Wednesday October 10, 2012
True grit and determination
By NIGEL EDGAR
KUCHING: Having cerebral palsy did not prevent 25-year-old James Ng Seng Heng from achieving what he had set out to achieve - earning a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.
The former SMK Sacred Heart, Sibu student was among 722 who graduated from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and received their scrolls during the convocation ceremony held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here yesterday.
Ng, whose legs are partially disabled, moves around on crutches.
He could barely make it up to the stage when it was his turn to receive his scroll from the university’s vice-chancellor and president Prof Linda Kristjanson witnessed by the university’s council chairman Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
At the end of it, it was a happy Ng who proudly held up his scroll much to the delight of his family, friends and lecturers.
“Support from my family was the most important during my studies. I don’t come from a well-to-do family, and mum said education was the best gift a parent could give to a child,” he told reporters.
Ng’s father passed away some four years ago and his only sister had always encouraged him not to give up but to keep going.
“I had also the support of my friends, university mates and the lecturers who were very accommodating,” he said.
Ng said his lecturers were like the captain of a ship who knew which direction to take.
“Many times we did not have any idea where to start with an assignment and that’s when the captain was most useful,” he explained.
On how he was able to keep up with the pace, he said with the cerebral palsy affecting the coordination of his legs, moving around the campus and hostels the two years he studied there was “quite a problem”.
“Fortunately there were always kind-hearted university mates and lecturers around to help,” said Ng.
He said even in his secondary school years he had always had friends who were very helpful and doing some errands for him.
“I received a lot of help from many people who bought food from the school canteen for me or helped me up and down the stairs. I will always remember them and their good deeds,” Ng said.
At university, Ng was a proud member of the Swinburne Sarawak Anime and Manga Society, having been a fan since young. Asked how he managed his assignments and studies, he said it was all about teamwork and cooperation.
“I don’t see how I could have completed the projects alone since my mobility is limited. Two heads, or more, are better than one. However, a person must also have the drive to study by himself,” said Ng.
Asked why he chose Human Resource Management major, he said he was a pure art stream student during secondary school years and did not like heavy calculations.
“I like to jot things down and write them according to the questions given. I enjoy thinking about theories on human resource management like those available in literature, and then explaining them. I think that is why I chose human resource management,” said Ng.
Asked if he had any advice to others with physical disabilities, Ng said: “Never give up. You can do it. Do not let your ‘special gift’ be a barrier to getting what you want.”