Shiam is targeting a perception change of how disability is viewed with his sports business, Dis.Is.Able
What’s your story?
I have always had a burning desire for sports but para-sport is something that I never imagined would fuel this desire.
An encounter with one of the para-athlete teams triggered me to start searching in depth into the para-sport scene. After much research I realised a change needed to be made.
A perception change was needed and the way the disability scene was viewed needed an overhaul. I had to be the change and showcase positivity and this led to Dis.Is.Able being born together with the tagline ‘embracing the ablitiy in disability.’
What excites you most about your industry?
The unpredictability. Always being surprised by both the challenges faced within the industry and by the athletes who we serve. Achieving the end result is also the fuel of my excitement, the thought of attaining what you set out to do is both frightening and exciting as well. Attaining equality and change of perception cannot be done overnight.
Meeting like minded people is rewarding as well as it is a form of reassurance that you are not alone in this world with the wacky idea of making a change.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Singapore and South East Asia would be my closest connection to Asia. Born and raised in Singapore.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have not had the chance to bring my business out of Singapore but if I had a chance I would like to bring it across South East Asia.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you don’t do it now, then when?
Who inspires you?
Athletes inspire me because of the natural beauty of sport and what they can achieve. How they can rise to the top and fall the very next day is a great reflection of life and how you need to stay humble. Two athletes who I idolised when I was younger were Lance Armstrong and Zinedine Zidane, unfortunately both did not have a fairytale ending to their careers but they taught me a very valuable lesson.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I was worrying about juggling so many things and I wondered if I should pull the plug on some of my activities until someone told me this, “Stop worrying about how many years are left on your life. Your job is to add life to the years you have!”
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently because I am not here to make a name for myself but to make sure that the ‘name’ of disability sport and disability will be on equal par of importance in the eyes of the nation.
How do you unwind?
I am a sports enthusiast, so playing or watching sport is my unwind time. It also helps bring clarity to my mind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Malaysia! It is only an hour drive away and everything is really cheap. Also, that is the amount of time I can afford to be off work!
Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t have any particular book to recommend.
Shameless plug for your business:
Dis.Is.Able embraces the ability in disability by honouring strength and spirit as the true nature of sport. The aim is to educate people on para-games as well as introducing them to our local para-athletes. This will in turn raise awareness of disability sport and disability as a whole amongst Singaporeans. Targeting a perception change of how disability is viewed is the long-term goal!
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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