Dan Science helps seed kindness

Daniel was born with Specific Language Impairment, a developmental condition that affects both receptive and expressive language skills.

At 14, he wanted to raise funds for the less fortunate by doing something different, daring and dependable. He began compiling his science notes as well as sketching illustrations that were comical to make Science an interesting subject to learn, understand and remember. He has turned these into the self-published Dan’s Dynamic Dictionary on Science in order to encourage young children to read and see the learning of Science as fun and interesting. He intends to use his book to achieve his fundraising objective. With the help from his family, teachers and the Central District Mayor, Dan’s Dynamic Dictionary on Science has become a reality. Dan hopes his colourfully illustrated dictionary can help students to learn through visualisation.

His second edition was published last year and he intends to donate 30% of the proceeds of that book to SKM Seed Kindness Fund. You can purchase your copy at his website – www.danscience.com.

Our SKM volunteer, Camilla Carron, interviewed Dan on his inspiring story (below).

Tell us a little bit about your story and how Dan’s Dynamic Dictionary on Science came about. Where did you get the idea to make science not only more understandable, but fun!

I was born with delayed speech, a developmental condition. I began to speak in monosyllabies at 3 years of age and was only able to string words together when I was 7 years old.

Unfortunately, not many people understood how it was for me, I was often bullied and ostracized because I was not able to express and communicate with others. I preferred to remain silent. Instead I communicated through doodling.

Eventually, my parents decided to school me at home. Home –schooling is fun, holistic and not rigid. There were rules and I got to socialize with people of all ages and be involved in community work.

I am blessed that my family has been very supportive of me. My dad is strict in his upbringing but mom is very accommodating. My sweet sister is bossy but caring.

Doodling has helped me to communicate and learn. It is an interesting way of mind mapping my work and expressing myself. My peers in school liked the way I prepare my notes, so I began to compile all my doodles together and started something new.

Schools only introduce Science at the age of 9. Many think that there is no need to hurry to learning Science compared to other subjects they learn in kindergarten. By the time they are in Primary 3, they may find it too difficult to start a new subject and lose interest easily.

Tell us about the book’s journey since its publication (who it has reached, feedback, etc)

Since it was published in 2007, I have held roadshows and promoted the book to schools, libraries, at workshops and charity events.

At roadshows, I see kids being engaged in my book and giggling over the illustrations and pestering their parents to buy them. Some parents even bought 2 copies so that siblings won’t fight over 1 book. My book is also marketed at Madrasahs. I remember a generous Muslim lady who bought 5 copies to share with her friend’s children too.

Inspirational Speech at different organizations and outreach for the special interest groups has given me a chance in public speaking and widen my audience. This has also given me an opportunity to meet many people out there who are warm and kind. I am very happy that my effort has transcended so many levels.

Now that my book is its second edition, I have to make it available to a wider audience so I have a new website to branch out.

I am glad to have met Dr. Wan of Singapore Kindness Movement who has been very supportive of my effort in this social kindness movement.

Are there plans for any other future dynamic dictionaries?

Not a dynamic dictionary but something different.

Your outreach work has truly exemplified a spirit of kindness. Tell us about the outreach work you have done through your book.

I wanted to use my doodling skill to help others. One does not have to be rich or important to be kind. That is how I converted my doodling skill into a social enterprise which has allowed me to jumpstart a socially kind movement – by making my books available to students who needed it.

I am very thankful for the support I have received as a youth social entrepreneur and the many donors who have sponsored my books for a good cause.

I sold 7000 copies of my 1st edition. I set aside 3000 copies for sponsorship for charitable giving. The gift of education is more valuable than a dollar discount I give on the books and kindness is not just about money but social value too.

I hope my efforts will inspire kids to be creative too and that they will know it’s ok to be different!

If you could inspire your readers with one message – what would it be?

Be kind
Be selfless
Be considerate
Be compassionate
Live life to the fullest because you only get to live once.

You have generously donated a portion to Singapore Kindness Movement’s Kindness Seed Fund. What are your thoughts on Kindness?

To me, kindness is an innate nature of being human and ought to be demonstrated more clearly in and outside of Singapore. Spread kindness by showing it, appreciating it and talking about it. To achieve kindness, practice kindness now! Join our kindness chain to build an enormous kindness web and lets get stuck with Kindness!

How do you think we make Singapore more kind?

I think one good deed deserves another and more people were to practice kindness then it will spread. Singapore is changing very rapidly and sometimes we may be too busy or stressed that we forget to appreciate a lot of beautiful things, loved ones and the kindness around us. From personal experience, I think it is important to foster an environment with an inclusive education that focuses not on competition alone .

If you could inspire your readers with one message – what would it be?

Don’t give up!

What’s next for you- future plans and goals?

I’ll be going for NS soon and that will be a whole new experience for me – learning different responsibilities for our homeland. I hope Singapore grows more kind and gracious as a society in the coming decades.

Purchase a copy of Dan’s Dynamic Dictionary on Science at www.danscience.com

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