As the saying goes, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” This Japanese proverb never ceases to inspire SGT2 Pang Ching Yen, Noelle, a paramedic from Sengkang Fire Station and a competitive boxer with a heart to serve the public. SGT2 Ching Yen joined the Life Saving Force in October 2018. She took up boxing as a sport out of interest but gradually, it blossomed into a transformative experience that even shaped her role as a paramedic.
SGT2 Ching Yen recalled responding to an emergency call one evening. Upon arrival, SGT2 Ching Yen and her Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew discovered that the patient’s heart rhythm was rather abnormal. In a race against time, SGT2 Ching Yen placed the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) pads on the patient in case of a cardiac arrest and the crew monitored him very closely as they rushed him to the hospital. Shortly before reaching the hospital, the patient had a cardiac arrest and the crew immediately commenced resuscitation protocol. The patient was revived by the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital.
“Being a paramedic and the person-in-charge of a crew for an emergency call is a heavy responsibility to shoulder. I wondered if things could have been done differently in this particular incident but my senior advised that as the patient could have a cardiac arrest at any time, it was indeed the right thing to do in having the AED prepared beforehand,” SGT2 Ching Yen reflected.
SGT2 Ching Yen has come to realise that in her line of work, unpredictability must be naturally expected and some things in life simply do not always turn out as predicted. Hence one must always be sharp, be physically and mentally prepared. For her, such realisation also happened in her favourite sport, boxing.
SGT2 Ching Yen recalled the day when her boxing coach approached her with a challenge to take part in a competitive fight in the ring. She was initially stunned but agreed after some deliberation.
“I was only training for six months before facing an opponent. My first match was unforgettable,” recalled SGT2 Ching Yen. “It was a fight that ended in a draw resulting in a split decision but after the verdict was passed, I lost the match.”
Having faced numerous victories and defeats in the ring, that has strengthened SGT2 Ching Yen’s mental resilience and her resolve to continue giving her best shot in the sport.
SGT2 Ching Yen (right) in the boxing ring with an opponent.
“Unlike team sports, losing a match in a solo sport like boxing is a lonesome experience because the loss is on you,” said SGT2 Ching Yen. “Although winning a match is worth celebrating, losing a match is also a valuable learning experience. This sport trains me to respond positively to defeat and take setbacks as an opportunity for growth.”
SGT2 Ching Yen remembered a time when it took her weeks to recover from the loss of confidence and the feeling of shame after losing a match. There were also moments when she questioned her ability to secure the next victory.
“If there is something that kept me going in this sport, it would be the fear of losing myself to my weaknesses. This makes it an endless pursuit for me to become a better boxer every single time I compete,” said SGT2 Ching Yen. “Boxing has helped me gain a lot of confidence and self-awareness. It also made me stronger emotionally and mentally.”
When asked how boxing influenced the way she perceived her role as a paramedic, SGT2 Ching Yen commented, “It is very easy to get drowned in the sea of uncertainty, especially when we are dealing with unpredictable circumstances working in the frontline. Therefore, I have to constantly remind myself that, just like boxing, I need to get back on my feet, keep fighting to save lives, and face setbacks with a positive attitude.”