She Loved Playing The Piano And Making Others Happy

Teen trapped in baby's body dies

Image: Gavin Foo, TNP File

Teo Pei Shan was a teenager, trapped in a baby’s body. Although doctors were unable to diagnose Pei Shan with certainty, her medical records indicate that she had Mucopolysaccharidosis III, a progressive disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. Because of this, she was unable to walk or breathe on her own.

Her mother, Madam Chew Siew Cheng, left her bank clerk position when Pei Shan was only 9 months old, in order to care for her.

Despite her condition, Pei Shan was able to play the piano and was a painter. One of her paintings, a watercolor piece, made it to the front cover of Club Rainbow’s commemorative hardcover book Colour Of Life, Celebrating 20 Years Of Club Rainbow, in 2012. She also participated in a concert organised by the Beautiful Mind Charity at the Singapore School of The Arts, in 2014.

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Pei Shan asked her parents to take her to the hospital recently since she was feeling unwell. She was hoping that she could recover, from her symptoms, in time for her 18th birthday. Tragically, she succumbed to her illness. Pei Shan had been looking forward to celebrating her Gregorian calendar birthday, on August 5, so she refused to have pictures taken during her Chinese birthday celebration, where she was surrounded by loved ones that partook in cake and songs.

After being admitted, her condition seemed to improve, so her parents were very hopeful that Pei Shan would overcome her symptoms; but suddenly, she told them that she was feeling breathless and gasped for air.

“Although she struggled at first, the morphine calmed her and she died peacefully. We were by her side, holding her tight,” said her mother.

Pei Shan’s father, cab driver, Teo Qi Kuang, said, “It had always been the three of us, we did everything as a family. We would take Pei Shan out in her stroller but now it’ll be empty. It’s just the two of us now, we don’t know what to do without her.”

Mr. Teo shared that, “She wanted her wake to be a celebration filled with music. She wanted people to be happy,” when describing Pei Shan’s request for her wake to be themed after, My Melody, her favorite rabbit cartoon character.

Mr. Lawrence Loh, a family friend and founder of Portrait From The Heart, a charity, said, “Whenever it was my birthday, Pei Shan would send me a WhatsApp message to wish me or even ask her parents to record a video of her singing a birthday song for me. Even in her short life, she gave and taught us so much more than what we’d done for her.”

Video: Portrait from the heart