They came, they listened, they did. Audio Mob 2011 rocked Orchard Road on a Sunday, inspiring youths to dream again.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
He was once a drug dealer in school. Today he is a successful young man, the organizer of the inaugural Audio Mob event. Audio Mob 2011, held on Orchard Road last Sunday, was aimed at inspiring students and young adults to dream bigger dreams. Sean Iniyan, 23, has lived this transformation and he wants to see other lives changed, just like his.
Now an owner of an advertising agency, Iniyan had a troubled history—he used to hang out with pot smokers and was expelled from five high schools in Toronto, Canada. He said, “When I first migrated to Canada from India, the transition was tough and I found it difficult to be accepted by my peers. I started mixing with bad company and wasted a good few years of my life. That is why I believe that it is crucial for youths to belong to a good social circle where they inspire each other to achieve their dreams.”
Iniyan’s turning point came when he flew to Singapore five years ago and was introduced to City Harvest Church. Beyond the inspiring weekly sermons at church, this ex-drug trafficker says that it was the lifestyle of his cell group members in church that triggered his transformation. They were “focused on their goals and passionate about life in general.” He has since cultivated his own goals in life and one of them is to inspire others who are wayward, like he was, and help them realize their dreams.
This goal led him to join a group of like-minded people, mostly university students and young adults, to form a non-profit group called Higher Productions. This two-year-old group decided to organize an event that would both challenge young adults to resurrect their buried dreams, as well as motivate students to set new visions. That’s how Audio Mob 2011 was born.
Originated by American group Improv Everywhere, an audio mob is like a flash mob—strangers that respond to a call to meet up at a certain place at a certain point to do a certain thing. An audio mob does all these things—plus follow instructions on an mp3 file that each person downloads to
his or her own phone or digital music players.
Held on Nov. 6, the 600-strong mob, mostly from volunteer welfare organizations, plugged into their digital music players and performed synchronized tasks according to audio instructions. Curious onlookers stared in amusement as the mob swam through the crowd, did a slow dance with a partner, handed lollipops to passers-by and other random acts.
For Lee Jia Lok, 18, the biggest reward was bringing delight to the Sunday crowd on Orchard Road. He said, “In Singapore, we don’t have the culture of talking to strangers. When we gave our lollipops to strangers, I could tell that it was really a pleasant surprise for them.”
Audio Mob was held with the support of the Central Singapore Community Development Council’s Mayor’s Imagine Fund to raise awareness about at-risk youth.
The mob walk that began at two starting points— School Of The Arts and Far East Plaza—converged at *SCAPE. Participants were faced with a giant chalkboard bearing the bold white words, “Before I die…”, followed by hundreds of blanks. The mob was instructed by audio to pen their dreams on the chalkboard. This served to encourage the participants to start thinking about their own futures and revive the culture of dreaming.
Besides writing on the wall, participants also engaged in “Flight of Dreams,” writing their aspirations on balloons and releasing them into the sky.
Health science student Ameresh Nair, 17, has a dream to make a difference in the health care sector. Once involved in a gang, he was also a loanshark runner at the tender age of 13.
He was eventually placed on a one-year probation for trespassing and vandalising an abandoned school.
That was a big wake-up call for Nair. With the encouragement and affirmation of his parents, he eventually broke away from his old lifestyle and started afresh. Nair said, “I am sure that there are youth who relate to my experience; I want them to know that as long as they are determined enough, they will definitely be able to kick their old habits.”
Audio Mob raised over a thousand dollars for Teen Challenge. The crowd was also entertained by an upbeat performance put up by Baracuda Batucada, a samba ensemble from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
Co-organizer Derrick Chen, 22, called Audio Mob a humbling experience. “I’m very thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to organize an event of this scale because we’re mostly students and have no experience. Seeing the participants enjoy themselves and also relate to the message, I know our efforts have paid off.”