competitive world, I would love to take a philanthropist approach and serve humanity.
Many times, we hesitate to bring a change in society as majority doesn’t agrees the same but a strong determination of a single individual can change the world just like Indian’s father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi. World needs people who can correct the mistakes we humans did and still doing to make our temporary lives better but the costs of those comfort are now visible; climate change causing natural disasters are increasing day by day, plastic pollution has significantly increased, we must act now. I am trying my best to design resilient supply chains for industries which take consideration of these environmental concerns. Apart from that we need to build human ethic back to our world so that God’s best creation doesn’t stand down the list.
Do Huu Truong
Age: 21 years
Activity: Fourth year student and have been working in several startups in different sectors.
I am a typical Vietnamese guy who has made an adventurous decision with an ambition to thrive in a new culture a couple of years ago. My consistency back then was provoked with the hope to dig deeper into the international business point of view. I have currently pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship at Bangkok University. I value real-life and hands-on experience over theoretical knowledge. This characteristic spread out to several projects and positions I took during university life. I do not accept a fact when I have not yet verified or proved it correct. An entrepreneurial spirit has always been inside my blood that shines bright when I got to do something. I want to touch everything in the operation process to make sure it performs its job well enough. When I got my hands on those responsibilities, I tend to get it all done as soon as possible. After that, I analyze the results to trace the mistakes that occurred along the way. In the end, I choose to either pivot or do more to see more accurate outcomes. I work towards recognition, which makes salary is not the first prioritized factor to attract me. Instead of a well-paid job, the pervasive recognition from friends, colleagues, and communities is what I am heading.
I always tell myself that I will be an entrepreneur who will somehow get exposed to a free working schedule. Most importantly, to put a total contribution to the work that I am passionate about it. Tony Gaskins used to say: “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs” This perception has followed me on my pathway towards my goals. I work towards recognition and a visionary. No matter how many hours it takes to get a job done in a day, I will take it as the reward is as high as the pressure it forms. I am a believer, and the only thing that could make my sleeves roll up and dedicate my life is my dream, which I have proved the right one to thrive. I have a vision that everyone in this world will have access to auto-based technology under a transparent and pure moral standard. We could understand that a time when a standard income person is allowed to approach a high-end tech device. Plus, that person lives in a community that against corruption.
My journey started from the very first project I contributed with 3 other friends. That was the time when I was 19 years old. At that age, I did not have much experience though, not to say that I did not have any at all. I decided to take a step at the most prominent industry at the place where I operated the project which was the tourism industry. I tried to step out of the box by actively searching for friends who are up to the project and looking for partnerships. Not to mention that I was responsible for most of the tasks in the project ranged from tour guide to social media influencer. The next important milestone in my journey was the time when I got a chance to attend a summer course at a university in Spain. During the course, I had a chance to meet smart and multicultural people who led me to a new mindset which I have found beneficial to my life so far. I did not have a good communication capability back then and struggled to keep up with everyone. But my aspiration helped to connect them to me. The final point in my journey belongs to my internships in different industries with leaders from different cultures. The challenge that I had to encounter was a cross-culture problem. The remedy to this issue is to go for international behavior standard as the company see it as the common ground to interact with their international staff. The solution also leads to more opportunities in the future rather than go for the particular behavior from that country’s culture.
Two primary factors that have played a prominent role in shaping me today are hard-working and entrepreneurial spirit. As a Vietnamese guy, I have a characteristic of an Asian guy that is to learn, learn and learn till I could not sit anymore to learn. Then will shift to lie on the bed and learn. Knowledge is unlimited. Therefore, the more I could dedicate to learn from, the wiser I become. As a citizen in a country categorized as a lower-middle-income one, learning without resting is a significant key to transform my life into a better version. My nation has recently been viewed as a startup hub where entrepreneurs are burgeoning. People are trying to get rid of the boring loop of an office worker routine, and thrive in a dynamic, risky, entrepreneurial atmosphere. I have had a chance to grow up inside that society where entrepreneurs are considered leaders of innovative, technology disruptive, and potential firms. However, there is an element in a country that influenced me at the beginning of my journey. That is cultural change-resistant. I had a perspective that wherever I go, nothing could influence my original culture or dissolve it. Patriotism was the main factor that led to that mindset. Fortunately, I had overcome that problem after a couple of times conquering with that mindset.
