By Leong Anna
THE first thing that came across clearly from our interview with Dr Chow Li Sze is her desire to tell others stories from her own personal struggles that can encourage people who are already at the verge of giving up.
Her book, ‘A Grieving Heart is Most Loved,’ the first-time author said that, although her level of English was not that great, it did not stop her from writing this book.
“We only started learning English in Standard 3, but I have always enjoyed reading,” said the former girl of Chung Hwa Secondary School. With the help of an editor, the book turned out to be an easy read for most people.
A 13-year-old Leow Chen Zee said, although the book is 180 pages, she finished the book in just one sitting. “It only took me four hours, because I find her style of writing is simple and refreshing,” she said.
Despite being extremely busy herself, Dr Chow, who is an assistant professor in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in a local private university, said that it took five years before she wrote her last chapter. “I started writing my first chapter in 2015,” she said. “I only wrote the book during weekends and when I am on my annual leave.”
The first edition of the book was published in 2019, followed by a second edition in 2020.
The most difficult part of writing this book was having to deal with her own emotions. She often became emotional every time she thought about her son, Zhen Khan, who died of kidney failure on August 30, 2014.
“It was indeed a painful experience for me when writing the book,” she shared.
“I had to recall and describe the sufferings in my life and the death of my beloved son in great detail. Nonetheless, I chose to carry on with the writing as I want to motivate and encourage people who think they are down and out.”
Written in her grieving moments, the book is about how the 44-year-old single mother went through different phases in life. After her divorce with her Brazilian husband, she returned to Malaysia with her eldest daughter, Nina. She was then already pregnant with Zhen Khan when she was thrown out of the house.
Later, when Zhen Khan was 18 months old, he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that affected his liver. After many rounds of consultations at Selayang Hospital, Dr Chow decided to bring Zhen Khan to Brazil for a liver transplant, but Zhen Khan did not survive upon arrival. He was short of three months before his third birthday when he passed on.
Little did she realise it, but when the book was finally launched, it was on the anniversary date of Zhen Khan’s death.
Encouraging us to carry on writing, Dr Chow said that one must never give up writing. “Love your life. Life is not a fairy tale,” she said. “Appreciate people around you. Life is not a bed of roses and we should always stay positive.”
Although the book is targeted at single mothers, it is also a good book for teenagers like us. The youngest reader is a 10-year-old boy.
I find that the way Dr Chow shared her stories to be captivating and dramatic. But, admittedly, she said that having gone through the roller coaster was not easy.
“It is only by God’s grace and strength, that I am able to continue on with my life,” she said. “I have not finished writing yet, as life is still a struggle, but I know, God will heal our broken hearts,” Chow added.
This explains why the cover of the book depicts two hearts: a smaller heart that is broken, but protected by a bigger heart.
Leong Anna is from Sungai Long in Cheras, Selangor.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.