Derek comes from the multicultural Malaysian landscape which allows him to fully embrace diversity amongst different minority settings. Balancing academia, fitness (as an instructor), and arts (as a thespian), his diverse background propels him to experience the world in many different colours, senses and emotions.
Derek has seen many injustices during his early years as a social activist. Derek believes in pushing the debate of the current status quo of mindset in terms of quality of life in all social aspects (health, discrimination, education) especially for the minority and disenfranchised groups in Malaysia and the rest of the world. He wants to use social marketing as a tool to highlight these issues to bridge the gap of understanding and harmony across all societies
We are all citizens of the world and we do not live as an island. The only race that matters is the human race.
What inspires Derek
Growing up different, Derek has always been inspired by the people who are different from him in terms of age, race, religion, SOGIE and background. Academia taught him intuitiveness, fitness taught him discipline and arts (especially theatre) taught him compassion. In his younger years, his volunteer work with the forgotten and disenfranchised communities (includes PLHIV, LGBTIQ and Refugees) encouraged him to immerse himself in many different cultures and communities. His daily decision making and way of life is guided by the empathy and inspirational experiences of those he has met and made friends, their stories, their struggles and their achievements.
Much of Derek’s projects involve engagement in the efforts of betterment of lives for minority and disenfranchised communities. He engages and cooperates with NGOs in Malaysia to highlight plights faced by the migrant workers and refugees which includes declining access to the basic human right to education, health and work. He is also involved in issues pertaining to reducing discrimination against the LGBTIQ and PLHIV where stigma, in Malaysia and some parts of the world is still very much a deeply rooted societal problem. He includes these experiences into education by inspiring students to work on their own passion projects for the community.
Some of his work has been picked up by several NGOs as a reference for policy development, reframing a more positive messaging for society at large to foster better community diversity inclusion.
He has also conducted several trainings for SMEs, helping them to include social marketing principles as part of their rebranding exercise. He believes that while commercial marketing is an important factor to create profits, social marketing can elevate one’s brand relationship with consumers through the centering of people’s core values for positive and long-lasting engagement achieving sustainability in the triple bottom line (people, place and planet).
Look first in the mirror to see truth before we judge.
~ A/Prof Derek Ong