Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Girl Who Just Wouldn’t Give Up

Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you. I read about Poesy in the Star Metro in March earlier this year. She survived a possibly fatal illness two years ago with the help of some good people around her, so she decided that there were a lot more people like her out there who could do with a helping hand.

Poesy started a group on Facebook called Helping Angels to do charity and community work around the Klang Valley via a network of dedicated volunteers. Their main focus is government and community children’s homes, in order to add value in educational and social benefit.

Her fledging organization has already recruited about 700 angels involved in short term projects that require varying efforts and time commitments. Currently they are in the early days of a tutoring program at Precious Children Home in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The long term goal is to introduce the tutoring program to provide academic assistance on a weekly basis to children across a range of homes, and to eventually implement a fostering program for children with outstanding results.

Having been through a similar life threatening experience myself, I was impressed and tried to read her Facebook profile but couldn’t as she was in the Taiwan network. (Her mother is Taiwanese) So I started to read up on her instead, and was truly amazed and inspired by this pocket dynamo. She’s sheer determination bottled up in a petite (and pretty) mobile package.

Poesy started young. From her pre-schooling days, she started classical training in various forms of Chinese cultural art, performing arts and music. These creative skills contributed to her later years. At age 14 she was already dabbling in television, advertisements, voiceovers and as a commercial talent.

During the height of her television career at 17, Poesy was diagnosed to have a life-threatening spinal tumor and was deemed permanently paralyzed waist down. One year after surgery, against medical predictions, she made a rapid and miraculous recovery, albeit with changed perspectives on life.

At the end of 1999, she made the decision to move away from the entertainment industry in order to seek her purpose in life, to fulfill her strong passion to live, to write, to learn and to pass it on in hope of benefiting others.

After her secondary education, Poesy trained for 3 years in architectural engineering. When she decided to quit the entertainment scene at 24, she ventured on to do her MBA to refine her skills. At 26, Poesy started to pursue a law degree but was forced to drop-out from law school due to health complications

Thus she spent her 20s exploring different jobs and industries. To quote a magazine article on her, "What she has accomplished to date is enough to last normal folks many lifetimes. Futures trader, motivational speaker, writer, television commercial talent, professional MC, VJ, artist, volunteer worker, survivor and finally started her own interior design practice. For multi-talented Poesy, life seems to be a whole series of fresh starts."

At 28, Poesy was once again faced with another health hurdle. More spinal tumors were found. Life once again posed the horrifying possibility of partial paralysis. Poesy calmly put her life on hold, and after the second spinal surgery she applied herself relearning to walk again. This was another turning point to defining Poesy's never-say-die attitude while she bravely fought the effects of the surgery and remnant tumors.

oh, did I mention she sings, too? image credit: eugene ong, all dat jazz

In February 2006, Poesy underwent CyberKnife surgery in Stanford University to treat stubborn remnant tumors wedged in her spinal cord. The efficacy of the procedure will only be apparent as time advances; it is therefore unsure how her health will turn out over the next 3 years.

She resolutely set her mind to make yet another miracle happen. During the recuperation period, she wasted no time on self pity and instead concentrated on building up her career aspects and in May 2006 conceptualized and set up POEZ Jewelers, a private collection of fine jewellery she personally designed. You can view her exclusive designs here.

This is where we come back full circle to life’s curve balls. I couldn’t believe my eyes at the recent Genting World Jazz Festival. Sat in front of me in the front row seats reserved for the media was none other than Poesy Liang!

I waited for a break in the performances and duly introduced myself to her. Initially wary, she gradually opened up and we had an interesting chat.

I admire her because Poesy believes in conquering challenges. She insists on moving forward, aided by her eccentric sense of humor and positive character. Her attitude towards life can be seen in the things she writes about in her blog. Like me, writing for her is a cathartic experience too.

If I had to sum up Poesy in one word I would say she’s a fighter.

If you’re inspired by this story and want to join Poesy and her angels in making a difference in this world, click here.

6 comments:

Eugene said...

Quite an inspirational piece I must say. You have done quite some research and I must say it makes me regard Poesy in a new light. Warm regards!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Good story, Dave. This Poesy girl is an inspiration to all of us.
- Rodney

Anonymous said...

I have read the same Star article on her but your backgrounder and angle on it gives it a whole deeper meaning. You, go girl!
- Regina R

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Nice article. Poesy is really fab. Known her for more than 10 years and a funny thing thing is. She hasn't changed a bit.
Did you enjoy the festival?
kevin tann

Anonymous said...

I like the direction your new improved blog is taking. more true heartwarming stories, please.
Ellie

poesy said...

Coming back to read what you wrote gives me comfort as I am trying to be rid off disturbing mental discomforts of my upcoming medical scans.. To put it in a real context, and none of those heroic stuff you so kindly painted of me, I SIMPLY DISLIKE GOING TO THE HOSPITALS. It might seem illogical for me to resist the great care I am lucky enough to receive from the best medical professionals, I find all these health issues so unnecessary.. so my latest message to all is to live a healthy life and reduce your poison intake! Think about the trouble you bring to your loved ones as well, if you happen to fall sick and need care.