Angela’s image is a balance of strength and gentleness and she wears a flowing outfit made of ribbon and fine fabric. The movement of her hair blowing softly in her portrait speaks to the pain she went through as a child when her hair was repeatedly cut as a cruel punishment meted out by her stepmother. The image has an artistic feel to signify the artist within her. The ribbons represent an exposed ribcage which is symbolic of being exposed and critiqued as an artist. Just as your ribs are a part of you – as an artist your work is an extension of who you are. Any rejection of your work can be painful and this perspective was woven into the imagery. Angela wears gold jewellery by Impilo Collection - which she herself designed and produced.
“Nothing is impossible.” – Audrey Hepburn
The word itself says I’m possible.
The Chapters in Angela’s Story:
Angela Yeung is a Hong Kong born artist, successful business woman and the founder of jewellery design business Impilo Collection. Today she lives in Hyde Park and when you meet this composed woman who exudes elegance, self-restraint and poise, it’s hard to believe that she once was stripped of her dignity and value to the point where she felt worthless and alone in the world.
Born to a Chinese father and a Japanese mother came with impediments that were too great for her mother to bear and she left her family and moved back to her home country – abandoning the three year old Angela. This was in and of itself an excruciatingly painful experience which left her alone and unprotected in a hostile world. This was just the beginning of what was to be a long journey paved with feelings of rejection and loss and it took her 40 years before she was able to confront and express this pain.
Battling to care for his daughter – many suggested Angela’s dad should deliver her into the care of anorphanage but fortunately her father never acted on this idea. What followed though were years of being the last to be fetched from school, never having a lunchbox, many hours spent waiting alone, becoming bestfriends with her school’s cleaning staff and sleeping under her father’s desk at work during the holidays.Like Angela, children born to parents who practiced Nichiren Buddhism were often referred to as “fortune babies”, but at this point in her life – this could not have been further from the truth. Or so Angela believed.
This was Angela’s life for four years until her father remarried and while there was joy in the gift of thebrothers she gained – there was yet more sorrow to come. Her step mother would punish her for“disobedience” by cutting off her hair and Angela remembers yearning for long hair that could be brushed and styled like the other girls around her. This had a profound impact on Angela and deeply wounded her and as is to be expected, today she has long shiny locks that are her crowning glory. Amazingly Angela says that she is grateful to her stepmother – because of her actions she shaped her into a much stronger woman.
In 1990 Angela and her family moved to South Africa where she became a member of the SGI-SA (Soka Gakkai International South Africa) community of Buddhists and it was then that she began to nurture her faith and cultivate the principles of the religion within her.
Over the years, Angela tried unsuccessfully to reunite with her biological mother and this broken relationship continued to haunt her and affected every area of her life. She married young for all the wrong reasons and had a child early into the relationship. She suffered from post-natal depression and not surprisingly – she found it nearly impossible to love and care for her young daughter.
Advice from a SGI Senior Leader brought Angela to the realisation that she needed first to learn to love herself so that she could love her child. Slowly there was a gradual change in her heart which eventually manifested in many areas of her life. Despite this her marriage still failed and Angela had to find and reinvent herself.
This lead her to study gemology and she began crafting jewellery and despite initial rejection and a slow start to her career – her creativity and skill was recognised and today she runs the hugely successful Impilo Collection (Impilo means life in Zulu).
Angela believes that winter will always turn to spring and that in life you must take responsibility for what’shappening – even if it’s painful and emotional. She believes you will learn over time to appreciate theexperience and to forgive those who have wronged you.
Wanting to reunite with her biological mother, her absence from her life weighing heavily on her heart, Angela made attempts to find and reach out to her. Painfully, she was again rejected by her mother and five years of unanswered emails filled her with ever more self-doubt. Finally 30 years on – mother and child were reunited. On seeing her mother, Angela realised she was no longer the little girl who had been abandoned but was an adult and a mother herself. At this point, having done much self-work, she felt no resentment, anger or blame – attributing this to her Buddhist faith which helped her preserve through the tough times and to open her life in unimaginable ways.
Her advice to others walking a painful road – is invest in the diamond within you, polish its facets and wait for the right moment to shine. Adding to this she says that no matter what the circumstances, you can always turn poison into medicine.
Angela has spent a long time forging a golden life and today she is living her dream and has made peace with her childhood. She has had to move beyond her pain to achieve enlightenment and this journey took much courage, faith and perseverance and today she appreciates every moment of her life. Conscious that she was never truly cared for, Angela has chosen to live a life of meaning and finds ways to help care for others through community work and fundraising initiatives like Caring4Girls.