Celebrating Life’s Every Triumph Together – Philip Ang | SPD - Singapore

Celebrating Life’s Every Triumph Together – Philip Ang

12/04/2018

Mr Philip Ang, a senior finance executive with SPD, shares his story.

“Having a disability doesn’t mean it is all bad. Life sets you this challenge because we have the strength to live it.” These were words that helped him overcome the many hurdles that popped up in his life. The senior finance executive with SPD shares his story and his attitude towards life with senior advocacy analyst Poh Sho Siam.

Philip has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that leads to the degeneration and weakening of muscles. In the past, he was able to use a manual wheelchair to get around but now he uses a motorised one due to weakening of his limbs.

“People have come up to me and commented that seeing me out and about is a motivation in itself,” said the 52-year-old. “Since I can work, have a family and participate in activities, all the more people without disabilities can.”

Philip feels that persons with disabilities need not be overachievers to be inspiring figures. “I am glad that I can be an encouragement to others,” he said. He is one who will always look on the bright side of life. “Having a disability doesn’t mean it is all bad. Life sets you challenges because we have the strength to overcome it.”

Philip is happily married with two young children aged 3 and 8. Philip was staying at a disability home when he met his wife who was working there as a therapy aide. They started having conversations and eventually became close, prompting him to pop the question. Talking about his children makes Philip beam with pride. “One day I was sick and my daughter saw me taking medicine. She came over and said: “Daddy, you must rest more.” She was only 3 years old!” Philip could not stop smiling when recounting this incident.

Like other typical families, they have visited various attractions such as the zoo, the Singapore Flyer, Legoland and many others. Although his condition does not allow him to join his children in physical games and activities, he said: “I cannot play with them, but I was there with them.

Mr Philip Ang with his family at the River Safari.

Though the outings are mainly for his children, Philip is game for some fun and adventure himself too. On a visit to the Philippines with the family where he needed to take a bum boat ride, they had to carry him and his wheelchair separately onto the boat. “The sea was choppy and the boat was swaying the whole time, but it was an exciting experience!” he recalled.

Philip attributed the frequent outings to the improved accessibility in recent years as compared to the past. When he was younger, he stayed at home most of the time. However, there are still challenges at times, for instance when there are train disruptions or when the only lift in the station breaks down. He would then have to travel to the next station to take a bus or find an alternative route.

He also believes that attitudes towards people with disabilities in Singapore are improving. “When I was young, people would comment that I was born this way because my parents did something wrong,” he said. As people became more educated and awareness grew, he heard less of such comments. However, he does worry that when his children get older, they may face difficult questions from their friends about their father’s disability.

A senior finance executive, Mr Philip Ang has been with SPD for 22 years.

Philip has been with SPD for 22 years and appreciates having the support of his colleagues at work. They would help him buy lunch when he is unable to join them, help him with photocopying or filing when the cabinets are beyond his reach.

As for the future, Philip hopes to see his children graduate from University and be contributing members of society. “I am making plans so that my family would be taken care of, if anything happens to me,” shared Philip as his condition may deteriorate over time and he sensed an urgency to plan for the future.

As for his personal goal, he said: “I am working on a book. It is my life story and I hope it can motivate others to live life to the fullest!”