A lifetime isn’t enough to fit all the kindness I want to put out there in this world. I’m Hay Qing Hui, and this is my story.
I grew up with an intellectual disability, and defied the odds to let it fuel my purpose in life. While I don’t have all the answers, I hope by sharing my story on #OpenBooks, you can find some inspiration in living life well.
I haven’t always felt very comfortable around people. I’m an introvert and sometimes prefer to keep to myself. But I do believe in the good in people, in kindness and how it can change a life. I’ve had so many experiences with people in my life that have helped, defined and shaped me positively, and I’d like to share some advice that I consider to be helpful.
#1: Focus on strengths, not limitations
There will always be reasons to give up. There’s a very thin line between being limited and becoming limitless, and that line blurs when you take a leap of faith and refuse to be defined by your disability. I choose to focus on my strengths, instead of my limitations.
I’ve been with Special Olympics Singapore for more than 15 years, and I got the lifetime opportunity to represent my country in two Special Olympics World Games, in athletics and basketball. I later discovered my love for dance sport and currently help out as an assistant coach. In addition, I went on to give leadership roles a try, because I knew I wanted to give back and help others. Now, I sit on the Board of Special Olympics Singapore as an Athlete Representative, and also more recently as the Co-Chair of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional Athlete Leadership Council, where I speak for the needs of athletes with intellectual disabilities across the Asia Pacific region.
WITH HAY QING HUI
#2: Put your best foot forward, no matter the result
Life isn’t always about winning. Even if you lose, consistently put your best foot forward regardless. I always tell my students, “If you win, that’s a bonus. If you lose, you gain an experience!” Medals are great, but experiences are even better. I celebrate and admire people who can give everything their best effort because I know it’s not easy.
Like you, there have been times when I have been fearful, but I have tried my best to venture out of my comfort zone and experiment. Currently, I wear multiple hats at work. In addition to being an instructor aide at my alma mater, ASPN Tanglin School, I work as a balloon sculptor, part-time delivery rider, and support event logistics from time to time. I’m constantly worried that if I don’t work hard enough, I could be the first to get retrenched in an economic downturn.
#3: Kindness can change someone’s life
When I first met my good friend, Gabriel I caught him sitting, in the utmost distress, outside the principal’s office. He had been called in due to poor behaviour. I struck up a conversation with him, befriended him and made him realise the importance of being a humble, well-behaved individual. Today, Gabriel is the happiest ray of sunshine who shines due to his excellent oration and leadership skills. All he needed was a nudge in the right direction to bring out the extraordinarily talented young man he is!
#4: Keep on dreaming!
We all have hopes and dreams for our future. But sometimes, we may lose sight and forget to believe in the surprises life can hold for us! I have so many aspirations for my future. Currently, I’m experimenting with photography and hope to pursue a career someday in this field.
I also aspire to be a gentle voice of encouragement for my community and to help lead the path to inclusion. I know there’s a lot more that needs to be done, but if we come together – we can achieve so much!
Will you help me in my cause to make this world an inclusive place for millions of people with intellectual disabilities? Donate to Special Olympics Asia Pacific to make this a reality!