My achievement chain has a starting point in 2019 when I first came out of my comfort zone to attend a summer course at a university in Spain. The certificate at that university was not only proof of my dedication to thrive in a real multicultural environment when not even a classmate in my class has the same nationality as the others but also a successful endeavor to manage in a foreign country without help from any source of relations. I got an invitation to a conference where politicians, royal members, and decision-makers came to discuss several global topics to help bring back prospects and transformation. The idea is to utilize the power of the youth. Internships experience is a fruitful achievement to a young guy since I have tried to be part of firms that focus on marketing, finance, consulting, community, e-commerce, and retail under leaders from Thailand, Britain, and America. Cultural diversification from workplaces and leaders have brought to me different points of view related to working types, leader styles, and industry insights. In the meantime, I am working for placement in either Britain or America to get deeper into the business community in a particular country. On the other hand, I am planning to get a Master’s degree in either America and Britain to boost my knowledge and experience for a long-term career in both nations.
I have a vision when I will be working in the finance industry as either a risk manager or a financial modeler or both in either Britain or America. I love helping entrepreneurs and their “offsprings” growing up day-by-day. It is a pleasure to be a tiny point of the whole growing and scaling chain. Therefore, holding a position in an incubator or an accelerator has always in my mind. The reason is the firms offer opportunities to get close to every startup and the initial process. The next step of my career ladder will be a position in either venture capital or private equity. Those businesses have always been well-known for their duty of leading and transforming small companies or public companies. The core of their responsibility is also related to the support towards those acquired firms. My last step in my career ladder is a seed investor or an angel investor with a hope to give potential companies funding to thrive in this business world.
Growing big and influence the place around me to grow as big as me. My growth is positive, which makes me want to reform the world around me and convert it into a better place. However, nothing becomes better if a person interacts with it from that person’s point of view even that is a positive mindset, or at least that person thinks it is so. My solution is to leave the world to move forward as it has always done. In case I wanted to make it become a better version, I would only give out my best to prevent everything that could make the world a worse place. In that way, the world will not be manipulated by anyone or at least by me. This remedy could lead to the free world as no one could influence the world in a so-called better place by thinking that they are that “good” to consider reforming the globe. Trying to prevent as many bad things as possible that could make the world a worse place and the world will transform into a better place by its way. The Earth has always succeeded with the event of reforming for billions of years.
Munaz Mohammed Nibraz
From: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Age: 25 years
Activity: Software Engineer
When faced with trauma, some people manage to emerge stronger than ever. This is the story how I managed to overcome my challenges as a student, as a son and as a human. My name is Munaz Mohammed Nibraz, people call me ‘Nibbu’ I think it means faith. For most of the time in my life I have wondered is there any connection to the meaning of my name and my own self. I was that quiet and shy kid you see at schools and in teen Netflix shows, not very outspoken, just minding my own business, no close friends and getting bullied all the time. Though my life moved forward with that repo, I had a secret talent and a love towards public speaking. That is the moment I knew that I have a voice to be heard. My school life went on with me struggling with studies and my grades but I had a simultaneous problem at home with my parents. You know how parents can be overprotective and be very sensitive about the grades of their children. It’s a typical thing in Sri Lanka where majority of the parents think that their child’s grades decide their reputation and social status, and yes, my family is no exception. My parents tried every single way there is to motivate me and see a progress in my studies. Unfortunately all their time ,money and energy got wasted, so as my dream of becoming a doctor.
