An afternoon with Dr Karen Kow

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, 25 Feb 2012, a bunch of young adults sat on colourful bean bags at the Google-like office of Mindvalley to listen to a talk by Dr Karen Kow.   Until that day, no one in the room (besides the organizers) knew who this sweet, soft spoken and beaming young lady was and what she had to share with the audience.  All they were curious about was: how do we bridge the communication gap with the elderly, in particular those who are staying at old folks’ homes?  This could be particularly tricky in multi-cultural and multi-lingual Malaysia, where the idea of sending old folks to homes for the elderly is not a cultural norm or positively looked upon.

A brief introduction on BECAUSE’s first guest speaker: Dr Karen Kow is a practising psychologist, yoga instructor and the author of YogInspired. She works both in a clinical setting and a corporate environment dealing mainly with clinical depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorder, pain management, stress related symptoms and relationship issues.

One of the most important points that Dr Karen stressed was that the elderly who stay at nursing homes do not like “touch ‘n’ go” relationships with volunteers, it is just another form of abandonment to them.  We were reminded that volunteer/charity work should not be viewed as something like a hobby (to pass the time or collect brownie points), nor should the subject matter (the elderly, orphans, disabled) be viewed as objects.  They are humans with thoughts and feelings.  Very often volunteers make the mistake of doing charity based on what the mind thinks, but the heart is not touched.  When this is the case, whatever charity is being done is not effective or really helpful or sustainable.

One of the key takeaway message she imparted on us that day was “when the mind of charity touches the heart, then we can really help others”.  She also left us with a formula to remember: “EXPOSURE + EXPERIENCE = EXCELLENCE”.

Based on the feedback from the attendees at the end of the talk, everyone was pleasantly surprised and grateful for taking time out of their Saturday to do something a little different to learn a little more about what humanity is all about.

We have been asked to organize more talks like this and we are looking forward to doing more encores!

If you would like to play a part in educating the public on issues and skills ranging from self help, charity, child care, eldery care etc etc and would like to hold a talk or workshop for our Because volunteers, please contact Su An at

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