Dear Pei Shan, Rest In Peace, And Thank You For The Life Lessons

Last Updated on 2016-07-25 , 9:14 am


Most Singaporeans learnt about little Teo Pei Shan from the first season of The Joy Truck program on Channel 8, who contracted a rare disease that trapped her in a toddler’s body and subject her to suffering from several other health conditions that affected her breathing and eyesight, among others.

The girl who could not grow up has returned to her Neverland on 19 June 2016, just a couple of weeks before her 18th birthday on 5 August 2016. Despite her handicap and short number of years in the world, she chose a happy life and proceeded to touch many others with her positivity and courage.

My heart ached whenever I watched Pei Shan on television. Being a parent myself, I could not imagine the pain her parents was going through, watching other kids grow up healthily into adults while they were deprived of that privilege – something that seemed so normal for others, and also something that has always been taken for granted.

No matter how exasperated we are with our toddlers’ antics, or how angry we are when we get called to school by teachers for our kids’ bad behaviour, or whether they get enough ‘A’s to qualify for some gifted stream, we should never, never take our kids for granted and simply appreciate them for being the gems that they are.

Here are the 3 most valuable lessons we learnt from Pei Shan.

Passion Makes Life Worth Living For


Pei Shan did not let her disease define her life. Her neighbour, a music teacher, realised Pei Shan’s musical talents and recognised her passion to learn how to play the piano, when she was eight years old. Despite being physically challenged, Pei Shan was a quick learner and earned a sponsorship for music lessons in 2014 after impressing the people at Beautiful Mind Music Academy (BMMA), a free music program offered by Beautiful Mind Charity (BMC) for potential artists with disabilities.

Dreams Do Come True


We might need help along the way, but as long as we work towards it, there’s always a chance that dreams will turn into reality. It was Pei Shan’s dream to perform in front of an audience, and she performed alongside other passionate and talented musicians during a concert hosted by BMC at the Singapore School of the Arts in 2014. Pei Shan also opened the SPD Charity Show in 2015 with a solo performance on a grand white piano on national TV.

Image: Toggle / The Joy Truck

Pei Shan also fulfilled her dream of meeting her idol Qi Yuwu in person, and was able to pass him her handmade card personally!

To Be Thankful


Image: Toggle / The Joy Truck

Image: Toggle / The Joy Truck

Despite having difficulties with holding pencils and it took two to three days to complete even one drawing, Pei Shan made cards for the entire production crew for The Joy Truck after her appearance on their first season. Whenever we are doubting our place in life, or just feeling blah, think about what we already have and appreciate the people who have always been there for us and helped us in our darkest times.

Taking care of a child with rare diseases is a great challenge, financially and emotionally. There is an association in Singapore called the Rare Disorders Society Singapore that aims to raise awareness about these conditions, and are accepting help in the form of donations or be a fairy godmother by making a pledge to a child with special needs to sponsor and support his or her needs. Check out for more information, and be a shining light of support to these special children who are just like Pei Shan to pay tribute to her legacy.


Rest in peace, Pei Shan, and thank you for all the smiles.

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