Ive always dreamed of becoming a doctor, wearing a plum coloured stethoscope and being called as Dr. Nibraz. I find that title has a nice ring to it. But unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. As you can guess, I failed to embrace my ambition. I did my Advance Level examination twice and still failed to get selected to the medical school. For those who didn’t know, Srilanka has a free education system and we have to perform well in studies to get selected for universities on specific majors. Theres another option for those wealthy kids, to go abroad and do everything they intend to do. I guess I wasn’t that lucky enough and I didn’t have any other options either, so I got my self enrolled in a private university called Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) to follow my next passion, IT.
I still remember my first day at the university. It was my father who drove me there. I guess we both shared same series of emotions just rolling within our bodies. I didn’t know whether to be excited for my next journey or to be saddened by the fact that I am saying good bye to my ambition once in for all. My dad on the other hand, I saw how he gave an empty reaction when we sat there during the orientation. I can still picture his face, I saw nothing but emptyness. I knew for a fact that he gave up on seeing me as a successful person. I wanted to say sorry, I wanted to comfort him but I didn’t. I just sat there and let everything sink in.
The 4 years of my university is where the true changes started happening. I met genuine, caring friends who accepted me for who I am, depressed and with social anxiety. They made sure that I become this bold and social-friendly person inorder to face the world as it is. My introverted innerself slowly started decaying, I became more social, I met more people and most importently, I started understanding people. While these things were happening, I had this mission to make my parents proud when I graduate, specially my dad. My father is a very outspoken and goal-oriented person. He always judges someone by their success and he always has given importance to education and education only. To be honest, I have hated him for that. I have hated him that he never allowed me to skip a class or never allowed any fun that affects my education. Now I look back at him and his action, I see what he really meant. He wanted me to understand the importance of education and he wanted me to be happy.
I graduated from my university this year. I am a software engineer now, I graduated with a class and on top rank, I have published 2 papers, I have won competitions, medals and trophies, and I have made changes in people’s lives by councilling and helping them, but still I find myself unhappy. Not because of any monetary reasons or less vacation, because of the fact that my dad isnt here to see my success. His little boy, who he wanted to be successful is yearning to look him in the eye and tell him that he has actually made him proud and continue to do it till his death.
Some may find this boring and some may have other opinion but the reason I wanted to tell my story here is to tell people that they are not alone and to let my voice be heard. Our country has this weird way of labelling people. They expect everyone, specially youngsters to follow pre defined rules inorder earn respect. I was a failure at school, its ok to be a failure. I was an introvert, its ok to be an introvert. I was bullied, its ok to get bullied and all we need is courage and self motivation. Whatever happened to me, I have never let the faith on myself fade away because no matter what happens to me, you or others, life will move on and we need to learn to move forward with it, with our heads up high.
My friends and I still talk about the first time we met eachother and how awkward it was to all of us. Yet here we are, after all these years, faced many ups and downs and still growing strong. I learnt a great lesson by understanding the people. No matter how great place this world becomes, there will be negativity around you, there will be bullies, there will be lies, there will be breakups and there will be deaths. The only thing that should matter to us is the faith that we have in our own selves, to trust what we do and a little bit of initiative to help others. I needed help, my friends were there for me and like myself Im sure there are plenty of people in our society who genuinly needs help who may or may not be voicing out that they need help. I urge everyone who reads this to be kind toward others because we never know what they have been through and what they are going through. Kindness can actually make changes in someone’s life like the way it changed mine.
Now I have great people around me, I have an ambition to complete PhD and most importently I have a goal to find and help people who needs help. As we are in a fast phased world with evolving technologies, I want to incorporate technological stack into this initiative and help the ones who needs them the most. Most of us have some kind of view towards the future, specially how we want to make changes in the world and as people around us are the key to a successful change, I think the change should start from and with them. Mental health is something we ignore which has the potential to snowball and ruin an individual. In my country, people just neglect mental health, calling a person weak and mentally unstable, but little do they know the struggles and the battles that victim is facing within is hard and real. Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Let us all understand the fact that mental health is as important as physical health and let us all stand together to help those in need to make a safe and stable society and eventually a better world.
