The week before the Chinese New Year, the writers fortnight event was held at UWCSEA. During this event, we had three speakers talking to us about their life's experiences.
“ Being disabled does not mean that a person is unable.”
This is the motto of 45-year-old Christina Lau, one of the speakers at Writers Fortnight event held at UWCSEA East. Christina met with a car accident on 2nd April 2005 on a rainy day in Malaysia which paralysed her from the waist down. Upon receiving the news, she was shattered and did not know how to move on from this low in her life. Christina decided to turn this tragedy into something she and the people around her would benefit from.
Prior to her accident, Christina was a prison officer, a self-dependant woman. This, she confessed, caused her to be disconnected from the rest of her family which, now, looking back on, she regrets. After she received the news that she would be paralysed from the chest down, her family, even though they were devastated by the incident, promised her that they would be behind her, helping her overcome every hurdle that she faced. In the months following, Christina felt the lost bonds with her family rejoining and felt the support and love that the family had for her.
Now, Christina is a social and energetic woman which is a huge contrast to her life as a prison officer, and speaks out about her views on the treatment and conditions of the differently abled in Singapore. She believes that Singapore’s transport is well optimised for people with disabilities but believes that there is a room for improvement as the sidewalks and pavements are uneven and cause discomfort whilst going over these surfaces on a wheelchair. Also sometimes she finds that looking up to people is a degrading experience. But this was just after she had her accident and the confidence and trust that Christina has in herself helps her get through every day.
Christina mouth painting.
During our meeting in UWCSEA East in the conference room with Christina, an interesting question popped up. If she had the chance to, would Christina have gone back and avoided the accident that paralysed her? To this she said no. She believed that the accident had made her a better person. She communicated more openly with people and actually felt as though she was helping a larger group of people aside from herself. The path that the accident took her down had made her a better person and she was making the most of this opportunity she had been given. If the accident had never occurred, she would never have found mouth painting which she thoroughly enjoys and does on the daily and also does public displays of. Mouth painting exhibitions attract a lot of people as they have never seen mouth painters before and they want to see how it is done.
One of Christina's paintings
Despite all obstacles Christina has overcome, she has ambitions further than just mouth painting. She also has ambitions to succeed in in the world of sport. Christina wants to represent Singapore at the Olympics in table tennis. She also believes that she will walk one day. She is certain that if she could walk before, she will walk again. She recognises that the more obstacles she clears in her life, the more he belief in herself and her confidence rise. Christina has come a long way from the prison officer that she was and has progressed into a more sociable, active and energetic person and a huge contributor to society.
As she says:
“ Every challenge is an opportunity to push yourself to the next level.”
As a student, sitting in a crowded that crowded conference room, listening to Christina sharing her life's experiences was something that I will remember for a long time. The courage and determination that Christina has shown has had a huge impact on me. It has taught me that no matter how bad things may seem stay strong and the light at the end of the tunnel will show itself in time.