At the age of 22, when I found out I had a giant tumour in my left leg, I hit the lowest point of my life.
When the doctor first broke the news to me that I have to undergo amputation, I thought to myself, “Huh ok. What should I do next with my life?” I was young and still in that happy-go-lucky mood. But talking about amputation and actually going through that are different worlds entirely.
The first time I saw myself without my leg, I felt completely devastated and hopeless.
Being physically whole and fit meant everything to me. As a military officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, I was able to do everything and anything I wanted. But as an amputee, I couldn’t do whatever I wanted anymore so I left the Army, left the life I knew I belonged to.
So what then? What did I have left? What could I do or what else was there left to do? It was at this point that I had suicidal thoughts. I have contemplated suicide many times since my amputation but it takes a lot of courage to actually do the deed. And I think I’m brave but not that brave.
I also knew deep down, I would never and could never give up on life, give up on myself. The Army mantra drilled into my brain for years was, collapse or die trying but never give up.
So I lived on, I pushed on. Bit by bit, I reeled myself out of my depressive state. I was so glad and deeply appreciative to have my family throughout my ordeal. I knew I was difficult and put them through a lot but they never gave up on me, so why should I be the one to give up?
Through powerlifting, I feel like I’m at the height of my fitness once again. Nowadays, I no longer feel I’m disabled and sometimes, I even forget about my disability when I’m among other people.
Though powerlifting is a very new sport, I love doing it and I hope it gains more recognition in Singapore after this ASEAN Para Games. It’s about sheer mental strength as much as it is about physical ability and there’re so many ways to progress in this sport.
That’s what sports should really be about, mental strength and not just physical power. When we train as hard as regular athletes and dedicate as much time, are we not one of them and nothing less?