Ikuti kisah hidup James Ng Seng Hong yang berjaya menamatkan pengajiannya pada peringkat diploma di Methodist Pilley Institute. Beliau diyakini sedang meneruskan pengajiannya pada peringkat ijazah sarjana muda.
The Star Online - Friday July 16, 2010
Spastic cerebral palsy patient James defies all odds to excel
Story and photos by PAULINE HO
JAMES NG SENG HONG walked arduously up the stage with the aid of crutches to the accompaniment of loud applause and cheers.
The principal Judy Wong Liong Yung beamed with pride as the first disabled student at the Methodist Pilley Institute (MPI) moved towards her to receive his Diploma in Business Management.
The occasion was the 17th graduation ceremony of MPI in Sibu on June 26. The applause was thunderous.
As some students later said, they were touched that James was able to make it despite his disability.
James, who was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, was also touched by all these encouragement and support.
People reached out to congratulate him. Happy for him, with some even inspired by him, many urged him on with Jia You!
The term in Mandarin is used to encourage people to put a little more gas in the engine and step up their efforts.
Literally it means “spur on”. It can also be taken to mean “make extra effort”, “step on it”, “go for it”. Only two words. But saying it also means to say “We are with you in solidarity. We understand. We support and spur you on.”
Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) president Rev Dr Datuk Su Chii Ann and member of the Institute’s board of directors also paid personal attention to James.
As he congratulated James, Su, who was the guest of honour at the event, urged him to adopt the attitude of gratitude each day.
“He said if we are unable to be grateful, we will never be satisfied. Then we will not be happy with our lives, whether we are able or disabled.”
James, 22, said he is happy with his results which were above average.
Highly motivated to perform well in his studies, James is very determined to strife for his academic excellence in his future studies.
He will move on to Swinburne University, Kuching in August this year to do his degree. It will be the first time he will be on his own, but he also feels it is high time he learns to be independent. He will be staying in the school hostel.
“I am a bit apprehensive as it will be the first time I will leave home and venture out on my own. But at the same time, I am happy because this is a good opportunity for me to stand on my own.”
James will apply for PTPTN loan or Yayasan Sarawak Scholarship for financial assistance to pursue his degree course at Swinburne.
His studies at MPI was made possible because he was given RH scholarship, said the only son of Mary Ling, a clerk with a timber firm here. His father passed away on Sept 11, 2008.
James has an older sister Clare, working as a clerk in a private company.
“We are practically living from hand-to-mouth. If we don’t spend on unnecessary things it is alright. As you can see, the furniture in our living room is simple,” said Mary, pointing to the living room in their house at Gambir Road in Sibu.
The proud mother also has mixed feelings of James leaving home for further studies in Kuching.
“All these years he is at home. But now I understand I have to let him face the challenges outside and let him spread his own wings. I have to do this, because I cannot be with him all the time. It is a very good chance for him to learn to live independently,” she said.
Born a premature baby at seven months, James said he used to have a lot of anger in him when seeing other kids running and playing outside their homes.
“They were playing football, flying kites. I could not.” He also got taunted when he was younger.
“There were children calling me ‘cacat’ (handicapped). They even stole my things. Inside, I was angry but I could not do anything. I told them go away and not disturb me.”
Getting out of the house was itself a struggle in the beginning.
“People look at James, in fact the whole family, as aliens. It took us sometime to overcome this. We learnt to just ignore it. Don’t care. We try to put ourselves in their position. Probably they seldom see people like James,” Mary said.
“Now we don’t have any more problems. If people want to look, let them look. James also has no more problem with it,” she added.
James said: “I remember one time at a bookstore, a young boy saw me. He stared and pointed at me, calling to his daddy. His father just picked him up and left the place.”
James said he learnt to accept his disability, mostly through getting to know what life is all about.
As he got to know more about God, he is confident that God has a plan for him.
“I believe that there is a purpose for each and every one of us. I may have cerebral palsy but I believe I am special and unique, and I can contribute to the community in the way God has designed me,” he said.
James said he was very blessed to have spent three years at the MPI. He finds many people there caring and supportive, from his principal down to fellow students.
James will always remember his lecturer in business communications, Eta Ting, for the times when she would come over and sit down with him in the cafeteria during breaks, especially when he was sitting there alone.
He found it easy to chat with her. “She was very encouraging, telling me I am courageous.”
He has friends among the students who would help him with mobility and studies.
Before an operation was done on his hamstring some time back, James said it was really painful to straighten his legs.
“If I go out to the supermarket, I would tire quickly and soon start to look for a bench to sit down.”
The Agape Centre, which provides rehabilitation programme for disabled people, helped arrange for the operation which was carried out at the Sibu hospital.
James said: “There are students who just ignore me, but there are also those who are very helpful. They came to my aid without me asking them.
“I call them ‘the good Samaritans’ that God has sent me,” he said.
“These good souls told me never to give up. Some even say I will find my partner one day”.
The principal was herself most caring and loving. The lecturers too care a lot for James.
“Don’t think that they gave me special treatment because I have this disability. They were fair, treating me the same as everyone else,” James said.
Before James bid this writer good-bye, he expressed hope that the authorities will look into providing facilities that are disabled-friendly in public places, including schools.
“Sibu is quite lacking in this area,” he noted.
Ikuti catatan seterusnya bertajuk Chin Chin Memperoleh Ijazah Sarjana Muda di USM – 2006 pada 20 November 2011