Seventeen-year-old Elijah Ted Ng details his journey as a social entrepreneur in his newly-released book Vision: Driven By Passion.
Elijah Ted Ng is one of the youngest social entrepreneurs in Singapore. At the tender age of 13, Elijah founded Art With A HeART, a social enterprise targeted at serving the community. Since its inception, HeART has crossed borders and boundaries, from distributing prescription spectacles to children with myopia in Indonesia to the recent haircut project “Good Look with a HeART,” where free haircuts were given to underprivileged children and their families.
Out of these pursuits of passion come the book Vision: Driven By Passion written by Ng which details his journey as a social entrepreneur since 2010.
Currently studying at the Singapore Institute of Management, Ng, 17, shares that the idea for Vision came from Kenny Low, principal of City College and founder of performing arts center O School. He had just got off a plane after a speaking engagement in Taiwan, and right there at the airport, Ng, Low and Ng’s godmother, president and founder of street fashion chain 77th Street Elim Chew sat brainstorming for hours about a book.
Seven months later, it was born.
Vision aims to inspire youth to serve the community with what they have. Ng stresses that one need not wait to get wealthy or famous in order to do good works. “Look into your hands and see what you have to help others,” he shares.
Ng cites how the main message of the book resonates with the teachings of Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church, on the Cultural Mandate. The Biblical character of Daniel as found in the book of Daniel, for example, taught Ng that it is only by being a problem solver that one is able to rise to a position of influence and effectively bring Christ into culture, making an impact on the marketplace and the community.
Ng’s passion for the underprivileged and empathy toward the needy stem from his upbringing as the only child of business owner Timothy Ng and senior accounts manager Suzanne Chee.
Ng credits them with the attitude of giving that has been instilled in his life, by encouraging simple acts of kindness such as giving monetary love gifts to various charities and even purchasing tissue packets from the elderly. “It’s the little things that your parents do in your development as a child that matter,” he says.
Other sources of inspiration include Sun Ho, co-founder of CHC and fellow social entrepreneur Elim Chew. Observing Kong and Sun tirelessly serving in the house of God and providing assistance to those in need inspired and encouraged Ng to do more with HeART.
Besides the teachings at CHC that have fuelled his passion for the community, it is Chew’s mentorship and her passion for the community, extolled in projects like PaTH (Pop and Talent Hub), that have borne fruit in Ng’s life.
Asked to summarize, in one word, his journey thus far as a social entrepreneur, Ng replies firmly, “Vision. A man without vision perishes. It is only with a vision that one will continue running.”
Vision: Driven By Passion retails for S$25 at The Ink Room and Popular bookstores. For every two copies of Vision sold, one pair of prescription spectacles will be donated to a child in a less-developed country.