One thing about Hannah Tan that many may not know is that in her teens, she quit school, ran away from home and took up odd jobs to sustain her life. “You’d be surprised; I used to sell food at stalls, worked as a part-time tutor and even did babysitting just to make the money,” shares Hannah.
After a year of being on her own, she realised that education was indeed important and decided to sit for the SPM examination as a private candidate. She passed with flying colours and was granted a full scholarship to pursue part-time studies in computer science. “I had to fork out the remaining money to cover my living expenses and decided to work full-time, have a few part-time jobs and attend daily night classes in college,” she remembers.
At 19, Hannah graduated with an honours degree in Computer Science and Information Systems, and with the impressive results, she thought that she could lead a comfortable life from then on. But things turned out differently when she made some bad investment choices, which led her to fall into depression.
“That’s when music came to the rescue and I was overjoyed to write songs,” she recalls. But Hannah’s interest in music was marred by chronic pharyngitis (sore throat) that almost caused her to lose her voice. Miraculously, she emerged as the first Malaysian to sign a multi-million dollar recording deal in Japan, but her excitement didn’t last long as she received news from her doctor saying that she had a tumour on a nerve in her brain.
Shortly after that, another upsetting discovery was made by her doctor – the recurrence of a few cysts in her reproductive organs. “Although the doctor told me to rest for five days after my operation, it took me only two days to be able to walk again, after which I continued to make my debut in Japan, touring 40 locations in the country,” she says.
Despite all the odds that had befallen her, nothing’s able to erase the smile on this joyful woman’s face. She feels that if you see a woman who’s a little happier than the rest, you know that she’s been through a lot in life. As much as she enjoys sharing her story, Hannah also hopes to be able to share stories of different women who have risen through challenges personally and on her website so that together, women do not have to suffer alone.
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