"The Voice"


Syed Azmi’s philanthropic (and other) musings…

A modern day hero, Syed Azmi Alhabshi champions a myriad of social causes be it big or small. You might know him as the brainchild behind the “I Want To Touch A Dog” campaign but beyond that, the man has other pursuits to share. A firm believer in making a change, even as small as smiling to your neighbours, he wants everyone to know they too can be a hero in their own unique ways. The activist has a voice and he certainly knows how to use it – but it’s not always too serious.

As a social cause activist, have you always known that this is what you want to do?
Actually, the title ‘social activist’ is what was given to me. I call myself an NGI – non government individual. The NGI term is what I want to portray and what I want people to familiarise with.

How does an NGI operate?
It’s basically a movement I’m trying to create – for everyone to know that they are important in the society to make changes. Be part of the solution instead of just being the nagger. An NGI is an invisible platform for everyone to be a part of and try something new as an individual. I don’t have a team, but if I do need more people, I will post a shoutout on Facebook. The whole idea is not about having an event, it’s all about being there for someone; like smiling to our neighbours. Those things are more important to me than having a glitzy affair.

What is your take on having this sort of ‘limelight’?
Haha well for a start, I can’t be on Tinder! Jokes aside, it’s a gift and a responsibility. Overall, it’s a path for me to become a better person/citizen.

Despite having haters?
Especially with having haters! I believe that haters don’t wake up in the morning to become haters. People generally believe that their way is better and would fight to prove their views. I see that often when someone tries to correct me and if I don’t agree with the opinion, I will just apologise for not sharing the same ideology.

What do you like most about what you do?
The freedom to pursue what I think is right and the freedom to not pursue what I think is not right. The perks of being an NGI is that you don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s just an opportunity to grow. I think I’m blessed with so many ideas. But all of my ideas are apparently crazy, or too lame with no impact. But that’s okay because the supporters are the building blocks. If you truly believe in your cause, go ahead and do it.

Why do you always sign off your stories with Syed Azmi, small lamb?
Small lamb is a nickname given to me by a friend who passed away due to cancer. She would always tell me that I am her small lamb because I keep everyone in place. I try to keep that in mind to always stay humble.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
It’s actually a hobby of mine and I see it as my biggest flaw. I study designer wear handbags and I read about them religiously.
It’s an art form! I love it. Every handbag I see on the runway are art pieces. I believe that there’s always a bag for everything – even one to buy cendol!

​Wow! Any favourite brand?
No, I don’t have a favourite. I don’t go for brands, I go for the workmanship. I’ve got this one particular bag that took me three years to decide before saying yes to – buy – it.

​So how many bags do you have in total?
More than 300! I catalogue them – put a date, monitor retail prices (before and after purchase).

Any favourite movies?
One, it’s called ‘View From The Top’, and it stars Gwyneth Paltrow. The story is about a country girl who wants to be an air stewardess. I like it because it shows determination and I believe in hope. For the poor, hope is all that they are waiting for and it’s the most beautiful thing. Never kill it off anyone.

​What is that on your wrist?
These are lego brave heroes. I have The Flash, Wolverine, Batman and Superman. I’m actually more into women superheroes and I’m currently on the lookout for a Cat Woman lego. The person who makes these for a living, his name is Amir. I love these as it’s a great conversation starter with kids.

What is the best lesson you learned throughout the years?
That children don’t discriminate and they don’t judge. We say it but when you actually see it, its so true and refreshing.

Share This
Related Posts
Tags: ,