Mr Sim has won many awards and has been recognised for his work internationally, including being named Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment in 2008. He was also instrumental in getting the United Nations to honour Nov 19, the WTO’s founding Day as World Toilet Day.
According to the BoP website, between the age of 24 to 40, Mr Sim launched 16 businesses in Singapore.
“However, after experiencing the futility of focusing only on financial gain, he retired from the business and dedicated himself full-time to humanitarian causes on a pro bono basis. As an Ashoka Global Fellow (2007), a Schwab World Economic Forum Fellow, and a Synergos Senior Fellow (2013), [Mr Sim’s] boldness, insight and perseverance has been widely recognized.”
The BoP aims to “provide a vehicle for partners in every industry and sector to collaborate and accelerate effective social business models focused at the base of the pyramid.”
As for the WTO which Mr Sim established in 2001, it is a global non-profit organisation which is committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. The WTO has since become a recognised voice in the sector worldwide, and it continues to provide an international platform for toilet associations, governments, academic institutions, foundations, UN agencies and corporate stakeholders to exchange knowledge and leverage media and corporate support in an effort to promote clean sanitation and public health policies.
So why is Mr Sim creating and auctioning three self-made busts of Singapore’s late prime minister?
Mr Sim told The Online Citizen (TOC) that the sculptures were meant for the SG50 celebrations, and when he started work on them, Mr Lee was still around and there were no indications that he would pass.
“It took about 3 months to get to the right shape and image,” Mr Sim said. “I did it for SG50. I did not know LKY was leaving us. But when he passed away, the sculptures became available.”
When asked what was the one thing which Mr Lee had done which has the most personal significance for him, Mr Sim said, “For whatever LKY has done right or wrong, I can only say he did lift us from poverty to a prosperous nation. I was born in a slum and today I am able to be financially independent so that I can go around to help the world on neglected social issues that we once experienced ourselves like poor sanitation and poverty.”
Now that Mr Lee has passed, however, Mr Sim feels that what Singapore needs now “is to grow into a matured democracy with resilience beyond one leader.”
“The next phase is to build a culture of Nation Builders in every citizen,” he said. “And then help others around the world as well.”
Proceeds from the auction will go to ONE Singapore and the WTO.
You can participate in the “silent auction”, which ends on 29 October, here.
Also, read Channel Newsasia’s recent interview with Mr Sim here: “Toilet Man Jack Sim’s push for the Flush Revolution“.