career transitioner/ restarter
(In her 50's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Emily grappled with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare and untreatable voice disorder, right after her marriage. She was then doing hotel acquisitions work for a luxury hotel company. She left her job after 10 years, as her voice condition took a toll on her. Shortly after, Emily became a winner in Singapore Book Council's competition. She used her prize money to self-publish her debut book and bestseller Prince Bear & Pauper Bear.
At 40 years old, she became a mother and restarted a new life, taking on writing and publishing freelance work for private and public organisations.
At 45 years old, she battled breast cancer and overcame. She then became caregiver to her late mother who passed on from cancer and her father who recovered from early-stage cancer.
During Covid, she wrote and published 2 free Covid children's e-picture books with a fellow creative for the community. This was a voluntary collaboration with Ministry of Health and a team of paediatric doctors. She is now working on her 4th e-book in voluntary collaboration with Epworth Community Services to create awareness of needs in the community. Emily is now an author over 45 children's books. She also volunteers with Epworth Community Services.
The last three years of the COVID-19 pandemic has left most of us drained and exhausted. Yet, Emily could even spend time and energy caring for the community, writing children e-picture books to reach out to children who might be feeling rather lost in this new world of pandemic. When I first heard the life story of Emily, how she grappled with her voice disorder when she was a newly-wed, how she battled breast cancer, being a mother to a young boy, and that she was caregiver to her parents who were ill, I was truly amazed at the strength of this lady and her journey of faith with God. With me being a fellow breast cancer survivor, she is friendly and helpful when I approached her for some advice. Her achievements and fighting spirit, even beyond 40 years of age, is a testimonial that there is nothing women above 40 cannot achieve. This, in itself, sets her apart from other women.
In her own words:
I've had several restarts - before and after 40 years old, so it's a bit hard to give a straight up Yes/No answer to the above question. Depending on what we are talking about, it could be before or after 40.
My greatest achievement (which to me is more aptly "greatest blessing") is finding my voice in my writing through my late 30s/40s and finding a new voice at 50 when my writing purpose took a new community-led direction.
Biggest challenge thus far
For me, it's not with pride but with thankfulness, that I have overcome a debilitating voice disorder through a decade of struggle in my 30s/40s, followed by breast cancer in my 40s. And finding my voice through my writing journey twice over - once in my late 30s and again at 50.
what judges say
As sufferer of voice disorder and cancer survivor, she found her voice in writing and has been using her new found skill to contribute immensely to society