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April 6, 2023

BookLife Reviews called Ang’s sophomore effort, Emerging from the Dark, “an inspiring, often rawly emotional collection of reflections from stroke survivors.” We spoke with Ang about his inspiration as well as his collaborators and their stories.   

What inspired you to create this anthology?

As a stroke survivor, I came to understand that each member of my community had their own unique story to share and experiences to offer. Thus, following the publication of my book, A Cry in the Dark, I felt compelled to help others find their voices and share their raw, honest, and inspiring accounts. With the help of friends and organizations, I conducted interviews with fellow stroke survivors to capture their stories of recovery and resilience. These narratives, brimming with determination and hope, served as echoes of my own experiences and, together, paint a vivid picture of what it means to survive and move forward after such a life-altering event. By sharing these stories, I aim to provide readers with unique and compelling insights into the challenges of stroke recovery and to create a greater understanding of and appreciation for the courage and strength it requires.

What do you think is the most common misconception people have regarding strokes?

It is commonly believed that strokes occur only in later stages of life. However, the reality is that strokes can happen at any age, even in children and young adults. This misconception leaves many unprepared, which is unfortunate because being aware and prepared can greatly increase the chances of a timely response, reducing the severity and longevity of its effects. By dispelling this myth, we can encourage people of all ages to take steps to reduce their risk and be prepared in case a stroke does occur, thereby increasing their chances of recovery and a return to a fulfilling life.  

Emerging from the Dark includes material from individuals whose lives have been affected by strokes. How did you find and collaborate with these people? 

Through doctors, therapists, and organizations like the Singapore National Stroke Association, I was able to connect with stroke survivors who have faced extraordinary challenges. Through this collaboration, survivors share their progress, including the setbacks and triumphs they have experienced along their journeys, to provide a comprehensive view of the challenging road to rehabilitation. Ultimately, these survivors seek empathy and understanding, not pity or fear, as they strive to inspire others to overcome their own challenges with strength and resilience.

What is the one thing you most want to tell readers about you or your book?

By using a storytelling approach, Emerging from the Dark seeks to humanize a topic that is often approached clinically, bridging the gap between medical professionals and those affected by stroke. By challenging misconceptions about stroke, Emerging from the Dark presents the stories of resilient warriors who are determined to reclaim their lives. Readers are inspired to see the survivors as more than just victims of stroke but as people who refuse to give up and who work tirelessly to regain their independence. Ultimately, this book demonstrates that there is indeed life after stroke, which is the most important message that I want readers to realize. It serves as a source of hope and inspiration for stroke survivors, caregivers, and anyone who may be facing this life-altering event.

What’s next for you?

I am currently writing my third book, which I hope will inspire readers with its unique approach to sharing my life before, during, and after my stroke through illustrations. My passion for promoting health and well-being has spurred me not only to write more books but also to venture into giving motivational talks, working with stroke survivors and their caregivers globally, and advocating for better health-related facilities and amenities. This new journey is an extension of my experience recovering from stroke, which brought to light the needs of stroke survivors and their caregivers, as well as the potential to do more.