Ahead of pop legend Leo Sayer's trip to Singapore early next year, we talk to social activist Cecilia Leong-Faulkner, the woman making the concert, and many more good things across Singapore, happen.
What first inspired you to work with social causes?
For as long as I can remember, I have always known that there is no reason why you should not be sensitive, care about others, the sick and the poor etc. It defies understanding that we should take people for granted, to take life for granted. To quote a wise and wealthy friend: “ To draw water from the well, we must make sure that we share and distribute, too!” I am in the entertainment business too, so celebrities that are involved in social causes such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Angeline Jolie etc. inspire me!
I have also worked for multi-national companies such as American Express, Wembley Stadium PLC and Banyan Tree Resorts which have defined corporate values in giving back to the community that we operate in. They have given me a good grounding on how to go about organizing amazing CSR programmes.
Why do you continue to give?
Simply put, I feel good in giving because it helps to put me in touch with my heart and soul. I am so grateful for what I have, I count my blessings each day and I truly believe giving helps me to focus on what really matters and what doesn’t in life. I hope to use my profile in the wider society to influence others to do the same and that is, to give more and focus less on the “me, me thing!” to help make a difference.
You’ve described yourself as a ‘practicing social entrepreneur’. Tell us a little bit more about how you fulfill this role.
I champion and run the British Theatre Playhouse Pte. Ltd. which was founded and incorporated in Singapore in 2004. Our theatre company is not funded so we are independent and use our own private funds to produce plays, musicals and concerts in London and bring them back to Singapore and the region. The work we do is all about the arts and culture; through our shows, we hope to inspire, entertain and yes, help preserve the life of British theatre for the next generation. Indeed, a wonderful validation of the work we do and of the contribution the British Theatre Playhouse has made to society is when our company was nominated as one of the Top 3 Finalists in this year’s British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in the “Community Star” category. Moreover, with every BTP show, we raise the bar by organizing an “Art for Charity” gala event to help raise funds for a chosen charity.
What other causes or organisations are you currently involved with?
Climate change bothers me – it is real and as you can see, environmental disasters are happening around the world due to deforestation, carbon emission, human activies and now, fracking for oil and natural gas. We should all care and I hope to use my voice to raise awareness by speaking about it and that’s the thing – we should all care about our universe as we all share the same planet and there’s only one (so far!) that is livable and sustainable for humans.
Why was the Breast Cancer Foundation chosen as the beneficiary for the Leo Sayer concert?
The last charity we supported was Singapore Committee for U.N. Women and Beautiful People – both these organizations concerned women and girls that need help and support. Well, BCF’s President, Noor Quek approached me by reminding me ‘not to forget’ about BCF and as we have not done anything for breast cancer, I thought it is a good cause to support; I was inspired by British actor, Emma Watson (a Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women) who delivered a powerful speech on Feminism (about gender equality which led to the ‘He for She’ powerful campaign). And BCF considers men play a great role in supporting survivors of breast cancer so, there you go, I’m a Feminist and I’m in!
What’s in store for the "Art for Charity" programme come 2015?
2015 will see Leo Sayer’s world tour kicking off in Singapore as his first stop, with a one-night only concert on Saturday, 17 January 2015, followed by his first performance in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 21 January 2015. Tickets for the Singapore concert are now on sale at SISTIC, priced between S$100 to S$250 Through our “Art for Charity” programme, the British Theatre Playhouse will be having a gala performance with an After-Show Party to meet Leo Sayer with tickets priced at S$500 each for VIP seating with a welcome drink and gala buffet reception after the show. 30% of the charity gala ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
For more information on the British Theatre Playhouse and the Leo Sayer concert, see here.