Jack has been a successful businessman since age 24. He retired at age 40 to become a social entrepreneur, and his journey found him acting as a champion for the dignity, rights and health of the vulnerable and poor worldwide.
Jack discovered that toilets were often neglected and grew concerned that the topic was often shrouded in embarrassment and apathy in Singapore — talking toilets was taboo! – and felt this led to the neglect of restrooms island wide. In 1998, he established the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) to raise the standards of public toilets in Singapore and around the world.
Through RAS, Jack’s vision was to put Singapore on the “world map” by taking the initiative to provide clean public toilets. As Jack began his work in Singapore, he realized there were other existing toilet associations operating in other countries. To create synergy among those associations, he founded the World Toilet Organisation (WTO) in 2001 and the World Toilet College (WTC) in 2005.
Jack’s work has garnered him many awards and honors: He was given the Singapore Green Plan Award by Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) for his contribution to the environment in 2004, and named Time Magazine’s Hero of Environment in 2008. In 2006, Jack was invited to launch The German Toilet Organisation in Berlin, and he is a founding member of the American Restroom Association. In 2007, he became one of the key members to convene the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), comprised of more than 130 organisations active in the sanitation sector. Jack is also an Ashoka Global Fellow and sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils (GAC) for Water Security and also the GAC for Social Entrepreneurship. He is also the founder of UN World Toilet Day (19 November).