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Why We Should Go Back to Face-to-Face Talks.

And how mere texting is an unworthy substitute.

(Originally posted on

As some of you might know, I've been working on a new project.

It's a ground-up initiative, meaning that I started it out with a few other ordinary folks who just wanted to make a difference in our society.

What was the difference we wanted to make?

Well, we wanted to create a more connected society - to battle the silent epidemic that a third of our population is feeling - that is, loneliness.

We also wanted to create a bridge for the mental health treatment gap - an avenue where people can reach out to talk when they don't think their problems are at the stage they need to go for counselling or therapy.

Or, for another group, a safe place where people can reach out when they are afraid of seeing a mental health professional, so we can share what the experience is really like and encourage them to go if they feel ready.

So, with this big dream in mind, we set up a virtual online platform that pairs people with friendly listeners. Any Singaporean can now schedule a session to speak to a Hear Bud - namely, another Singaporean who is trained and willing to listen in on your troubles, problems, struggles, and just talk it out.

It isn't therapy. It isn't counselling. It's not coaching or advice-giving either. It's simply a safe place to connect with another human being and be heard.