Tasneem Fatima Nawab
From: Indian brought up in Dubai
Age: 29 years
Activity: Entrepreneur. One brand is nutrition based and other is fashion. (Elixir Nutrition and Zaish)
Growing up, I had love for way too many differing fields. The concept of being an entreprenuer has caught on only recently and so as a child, I always struggled with exactly which box I should place myself into. In trying to do so, I started off with doing my BBA in Dubai to moving on to doing my Masters in Law in the UK. Once I graduated and got back to Dubai, which I so fondly call home, I developed an interest in Nutrition. An unsolicited demand for my fitness advise drove me further into developing my passion for healthy living into a business. I still had love for so much more and realized that I am too fluid to stick with just nutrition. This drove me to pursing more of the things I loved and that is how my fashion brand Zaish came into existence.
Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life
A large part of my drive comes from the fear of being enslaved to a desk from 9am to 5pm. After trying my hand at a corporate internship, I realized all I wanted to do was run away from that lifestyle. I craved to go back into the sun glowing outside and not be stuck in traffic every single morning.
Freedom has always meant everything to me. Social freedom, financial freedom, freedom of time and freedom to travel. None of these would ever have been fulfilled if I were to stick to the safety of a 9 to 5.
Also, everytime I would travel back to India, as used to it as I may be, the poverty and misery of people would always, ALWAYS, affect me. I felt liable to their wellness and disbalance of equality, may it be in terms of finances, lifestyle, and again, freedom. Every single morning I wake up to know the better I do for myself, the better I can help those in need and the quicker I can push the world towards a balance and an eradication of poverty. And my fashion brand, Zaish, aims to do exactly that.
I strongly believe in keeping an extremely small and tight circle of meaningful friends that add value to my mindset and I to theirs. A man (or woman) truly is known by the company he/she keeps!
Lastly, my parents and God blessed me with a life far too comfortable to be able to downgrade in any way whatsoever. That’s not what us humans were created for in the first place, a downgrade.
The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome
My journey has been quite all over the place to be honest. Loving multiple things and wanting to create them into a business made me seem scattered and always raised eyebrows. I was constantly told that I will end up not being able to achieve anything at this rate. I must give up on everything and focus on only one thing for the rest of my life to become ‘successful’. Everyday I feel successful having guided my clients closer to a their health and having paid a fair share to those under the poverty line that have worked with Zaish.
My so called scatter brain gave me the opportunity to have my own cooking segment on national television through which I promoted health and wellness. (Zee TV Middle East)
The meal plans I supplied to clients brought them closer to their goals and fitness.
The artists I paid a fair share to for their art and skill brought me satisfaction that I was able to bring about more creative and financial freedom to a group of people. After realizing that these little achievements brought me so much joy, I realized that the definition of ‘successful’ for the world massively differed from my own definition of it.
The challenge I would say I faced most and that affected me most would be the lack of belief that people around me had. Including my own family. There were multiple hurdles I faced due to the outside world, which I believe everyone does. I however, faced additonal hurdles within my own house. Those of doubt and cultural shackles that forced marriage upon me. Being a girl of southasian decent, my value, worth and pride was only measured by marriage and not by my own acheivements in business and life as a whole. I respect and appreciate every woman that married young and runs an entire organization called Home. However, I strongly believe that should only be through choice and not expectations of society and culture.
I stood fast by what I beieved in and being water, flowed around all the rocks in my path until I was able to eventually carve those rocks myself.
Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you
Besides the cultural aspects discussed above, commercially, I faced certain hurdles. On the top of my list were the licensing and entrprunerial opportunities given to expats in the UAE. Having studied in the UK with friends that run businesses, I could see a stark difference in the ease with which they, as small business and entreprenuers, were able to achieve and grow. Platforms and incubators were far more available and larger businesses willingly invested in these smaller companies till they were self sufficient and become the very companies that supported them in the first place.
However, there were many pros that I was also blessed with in the region. Being a woman in the UAE is a blessing. Most of my work was done at a better pace and the respect offered and extended to women in this region enabled that growth greatly.
