Generation Grit

Generation Grit: She overcame difficulties in speaking and found her voice in song

Born with a severely deformed cleft palate and lip, doctors said Jean Tan would never be able to speak clearly. But the 32-year-old singer-songwriter has defied the odds.
Born with a cleft palate and later struck with an incurable kidney condition, Jean Tan defied the odds to become a singer-songwriter.
Born with a cleft palate and later struck with an incurable kidney condition, Jean Tan defied the odds to become a singer-songwriter.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Miss Jean Tan discovered her love for singing when her father, a businessman, brought home a karaoke set when she was about five.
Miss Jean Tan discovered her love for singing when her father, a businessman, brought home a karaoke set when she was about five.ST PHOTO: SAMUEL RUBY

Doctors said Jean Tan, who was born with a cleft palate, would never be able to speak properly. But she defied the odds and became a singer-songwriter. And then she was struck with an incurable kidney condition. This is her story, told to The Straits Times in a series about inspiring millennials.

SINGAPORE - First there was silence. Then gasps and a flurry of activity. The doctor's next words to Madam Ann Png were: "Don't worry, it can be mended."

Madam Png's newborn baby had a cleft that sliced through her palate and lip. No one had seen it coming.

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