Singapore

He pushes on despite eye defect

Nanyang Polytechnic will be holding its graduating ceremony tomorrow. Among the graduating batch are some individuals 
who, with perseverance and resilience, overcame the odds. 
LING YUANRONG (yuanrong@sph.com.sg) speaks to three of them

When Mr Ang Chin Hao was diagnosed with macular dystrophy in 2012, it affected his ability to see objects from a distance. Mr Ang, 21, who has just completed his diploma in engineering informatics in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), could not see the words on the screen clearly even when he was sitting at the front of the classroom.

But he found a solution to this problem with the help of his NYP lecturer, Mr Vincent Phua.

Mr Phua, a senior lecturer who was Mr Ang's personal mentor in NYP, introduced to him a special computer software.

It will display images shown on the class screen on his personal computer.

Mr Phua also helped his student to get government support for an electronic magnifier, which cost $5,000 and which his family could not afford.

The electronic magnifier changes the size and colour of the words, helping him see better.

Mr Ang said: "Mr Phua helped me apply for the Special Assistance Fund. He prepared all the supporting documents from the school which I needed to submit (so I could get the funding)."

OUTSTANDING

The outstanding student, who will graduate with a GPA of 3.7, also credits his parents for his success.

They specially bought and prepared food for him which was rich in Vitamin A, including vegetables such as carrots, which is beneficial for his eyes.

"And even when they found out there is no cure to my condition, which can only be stabilised, they didn't give up on me," Mr Ang said.

He hopes to pursue an engineering course in university and dreams of starting his own IT business one day.

Mr Ang felt that his condition strengthened his resolve to do well and helped push him further in life.

"I could give up and wallow in self-despair, or find a way to beat the disease.

"I know I am different from others. So I worked doubly hard for success," said Mr Ang.

Mr Ang hopes individuals who are going through similar challenges will adopt a positive attitude even in the face of adversity.

"Disability doesn't stop you from achieving success. The spirit is more important," he said.

He studies hard despite fatigue

ALL-ROUNDER: Mr Joey Chang, 24, is a Ngee Ann Kongsi All- Rounder Award recipient due to his excellent GPA of 3.96 and his role as the captain of the school dragon boat team.

You could say that Mr Joey Chang, 24, is an accomplished student.

He just completed a diploma in electrical engineering wth eco-design at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) with a near-perfect GPA of 3.96 and he is also captain of the school's dragon boat team.

For his efforts, Mr Chang will be receiving the Ngee Ann Kongsi All-Rounder Award tomorrow.

Committing to the sport while keeping his grades healthy was challenging, he admitted.

"We trained six days a week. And by the time I arrived home, it was usually already midnight and I was exhausted," Mr Chang said.

Despite his fatigue, he forced himself to stay up to study. He was so motivated to do well that he bought books outside of the compulsory reading list, which had been recommended by his lecturers.

PASSION

When asked what kept him going, Mr Chang said it was his passion for electrical engineering. He aspires to develop electrical devices that promote sustainable energy use.

He added: "Part of this interest is sparked by my NYP lecturers who make the lessons so interesting and exciting. Their passion inspires me to be a world-class engineer."

Part of this interest is sparked by my NYP lecturers who make the lessons so interesting and exciting. Their passion inspires me to be a world-class engineer.

- Mr Joey Chang

He turns around despite rocky start

OUTSTANDING: Mr Tan Qing Yang, 23, is the Tay Eng Soon Award recipient for outstanding polytechnic graduates formerly from ITE.

He is one of the top students at Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) business school and will be receiving the Tay Eng Soon Award tomorrow, which honours outstanding polytechnic graduates who were previously from ITE.

Having completed his diploma two months ago with an impressive GPA of 3.69, Mr Tan plans to work in the finance industry.

But just eight years ago, Mr Tan Qing Yang, 23, was an unmotivated student with long hair and facial piercing.

The younger of two boys, whose parents separated when he was in primary school, was raised single-handedly by his mother, a sales assistant at a department store.

Her job left her with little time to spend at home with her sons, leaving Mr Tan feeling lonely.

"I was usually alone at home. The only time I saw my mother was when she made breakfast for me in the morning. After a while, I just hung out with friends outside more," said Mr Tan.

He lost interest in school and his studies while at Peicai Secondary School, which caused him to drop from the Express stream to the Normal (Academic) stream in Secondary 3.

"I was bitter about everything and I hated my situation.

"I blamed everyone around me except myself," Mr Tan said.

The turning point in his life came after he collected his O-level results, which were dismal and could only get him to ITE.

Touched that his mother was still so supportive of him despite her disappointment, Mr Tan resolved to change for the better.

"It was a moment of awakening for me. I didn't want to disappoint my mother any more. I wanted to make her proud," Mr Tan said.

He took up a two-year Nitec course in Business and Administration in ITE before pursuing a diploma in business management in NYP.

It was not easy.

To supplement the family's income, he worked part-time as a financial consultant while studying.

INTEREST

He recalled times when he had to work on projects and homework even after returning home from work at about 11pm.

But his interest in the course helped him get through the tough times.

He was even selected by one of his lecturers to work on an entrepreneurship project, which involved developing a free mobile app that connects users with private ambulance operators in non life-threatening situations.

Mr Tan said the app is still in the developmental stage and is likely to be launched in the third quarter of this year.

It was a moment of awakening for me. I didn't want to disappoint my mother any more. I wanted to make her proud.

- Mr Tan Qing Yang, who was touched that his mother was still so supportive of him despite her disappointment

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