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Keen to help as many blind people as possible stand in their own feet

From: Author: Date:2008-08-17 Click:

From despair to success

SMIUNG constantly, professional blind masseur Lee Sheng Chow paints a picture of serenity - something most would not expect from an aspiring engineenng student who lost his sight at 21.

  "I suffered from Beh~et's syndrome that caused internal bleeding of my retinas." he says, "My eyemght deteriorated, starting from 1976 and by 1985. I couldn't see at all."

  The pioneer of PB Service Centre, which is Malaysia's first massage centre by the blind. Lee's foray into the profession was. in a way, accidental.

  "After struggling with depression, I decided to make up for lost time and started picking up various skills, even venturing into ff and handicraft. I also learnt massage," says Lee.

  His jack-of-all-trades act continued until he became a qualified insurance agent

  However. Lee's stint as an insurance agent was short-lived, thanks to a bad encounter.
  "I was talking to a person but he walked away without my knowledge while I was explaining a policy and I was left talking to thin air." he recalls.

  "That experience hurt me. I agree with Helen Keller's saying, 'If the world understood
us ... we wouldn't be handicapped'."

  Not the type who wallows in self-pity. Lee decided to take being a masseur seriously.

  "I realised that massage requires a lot of skills, and is both an art and a science," he enthuses,

  After training at the Gurney Training Centre (G'fC), Lee started his own business, Today, his centre boasts a staff of 38 masseurs.

  'I believe that everything is pre-ordained and there is a reason for my blindness." muses the devout Christian. 'In a way, you can say I created a market. I have worked with more than 1,000 blind masseurs."

  The rapid expansion of his centre is partly due to lee's successful foray in the stock market.

  "I invested during the recession from 1985 to 198Z" he says. "1 cashed'out when the market was robust in 1992 and made up to 10 times the profit."

  Despite being a successful entrepreneur. Lee has not forgotten his roots and still helps out as an examiner at the CTC. on top of conducting massage classes,

  As president of the Certified Blind Masseurs Association. Lee even organises training stints for blind masseurs in Beijing and Guangzhou, China.

  He could have furthered his studies when both HELP University College and the London School of Economics and Political Science . offered him scholarships to study Law and Psychology respectively.

  "I declined as I was just too deeply involved in the massage business." he says.

  Undoubtedly, Lee's finest hour was representing the nation at the Paralympic Games.

  He was in Seoul in 1988. in Barcelona 1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), placing fourth three times in the shot putt and fifth for the discus throw. His national record of more than 12m in the shot putt has been unbeaten since 1983,

  "I tried to make the national team for Athens and Beijing but tore my muscles on both occasions and had to back out." he admits regretfully.

  Regardless. Lee is definitely an example to all and is the best proof that Olympic dreams do come true.
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