Generation Grit: Born without sight, he sees what others do not

Mr Chia Hong Sen, 22, was born with retinal dystrophy, which affected his ability to read. Despite the challenges, he was the first student with total visual impairment to join Temasek Polytechnic, where he graduated with a diploma in information technology.
Chia Hong Sen says being born blind in a seeing world has bred in him resilience.
Chia Hong Sen says being born blind in a seeing world has bred in him resilience.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Chia Hong Sen, 22, who is visually impaired, gets around with the help of his guide dog, Clare.
Chia Hong Sen, 22, who is visually impaired, gets around with the help of his guide dog, Clare.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Mr Chia Hong Sen (right), 22, helping Mr Chong Kuek Bin, 37, use the computer.
Mr Chia Hong Sen (right), 22, helping Mr Chong Kuek Bin, 37, use the computer.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Mr Chia no longer uses a white cane and relies on Clare to look out for him.
Mr Chia no longer uses a white cane and relies on Clare to look out for him. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Chia Hong Sen was five before he realised he was different from other children. But being born blind in a seeing world has given him insights he would not otherwise have had, the 22-year-old undergraduate tells The Straits Times in a series about inspiring millennials.

SINGAPORE - Like a typical undergraduate, Mr Chia Hong Sen can often be found tapping away on his smartphone, attending lectures, or hanging out with his friends on campus.

But Mr Chia, 22, who is soon to start his third year at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), does not have the typical world view of someone his age.

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