Digital card game helps improve family relationships
His rebellious teenage phase often led to fights with his mother and strained their relationship.
Mr Isaiah Chia, now 20, often found it difficult back then to express his emotions, and he stayed out late frequently just to avoid conflict.
After multiple conversations with friends, he realised he was not alone in his struggles to be vulnerable and honest with his family.
So when a polytechnic module he took in 2018 required him to create a product that would address one social issue, he elected to address the concerns surrounding youth mental health.
Together with five schoolmates, Mr Chia founded Vessels, a social enterprise whose flagship product is TableTalk - a question-based, in-person card game that aims to spark intentional conversations among players so they may form deeper connections.
Some questions require players to do self-reflection ("What do you appreciate about yourself?"), while others require players to discuss topics such as the last time one player made the other upset.
The group has since created a digital family version that can be played for free via Telegram, with questions revolving around emotional childhood moments, such as talking about a time they were upset.
It was created in collaboration with FamChamps, a community youth movement under Focus On The Family Singapore, as part of its On Second Talk campaign launched yesterday in conjunction with Youth Day.
Mr Chia, the youngest of four children, said playing TableTalk helped him grow closer to his mother.
He told The New Paper: "We all had diverse answers to the questions, which really brought out the different perspectives. We are in different seasons of life, so it was nice to listen to everyone's thoughts."
Student Mya Marisha, 16, who joined the FamChamps Camp Experience in 2019, said she was initially apprehensive about the game as she "usually likes to talk about more lighthearted things".
However, she found it meaningful and it helped her better understand her parents.
She said: "My father, who usually keeps to himself, shared that he deeply respected my mother who often does most of the cooking and household chores. She felt really appreciated, and it was a really good moment."
Mr Chia hopes that the positive experiences of young people thus far will motivate others to give the game a shot.
He said: "When we learn to step into a vulnerable space with our parents, we start to understand and empathise with them better.