His 'disability' helps him excel in mathematics
He has Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. But he sees it as a blessing in disguise.
Diagnosed at the age of three, Mr Lionel Lee always had problems interacting with others.
"I was always called 'weird' by my classmates and people often shunned me," Mr Lee, who is now 20, told The New Paper.
He will be graduating from Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) Diploma in Aerospace Electronicslater this month.
Mr Lee's condition hinders his ability to relate with others, especially those he is not familiar with.
He is also unable to stop himself paying unnecessary attention to details.
"While my friends are talking, I could be fixated on words written on a piece of paper and how the handwriting is curved," said Mr Lee.
He was unable to participate in conversations effectively and kept to himself.
But his Asperger's was instrumental in growing his passion for mathematics.
He believes it is his "disability" that has helped him to focus specifically on details.
He loved mathematics since he was in primary school, as it stretched his thinking.
"I really enjoy the logic behind numbers and I feel powerful when I am able to solve a math problem," exclaimed Mr Lee, who perked up once he started talking about the subject.
When TNP spoke to him last Friday, he had been working through a thick stack of mathematics tutorial worksheets from the National University of Singapore.
He was recently accepted into Nanyang Technological University's Mathematics Sciences course.
"I hope to be able to get a PhD and prove a theory. I am confident I will be able to do it if I work hard," said Mr Lee with a smile.
I hope to be able to get a PhD and prove a theory. I am confident I will be able to do it if I work hard.
- Mr Lionel Lee on his long-term goal