How do we define the success we so passionately pursue? In today’s society, I think it’s about earning enough money to buy the things we don’t really need, to make others jealous, who in turn, try to earn more and buy more things to win this self destructive war, sheltering their insecurities from themselves. But then we come across certain people, who inspire us and teach us to stop focusing on the temporary and do something that is independent of time and space, something that lifts the spirits of everyone around us, something compassionate, something brave. Low Mary is one such person.
Born with cerebral palsy, 32-year-old Low Mary, is an entrepreneur who’s hard work and spirited approach to life has led to her not just running her own business, but using it to help others as well.
The first year was tough and she made a loss, Mary remembers. “At that time I was a newbie. I didn’t know what the market wanted,” she says. But her determination to succeed never failed her. She kept learning and adapting and now makes a modest profit selling her wares at various fairs and bazaars across Singapore.
She doesn’t seek any special arrangements because of her cerebral palsy, as she likes facing the same challenges as other vendors. “I don’t have to get sympathy. I’m on par with able-bodied people.”
My booth is special because I’m helping someone else too, says Mary.
With her business, Mary is also helping the community. The products Mary sells are made by people with special needs, the old, or those living in financially difficult conditions.
She’s grateful for the friendship of her fellow entrepreneurs, who help her when, for example, it rains suddenly and the items she displays need to be covered quickly.
It would not have been possible without the emotional support of teachers like Mrs Lee Chor Hui, who helped me complete a long journey through primary school, or without the practical help from family and friends, says Mary.
I consider myself fortunate. Wherever I go, I meet kind people, she says.
And she reflects the same kindness by encouraging her family and friends, and supporting the people in need with her business.
Mary’s life tells us that success should never be a goal. It should just be a result of our actions towards the upliftment and happiness of everyone around, including ourselves. And the one who understands it, gets it.