Blinded in one eye, acid survivor graduates

PETALING JAYA - Having graduated from her three-year ACCA accounting course, acid attack survivor Tan Hui Linn said her fervent wish was for her mother to "share this moment" with her.

"I studied hard and really wanted to graduate because of her.

"I am proud of myself and hope she will be proud of me, too," she told reporters after her graduation ceremony here yesterday.

Hui Linn, who was among the 420 students who graduated from the Sunway TES Centre for Accountancy Excellence, said that studying in college was challenging due to her limited vision.

She was left blinded in the right eye and has limited vision in the other eye when her father, Teik Swee, splashed acid on her and her mother while they were sleeping at their home on Oct 24, 2009.

Her 50-year-old mother, Chong Swee Lin, died in the attack.

But 22-year-old Hui Linn, who is working as an auditor, said she drew strength from her friends and family members.

"I knew I had to do my best in my studies for them because they are taking care of me," she said.

Her brother Jun Hong, 26, uncles Chong Hai Eng, 61 and Koay Cheng Ui, 65, niece Ng Yu Bin, 10 and nephew Ng Yu Rou, 10 were present to share her joy.

Hui Linn, a former SMK Convent Datuk Keramat, Penang student, had recently completed her sixth and final corrective surgery in Seoul.

The surgery and treatment costs were borne by JK Plastic Surgery Centre and the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, as part of the ministry's Medical Korea Project.

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, who helped coordinate her trips, said the treatment was part of a long-term plan, which includes helping her get back her vision.

"Hopefully, with advances in science in the next few years, there will be new technology to help her regain eyesight.

"For now, Hui Linn is scheduled for a check-up every six months with the centre," he said.

Ooi, having journeyed with Hui Linn for over six years now, said the gritty girl has improved greatly.

"At first, she couldn't even open her mouth widely to, say, have a burger. But against all odds - the eyesight, the acid attack - she persevered to recover.

"She's so determined and deserves the reward of graduating from college," said Ooi.

Ooi also pledged to continue to support and journey with Hui Linn.

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