Abused Vietnamese Children Have a Powerful Advocate in Singapore Runner John Dave Ng
When September rolls around and kids go back to school, John Dave Ng will run his very first charity marathon—a 70 km event on behalf of children whose childhoods were stolen after being sold into Vietnam's sex trafficking system. Ng's efforts on behalf of an organisation dedicated to stopping sex trafficking—Australia's Blue Dragon Children's Foundation—may be his first effort on behalf of this worthy cause, but it certainly won't be his last as he uses his legs and his heart to give these kids what they deserve: freedom and the chance to live normal, happy lives.
RS: You started running in secondary school, took a break and got back into running in 2007. Why did you stop and what brought you back?
Dave: I was sidelined with a knee injury while in national service and just didn't get back into running until 2007 when a friend challenged me to do a marathon. I said yes and surprisingly, my injured knee never complained once!
RS: This will be your first run for a charitable cause. What's the race and why did you choose this non-profit for your “inauguration” race?
Dave: I will run the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM) in September 2015 because the location and the challenge intrigue me. I'll travel to Sapa, Vietnam where the scenery is said to be breathtaking. As for the charity, when I think about the pain young victims of sex trafficking go through at such young ages, pushing the boundaries of my own physical limitations on their behalf is nothing compared to what they endure.
RS: There are many charities out there—why this one and how did you hear of Blue Dragon?
Dave: I happened upon the Blue Dragon website and was so impressed by the work being done on behalf of these kids that my heart was touched. These children are innocents and deserve every chance to live normal lives. The minute I read the home page of the BDCF, I knew I wanted to help, so I contacted them and here I am.
RS: Is running the only way to fight sex trafficking via the Blue Dragon Foundation?
Dave: There are many ways! If anyone wants to help, they can send cash, hold a fundraiser, or donate any amount to my fund raising effort to run the VMM in September. People can also help create greater awareness via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the charity’s blog.
RS: How many Singaporeans will run the VMM with you—or are you the only one?
Dave: Around 80 Singaporeans will run VMM in these categories: 21 km, 42 km and 70 km, but I'll be the first Singaporean to raise funds for Blue Dragon at this event.
RS: Many people dedicate themselves to running charity marathons and races. We've seen an increase in the number of Singaporeans who do this—do you?
Dave: I do; I think Singaporeans are more aware of charitable runs because our society encourages physical exercise. Many Singaporeans are successful and we want to share our good fortune by giving back to others.
RS: What was your most memorable race and why?
Dave: The Taroko Gorge Marathon held in Hualien, Taiwan. The weather was cool and the scenery was gorgeous. Another highlight was supporting ultra-marathoners Yong Yuen Chen and Lim Nghee Huat when they did an endurance race to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday. Being in their presence and watching them run was humbling and inspiring; no matter how tired they got or how much pain they experienced, they persevered to achieve their goal of finishing.
RS: When you prepare for a marathon, do you have a training routine? Do you train alone?
Dave: During the weekdays, I do body weight workouts to strengthen my core and I run up my HDB staircase at least twice weekly. I do my long runs over the weekend with fellow runners from the Peirce Reservoir Runners and K5 Running Group. Some of the K5 runners will be at the Vietnam Mountain Marathon, too.
RS: You work, have a life, run and now you're becoming active in the BDCF cause. How do you balance it all?
Dave: I plan my training around my family and work, since those are my priorities. I am blessed to have a very supportive spouse who is fully behind my fundraising effort. It helps that my employer—Hydrogen Group—supports my efforts, too. HG is very committed to Corporate Social Responsibility.
RS: Have you set other goals and targets for 2015?
Dave: Yes—and it's an ambitious goal! I want to run 2015 km in 2015. That's about 42 km a week. So far, I've surpassed 900 km, so barring any major injury, I should be able to complete my mission. After all, it was a running injury that took me out of commission until 2007—I certainly don't want to experience déjà vu!
Read more about Blue Dragon's advocacy efforts and then let us know how you feel: Does reading about John Dave Ng's efforts and those of the Blue Dragon Foundation inspire you to become involved in this Herculean effort to save kids?