Resorts World Sentosa pair overcome disabilities to come up winners

Aquarist Kenneth Chin has been deaf since age two but that did not stop him from pursuing a career in marine life and husbandry at SEA Aquarium. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Disabilities have not proven to be much of an obstacle for two determined employees at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

Aquarist Kenneth Chin has been deaf since age two but that did not stop him from pursuing a career in marine life and husbandry at SEA Aquarium.

And Ms Jean Ling was a team manager at RWS' attractions operations before a car accident while on holiday in New Zealand confined her to a wheelchair.

Both have learned to overcome their limitations and continue to contribute at work, even volunteering their time for the less fortunate.

Ms Ling, 35, lost all sensation from the waist down after her car skidded and hit a tree in April 2014.

She spent four months recovering in New Zealand and returned to work only in February 2015.

But RWS continued to pay her salary and even helped her transfer to a more administrative and less physically demanding environment.

The accident also did not stop her from giving back to society.

"When I was able-bodied, I went to old folks' homes and helped talk to them, clean them and pack food," she said.

"Now I can't do that. But I can still help give Christmas gifts to underprivileged children."

She also found true love after her travails: She got married last month to Mr Oh Wei Jian, 28, an electrical service engineer. She is now planning a honeymoon and looking forward to starting a family.

Mr Chin, 22, graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a diploma in veterinary technology and joined RWS.

With guidance from his supervisor, a marine animal curator, he was given many opportunities to contribute, including monitoring the feeding behaviour of manta rays and surface feeding of large exhibits, including Shark Seas, Shipwreck Habitat and the Open Ocean habitat.

"I appreciate RWS accommodating my disability and allowing me to pursue my passion taking care of sea jellies," he said.

"My colleagues are also very understanding of my condition, and always help translate information from the bosses so I can understand the instructions and carry out tasks."

SPD Youth Aspiration award-winner Shahrul Izwan Shaiful Bahri was an active floorball player before he was diagnosed with Lower Limbs Spastic Paraparesis at age 16 and confined to a wheelchair.

"A negative mind will never lead to a positive life" is a motto Mr Shahrul, 23, keeps close to his heart.

A low moment in the past almost resulted in him leaving school, until his father stepped in and asked: "How are you going to survive without a certificate in Singapore?"

That shook him up, and he clawed back his confidence.

Mr Shahrul is now pursuing a Diploma in Electronics Engineering at Temasek Polytechnic and will be graduating in April.

He has also found drive through a new sport - wheelchair racing -and hopes to represent Singapore someday.

"If (other athletes with disabilities) can do it, why not me?" he said.

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