Initiative: BEAT A’BOX
BEAT A’BOX, as many other stories, we found it by chance. While meeting with Change Bugs in Scape, one of Singaporean free spaces for artists and social activists, we noticed a colorful poster showing people playing on squared drums, called cajons, as we discovered later. We knocked on the door and Elisabeth recommended us to speak with Arthur. Although she is one of the most important people within the social business BEAT A’BOX, Arthur is the founder and soul.
BEAT'ABOX was never thought to be a business.- says Arthur Choo - It started as a community. My basic goal back in time, in 2011, was to play on the street. And make people to join me and play together. Singapore is so poor in terms of arts and entertainment, music especially. We are lacking people playing on the street, people excited about music and willing to display. That’s how we started. Then some organizations began to be interested and invited us for a show. Then we gained our space in Scape. And next ideas were born: producing our own cajons, starting the school, leading community events, inviting people with disabilities to play together, organizing cajon festivals…
Today BEAT A’BOX starts to be a recognizable brand. But few years ago nobody knew not only about BEAT A’BOX, but even what a cajon is…
One of the biggest challenges is developing our own branding. At the beginning 1 person out of 100 knew about cajon. And then 1 out of 100 who knows about cajon, heard about us. We are changing it slowly, I’m glad we appear in TV and other media quite often. Now we want to work also on international branding, we need to expose ourselves a little bit more. We want to create a Percussion Hub in Asia. We want to go further than just cajons, we want to build the image of cajoniests as musicians, as someone who plays a role model, artists, dream catcher who can influence the world.
Dreams seem to be the leitmotiv of BEAT A’BOX’s story.
I always dreamt about this. I’m glad I can help other people to dream as well. BEAT'ABOX it’s not just a business, it’s a platform of dreams. We’ve never thought it could become like this. But it happened. The biggest success is to see people living their dreams. I feel privileged to be able to feed their dreams. As well as mine.
But fulfilling dreams required to resign from the previous life, take a risk.
It would be so easy to give up. To do a full time job, it would give me so much more money. I came from senior manager level to do community work. We started with 0$, in the year of my wedding. And wedding in Singapore costs a lot. My wife is a hostess, she has very high expectation. I had to convince her first, I had to make her believe. Being very supportive as a wife, she also had some doubts. This was a challenging time, I felt like giving up.
Arthur didn’t give up and today his story inspires hundreds of people in Singapore and not only to follow their own passions and dreams.
Dream it, live it. If you dream, you have to take action to live it as well. Then you can influence people. Nobody wants to hear you if you have never passed through the stage. And even if you are successful, and you were successful all the time, nobody wants to hear you either, there is no dynamic in the story. But if you are broken and you fix it and you show the world, that will be even more successful than telling people to dream. So never give up. Miracles happen. For us BEAT A’BOX is a miracle.
More about BEAT A’BOX: www.facebook.com/beatabox