Terence Ang is a powerful author with a story to tell. He suffered a stroke in August 2020. At that time, he was the Head of Digital Marketing and E-Commerce at Singapore’s largest home and electronic company. As a stroke survivor, he recounts his experiences in his book A Cry in the Dark, which was published in 2022. The novel details the recovery process for Ang, someone who was in the prime of his life when disaster struck, and he found himself incapacitated, even unable to speak. Yet, he reclaimed his voice, life, and dignity thanks to the sheer resilience he offered throughout the entire journey, which also involved writing the book and doing illustrations with a hand that was not fully working.
Hi Terence, Please share about your experience with the stroke.
It was shocking. I did not expect it to happen because I believed it was something that happened to people in their seventies or more. At the time, I was only 55 and was perfectly healthy, with everything going for me, from my success in the work world to my relationships. And then, it happened, and my life was changed. However, even if it could seem like a drastic change, it was also a new beginning. I survived, even though the doctors doubted I would.
Why did you choose to write a book?
I wanted to share my experience and also raise awareness about strokes. Younger people can also be victims of this terrible condition, and everyone should be aware of this. For victims and caregivers, I wanted to offer a hopeful message, the idea that they can too find a miracle in their lives and find help as well because they are not alone in their experiences. The book can be purchased on Amazon here.
Could you provide more details about the book?
It is a story told by an adult to a child. Both are me. The adult is my old self, someone who was stuck within his own life and who was struggling to overcome the shame associated with having to learn so many things anew. But the child is a new self who is thrilled to learn, excited to celebrate each achievement. Even when it comes to talking or walking, the child is doing this joyfully, despite the adult’s reactions. The book is a dialog between these two parts.
Please tell us about the upcoming 14th World Stroke Congress 2022 in Singapore.
This global event will take place in Singapore from October 26 to 29 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre and bring together the international stroke community to discuss how to better deliver improvements in prevention, treatment, and support to reduce the burden of stroke.
I had recently shot this one-minute video that involved hours of recording –
This video shows me at my best, and although the result is far from perfect, I wanted to keep it as real as possible. You can therefore imagine what I’m like right now, without all the editing that helped to make me more presentable. I was initially reluctant as I still struggle with aphasia which affects my speech and memory, especially language expression and comprehension.
A very valuable situation for me has been the professional reaction from people like the President of the Singapore National Stroke Association, Dr. Shamala Thilarajah, and opportunities to speak at national events and conferences around this topic.
Singapore National Stroke Association president Dr. Shamala Thilarajah, who nominated me to give the address, told me: “Your voice can be powerful.”
To even go onstage and address a live audience with my present condition is scary, as someone who always has been conscious of my image. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to face this challenge for myself and fellow stroke survivors to prove that we can overcome our circumstances if we make an effort. It’s time to start letting go of my fears and think instead about what a powerful message my doing so can send everyone.
So many friends and medical professionals have helped, supported, and encouraged me up to this point, so I want to repay them by showing I can do this.
I would also like to share that Aphasia SG founder and my speech-language therapist Ms. Evelyn Khoo mentioned about me doing this event: “As his speech-language therapist, I am immensely proud of Terence for accepting this huge challenge of speaking at the upcoming World Stroke Congress. Public speaking is daunting for many; can you imagine how terrifying it must be for someone with communication challenges after a stroke? I look forward to him conquering this next big hurdle of public speaking!”
For more information on the World Stroke Congress and my participation, you can check the website www.worldstrokecongress.org
What are your current projects?
After the stroke and the first book, I am now dedicated to working again. I hope to make rehabilitation more accessible to stroke patients and those with neurological issues. Currently, I am with GRATEFULSTEPS; a holistic neurological rehabilitation center centered on achieving independence and improving quality of life as much as possible.
I am working on my 2nd book with a collection of short stories accompanied by illustrations to shed light on post-stroke life in an interesting, unique, and yet powerful way. As a stroke survivor, I want to make a difference in someone’s life through my journey with the hope of providing a positive outlook as one navigates everyday life. While the first book is about me dealing with the aftermath of a stroke, the second book will feature stroke survivors sharing the stories of their journeys.
So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much, Terence, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!
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