Rising Above Adversity: Alexis Chun, Ila, Joseph Phua & Hazel Kweh

Meet four personalities who reinvented themselves amid challenging moments to forge a new future.

Rising Above Adversity: Alexis Chun, Ila, Joseph Phua & Hazel Kweh
(From left) Alexis Chun, Ila, Joseph Phua and Hazel Kweh.

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. Collectively, they have weathered career setbacks, challenging family circumstances, and a lot more in between. Find out how they dug deep for courage and tenacity.

01 | Hazel Kweh, co-founder, BloomBack

“Deep down, I felt incomplete. I’d spent a lot of time building my career and I’d drifted apart from my family.”

So Hazel Kweh quit her financial advisor job to start BloomBack, a social enterprise that trains and employs the marginalised communities to create gifts with preserved flowers.

02 | Alexis Chun, co-founder, Legalese

“Technology can augment our behaviour and optimise our processes but what we do with that knowledge, power and time that it affords is worthy of deeper examination.”

Former litigator Alexis Chun is spearheading efforts to power Singapore into a $16-billion global legal tech market. First on her to-do list is a domain-specific language for law that will make contract drafting more efficient.

03 | Joseph Phua, non-executive chairman, M17 Entertainment Group

“I had to make that decision simply because I had no other choice… I didn’t want to destroy the company…I thought I could pretend it was just a nightmare! And I procrastinated going home.”

When an attempt to list his company on the New York Stock Exchange failed, Joseph Phua sank deep into despair. And he says he’s emerged a more effective leader for it.

04 | Ila, artist

“What was it that we as a community did or didn’t do that made the occurrence of sexual assault possible?”

With her new work There Can Be No Touching Here, which is showing at National Gallery Singapore, homegrown multidisciplinary artist Ila throws the spotlight on sexual assault and how it is being shared and consumed on social media.   

The story first appeared in the October 2020 issue of A Magazine.   

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