We catch up with Sabrina Ooi, woman of many hats, in this episode of Duxton Stories. Besides founding Calm Collective, a non-profit that aims to to destigmatise conversations on mental health, Sabrina works at AB Tasty, and - wait for it - DJs on a freelance basis. Check out what she has to say about remote DJing, self-care and more in this interview.
Hey Sabrina! Thanks for agreeing to do this. Tell the Duxton community a bit about yourself.
I’m Sabrina, I’m the founder of Calm Collective and we do talks on mental health in Asia.
And what are you most excited about right now?
I’m super excited about growing Calm collection. We just started 4 or 5 months ago but it feels like we’re at the beginning of something big that can really impact the community. I’m excited about growing Calm Collective, growing the audience, talking about more topics that otherwise would have been taboo a few years ago.
What is Calm Collective and why did you guys start it?
During the start of the lockdown, mental health wasn’t deemed an essential service, or mental health services were not deemed as an essential service. We saw the need to address this and we wanted to come up with a way to help other people cope mentally with the stress of Covid 19. Besides that, on a personal level, I’ve also gone through my own struggles with mental health and I’ve learnt a lot since I started actively managing my mental health over the past four / five years. And I really wanted to find a way to share this with other people.
But you also DJ? Tell us more.
I really started DJing because of a love of music, and also I love making other people happy, and this was the perfect thing for me to do, to help navigate the crowd or the room to a certain objective based on the objective of the room. And on an even more personal note, I’m very shy by nature, so DJing for me has been something that has enabled me to get out of my comfort zone, and it’s really gotten me to be a lot more comfortable in front of crowds, in front of more people.
How do you DJ now considering that it’s coronavirus and people are still social distancing?
During the lockdown, it was really cool because I had the opportunity to DJ for Razer and they were doing this interesting cloud clubbing, livestream thing. That was when I started exploring livestreaming my DJ sets, and I was doing that through some apps as well as Facebook and Instagram at some point. It was cool because it showed me a different kind of engagement with people, through all the comments I was seeing, and I could engage with them by giving them shoutouts or talking with them. The best part was that it wasn’t overwhelming.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self no to overthink, to give less fucks about lots of things and also to be brave, To do what you believe in and be brave.
Our mantra at Duxton is daring greatly. What does that mean for you?
All of us have a true self and it’s really hard to hear what that inner self really wants and who that inner self really is. Especially in this modern day in age where there’s so much information coming in and so much societal pressure to live a certain way. Daring Greatly is just simply being confident enough and brave enough to just be yourself, both inside and out.