Blind JC student beats the odds

SOLDIERING ON: Miss Chong's glaucoma worsened when she was in year one of junior college, leading her to lose sight in her remaining eye.

SINGAPORE - She became blind in her right eye when she was nine years old and lost sight in her left eye at 17, but after persevering for three years, Miss Amanda Chong got her A-level results yesterday.

The 19-year-old Pioneer Junior College student, who scored three As and two Bs, has glaucoma, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

She has had three unsuccessful cornea transplants.

Miss Chong told the Chinese newspaper that her glaucoma worsened when she was in year one of junior college, and her left eye began deteriorating.

"After I had a third cornea transplant, my body rejected the new cornea, and I was in and out of hospital. I missed a lot of lessons, and had to redo the year," she said.

It was tough to catch up, since she had become blind in both eyes.

"The most difficult subjects were economics and maths, as there are many diagrams to analyse," she said.

"My teachers bent thin rods into the shapes so I could feel them, and know how they look."

The school also got her a computer that could read text out to her as she typed. This way, she could verify if her exam answers were correct.

"Mathematical symbols are difficult to type, so a teacher helped me to key in the formulas I read out," she said.

The lover of literature said that her favourite poem is Invictus by English poet William Henley, especially the last two lines: "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

The unrelenting girl said: "I can only accept reality. Now, I will rely on my own effort to forge my own path."

She hopes to be a teacher, journalist or diplomat.

About 91.1 per cent of the 13,936 students who took last year's GCE A-level examination achieved at least three H2 passes, with a pass in General Paper or Knowledge and Inquiry.

Their results were slightly better - by 0.5 percentage point - than the cohort which took the exam in 2012.

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