Friday 9th March 2018
Writers Fortnight Feature Article – Christina Lau and Danny Raven Tan
By Cara Jackson – 9LTw
In my opinion, 14 and 15-year-olds need a bit of motivation. We just want to get school done, check it off the list and be done with it. However, I think we lack the inspiration to try things that aren’t related to school, for example, starting an art class or learning a new musical instrument. During the writers fortnight, we met many inspirational adults. After learning about 5, personally, I think that Danny Raven Tan and Christina Lau inspired me the most. Their stories have a common theme, they have overcome the challenges and troubling moments of life, and even though not a lot of people can connect with them on experiences, I think some high schoolers need some stories like theirs to inspire them to be themselves and push themselves to be the best they can be.
Christina Lau is a disabled mouth painter, meaning she paints by holding the paintbrush in her mouth. However, before her accident, she was a very sporty prison officer. In 2005 she got into a car accident in Malaysia. Ms Lau became unconscious and in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for ten days. A C6 spinal cord injury left her paralysed from the chest down. After the accident, Ms Lau fell into a deep depression; she didn’t know what she was going to do with herself, with her life and she told herself told herself that she was a burden to her family and friends. However, she bounced back; Ms Lau realised that this state of mind was unhealthy and told herself to keep trying. She went to therapy to get back some of the strength in her back so that she could sit up straight in her wheelchair. In 2012 she started painting and got to know a group of mouth/foot painters, she also took courses to try to get a job. Unfortunately, in most places, it is hard for a disabled person to get a job, and so she carried on with painting. In 2015, she picked up table tennis and said it is a confidence booster. In the talk, she explained that she used to think that disabled people needed help Now, after becoming a disabled person and spending her life in a wheelchair, she realises that they don’t need as much help as people think. She said ‘End is not the end; end stands for ‘Effort Never Dies”. I believe that she is a very inspirational person because of her resilience to overcome her pain, gain a positive attitude and use that to motivate others through her motivational speaking. And even if we can’t connect with what she went through we can take her advice and her experiences to motivate us never to give up.
Danny Raven Tan is a local Singaporean artist and art makes him happy. In 2010, he had stage 2 pancreatic cancer and was in a lot of pain. Mr Tan had chemotherapy and never told his parents that he ever had cancer, and to this day, his mum still doesn’t know. He fell into depression, the scar from the surgery was a constant reminder of the real-life nightmare. But, a friend told him that the mark should remind him that Mr Tan survived. He says that we will all face many challenges in life, but that’s okay, you will come out of it stronger. Mr Tan also says that ‘life is to celebrate’. With his paintings, he says that “Art is for the soul. It can change people and set people thinking. That’s what I want to do.” He also has been in videos about spreading awareness about dementia, a disease that his mother has. He shares the struggles that his family go through and have gone through. By doing so, he helps others understand more about it. He says, ‘Always try, if you don’t, you never know.’ I think that he is another motivational person, and again, even if we can’t connect with his experiences, we can take his advice and ‘Always Try.’
Grade 9, a group of 14 and 15-year-olds, are now in high school and are focused on school and homework. We don’t get a lot of time to ourselves, with our friends and sometimes, just to relax and not worry about essays, tests, etc. Juggling both our school life and our social life is hard. We try to focus only on our schoolwork, meaning we don’t have much time to be with our friends. I think that we lack the motivation to work towards new things and to put ourselves out there. We have had many opportunities to show our ‘colours’ but have not taken them, and then stating that we are ‘too lazy’. I believe that Christina Lau’s and Danny Raven Tan’s stories can motivate us to get going and try things we had never thought about before. Though (hopefully) nothing drastic has happened to us, like Ms Lau or Mr Tan, we should still try something new.
To me, Christina Lau and Danny Raven Tan are inspiring and motivational; they teach us to never give up on ourselves and to try and overcome the challenges that you face. Everyone goes through tough times in life and though we might need support from others our biggest supporter is ourselves.
“Christina Lau, Mouth Artist and Re-Inventor – Flying Cape High Flier Series.” Flying Cape’s Blog, blog.flyingcape.com.sg/high-flier-interviews/christina-lau-mouth-artist/.
Fang, Joy. “S’pore Artist Danny Raven Tan Showcases His Works in Flat.” TODAYonline, 10 Feb. 2016, www.todayonline.com/entertainment/arts/spore-artist-danny-raven-tan-showcases-his-works-flat.