PENANG, 1 Sept 2012 - The news of having cerebral palsy shocked Yeow Ting Fong, 20, when he was 16 years old, but that did not deter him from pursuing his study at one of the nation's leading institutions of higher education, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
His success in entering the university was not based on the reason of that he is a physically challenged person (OKU) but rather competing with tens of thousands of normal applicants basing on academic qualifications.
Ting Fong said that he is touched and happy because he managed to get a placement together with the other 4,285 students who registered themselves as full-time bachelor’s degree students in USM for the academic year of 2012/2013.
Ting Fong who was born in Netherlands said that his success was inspiration-driven whenever he reads stories concerning success and excellence of other OKU in the newspapers.
“OKU are no longer perceived as a group of helpless people who only expect the help of others. Instead, they take on roles in many fields such as in the academia and others too,” he said.
Ting Fong who is pursuing a Bachelor of Economics degree, added that he was awarded as the best student for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) at the national level for special students.
“The troubles that I face become my motivation to continue pursue success thereby making my parents happy,” said Ting Fong who is the only child to Yeow Soo Jeow, 62, and Mo Mgo Lim, 58, who reside in Malacca.
According to Soo Jeow (father), the feeling of worry and sadness cannot be avoided in having Ting Fong become part of the USM community, moreover, with the condition of his child who needs more attention as compared to others.
“Recently, Ting Fong just underwent a surgery on his foot. This caused us some worry but seeing the spirit shown by Ting Fong, we agreed to his surgery,” he said.
Meanwhile, a pair of twins from Thailand, Surapot and Surapat Klanarong, 19, described their excitement to continue their studies in Malaysia and the receiving of media attention together with that of the USM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Omar Osman.
Surapot said that they never had a chance to meet with the media and given special attention as they experienced in USM today.
“We are happy to be given a chance to continue our studies in USM as suggested by our parents,” they said.
“Our parents are lecturers in Thaksin University, Thailand which also has academic collaboration with USM. Thus, they know of USM’s ability and we worked hard so that we can study in this reputable university,” said Surapot.
Besides Ting Fong and the twins, an OKU student with prosthetic legs, Moh Tsu Horng, 20 and a few other international students, including those from China, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and many other countries were also present in the press conference.
Omar said that USM received around 4285 students in all the three campuses: the Main campus (2812), Engineering Campus (739) and Health Campus (734).
He said that it also covers the number of students through a few other channels of application, such as central channel, alternative (cultural, sports, senior citizens), education, USM-KLE (india), Nursing Diploma and overseas.
“All students who registered will follow an orientation programme within this week and will start attending lectures from 10 September,” said Omar.
He added that this year, USM has a few distinctions of having students with walking disabilities registered as students in the Engineering Campus. USM is prepared with the facilities and infrastructures for this group of students.
Also present at the press conference was USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic and International Affairs, Prof. Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal.