Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Recognises Youths with Disabilities Who Defy Odds to Excel Academically and…

Three local undergraduates were awarded the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities in recognition of their exceptional academic performance and contributions to their school and the [...]

Singapore, 2 November 2020 – It is no mean feat to achieve academic excellence and be an active contributor to the community while grappling with personal challenges and disabilities. But three youths did just that with their tenacity and passion for life.

Local undergraduates – Chew Chee Siang, Ng Jun Kang and Elliot Teng – were awarded the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities in recognition of their exceptional academic performance and contributions to their school and the community.

“The APB Foundation strongly believes that access to quality education should not be limited by a person’s circumstances. We are honoured to partner SPD for the 16th year running in creating a brighter future for our youths with disabilities through the scholarship. We hope that the support from APB Foundation can empower and encourage our youths to strive for their aspirations,” said Mr Jacco van der Linden, Chairman of APB Foundation.

Among the scholarship recipients this year is 22-year-old Ng Jun Kang who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy which affected his muscle control, fine and gross motor skills as well as oral motor functioning. Growing up, Jun Kang relied on his mother in activities of daily living. His lack of fine motor skills also posed a challenge for him in the electronics soldering modules during his diploma studies in electronics and computer engineering. Despite this, he persevered and attained distinctions in 16 modules, including ten book prizes.

Ng Jun Kang

In his free time, Jun Kang makes full use of his talent in programming to work on several technology projects including FindAPet.Today, a pet adoption website. Now a first-year computer science student at the National University of Singapore, Jun Kang aspires to develop technology that can improve the daily lives of the public, especially for persons with disabilities. Jun Kang is also currently training with other aspiring para-athletes to become a national para powerlifter.

“I am thankful that this scholarship can help to alleviate some of the financial stress from my parents who have worked very hard to support the family. As they are also getting on in years, I hope that this will help to take some load off their shoulders,” said Jun Kang.

Elliot Teng is another scholarship recipient this year. Diagnosed with moderate hearing loss in both ears when he was two, Elliot’s condition has now deteriorated to a severe-profound level. Without his hearing aid and cochlear implant, Elliot’s hearing would be close to zero. Due to his condition, he was not able to engage in rough contact sports though he had been scouted as a promising rugby player. This did not discourage the 20-year-old from participating in other sports like football and floorball. During games where he has to remove his hearing aid, Elliot relies on his game sense and lip-reading to interpret what is going on around him. A Bachelor of Law undergraduate at the Singapore Management University, Elliot hopes to specialise in international law or criminal law where he is able to use his expertise to help people in need. He also hopes to use his voice to advocate for persons with disabilities.

Elliot Teng“I hope to be able to effect change in the education system for students with disabilities. There are several invisible disabilities that may be overlooked easily, and hearing loss is one of them. In any way I can, I wish to be able to improve the lives of others around me,” said Elliot.

20-year-old Chew Chee Siang was born with congenital hand disorder on his left hand. Due to his condition, Chee Siang needed more time to complete his science practical exams as he could only rely on his right hand to do the experiments. However, Chee Siang has never thought of his disability as an inhibitor. Instead, he carried on with life as normal.

Chew Chee SiangAs a staff sergeant in the National Police Cadet Corp (NPCC) when he was in secondary school, he underwent the same rigorous training and drills just like his non-disabled peers though he had to constantly improvise to overcome challenges during rifle drills, campcraft and physical training. The optimistic youth also did not let his condition stop him from enjoying sports like basketball and pull-ups. Chee Siang is now pursuing a double degree in accountancy and business in Nanyang Technological University.

“This scholarship will be helpful in defraying some of my school expenses. More importantly, I view the scholarship as a platform for me to contribute and pay it forward as I have more opportunities to be involved in the good work that SPD does,” said Chee Siang.

The APB Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities is sponsored by APB Foundation and managed by local charity SPD. The scholarship recognises students with disabilities who have excelled in their studies and demonstrated strong leadership in their community. To date, over S$1.6m have been committed to empower 49 students with disabilities in their education. Through this scholarship programme, the students receive $12,000 annually to cover their course fees in any of the six recognised local universities.

Mr Abhimanyau Pal, Chief Executive Officer of SPD, said: “We are extremely thankful for our long-term partnership with the APB Foundation. For the past 16 years, they have enabled many students with disabilities and their families through their generous contributions. In this tough economic climate, we are all the more grateful for the continued support by organisations like APB Foundation and for their commitment to improving the lives of youths with disabilities in our community.”

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