The UAE, specifically Dubai, has never failed to impress anyone, regardless of where they come from. The glamour and sheer wealth in the city has not only motivated me but also made me used to the luxuries life has to offer. This means, I do not see a Lamborghini drive past me as an unacheivable dream, but as something that is so near, so acheivable, so possible. It is only a matter of me putting in the hard and smart work.
Structured organization of the legality of setting up in the UAE makes life extremely easy. The willingness of the service personnels to help and serve is the cherry on top. I have vistied multiple government offices globally and not one seems to come even close to those in Dubai.
Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to
I am mainly proud of how most of my achievements were from my belief in myself, even when nobody else did. So, I cherish all of my acheivements for one reason or another. Each one, including the ‘failures’ taught me lessons that have got me closer to my goals.
Making it on national television opened up a lot of horizons for me, especially in terms or recognizition and reach. Even after being warned against taking it up, I’m glad I did. I am currently most excited about Zaish. Our launch pop up store has received much love and appreciation and the concept is being massively adored. I am looking forward and working towards seeing Zaish placed on multiple platforms in the near future. The eventual goal is to have our own stores globally and we are taking every tiny step today to reach that goal tomorrow.
I also see Elixir becoming a international chain of wellness centers that will serve people with that which is most important, health.
And these are future sights for only my current ventures. I look forward to stepping into multiple areas in life and business in the coming future. I’m a serial entreprenuer in the making!
Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams
As negative and unpromising as the world may get, I always believe in seeing the best in everything and everyone. It is us, every indiviual, that makes tomorrow what it is, today. I am extremely hopeful about the future because I know I am working for making it the best today. I have always had a fascination for the property market thanks to my dad’s love, intertest and acheivement in it. I look forward to entering it very soon. The world will be a better place if all of us come together and do our bit with each other in mind. Poverty is one of the biggest factors holding humans back from their true potential, individually and as a race. I look forward to doing everything in my power to eradicate poverty.
How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place
I think I answered this above opps.
Eradicating poverty, providing freedom to people through education, health, belief and trust in themselves.
Age: 24 years
Activity: Marketing Professional
Who you are – qualifications and traits, what defines you as a person
I am a marketing enthusiast with a colourful mind. I am a mindful daydreamer, openly sensitive and overly passionate for things that I love. I have a double majors in Marketing and Management. The most unique thing that is visible in my work is a touch of emotions and my own personality. It’s what I use to connect to my audience, it makes campaigns more meaningful as I make sure that everything I do has a story, creativity and thought behind it.
In my free time, I am a city dweller who loves to travel the world, explore cultures, traditions and find my own adventure.
Your ambitions, drives and motivations to succeed and grow in life
I’d like to build a strong reputation for my self in the marketing industry. I also hope to become a marketing consultant. My biggest motivation is my own ambitious personality
The journey you’ve had so far, and challenges that you have met and overcome
My journey has been quite pleasant. I have had the unique opportunity to work on a number of projects along side talented people. My personal biggest challenge was figuring out what was it that I wanted to do. Before I found my true passion, I had to work in events, sales, HR and finally marketing. While some people know exactly what they want to do, others have to go through an exploration journey, and that is still great because it is all a learning process
Factors in your own country/region that have helped or hindered you
I think Dubai is a great place for young people as it has tremendous career opportunities. Whether it is internships or full time positions, there is a demand for young people bringing in creative idea’s and high performance. This has obviously worked in my favour and I feel very blessed to be in such an environment
Achievements you are proud of, next goals you look forward to
I won employee of the year within my 3 years of service. I was honered and it felt great to be recognized for our efforts. My next goal would be to start a small business of my own
Your outlook for the future, hopes and dreams
I would love to be an industry expert that others can come to for ideas, help and strategy. I have been fortunate enough to be around professionals that are great at what they do, so I would love to translate my learnings into progression and growth.
How you want to make the world (or tiny part around you) a better place
One doesn’t have to be a genius to know the environmental mess that we have created. A small part that I play is to try and avoid the use of plastic and paper. I have always seen recycling and being responsible in consumption as important and a moral duty.
