Jiezhen Wu turns ideas into action at The Hidden Good.
“The thing about kindness is that, it is often quiet.”
The Hidden Good is inclusive. Reaching out to various segments of society, Jiezhen Wu leads the pack with community engagement projects. Through social media, activation campaigns and everything in between, this bright-eyed, bushy-tailed lady packs a ball of energy.
“Sorry I’m late!”, she exclaims, scurrying to greet us. “We were just celebrating the office cleaner’s birthday! We got her cheesecake and sang a song. She was so happy we made her day,” says Jiezhen with a megawatt smile.
Tucked in the higher floors of a flat industrial building from the seventies, The Hidden Good shares an office with new age media agencies. Pushing past the pantry doors, we exit into the back area. Two wooden stools and a pile of metal adorn the setting. We find the light for photos, and get straight down to questions.
“At The Hidden Good, we create a space where doing good and doing well can coexist,” begins Jiezhen. It doesn’t have to be a tradeoff, she cautions. “Instead of capturing what’s wrong, we plant hidden cameras to capture what’s right. Everyone that helps is real. We want people to know that good is around, nothing’s staged. That’s what The Hidden Good is founded on,” she exerts.
Time and again, The Hidden Good has proven that city dwellers get too caught up with our daily lives. Inspiring people to be a little kinder, Jiezhen is bent on spreading positivity to the people around her. “The thing about kindness is that, it is often quiet. People see humility as a virtue. We are not taught to celebrate kindness,” explains Jiezhen.
The Bold And Crazy
Think a giant stage in the central business district. White collar professionals, a mass dance floor, lunch time music DJ and a live prata station. Breaking down barriers between strangers, bold and crazy ideas that one can only dream of are turned into a reality at The Hidden Good.
“Anyone can be part of something bigger other than themselves,” assures Jiezhen in a nurturing voice. With positive disruption in a regular work day, people start talking.
“As long as there are common goals to make the world a better place, The Hidden Good welcomes everyone. We are young at heart, inclusive, pluralistic and gender-neutral!” she says with a slight American twang.
“Everyday is a new adventure.”
Make Things Happen
Not one to shy away from social media, Jiezhen extols her love for making things happen on Facebook. Clearly, this is her strength and pride. To do so, The Hidden Good is focused on bridging different structures and industries.
“Right now, we are conducting auditions for songwriters, casting a music video, unearthing stories and social causes. A few constants keep us grounded, like regular meetings, thankful Thursdays and the team,” she elaborates.
The chatty #girlboss is also frank about the lack of socialisation in modern society. “In Singapore, we tend to stay in the same group circles,” she states. “The Hidden Good is a nice place to have different people come celebrate the good.”
Like clockwork, Jiezhen goes on to plug the gap. “Currently, we have 600 youths between 15 to 35 years old. Through regular community meetings, we engage, create projects and brainstorm ideas. Everyday is a new adventure,” she muses.
“At 16, you don’t really have an idea what you want to do. But it will work out.”
Turning introspective, the conversation then focuses on Jiezhen’s personal anecdotes. Educated in the United States, this budding community builder has a background in education and international development.
But why run a nonprofit like The Hidden Good? I poked. “I could have done consulting, research, even policy work. But this was a social movement, an outlier which looked at the world from a place of strength and possibility, instead of limitation. I was drawn to that,” she admits.
If your 16 year old self could see you now, what would she think? I asked. At this juncture, Jiezhen quietens. “She would be pretty proud,” she whispers, then lets out a little cry.
An intentional pause takes over our dialogue. Regaining her composure, Jiezhen heaves a sigh of relief. “At 16, you don’t really have an idea what you want to do. But it will work out. Not knowing is sometimes the most beautiful part of it all,” she says.
I go on to urge Jiezhen for another response. What is your happy place in life?
Family, she says plainly. “Amidst my crazy schedule, I have lunch with Mom every Tuesday, and morning walks with Dad on Thursdays. Craving out time is crucial.”
Then, the expressive #girlboss turns bashful. Between tears of happiness and gasps of nervous laughter to defray her shyness, Jiezhen indicates that her happiest place is Jared, her partner and husband.
“Knowing that he is there – this makes me emotional! He is my rock. We celebrate wins on good days. And he picks me up on bad days when I’m a mess on the floor,” says Jiezhen, sobbing with gratitude.
As we conclude, I can’t help but feel that Jiezhen is an angel. Bubbly, expressive and frank, she views the world with unadulterated enthusiasm. Most of all, Jiezhen lives to prove that genuine kindness exists in our daily lives.
Images by Esther Yeo