Those two experiences lighted up a path for him, and Harun felt it was one he had to tread in double-quick time. In his first year at junior college, he became a volunteer at Yayasan Mendaki, a self-help group. His community workload intensified as he went on to become a doctor — and more recently, a consultant psychiatrist — as organisations sought out his increasingly-apparent skills as a leader and healthcare professional. “All these experiences inspired me to want to make the most of my own life. Given my line of work, I am frequently reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of doing what I can while I am still able to,” he says.
This sense of urgency to help improve Singapore for the future has led him to take on several community-related roles within the Malay-Muslim community. His work ranges from helping students in need and driving change in the health habits of Malay Muslims, to motivating young healthcare professionals to contribute to society (see box). But not all of Harun’s outreach roles are limited to his immediate community. After being asked by a friend, he became a member, then later was appointed as Vice-Chair, of the Films Consultative Panel (FCP), where he facilitates discourse on films and gives input on the review of Film Classification and Guidelines. “In this regard, my training in Psychiatry has been extremely useful to facilitate and mediate between diverse, divergent and sometimes emotive views that members may have. My FCP experience has broadened my own worldview and way of thinking, and strengthened my ability to handle difficult topics and differences with mutual respect and empathy,” he says.