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A Survivor Called Grace

A story by Grace Chan, 17, as reported in WHO wrote about Henry? in 1997:

HENRY was born with "thin wispy hair", and was sad and lonely because no one would talk to him - except Sid ... (Henry) almost gave up hope of having hair when Sid brilliantly invented some magical shampoo. Sid was a scientist. He could create and invent different things.

One day, when he was experimenting with all his chemicals, he unexpectedly created a hair-restoring shampoo. He was overjoyed. The shampoo worked magically. He had beautiful long, black hair. They decided to start a factory and sell this new hair shampoo to other bald people. But Henry had a new problem - his hair now wouldn't stop growing, until both their faces were covered with hair. So Sid created an antidote, a special "hair-growing stopper".

Years later, Henry and Sid became very rich. The shampoo that they had invented was a great success. They continued to research and create hair products to help other people with hair problems. They also became consultants to those with hair problems. As they recalled those hard times they had with their hair, they thanked God for how things had worked out in the end.

Sid told Henry: "If we had not been born bald, we wouldn't be enjoying life now."

"Life is an irony," Henry replied.

They looked at each other and smiled.


FOUND THIS STORY while searching the Internet for more information. In the words of Kristina Tom in The Sunday Times today, "Grace Chan is a newly published writer. She also has Down's syndrome. Surprising? Maybe. Then again, Chan has been surprising people with her talent and intelligence for most of her life. Today, the 25-year-old launches her first book, I Am Human, Not Alien. It's a collection of her poems, short stories and essays spanning her childhood to young adulthood. It includes writings from her family and friends, as well as excerpts from a brief unpublished biography she had written in 2003."

Perhaps Chan is lucky to have parents like former EDB chairman Mr Chan CHin Bock, 71, and housewife Rose Chan, 65. So, she grew up in the US, where her father was on assignment. She attended a special class for slower children, and her mother tutored her, keeping one step ahead of the class.

What's more important though seems to be her inner self, which is "busy and strong". The Sunday Times reports, "She often writes notes on her everyday thoughts to her parents. She has passed her N levels in maths and English and attended a course at the Institute of Technical Education, passing all her modules in Business Englih, Office Practice and Computer Studies. For nearly nine years, she has been working as a human resource clerk in the Goodwood Park Hotel."

These achievements of Grace are all the more amazing in light of a 1997 New Paper article (We never say she can't do it) which reported, "At age 15, Grace Chan wrote her mother a letter. It read: "I want to have a brighter future. I don't want to waste my entire life making pom-poms and capping bottles. I want to learn something and make use of my brains. I want to be somebody." This was after a visit to a training school for the handicapped, where Grace saw some students capping bottles and heard an official mention the school's pom-pom making contract."

Chan has not wasted her life. Seven years since that resolution, she's now ready to launch her book at Borders. It will be on sale at $26 there. All proceeds will go to the Rainbow Centre, an organisation devoted to the education of special needs children.

The most moving part of Chan's life story is actually this: "Mrs Chan [said:] "The doctors said: 'She's not going to be able to walk, she's not going to do this, not going to do that...' Nobody ever once said she would give me love."

"Indeed, Chan has been a wellspring of love and support for her parents, especially when Mr Chan suffered a stroke in 1997 that left him partially paralysed. Mrs Chan says: "She would sit next to her father, hold his hand and tell him to do his exercises. She was a tower of strength not only for her father, but for me."


by tree#138680 on Mon May 30 05 1:45 am | profile

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