At the end of every year, I like to write down some of my key learnings about life from that…
How This Young Woman Inspired Me
I am thrilled to announce Sim Wen Fei as the 1st recipient of the EVOLVE Warrior Scholarship Award. I created this $10,000 cash award for education for the neediest kids with the biggest dreams. My team received hundreds of applications, but Wen Fei’s story, values, and determination moved me to the most. In addition to her cash scholarship award, Wen Fei will receive a lifetime membership at EVOLVE (Asia’s largest chain of mixed martial arts schools and one of my companies). Even though she has never done martial arts, she is now keen to try.
When I met with Wen Fei, I was inspired by her heart of gold and her happy spirit. She has had a very tough life and comes from a humble background with limited resources. (Her parents sell fishball noodles). As a child, she was constantly bullied and suffered from low self esteem. Her family was also unable to throw birthday parties for Wen Fei due to the financial cost. Yet, she never gave up on herself, and she never lost her heart of gold. She worked endless hours, and sacrificed every day for her future. Determined to make something of herself and to serve the world in her way, Wen Fei chose to pursue her dream of studying dentistry at National University of Singapore. It was not an easy decision by any means. Many members of her family were against the idea due to the financial burden without a scholarship. Also, a different university had offered Wen Fei a full scholarship and a monthly $1000 stipend, but it was not for dentistry. As a warrior in life, Wen Fei chose the more difficult road because she wanted to live her dreams as a dentist and help the world. I am happy that the EVOLVE Warrior Scholarship Award will go towards her education at NUS. She is most passionate about helping people and animals, and I know that she will make this world a better place in the future.
Since 2010, the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program has been helping the less fortunate and underprivileged through charitable donations, free martial arts training, life mentorship, gift drives, and sponsored activities such as Movie Nights, Bowling Parties, and Team BBQs, for kids from humble backgrounds. EVOLVE has a mission to change this world for the better by making a positive impact on the lives it touches. A big part of our joy stems from giving back to the community, especially to those less fortunate. Almost all of our instructors and World Champions overcame a life of hardship and poverty with very little food and shelter. Martial arts gave them confidence, tenacity, discipline, and a path to a better life.
Inspired by the life of my Muay Thai master, Kru Yodtong Senanan, and my own experience with poverty, I launched the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program almost 10 years ago with Papa Rich Wee as a way for the EVOLVE Family (students, instructors, World Champions, fighters, and staff) to give back to this world. With partners like the Boys Town Home, Singapore Children’s Society, Children’s Cancer Foundation, and several other organizations, the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program serves as a pro-bono program for various orphanages, youth homes, and charities and as a platform to unleash human potential through martial arts.
Congratulations again, Wen Fei! I am super happy for you. There are no limits to what you can achieve in life. Keep chasing your greatness. And, thank you for inspiring me!
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 136 countries around the world. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. He was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “3rd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.