by Jackie Ng
Partridge Publishing Singapore

"Can you imagine the feeling of being surrounded by school of fishes of all colours and sizes while swimming at sea?"

In 1998, after some years of enduring increasingly painful headaches gradually accompanied by extreme nausea, thirty-two-year-old author Ng was diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring surgery immediately. Despite being told the surgery had been a success, her recovery included the inability to move any part of her body except for one hand, double vision, and the inability to speak except very slowly. For someone who had graduated from university with honors and navigated a complicated corporate career, these disabilities resulted in reclusiveness and depression. Slowly, Ng began to try to overcome her limitations with exercise. The best motivation came from joining a cadre of disabled people in deep-sea diving and snorkeling. She is now an ardent walker and even helps care for her aging mother.

Ng’s modest but frank memoir skillfully depicts what she experienced, offering a sense of hope to others. She believes anyone can do what she has done, though it should be noted that she is a person of remarkably strong will and merits admiration for every recuperative step she has taken. Her condition has included epilepsy and other peripheral problems not easy to face or manage. She aptly compares a brain tumor to damage to a computer’s CPU. When the brain is so traumatically affected, there will inevitably be a loss of function in some aspects of the body’s functioning. Her condition makes her an advocate not only for the rights and assistance of handicapped individuals but also for the natural wonders she encountered in her diving exploits that are being carelessly destroyed by humans and now affected by climate change. Ng’s book speaks loudly and clearly for the need for everyone to become more aware of the injured people and the weakening world around and, like her, to take a courageous stand.

Return to USR Home