It started out as a simple idea, to use fitness as a tool to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youths in Singapore. That was how A-Lister, entrepreneur and founder of Innervate Fitness Lionel Choong came up with the idea of Operation Broken Wing (OBW), a months-long campaign culminating in a day when the fitness community would come together to push each other to achieve personal bests based on the amount they had raised.
We chatted with Choong and picked his brain on how Brother has played a role in helping his causes.
Tell me more about OBW.
We started it five years ago. Fitness has always been seen as an individualistic aspect of life. However, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to use their physical abilities for a good cause. And the plight of the youth has always been something that I can relate to. Honestly, we started small but I’m glad that it has grown into the monster that it is today. Through the years, we’ve raised about $850,000 for our beneficiaries.
What sparked in you this desire to help?
I guess you could say that it was a calling. I’ve always wanted to lend a hand to others since I was growing up. The plan was to become a teacher (laughs). But, one path led to another and here I am, trying to make a small dent in this large universe. There have been various motivations along the way, but nothing makes me happier than to see people’s lives change through the years.
Your gym Innervate Fitness also provides a place for latchkey kids and senior citizens to work out.
Yes, I realised that I didn’t just want to raise money for the youth at risk, but also be able to impart life skills to them. At the same time, I wanted to use Crossfit as a positive outlet for these kids to channel their energy and learn something new.
But beyond just a hobby, I realised that it was important to integrate them into a community that allowed them to feel at home with like-minded people.
This latter objective was also the reason why we opened our gym to senior citizens and adaptives, or people with disabilities. We wanted to provide a sense of belonging.
“I realised that it was important to integrate the latchkey kids into a community that allowed them to feel at home. This was also the reason why we opened our CrossFit gym to senior citizens and adaptives, or people with disabilities. We wanted to provide a sense of belonging.”
You run a gym, operate OBW and also give back to the community. How do you not get burnt out?
Who says I never get burnt out? (laughs) Well, I take it one step at a time. I try to link it all together and not see it as different things. These disparate responsibilities I juggle have the same goal, purpose and vision to hopefully shake the world up a little bit. But more importantly, I enjoy the process and I love what I do. So coming to the gym, seeing members who have become friends and seeing the impact in the little work that I do puts a smile on my face. And lastly, beer (laughs). The occasional beer keeps me sane. To be honest, the Brother printer I have definitely helps me.
Could you share with me how the Brother printer has helped you in this aspect?
Well, we run a lot of physical events and move around quite a bit. The Brother printer has been following us around and is still going on strong. It’s pretty hardy, which one wouldn’t expect from most tech products nowadays. We move it around a lot, after all. It’s also pretty versatile in its functions, and darn fast to boot.
What were your impressions about the Brother printer and how has it changed?
Initial impressions? Heavy as hell (laughs). Lifting something like that over your head is surprisingly harder than it looks. Of course, I don’t usually lift it over my head anymore and while it’s heavy and somewhat small, it’s actually extremely capable. It operates like those big bulky printers you see in the office but is the size of your home variants. And calling it a printer is a misnomer, because it does so much more. It scans and copies too, among many other functions that I honestly have yet to discover.
Discover Brother at www.brother.com.sg