Prominent Singaporean socialite Nana Au Chua wears many hats in life; she is a mother, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an avid traveller and a photographer. Hailing from Malaysia, her studies took her to America where she met her husband before settling in Singapore and raising a family. In the days before COVID19 travel restrictions, Au-Chua had always managed to combine her varied interests in her explorations of unfamiliar parts across the world. Her last big adventure was a trip to India with a contingent from her family business Million Lighting in aid of her adopted charity Soles 4 Souls in the subcontinent. C T catches up with the overachiever in Singapore。
Beauty with a Cause
Nana Au Chua is an uncommon individual amongst her peers - she is an overachiever with no airs and pretenses. As a respected entrepreneur and industry captain, Au Chua makes it her lot in life to champion for the less fortunate. Already on the board of long-standing charities like Kid's Horizon Gala, she is actively on the lookout for more worth causes to champion, like the way she slipped into her latest role with gumption aiding Shoes4Souls, a charity that collect shoes for 3rd world populations across the world. We met at the 4 Seasons Langkawi in 2018 for a shoot at the resort and remained awestruck by her tirelessly positive attitudes on all aspects of life, especially her zeal for traveling and her love for finding poetry behind the lens. We caught up over email on what has changed since 2020.
1. Can you share with us some of your most memorable travel experiences?
Every trip with my family is a memorable trip. Our end of the year trip to the states are always packed with special family memories. My recent trip to India opened up my eyes to the many realities we may not realise in Singapore. Things that we take for granted may not even be available to many people. It definitely helps balance my perspectives on life.
2. Tell us how you started with photography and what do you look out for when you are a traveling photographer。
I love black and white photographs and started investing in cameras a few years ago to hone my skills as a photographer. I love the way people look when they are in the moment, a state unperturbed by poses and awareness. I am always on the lookout for interesting sights, different people and captivating light. The magic of photography is really in the moment.
3. Where are some of your favorite destinations in Asia?
I am very fascinated by India and look forward to return as soon as I can. My work brings me to many cities in Asia and I always look forward to return to places like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai etc.
4. Do you prefer to capture nature or people and why?
I don't have a preference really but I think the difference in people across geographical boundaries are more pronounced than sceneries. People also have expressions that are more complex than nature. Of course a beautiful picture of a stunning coast or a placid field can inspire people tremendously. I really snap what I think is special wherever I go.
5. Tell us about some of the charities you support.
I have been on the board of Kids Horizon for many years now and every year I feel privileged that I can contribute to society in this way and help raise funds for underprivileged children who sadly have medical conditions early on in life. Even though Singapore is a rich nation, medical services are expensive and there are still many children who need our support to tide through treatments. Soles4Souls is a new charity that we adopted as our company charity a few years ago. We collect shoes in Singapore and send them to places that need them like Africa and India. The shoes not only protect the soles of the people who do not possess adequate footwear in rough environments, they also help budding entrepreneurs start making a living selling shoes to the community. Every year millions of shoes are discarded thoughtlessly and pollute the environment when hundreds of million people have no adequate footwear. A charity like Soles4Souls can really help solve 2 problems at once.
6. Are you looking forward to traveling? Where are the first places you would visit and why?
You bet! There are so many places I want to go the moment borders are reopened and we can travel safely. Firstly I would like to visit Malaysia where my siblings are living. I have not seen them for almost 2 years since our borders were closed. I am also looking forward to my yearly trips to the States and Europe, as well as all the places in Asia I enjoy visiting like Japan, China and India. I would also like to explore places in Asia I have not been to, like Myanmar and Laos. Africa is also high on my list because there is so much spirituality on that continent! Let's hope international travel will resume and things would return to normal as soon as possible.
Photos by Nana Au Chua. Instagram handle- nanaauchua