New Straits Times
Wednesday, April 22, 1998

Paraplegic Pong Recognised for Service

PARAPLEGIC Pong Siew Ching, who has been described as a role model to other disabled persons, was awarded the PJK by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah on the occasion of his birthday last Sunday.

She was among a number of managers of voluntary organizations and caregivers in Perak being presented awards in recognition of their services.

Pong, 32, was became paralysed from the waist down following a fall after giving birth to her child 12 years ago, is a picture of a brave and determined disabled person.

She moves around by lying flat on a trolley, which she pushes with her hands.

Currently, she us the secretary of the Spinal Wheelers Club, a social club for those with spinal injury set up by Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah for the Disabled.

She has through the help of the Foundation, produces handicraft to earn a living.

"Pong has shown and continues to show a great deal of courage and determination to better herself despite her disabilities.

"She has thus shown herself to be a role model for other disabled persons to follow," said the Foundation Chairman Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam.

Jeyaratnam described the conferment of awards to Pong and other welfare workers as "undoubtedly a motivating factor" to the recipients, for them to work harder and enjoy the satisfaction that their voluntary humanitarian service is will be recognized.

"Such voluntary workers play a very important role in society. Their type of work requires them to make extra sacrifices compared to persons who look after normal people. They have to be equipped with a lot of patience, forbearance and love," he said. "Persons with physical disabilities go through suffering and hardship as hospitals only treat persons with health malfunction and injury and have no proper rehabilitation programmes.

"The disabled person has to depend on well - managed voluntary organizations which are very few in the country."

Jeyaratnam described Pong as an example of a disabled person who had not only being rehabilitated but also extended her service to other disabled persons.

Among other welfare workers who were conferred the awards were Persatuan Orang Cacat Malim Nawar Chairman Dr Rowland Chandra Jayawardena, Norfathila Darusalam of Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah, volunteer of Spinal Wheelers Club and Special Bikers Club S. Balasubramaniam and coordinator of Persatuan Orang Cacat Larut - Matang - Selama, K. Pushpa.