Li Increases Accessibility and Inclusive Employment in the Digital Age
What’s your story?
I wanted to learn more about the social sector so I attended a workshop that addressed problems faced by persons with disabilities. What I thought to be a 2-day workshop ended up as a 6-month project, in terms of potential solutions to improve accessibility for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, in situations such as online learning and seminars.
This project led to the start of CaptionCube that now provides video captioning, subtitling, transcription, and translation services to the media, education and government sectors.
What excites you most about your industry?
It excites me that we get to be part of beautiful pieces of creative work and clear, informative programmes. It’s a privilege to be part of the post-production work and we always take a lot of care in making the captions or subtitles accurate.
I get excited when I observe the persons with disabilities who work with me become more confident day by day. It is gratifying to see them travel longer distances independently, become more comfortable around others, and earn more money, which gives them the autonomy to spend on things they want or to buy gifts.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My grandparents came from Hainan Island, and I’m a Singaporean who speaks English, Mandarin, Hainanese and some Bahasa Indonesia. My husband’s family speaks Hokkien and Teochew too, so I’m simply surrounded by Asian languages and dialects every day. We work on many Asian programmes at CaptionCube and a large part of our operation involves translating from Chinese into English and vice versa.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Things are pretty straightforward once you get past the setting up of accounts and have gone through one round of using the systems. This equates to a lot of time savings for the entrepreneur. There is also a lot of support from the government and the eco-system via various types of grants, incentives, manpower, and training support to help you grow your business.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
This shall pass.
Who inspires you?
I’m grateful to have met amazing leaders who inspire me by simply being who they are. One of them is Andrew Buay, Vice President, Group Sustainability of Singtel who taught me about collaboration and who forged many partnerships to build a better eco-system for social enterprises. The other person is Anthea Ong, Nominated Member of Parliament and founder of Hush TeaBar. She amazes me by doing many things at the same time with a lot of depth and eloquence. Both of them show that it’s possible to achieve positive outcomes, with grace, no matter how difficult things may seem.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The Law of Dharma which explained the three components of fulfilling one’s purpose in life, in a simple and clear manner. They are to:
- Discover your true self
- Express your unique talents and share your gifts to bring happiness to yourself and others
- Express your gifts in service to others
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken up more internships and jobs during my school holidays to experience different work environments.
How do you unwind?
I go to the beach with my family, cook, read or meditate.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Tengchong in Yunnan, China. I love the fresh air, beautiful blue skies and green fields. I love the laid-back atmosphere, fresh food and feeling like I’m at home at the restaurants. The driver who brought us around even invited us to his house for dinner.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive,” co-written by Robert Cialdini. The strategies in this book have served me well for many years, working for companies as well as in my business, because they are simple and effective.
Shameless plug for your business:
CaptionCube is a social enterprise that stands for inclusiveness through increasing accessibility and inclusive employment opportunities.
Aside from video captioning and subtitling services, CaptionCube also provides speech data collection and transcription services for the Asian market. We have been piloting live captioning services for events such as the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award 2019 and the Inclusive Business Forum 2018.
Reach out to us if you are:
- Seeking a reliable and accurate language service provider who is familiar with the Singaporean context, to collaborate on your upcoming projects, or
- A technology or language services partner whom we can potentially collaborate with in terms of speech-to-text technology, or live captioning services.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.