Our story begins with Yogi Omar.
Yogi is originally from Indonesia and now lives in Vancouver, co-owning a talent agency for film and TV. In his spare time, he commits himself to multiple side projects, such as being a Board Member of Qmunity, BC’s Queer Resource Centre and the Queer Film Festival as well as singing with the Vancouver men’s chorus. He goes to 18-25 events each month and he laughs so often, he makes his busy schedule seem easy. “I should clone myself!” he jokes.
Yogi is a man who has made giving a way of living. And last Christmas, it came right back to him.
Was there a moment when you began to pay it forward or was it always a way of life for you?
I’ve always been involved in activism. I stopped doing gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I ask people to put the money that they were going to pay for gifts to one of the organizations that I support. I’ve been doing this for the last 5-6 years.
How many organizations are you involved with?
I give donations to six organizations a month. I made a pact to myself that whatever I make, I’m going to donate 50% of my income to these organizations. If I make more, I will give more!
That is a large percentage!
I don’t need much. I have my house, I have my food, and I have my friends. I’m happy. I’m even happier when I can give more.
Is it hard to work in the judgmental film industry when you have such a giving spirit?
I always strive to make a difference in my industry. I don’t produce the shows. What I can control is how I use my language into giving them what they want. It’s the little things that can help make it a better industry. Labels become problematic.
Last Christmas, some of your kind spirit was reflected back to you. Tell us the story.
Exactly a year ago, my biological dad got diagnosed with stage 3 bone cancer. He was being treated in China. I had to find a way to go to China and I don’t really have a whole lot of money. A week before Christmas, I used my savings to buy a ticket. That same night, I saw this homeless guy. I always try to be nice. He asked if I had cash and I didn’t have any cash on me. I walked away and then turned back to him. I told him I didn’t have cash but I could give him blankets or socks or something that could make him a little more comfortable. That’s when he told me he wasn’t a homeless person.
That is a shocking twist of events!
I still don’t know who he is. Apparently, he does this every year with his family. He does random acts of kindness to people who are kind to homeless people. He told me “I would like to help you.” We started talking about my dad and he offered to help with that. I told him I was fine. He asked how much my rent was and he gave me the money from his fanny pack. In cash!
You had every intention to just give and it ended up coming back to you.
Sometimes you don’t know it or see it. You do things because you want to. You never expect anything, but every once in awhile you get a bolt of energy that makes you realize that the things that you’re doing are bigger than yourself. It’s a ripple effect.
You have given us great inspiration for our 21-day challenge!
Hopefully we won’t need a 21-day challenge in the future. It will become a force of habit that will lead a bigger, positive change.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.