[Perspectives] Project StarFish – The Dignity of Pain


Mr. Barry Yeow was recognised as Artisan of the Year in 2016 by the Rotary Club of Singapore. His art works are in much commercial demand and were exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum in 2016. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam also uses Barry’s art in his personal stationary. Barry uses his experience to help others through public talks and personal counselling.

Mr. Philip Wu is currently CEO and founder of Grid Synergy, a company providing services in Technology Enabled Learning, Entertainment and Communications. In his career, he was the Executive Producer of movies, such as Money Not Enough 2 with Jack Neo. He also launched a Pay-TV service for SingTel and operated a US$100m private equity fund for Africa with Temasek Holdings.

Project StarFish by Youth Without Borders Barry and Philip met in 1988, when Barry was remanded for drug offences and Philip was an Officer in the Singapore Armed Forces. Their friendship was built on mutual respect through correspondence through letters. Through the years, both men realised the importance of not giving up – on themselves and others. Upon Barry’s release in 2016, the 2 men endeavoured to launch “Project StarFish” which will serve to
address the problem of emotional and mental pain experienced by prisoners behind literal and emotional bars and that pain can be healed with undeserved and unreserved dignity and respect. Both the men serve as advisors of this project through which they invite and train volunteers to bring back the forgotten art of penmanship by writing letters. Letters are written to impart respect and dignity to those in pain.