SINGAPORE - If you were born on Dec 1, 1974, Mr Richard Avis is looking for you. The Englishman will be in Singapore from tomorrow until Monday on his global quest to meet people born on the same day as him.
"My aim is to... meet people from the broadest possible range of backgrounds and experiences across all the continents of the world," he told The Straits Times.
It all began in 2011, when Mr Avis - then 36, and having been a management consultant for a decade - began wondering about the nature of success, and whether he was still young or middle-aged.
Instead of "having a mid-life crisis" over such questions, he wondered what others his age thought. "There must be thousands of other people who had been born on the same day as me, who had had exactly the same number of days in their lives, but whose lives would be so very different."
One way to find out, of course, would be to meet them. When he mentioned the idea to his friends, three of them set him the target of meeting 40 such "Time Twins" before turning 40. Mr Avis has since met 32 people in 13 countries, from the mayor of an Italian town destroyed by an earthquake to a Dutch female body-building champion.
Last December, he took a 10-month break from work to pursue his project full-time. Together with the three friends who kicked it off, he plans to write a book and make a documentary about the people he meets.
While the "40 by 40" target remains, he does not plan to stop there. He has already been invited to meet peers from Nepal and Vanuatu to Ethiopia and Morocco. He has not met any Singaporean Time Twins, but hopes some will contact him on email@example.com
His next stop: Kuala Lumpur, where he has already arranged to meet an administrator and an Iranian-born jazz musician. "Beyond there, it is to meet a socialite and a laundry worker in Thailand, a farmer in Vietnam and then onward..."
Of course, this depends on money. The project is now self-funded, but he is looking for corporate partners too.
This article was published on April 24 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.