An autobiography by Oh Siew May
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Oh Siew May at Bollywood Veggies in Singapore one warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. My first impression of Siew May was that of just another quintessential "Singaporean auntie"; warm, friendly & chatty. In truth, there stood in front of me was actually a "monster" slayer, whose achievements were larger than her petite frame let on.
I strongly encourage you to read this book about her life story. Siew May went through a lot of challenges and trauma in life, overcame each of them, and her story continues to give everyone hope, in particular the Singaporean and, dare I expand, to the Southeast Asian community as well. Singapore is part of Southeast Asia, we share commonalities in climate, culture, proximity and diets. We all can find the references in Siew May’s stories familiar and relatable.
The story in the book is succinctly presented in 5 neat chapters.
Siew May says being disabled is not a sin. I believe she meant that children born with disabilities such as Cerebral palsy like herself should not be penalized, ostracized from mainstream society.
Here, a few Singaporean organizations deserve praise. Thank God that Singapore was able to harness immense wealth as a nation over the past 50 years and deploy these critical resources today to finance worthy charitable causes in our community.
I commend St Hilda’s Secondary School for accepting Siew May into the express education stream and for Ms. Sarah Yew, Siew May's teacher, and the school team to have persevered with Siew May through her learning journey.
Looking at the future, I compliment the Singaporean Ministry of Education’s current efforts to integrate children with mild to moderate disabilities into our mainstream education system.
Don’t let fear or hatred dictate your life. Find unconditional love in your close friends and the “second” families that God sends our way.
While mental molds have a practical function in society. Let us break stereotypes to realize our potential.