This student had to learn how to write with her non-master hand after losing her index and middle fingers to an accident in 2013.
The New Paper covered the journey of Yvonne Tan Li Xuan, whose right hand got caught in a sugar cane juicier in 2013. Despite this terrible accident, this young lady scored well enough to go on to Secondary 5.
Losing her digits meant that the right-handed student had to relearn how to do everything with her left hand.
Yvonne was only 14-years-old when she was helping out at her dad’s drink stall in Toa Payoh when her right hand got caught in the juicer while she was trying to dislodge a piece of sugar cane that was stuck.
While the right index and middle fingers were lost, the then 14-year-old went through an operation that transplanted one of her toes to save her partially severed thumb. The successful operation gave her back the ability to hold things with her right hand.
However she still had to learn how to write and hold things with her left hand, and it took time before Yvonne, a member of the Girl’s Brigade could finally raise her arms to 90 degrees. That did not stop her from returning to school just two months after the accident.
Hard work and practice
Learning how to write took her more than a month. She considered the process to be “not as bad. It’s just that the words are all crooked and messy.”
The high standards she set for herself meant that she rewrites her work if the words look crooked. Considering everything that she has been through, Yvonne was given an additional 25% of each paper’s duration to complete her exams, including the N levels.
Despite all the hurdles she had to face, the Normal (Academic) achieved what she aimed for.
The accident still remains in her mind. In an interview with The New Paper, Yvonne reflects that she is “still quite affected”, even to the point that she has not returned to her dad’s drink stall since the accident.
Behind this 16-year-old hides a steely core. Even when she battles her own problems, she displays a strong resolve,
“I don’t let my parents know when I’m upset because I don’t want to upset them”.
Like every other teenager, she battles with insecurities and worries. She states that “When I’m alone at night, I tend to think a lot, like focus on what I can’t do because of my hand injuries” adding that “I am very conscious of how people look at me (due to the sight of her injuries)”.
While she appeared nonchalant about the scar, simply saying that “I don’t think I even have a choice.” She wears a sleeve on her right hand to hide the injuries.
Read on to find out about Yvonne’s road to recovery.