SPD Youth Aspiration Award Recipient – Joshua Tseng | SPD - Singapore

SPD Youth Aspiration Award Recipient – Joshua Tseng


Joshua giving a presentation at a workshop.

Joshua Tseng was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma when he was 7. Not having sustained any traumatic injuries, his doctors concluded that his condition was most likely congenital. He relied on his poor vision till he was 16, when his eye condition drastically deteriorated.

Having vision loss comes with certain challenges. Joshua had to undergo orientation and mobility training to learn how to commute. His parents and two siblings are his sighted guides when they are out together.

The vision impairment has affected Joshua’s social life.

“I found it difficult to know if a stranger was receptive to conversations or if a friend was among the crowd during a gathering without visual cues,” said Joshua. However, constant exposure to non-visual cues such as tones and word choices while interacting with people he was familiar with has helped Joshua lead a normal life.

Joshua is proud of having overcome his vision loss. Not being able to see had put an emotional strain on him. He struggled to accept the fact that nothing was going to reverse his condition. While tough, he realised that the decision to move on was one that only he could make for himself.

He first recognised that he was a decent orator when he took up a basic writing and presentation class when he was at the polytechnic. Subsequently, he signed up for a public speaking module that the school offered, and has given many presentations since to decision makers at commercial and non-profit outfits, as well as speaking at several disability events.

Joshua giving a speech during the Education Programme Ceremony 2018.

The 20-year-old believes that one of the biggest reasons why he speaks confidently lies in his inability to see the crowd that he is addressing. He also rehearses numerous times, sometimes for days, before a presentation.

Although proud to have developed his speaking skills, Joshua believes he can inject more excitement into his delivery. “I hope to break out of my comfort zone and progress from business presentations to personal storytelling,” said the normally calm and logical individual.

Joshua volunteers at Etch Empathy, a local non-profit organisation where he has helped to conduct programmes such as the Cooking Project for the Blind, an initiative dedicated to helping people with vision impairment learn how to cook. He also helps in the development of their publicity and marketing collaterals like press releases and online articles.

Joshua Tseng was the recipient of the Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship and the SPD Youth Aspiration Award.

“I want to expand my speaking territory and hope to share more about my experiences to motivate and inspire others so that more people can understand what people of disabilities go through and the challenges that come along with it,” Joshua said.

The Singapore Management University Bachelor of Science undergraduate hopes to take some time out to travel upon completing his studies to gain experience and to share them with others.

He believes that most things are possible.

“I want to have a positive outlook to life no matter what the circumstances are,” said Joshua.