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A unique perspective of life. Professional photographer Isabelle Lim, who is deaf, communicates through her photographs. All photos courtesy of Isabelle Lim.

Isabelle Lim, or Issy as she is more popularly known, was born with Nager Syndrome, a genetic disorder so rare that there are fewer than 200 documented cases worldwide.

The condition left her with a jaw so receded that she needed tubes to help her breathe and eat, and thumbs with no bones. Both required several surgeries and years to correct. Her arms are also fused together. Lim cannot fully extend them.

She is profoundly deaf as well. Hers is a quiet world but it is by no means a silent one because Lim is quite the communicator. She signs animatedly, often with good humour.

In the last four years as a professional photographer, the 26-year-old has also been communicating through her pictures.

Here are some of Lim’s photographs taken over the last seven years and her reflections on life, love and God.

God’s beauty, power and might

His mercies are new every day.

“This was a God-led image.

I was in awe of how the sunlight illuminated the trees. It really showed the beauty of God’s creations.

I had almost given up hope trying to take this photograph. Natural light is very important to every photographer but I did not see much sunlight while walking around. Mum and I kept praying for sun. Finally, the sun came out to play.

This photo gently reminds me that God still believes I can have a winning image for my clients as long as I have the patience to wait. This is especially since nature photography is not one of my main genres.”

God is always shielding you. Even when you don’t know it, you are sheltered under His wings.

God is the Giant, not Satan or even my fears. I am like David against Goliath. My battles are His (1 Samuel 17:47).

I’m no longer a slave to fear.

“This is one of my favourite songs. It reminds me that I shall not live in fear. God is always here beside me.

“When I was young, I could not understand what this verse meant. When I started working as a photographer, I started to understand what it meant to live with faith over fears. To never be a slave to fear but depending on God, to be in partnership with God.”

God is enough for me

Each a unique creation.

“I may be lacking in some areas – my deafness and Nager Syndrome – but I have learnt to embrace my differences and be unique in my own ways.”

This reminds me that there are so many barriers to our daily lives.

Society is like the cable holding onto the wheelchair without letting it go and allowing people with disabilities to unleash their potentials.

The missing tyre reminds me of a lack of accessibility to information such as schools without interpreters for those who are deaf.

Every one of us with disabilities is trying our best to fit into the society but at times, we feel excluded. It is not because we are different. It is because society does not have the right mindset of having two communities of people with and without disabilities integrate as one.”

Anchored in love

One of my favourites and among the few early photos of my parents.

Editor’s note: Lim’s parents – Jacqueline and Nick – raised her with faith, love and hope. They chose to focus on her abilities, giving all the opportunities they would have given any child.

Hands of Love.

“This is a picture of my parents’ hands which they often use as a form of communication in sign language and in writing, texting and gesturing.

“It is also a very simple act of trust, security and love for each other and also for me. They show love for me with their hands by hugging, feeding, holding and protecting me.

“Hands are equally important to me to hold a camera to create storytelling images.”

Editor’s note: Lim won third prize for this photograph in her first Photography Competition for the Deaf with the theme “Voices of Silence” organised by The Singapore Association for the Deaf in 2011.

Dare to dream: That is what my father always taught me as I grew up.

Mum says I am a dreamer. ‘Be a doer,’ she would say. Mom taught me that doing is harder than merely saying.”

Salt&Light Family Night: I’m raising a special needs child

For some families, the fact that theirs is a special child was apparent at birth. For others, it took time and missed milestones to discover.

How can families parent their special needs child? What support are there for their academic, physical and spiritual growth? How can the church come along these families?

Join hosts Carol Loi and Alex Tee as they talk to two families who have special needs children about their journey, their triumphs and the lessons learnt.

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Time: 8.30pm-10pm

Cost: Free

Register at:

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About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.