The Star
Thursday, April 16, 1998

Zeal for Life Wins Gritty Pong a State Award
By Fabian Louis

IPOH: Paraplegic Pong Seow Chin proved just how much the disabled can achieve if they set their minds to a task.

For her exemplary zeal for life which is a source of encouragement to others, she was conferred the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, in conjunction with his 70th birthday yesterday.

Pong, 33, paralysed from the waist down, is the first disabled person from Sultan Idris Shah Foundation for the Disabled to receive a state award.

"I want other disabled people not to give up on their lives. I am one person who very strongly believes in fate and I so not blame anyone for what has happened to me."

"I have not given up since the day I was paralysed. I will go on with my life."

"I am not the only one who is proud of the award but I have made the Foundation proud too as it was the Foundation who helped to change my life," she said.

Pong became paralysed at the age of 20 when she fell from her bed while convalescing after giving birth to twins who were still born.

She had to stay in the hospital for four years and during that period her husband abandoned her.

Pong said the award should be an encouragement for the disabled to stick together and help each other.

Foundation Chairman Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam said the award bestowed on Pong was a motivating factor to the Foundation's volunteers who were also bestowed awards.

He said this would encourage them to work much harder as their humanitarian services had been recognized.

"Pong has shown a great deal of courage and determination to better herself despite her disabilities and thus is a role model for other disabled people," he said.

She was one of the 611 recipients of awards and honors this year in conjunction with the Sultan's birthday yesterday but would receive her's at a later date.

Raja DiHilir Perak, Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, who was conferred the Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati was among the first batch of 52 recipients to receive their awards and honors at an investiture ceremony at Istana Iskandariah, Kuala Kangsar, yesterday.