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One for All, All for One

Features 09 Jul 2020

After several years of working with Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Ron Tan, who is himself hearing-impaired, founded a social enterprise, Inclusive Arts Movement (I.AM) in 2019 with a few friends who shared his passion in outreach. The goal of I.AM has always been to create exposure and more opportunities for PWDs to earn an income with their talent.

As a young boy, Ron had a passion for a lot of things and he devoted much of his time to a wide variety of activities, but his greatest love was making music. Despite being hearing impaired, he harboured a dream that he will one day perform to the public. Defying the naysayers, he became a self-taught pianist, performed his first composition in a school’s piano concert and went on to graduate with a diploma in music engineering. 

That was the turning point when he felt that he could achieve things that people deemed impossible for him. 

"It was then that I knew I was never going to stop making music. I wanted other people with disabilities to experience the euphoria I felt - not for the applause, but the fact that I achieved what I wanted to do." 

Little did he know then that his mettle would once again be put to the test. When COVID-19 struck, Ron saw how his performers became confined at home due to the Circuit Breaker restrictions in place. He knew that he had to do something to help them remain positive. At the same time, he wanted to sustain the public’s interest in them with hopes that they will be engaged again for public performances once the pandemic blows over. Ever creative, he came upon the idea of producing a music video.

"It's not just perfect to capture the public’s attention, but also because we're doing what we absolutely love together."

Despite his best intentions, accomplishing the project proved to be a herculean task. Logistics-wise, he took it upon himself to personally deliver recording equipment to every member while juggling several jobs at the same time.

Financially, it was also challenging because Ron was using his personal savings to fund the project initially. With Temasek Trust’s oscar@sg funding part of the project’s cost, it gave Ron a new lease of confidence to see through the completion of his project.

"I have never thought about calling it quits. Everyone else seemed to think I should. But there was a part of me that knew I just had to go on, to provide that hope for the rest of the team too."

Ron and his friends are exceptionally excited for the video’s release and hope for it to reach out and touch more hearts through social media.

Find out more about oscar@sg fund: https://www.temasektrust.org.sg/Oscar​​​​​​​