From: Sri Lanka
Age: 27 years
Activity: 1st year PhD student at School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
I am Malsha Samarasiri who likes to believe in myself and to commit for a better world. Since I was young, with the teachings of my parents, my religion, and my teachers, I have started to think that everyone has a responsibility to serve in this world and a great value within them. Every human being has capabilities that can be explored and utilized during a lifetime. There are three main qualities I often strive to improve in myself: altruistic behavior, generosity, and kindness. I always try to be open about myself and to identify my weaknesses for making myself better. I like to do painting, make handcrafts, and love music. I cannot escape from my main hobby which is watching TV series and movies. I was a yoga and karate practitioner in YMCA, Moratuwa and hope to restart practicing yoga soon. Travelling to foreign countries and experiencing different cultures is very pleasurable for me. I prefer spending time more with my loving family and my friends. My mother, my father, and my husband have always stayed with me and guided me greatly. In certain, I pay my sincere gratitude to my elder sister, my elder brother, my teachers, my lecturers, my friends, relatives, and colleagues who always help and support me during my life journey. Indeed, I would not be able to come so far if we do not have free education up to the university education in my country, Sri Lanka which is a beautiful island often referred to as “the pearl of the Indian Ocean”.
Generally, I am a self-motivated and hardworking person who always desires to improve strengths and reduce weaknesses. In 2013, I did my GCE Advanced Level examination in Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo and I was able to achieve an island rank of 77 in the mathematics stream. In 2010, I did my GCE Ordinary Level examination in Princess of Wales’ College, Moratuwa. One of my key life events is the graduation from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in 2018 with a first-class honors degree. My major was Chemical and Process Engineering and my focus area was Food and Biochemical Engineering. My undergraduate research project was about the “Fermentation of Morinda citrifolia L. fruit (Noni) juice” and my undergraduate design project was regarding “Municipal solid waste torrefaction in Sri Lanka”. In 2019, I was nominated for Migara Ratnatunga Trust Awards which was awarded for high achievers of industrial training by the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL). I was a senior editor of the Chemical Engineering Students Society (ChESS), the University of Moratuwa in 2018. After graduating, I worked as a Business Systems Analyst at IFS R&D International (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo for 6 months (2019), and then I worked as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, the University of Moratuwa for 1 year contract period (2019/2020). I did my industrial training at the Production Department in GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd, Moratuwa for 6 months. I also worked as a Combined Mathematics tutor for about 4 years before my graduation. I am an Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL). My future goal is to become a competent lecturer in Sri Lanka with research expertise in food processing. My current objective is to complete my PhD at my university where I can leverage my analytical skills and laboratory experiences as a contributor to the development in the food processing and biochemical engineering field.
One of the main turning points of my life is selecting Chemical and Process Engineering as my major in which I can study Food Engineering. In my Sri Lankan university, Chemical and Process Engineering is not a very popular discipline due to lesser demands for this field in my country. Therefore, many students who pass first semester examination with flying colors tend to select electronic engineering or computer engineering as their major. So, my father who is a former lecturer in the Electronic Engineering department at my university advised me and was interested to see me in his same discipline. However, he finally understood that my self-satisfaction relies on my aspiration, and he respected my decision. In fact, my passion for the food processing field has started to occur and enlighten me due to some tragic situation in my country. I experienced it a few days before my university entrance, and it has become the turning point of my professional life.
It was a Saturday morning, and I was enjoying my milk coffee. I heard that my father was talking with a neighbor regarding an unfortunate incident in Sri Lanka. It was about the identification of toxic heavy metals in Sri Lankan rice. In that year, 2014, this exploration of arsenic and cadmium in rice was heavily discussed. In fact, rice is the staple diet of Sri Lankans, and it is obvious that more toxic heavy metals are getting into our bodies. As a result, the number of patients suffering from chronic kidney diseases has started to increase. With that, I felt pathetic and heart-breaking toward our people. I have started to question myself. I know that we are living in a still developing country, but why we could not have this basic need of food in a safe manner. My country has a golden history with sustainable and organic agricultural practices spanning more than 2500 years. In ancient time, Sri Lanka was renowned as the granary of the east. It is because that we had the capacity to offer more than 2000 indigenous rice varieties to the rest of the world. So, I questioned myself why we could not reestablish such a strong agricultural system. Gradually I started to feel responsible that I could also contribute to the health and wellbeing of our people as a privileged person of free education.
