The Nicest Guy Around

A look into the Random Acts of Kindness Project and its creator, Simon Trinh

A couple weeks ago I received a surprise email from a kid named Simon in Grade 6 containing a drawn picture of a koi fish. He told me as part of project of his called “Random Acts of Kindness”, I had been randomly selected along with two others to receive his drawings. I replied to thank him and compliment him on the delightful little picture, and he ended up sending me a second awesome drawing!

It seems I am not the only one benefitting from Simon’s art project; in recent weeks he has been sending other students his drawings, and last month he gave out 600 paper cranes to all the homerooms of the high school – if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. I sat down with Simon the week before Spring Break to ask him a couple questions about his project and being the nicest guy on campus.


Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Tuan, but I generally go by the name of Simon, I’m currently 12 years old and will be turning 13 next month. I’m in grade 6 and I’ve been at UNIS for 2-3 years now.

And what do you call your project?

I call it the Act of Kindness Project 🙂

And I guess the primary goal of the project is to…make people happy? 

Yep. And to advertise art.

Nice! What inspired you to start this Act of Kindness Project?

It started off pretty small; first I started this art challenge-thing in my homeroom because I wanted to people to participate more and I thought it could be a fun activity. Over time I stopped doing that because I didn’t have enough time to do it with tests and assessments and such.

Yeah, school is like that…

But later on I started making drawings for people, which gave me the idea to go a little further and then I decided to start doing paper cranes. 600 of them

So is art something that you’re generally pretty interested in?


Primarily drawing?

Yeah I’d say so

Is this your first time working with origami-type paper creations?

Yeah, making these cranes was actually the first time I learned how to make the cranes. Over time I started making more of them cause I thought they were pretty interesting and thought it would be kind of cool for people to draw on it, and that way I would be mixing the element of drawing with origami.

Do you believe in aliens?

Sort of…actually probably not. But I do believe in magic. Like how luck works and stuff.

Cool. I know the high school has been pretty psyched about their gifts and really impressed with what you’re doing right now, what is it like with the middle school?

Um, well at the moment I’ve only given the cranes out to the high school and with today with the change in the morning meeting I wasn’t able to give out my gifts to the middle school. But I think after break I’ll give it to them.

So you are planning on working with middle school as well?

I’m planning on working with both the middle school and the high school. Probably not the elementary school though because that would just be a little bit too much.

Yeah that’s understandable, you’re doing a lot now anyways.

Yeah, plus I don’t really hang out around the elementary school anyways.

(Laughs) Always looking forward right?


So what are your future plans for the Act of Kindness Project?

Just to generally expand over time. I just want to be nice to everyone and make everyone feel happy while they’re at UNIS 🙂 I just get a great feeling when I do something nice for people so I think it would be geat to increase the project as much as possible.

Is it solely you right now, or do you have others working with you and helping you? 

No it’s just me right now.

Would you want to work with others part of your expansion?

Well I guess so, but I don’t really mind. I consider it my own personal project and very few of my friends have the same sort of motivation.

Do you have a lucky number? 

I actually have two lucky numbers, the first one being 2 and the second one would have to be 7.

Any particular reason? 

Well most people like to choose 1 because it comes first so I like to switch it up and go with 2, plus the 2 times table is the easiest. And 7 is THE lucky number

On any given Saturday, what would someone find Simon doing?

Probably….talking to my friends. Online. And sometimes I just draw.

Is most of your stuff created digitally? Like with the tablet? Or do you also use pen and paper?

I’ll do pen and paper sometimes, but most of the time it’s all digital.

Man that’s crazy to think about. When I was your age I would have never dreamed of drawing using a stylus and a screen but now it’s pretty much the norm almost.

Yeah I mean I used to do a lot of  pen and paper sketches, but then one day I realize “well this tablet has this pen and this software…why not use it to draw?” And I started doing it more and more until it became familiar to me.

Do you know of a site called DeviantArt?

Yes! I have an account.

Yeah I do too. I don’t post anything but I like to browse around and see what other people make and create.

So one of the pictures you sent me was a koi fish and the other was a rabbit – are animals the main subject of your work?

Yeah; I think drawing humans is just a bit too hard and I always feel like I’ve messed up the nose or the face and such. I do draw humans sometimes but most of the times I stick to animals or things that I consider “imaginative”.

Now that you have done both digital drawings and paper creations, do you think you will be moving towards using other media?

Possibly. I’m trying to get into the MRISA Arts program for next year to take some new ideas from what I learn there.

Nice! I did MRISA Arts back when I was in 6th grade at HIS, and it was loads of fun. That would be an awesome thing to work towards.

I’m also trying to get better with my realistic drawings, as most of what I do now are just doodles.

Do you have any particular artistic inspirations?

Actually it mostly comes from my friends; they’ll draw Chibi creations or other types of things and that’s what inspires me the most.

If a doctor told you that you’ve contracted a horrible disease and you had only one day left to live, what would be your three meals of choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Um…well I’m actually not that interested in food to be honest.


(Laughs) Yeah I just do it because…I have to? I know that sounds kind of funny but I would rather draw the food than eat it.

Ok, but what if your mom took you out to eat and told you that you could go anywhere you wanted to what would you say?

I guess probably El Gaucho.

Nice! Excellent choice.  So if someone was interested in starting up a project similar to the Act of Kindness Project, what advice would you give them?

Do something unexpected! Do something nice and fun for the community, and let them know what your goals are. No one told me what I should do or gave me the idea for the project, I just wanted to do something that would make people say “wow” and let them know that everything is good. I doubted that it would become as successful as it has become.

Yesterday you sent out some drawings to the Seniors right?


So do you send out the same sort of drawings every time you select the names?

Nope, I make them different every time, and it generally ends up being whatever comes to my mind at the time. For the seniors it ended up being one whole poster that I sent to everyone rather than like a lottery where I select several names and email them individual pictures.

Oh for real?

Yeah it shifts over time. Today I’m planning on drawing 30 pictures.

30? What for?

Just because it’s close to spring.

Well, I’ve got to know – do you have a theme song?

(Thinks for a while) There’s a lot of songs I would choose…

Would it be “Happy”? It would be “Happy” wouldn’t it?

No I would probably go with “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey

Wow! You’re into Lana Del Rey?

Yeah! 🙂

Who else do you like to listen to?

At the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of Lorde

Yeah she’s a cool chick. Do you know Marina and the Diamonds?

Oh yes! I like her

Tove Lo?


Dude you’re on the ball. Are you a pretty avid music listener?  

I listen to music all the time. I always have to have my iPod with me. But my family is kind of split between the artists and the super serious workers – the fun and the busy basically. My mom and dad are all about “focus on becoming a lawyer” and stuff while my brother and I are more artistic; he writes a newspaper for movies and takes pictures while I do the arts and stuff.

Awesome! Any final remarks?

I just hope everyone likes their cranes because you know some of them I was pretty much asleep while I was making them.

Has it been kind of weird having to talk to me with this face paint on?

Nah not really. I’ve seen a bunch of people with it so it’s all good.


Be on the lookout for more developments from Simon’s project. You can check out his Facebook in the link below: