I sang Wang Lee Hom’s A Simple Song in front of a 140-people audience last Saturday which was well received. The event was DIB Coffees of Hawaii’s first anniversary, so I dressed up in flowery patterns with fresh flowers adorning my head.

DIB’s founder Allen Teh gave the audience a brief and kind introduction of me before another led me to the front where I was to sing. When I was motioned to start singing, I was not exactly ready because, I was only half way through my dinner and for some reason, I had extra difficulty swallowing suddenly. How was I going to sing like that?

I remembered how I could hardly sing one verse of this song without going out of breath while rehearsing at home. My lungs were still weak from the recent bout of aspiration pneumonia.

But then Allen called for me, so I went ahead. Hoping for the best.

Once I began to sing, a miracle happened. Suddenly, I had enough air to help me finish a verse comfortably. I did not have to gasp or inhale oxygen awkwardly between verses. I knew to vary my tone in order to convey emotions without deliberation, my throat had not been more relaxed in a long time.

Since I can’t hear myself, I still don’t know if I went out of pitch. But I know one thing for sure – the audience was moved. Much more than I had anticipated.

This wasn’t the first time I sang at DIB Coffees of Hawaii, and not the first time I performed Lee Hom’s songs there. But previous responses weren’t as great as this.

It makes me wonder why.

By the way, A Simple Song is part of an album Lee Hom composed himself, called Shangri-la in English. In the Chinese language, the word Shangri-la means ‘the sun and moon in my heart’. It was released in the year of 2005 and the last album of his that I heard with my physical ear.

I did not realize there was any relevance in the album’s name to myself back then, as I was struggling to cope with a rapidly diminishing hearing that year. But as I think about it now, I am surprised to find that Shangri-la in Chinese resounds with my own name. Ming Niang. 明娘. It can be construed to mean ‘lady of the sun and moon’. In her heart.

The day after performing A Simple Song at DIB, I found time to sit down and complete Dr. Caroline Leaf’s gift profile, which profiles the way we think and how our brains operate. I discovered that my dominant pillars of thought are Intrapersonal followed by musical.

Looking at the video of myself singing, it all makes sense to me. I can sing in public as if I can still hear, because I enjoy music in my mind – intrapersonal. I can still convey emotions of songs without hearing, because I have developed the part of my brain – the musical pillar of thought – that perceives abstract things by heart.

No wonder I always feel that music has never left me.

P/S: The kind lady who recorded this video held my camera the wrong way. Elliot later helped to rotate the video back so that you can watch me without tilting your head. Elliot is a media developer by day who accepts freelance assignments by night.

Categories: MusicWang Lee Hom

Yvonne Foong

As a child, Yvonne Foong dreamed of growing up to help others. To achieve her ambition, she began studying to become a psychologist. But things changed when tumours were discovered in her body at the age of sixteen. She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2 -- a genetic illness with no cure. Fighting for survival, Yvonne turned to fundraising and embarked on a medical odyssey to the United States. Her experiences since then have transformed her into a motivational speaker; inspiring hope, faith and strength. Yvonne is currently working to establish a humanitarian foundation that provides NF patients in Malaysia with financial and logistical support. Visit Works of Gratitude to learn more.


Evangeline · June 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Hi Yvonne,

Maybe it is noon then when you are in DIB previously, as I can’t hear clearly through the video as well. This is night time and the background is so much quieter. And clearer this time.

You look fabulous in the pink dress and flowers on the hair!


Yvonne Foong · June 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hello Evangeline,

I think the Sound quality difference might be due to the different acoustics because the previous videos were taken at another DIB outlet.

There are also technical factors that affect a Video’s sound quality When we transfer video files between devices and programs.

Thanks for the compliments! The dress is red by the way. 😉

Febri · December 9, 2015 at 7:49 am

To me, this card signifies the abnadunce of healing through connecting with animals, being nurturing and loving with them, and opening our hearts to unconditional love. The green light in the background, is a reflection of abundant healing and the power of unconditional love as the ultimate healer. The Angel Yvonne also expresses a sense of self-care, self-nurturing and connecting with our own inner animal nature. Cats are deeply spiritual and intuitive creatures and in nurturing the parts of ourselves which identify with the different aspects of any animals, we begin connecting deeply with all the aspects of ourselves and thus we learn to love all the parts of ourselves unconditionally which is ultimately the only freedom in this world of duality, the love of all things, light and dark, animalistic or humane, under the Pure Light as the Pure Light.

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