Amid the usual resolutions to put past mistakes behind and start afresh in the new year, I’ve also asked myself: What did I do right last year that I can continue doing this year?

This question came to me after I read a recent article about two teenagers who have been nominated for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award 2019.

Seng Ian Hao, 15, and his sister Ing Le, 13, were nominated for their invention of a walking stick holder that allows elderly users to secure their walking sticks when they sit down at the table, for instance. Called Qanemate, the simple device helps prevent situations where they have to bend down and pick up a fallen walking stick, which can put them at greater risk.

What struck me about Qanemate, however, was not the invention itself. Rather, it was the compassion that these two young persons had for the elderly. The idea had come about some six years ago, when Ian Hao and Ing Le saw an elderly woman fall while trying to pick up her walking stick. It compelled them to action.

Undeterred by their young age and lack of experience, they determined to come up with a solution, and spent many months working on a prototype and asking elderly folks for feedback.

When they succeeded, they set up a company to produce and sell the Qanemate. But then they gave away hundreds of the devices to seniors in Singapore—paying for them from their own Chinese New Year angbao takings each year. They also set up a non-profit arm that uses profits from the sales to distribute Qanemates to those who need it.

What drives their passion to invent this device? As Ian Hao told an interviewer about the incident that sparked their action: “Our hearts broke when we saw her fall.” It must be compassion.

My thoughts were turned to Jesus who went through the towns and villages preaching because “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them… they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35–38).

It breaks our Lord’s heart to see man’s helplessness and hopelessness. He knows they need Him as Saviour and Lord in their lives. That is why He challenges us, His disciples, to reach out and share the good news.

Like you, I’m aiming to start things afresh and aright for the new year. Will you join me in making compassion our goal, and reach out to those in need of the Saviour?


Lord, give me
Your heart of compassion
to see those who need You,
and the passion
to share Your gospel with them.


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