Joyce Lye left the comfortable confines of a top banking job more than 25 years ago to set up Kampung Senang, which focuses on community work.
My adoptive father was a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician who would treat some patients for free. Since I was little, he would put me by his side in his clinic as he worked, and I remember his patients coming back to visit after they got well, with gifts of fruit and vegetables to thank him. I was so proud of him, and it instilled the notion in me that helping people to get well and remain healthy is indeed a very happy and joyful experience.
When I grew up, I became a corporate banker and was focused on climbing the ladder of success.
In 1992, when news broke that both of Singapore’s former Deputy Prime Ministers had cancer, one of my clients — a foreign investor who heard the news — asked if it was still safe to invest in Singapore. That question surprised me. It made me realise how important health was not just for ourselves but also for our country.
The following year, I organised a talk for guest speaker Dr Lai Chiu-Nan, a prominent cancer researcher. During the talk, Dr Lai asked a question that would change the course of my life: ‘If all it takes, is one simple step to help conserve the greatness and beauty of Mother Nature, and at the same time keep chronic illnesses like cancer at bay, would you take that step?’
Silently to myself, I answered ‘yes’.
Since then, I became actively involved in organising ad hoc independent wellness activities such as health talks and detox events to help people with health problems. Inspired and encouraged by the positive results, I decided to leave the corporate world to set up Kampung Senang (www.kampungsenang.org), in 1999. It’s an eco-conscious charity that reaches out to serve the community through compassion-filled charity programmes and education on holistic environmentally-friendly lifestyles. Kampung Senang is also dedicated to the protection of life and our planet. I now live life with a very different outlook; I’m a vegan and my mindset has changed. Instead of chasing after business, I chase after people who need care. I see myself as a happy caregiver!”