"Why Start a Business When You Can Start a Revolution?"
Dubbed a "social movement in silence" Hush Tea Bar is the first silent teabar in Singapore (and some say in the world).
The social enterprise brings together founder Anthea Ong's two passions - silent meditation and helping the deaf community. Held in silence, the tea-tasting involves quietude, introspection and participants even learn basic sign language. Deaf "TeaRistas" lead meditation, tastings of Hush's in-house tea blends, and even teach basic sign language.The social enterprise runs the ceremony for the public as well as for corporations, to teach participants mindfulness and self-reflection.
"Hush was founded with the deep desire to serve the overworked, highly-stressed world that we live in." Anthea (left) says on her LInkedIn page. But asserts that she balances this for-profit model with her strong desire to give back. "Hush is equally committed to the social mission of creating employment opportunities for our friends in the deaf community."
"It's like a parallel universe because it brings those who can hear into the their world [the world of the deaf] instead of the other way around. That's what my deaf partners tell me," Anthea explains in the Asia For Good video about inspiring female social entrepreneurs. "The deaf have the most invisible disability. In my opinion, they are the most underserved amongst persons with disabilities and I have great admiration for them," she has said.
While their social mission is to break down the barriers between the hearing and non-hearing, Anthea is also deeply passionate about silence and silent meditation. After a difficult personal struggle, she found the practice (twice a day everyday) was a great comfort to her, and felt it was worth sharing.
"Silence transformed (and is still transforming) me – it has given me the inner peace and contentment to love more, live more and be more. The quieter I become, the more I can hear. I wanted to share this transformational experience with the world."
Anthea started Hush in 2014 but it's by no means Anthea's only project, the former corporate warrior (she was a one-time managing director of the New York Institute of Finance for the region) and multi-hyphenate wears too many hats to name: she is chairperson of WINGS ( an NGO that focusses on active aging for women in Singapore); a certified professional coach; a yoga teacher (primarily providing free classes to those who can't afford it) and; founder of The Good Food Org, another social enterprise which encourages microentrepreneurship through a hawker stall that serves healthy food. It's no wonder a former colleague says Anthea has "boundless energy."
Research shows that regular practice of mindfulness meditation is beneficial in the workplace - both to employees and employers. Employees make more considered choices, cultivate better relationships with co-workers and generally perform better in their jobs.
Interested in socially conscious living in Asia? Check out our social enterprise directory
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