Foong King Yi, 20, looks like any young woman, bright-eyed and cheerful. But only her closest friends and family know the trials she went through in school because King Yi suffers from dyslexia. But she was not diagnosed until she sat for her O levels.
“All through school, I had some trouble with reading but I just managed to survive. It was only in Secondary Four that I saw a professional and they told me I had dyslexia,” the Business Applications student recalled. “I became really emotional because I never knew I had this condition.’’
She did dismally for her O levels and managed an aggregate score of 26 but made it to RP. On top of trying to adapt to the new learning system, she had difficulties processing the problem statement while her peers were able to do it much faster than her. As a result, she would skip her breaks to understand concepts.
When she reached second year however, she decided that it was time to buck up. “Year 1 was a wake-up call for me,” she said. She would devise her own study methods, create her own notes and met with facilitators to help her.
But the greatest adversity she faced was the taunting she would get from her peers. “Sometimes, people around me made nasty jokes about my condition and I would just break down and cry at home,” said King Yi. But she eventually learnt to ignore them and focus on her studies instead. “I decided I did not have to explain anything to anyone and just focused on my work.’’
King Yi’s perseverance eventually paid off when she became one of the four recipients of the Microsoft Youth Spark Scholarship, which is awarded to disabled students with good academic credentials and strong leadership potential. She was even featured in a Chinese newspaper and Let’s Talk, a youth talkshow in Channel U for being a recipient of this prestigious accolade.
“King Yi definitely deserves the award and I am very proud of her achievements,” said Mr Lim Chong Hin, an Academic Associate from SOI who facilitated King Yi. “It has a special meaning to students like her who have succeeded in overcoming uncommon obstacles in their studies.”
King Yi is currently waiting to enroll in a marketing course at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). Looking back, she had learnt to persevere and never give up. “Nothing is going to stop me and I will always do my best, no matter how tough it becomes.”