He enjoys rides by feeling
Blind Taiwanese singer-songwriter Ricky Hsiao visits Universal Studios Singapore
He wanted to know if a blind person can enjoy the rides at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) at Resorts World Sentosa.
So when blind Taiwanese singer-songwriter Ricky Hsiao knew he would be performing here, he eagerly made plans to visit the amusement park.
The 37-year-old said: "I can't see where I'm going, but I experience the roller coaster through feeling."
Together with threemusicians for the concert, who are also blind, and their aides, Ricky tackled the rides at USS with the ease of a theme-park enthusiast.
The New Paper accompanied him on each ride yesterday, with his aides explaining to him what was happening throughout the rides.
We started the day with a leisurely river boat ride, Madagascar: A Crate Adventure.
The boat took us into an indoor river, as we watched scenes from the Madagascar movies play out on the river banks. But it did not thrill Ricky.
"No, that was not exciting enough," he said.
He felt that our second ride on the Enchanted Airways was too relaxing.
This was a family roller-coaster ride where the car drops from a height and goes through several loops with the car angled sideways.
Ricky said: "I hope the next one is more exciting."
He finally got what he wanted on the Revenge Of The Mummy ride, which was an indoor roller-coaster adventure.
Most of our time was spent in darkness as the car swerved violently around, making abrupt turns and drops.
Riders also had to contend with spouting water and pyrotechnic effects.
Screams from fellow passengers filled the air.
A satisfied Ricky said: "It was exciting when the car swerved and even reversed. I could feel the heat of the fire and the sensation of the sprayed water."
The singer has been a fan of amusement parks since he was young.
He said he had been to Disneyland in Hong Kong and Japan.
He added: "I hope to go to Disney World in Florida soon. I like to challenge myself with scary rides.
"Roller coasters with turns are especially exciting because I can't see where I'm going, so it will be surprising."
Sounds also help him experience indoor roller coasters better.
He said: "They give an indication of the environment. The sounds here at USS are very realistic."
He is in town for his concert, You Are My Eyes, and will be joined by fellow blind performers Kelvin Tan Wei Lian from Singapore and Zhang Yu Xia from Taiwan.
"Through our music, we hope to show that a blind person's world is colourful and expansive and that this life is worth living," he said.
The concert is tomorrow at 8pm at Resorts World Theatre. Part of the proceeds will go to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.
Ricky said the trio have plans to perform a song together.