Once upon a time, there was a rebellious 16-year old who ran away from home, blaming everyone and everything else, except herself, for her actions. She quit high school and took up odd jobs to survive. From working at stalls selling food, to tutoring, and babysitting; she pulled through her first year alone.
At the age of 17, she decided to take the public high school examinations as a private candidate. In this series of pure science examinations, she miraculously passed, with a Grade 1, which eventually gained her a 1-semester entrance scholarship to undertake a technical degree at a local college.
In order to re-qualify on the scholarship the following semester, the collage required her to maintain a GPA of 4.0 with a minimum number of subjects equivalent to that of a full time student, on top of an active extra-curricular portfolio every semester; failing which, she would be taken off the Scholar’s list.
At the age of 18, and after 2 years of surviving on an average of 3 hours sleep daily (some days with no sleep at all), she learnt the meaning of exhaustion, and almost had a nervous breakdown trying to simultaneously juggle 1 full time job, 4 part-time odd-jobs and daily night classes at the college; in effort to comply to society’s standards of possessing a paper qualification.
Despite the challenges, she graduated 1 year ahead as college Valedictorian, with an honours degree and 4.0 GPA in Computer Science and Information Systems.
In her mid-twenties, due to bad investment decisions and several mismatched start-up partnerships, she exhausted her life savings and fell into the pit of depression.
In spite of an ongoing battle with chronic pharyngitis (an inflammation of the pharynx) and almost losing her voice completely, she later became the first Malaysian to sign a multi-million-dollar recording deal in Japan.
Unknown to many, the turmoil of an ongoing toxic relationship was silently ripping her apart. Behind closed doors, were suicide attempts in a life which was publicly perceived to be just perfect.
This same year, doctors discovered a tumour on a nerve in her brain, not long after she was diagnosed with the second recurrence of several red-flag cysts in her reproductive organs (which eventually led to a major abdominal surgery).
Doctors predicted her to be bedridden for 5 days post-surgery while they strived to identify an effective pain-management protocol.
Through the discovery of a natural multi-botanical extract and to the amazement of her doctors, her recovery took place at an unbelievable pace. Within 2 days she could walk and within a month, she was back on her feet performing on her Japanese debut promo tour in 40 locations throughout Japan.
She eventually decided to monetize the product discovery in a business that would (years later) lead her to meet the love of her life.
If you haven’t yet realized, that 16 year old girl who ran away from home, is the same girl that is writing this story (from 1 out of 2 decades of growth; Part 2 to this story was just as wild in different ways, and I look forward to sharing more when the time is right. Lol)
Most of you know Hannah Tan as the TV host, singer-songwriter/actor, and probably other nouns associated with the creative/entertainment industry (truth be told, I have zero talent in those fields… Lol. So much to learn and improve on!). Although I haven’t done or accomplished much to deserve the association, I suppose that’s probably the most relatable description most people can think of.
Well now, you know who the real Hannah Tan is. Fighter, survivor, workaholic; #Introvert.
It’s been more than 20 years since I ran away from home.
It’s also been more than 20 years that I have been working ever so intensely with no regrets.
It’s those 20 years that taught me the value of life, love, money, health and faith. It’s also in those 20 years that I truly experienced the evident grace of God upon my life amidst the near death experiences, motor accidents, suicide attempts and the lowest points in life.
Talk about abusive/failed relationships. Sure, I’ve experienced those. Time and time again.
Talk about wanting to give up on life because I felt I didn’t have any more reasons to live. Done that; and no, I’m not proud of it.
Talk about failed business ventures and wrong partnerships, bad investment decisions, mis-managed contracts, wrong associations, debt – I could probably write a fairly entertaining book about my humble experience in those areas. Lol
Talk about mummy/daddy issues, teenage rebellion, low self-esteem – been there. Talk about having big dreams and wanting to give up because everyone said, "It's a bad idea." – check.
At my lowest I’ve cried and cried, until I had no more tears to cry. There’s no shame in admitting that. But with that same token, someone once said to me…
It made so much sense. So if you’re going through a rough patch in life right now. Stop. Breathe. Smile. Remember that if you keep your face to the sun, you will never see the shadows (quote by Helen Keller). It is also great to know that affliction is often that thing which prepares an ordinary person for some sort of an extraordinary destiny.
Sure, God always gives His hardest battles to His toughest soldiers. It's just that sometimes we wish He didn’t trust us so much – I know. Lol
Don’t give up. You’re not alone and the best is only yet to come. *panda-hugs*
I used to wonder why my parents named me Hannah.
Dad (a former Paster and now a full-time missionary) said that God gave mum the name when I was still in her tummy.
From the Hebrew name Channah, I found out that Hannah meant “favour” or “grace”. Spell is backwards and it still means the same thing. Palindrome. But just like me, I believe each and every one of our names are special and chosen for a reason (be it by our parents, our grandparents, or perhaps you had the revelation to choose it yourself – in that case I hope you chose wisely. Lol).
If it weren’t for the grace and favour of God upon my life, I wouldn’t be able to embark on this exciting new year.
I can’t even imagine having the chance to have you in my life (be it as a friend, a colleague, business partner, family or online family) to love me, encourage me, pray for me, support me. Without your presence in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to come this far. I believe God sends us angels in the form of humans, to guide/encourage/inspire us during times of need.
So today, I’d like to thank you for being my angel.
Thank you for being such a significant part of my life.
For being my source of joy and inspiration. For being my pillar of strength on days that I felt like giving up.
For carrying me through with your daily and tireless words of support and encouragement.
For loving me so unconditionally despite my list of imperfections.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate and love you.
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