INFORACAUSE

Society's new revolutionaries

This story first appeared in The Straits Times' IN on June 30, 2014

THE HIDDEN GOOD

The Hidden Good is a collective, a team of people with a common cause, that carries out small social experiments and films them, all in the name of unearthing and sharing the “hidden good” in Singaporeans.

The group, founded early last year by Mr Rovik Jeremiah Robert and Mr Leon Heng, both 21, when they were serving their national service, aims to shape Singapore into a happier and more positive place to live in.

“We were frustrated with the culture of online naming and shaming that many Singaporeans have adopted,” said Mr Rovik.

The volunteers concoct scenarios – such as asking for help with tying a tie, or staging a snatch theft – and film Singaporeans helping the “victims”.

The videos, which are uploaded on social media platforms, garner about 14,000 views on average, as well as many positive responses.

Their most recent project also generated much buzz. A picture of their tongue-in-cheek installation of a reserved seat for national servicemen – a foldable chair (right) – on an MRT train was featured in Shin Min Daily News and on Stomp.

On Facebook and Twitter combined, the picture was reposted at least 6,500 times and received at least 1,500 likes.

Examples of good behaviour influence more people to engage in such behaviour, explained Mr Rovik, who will read computer science at Northwestern University in the United States later this year.

And it works. “What they’re doing brings awareness to Singaporeans,” said Shreya Sudhakar, 14, who has watched videos of The Hidden Good in action.

“It encourages us to be more courteous and gracious to people around us,” added the Beatty Secondary School student.

While Mr Heng has left the collective to pursue other interests, the group has expanded to some 40 individuals and it is going strong.

Having recently celebrated its first anniversary, the team is setting its sights on its next event – the second edition of The MP3 Experiment: Singapore’s Soundtrack, a silent flashmob to be held on July 12.

Participants will gather at a yet-to-be-named location to carry out verbal instructions, delivered through an MP3 file that participants have to download to their portable audio players.

To be part of this, you can sign up at mp3experimentsg.launchrock.com.

Find out more about The Hidden Good at facebook.com/thehiddengood

What’s your favourite social cause? Tweet @STSchools_ with your thoughts!

LORONG BOYS

A quintet of classical musicians, the Lorong Boys have been performing together since late last year.

Originally formed to compete in Sparkz, a talent contest organised by the International Relations Committee of the National University of Singapore Students’ Union, the group soon realised they had a common goal – breaking down traditional barriers so everyone can enjoy music.

They wanted to do away with “the hallowed halls, tickets, rituals and sitting quietly in the darkness”, so Mr Gabriel Lee, 26, Mr Jonathan Shin, 22, Mr David Loke, 23, Mr Joachim Lim and Mr Rit Xu, both 25, took to the MRT trains to perform in January.

They have played four times so far, much to the delight of their “audience members” – offline and online.

Clips of them performing have been recorded and uploaded by commuters to various social media platforms, who marvel at their spontaneity. On one of the Lorong Boys’ Facebook video posts, a comment left by netizen Ang Agnes commended the young men for daring to be different and giving beautiful music to the commuters.

But Mr Lee thinks that bringing beauty to the world is not the job of the five young adults alone.

“I think we should all go out there and make the world a more beautiful place, just because,” he said.

Find out more about Lorong Boys at facebook.com/lorongboys