With these thoughts and attitudes, I have been naturally triggered to read more on food products, their nutritional values, food safety, and food processing methods. In the last year, World Health Organization announced that Sri Lankans are eating a huge number of toxins. So, from time to time, we get to know such food safety issues in my country. But I believe that we could greatly reduce these negative impacts and reinstall a safe food supply chain. For that, we should adopt effective and sustainable food manufacturing practices. However, there is a limited number of research studies conducted in my country regarding food safety concerns. So, my ultimate expectation is to become a lecturer with expertise in food processing and to contribute to improving food safety in Sri Lanka. Therefore, in January 2021, I have started my PhD in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore with a focus on food processing research under the NTU Research Scholarship. To achieve my dream, I should improve both my research skills as well as other skills like public speaking, leadership and team working. I am currently a Toastmaster and the vice president in public relations of Nanyang Scholars Toastmasters Club in NTU.
My passion for my major area and research area has always driven me towards achieving my future goals and dream job. Dreams and goals will always lead to your destination if you follow the correct steps without hesitating. Sometimes, my life was not going as planned, but I always thought that my hard work will pay off. My dream has always kept me alive when I was passing through some difficult times. When I was younger, my dream was to become a teacher. It was because I used to teach a few friends at my home. I used the backside of the door in my bedroom as the blackboard and got a few complaints from my father. Since those days, I felt so much happiness and satisfaction when I helped my friends for their studies. My mother was a teacher, and my father was a lecturer in my university. Their actions have been always good guidance and an exemplar that leads me to my dream job. When I teach or support for studies of someone, I can feel so much self-satisfaction and self-confidence. Thus, I strongly believe that my parents are the main pillars for the cause of my enthusiasm for being a lecturer.
As a still-developing country, Sri Lankans experience many difficulties including the food safety issue I mentioned earlier. Poverty, corruption, foreign influences, and lack of expensive resources are some key issues that come to my mind. However, we are privileged with beautiful nature, a geography with lesser natural disasters, valuable raw materials, skillful people and a system of free education and health system. People in my country have good qualities of hospitality, perseverance, dedication, and tenderness even in those difficult situations. In my life, I was unfortunate to be experienced thirty years of Sri Lankan civil war, tsunami disaster, Easter Sunday attacks and even this current Covid situation. Some periods in our lives were terrified with the unexpected bomb attacks and life was uncertain. But the most heart touching aspect I have seen in those critical circumstances from our community is that they always try to support each other according to their capabilities despite their ethnicity. I believe that we can build our nation into a country with good living standards and reduce those struggles in our day to day lives if we correct ourselves as a society and get together to eliminate the prolonged corruption in our country.
Additionally, getting a higher study opportunity with a scholarship in a foreign country is a dream for every student in my country who have expectations to do postgraduate studies. Since we are living in a still developing country, we are not financially capable to self-fund to get a master or PhD degree. But graduates get scholarships after their continuous commitment, remarkable skills, and strong willingness. Opening the higher study path from this tiny island to any country in the world is not possible if we do not have free education which is a privilege for students no matter what their financial status is. However, some students lose their hope of getting a higher study opportunity in the middle of the process due to some challenges they come across. I also committed for two years in that process while experiencing many things. With those experiences of applying to seven universities in four countries, I have created a blog with articles that can be a guide to a student for their application process from the beginning to the end. After publishing it, many Sri Lankan students have started to reach me to get some advice and feedbacks for issues which they encounter during the higher study application procedure. It has made me happy to help the youngers who also have similar dreams like me and will become strong personalities who can make the world better in future.
Lastly, I would like to say, “Love what you do; Do what you love.”