My name is Gabriel Moses Lee and I have an intellectual disability. I’m an athlete leader with Special Olympics Singapore, and a co-facilitator for Unified Leadership training. I also work in a telecommunications company and I am currently working towards a diploma in IT. But that’s just what I do, not who I am. Want to know who I really am? Keep reading on.
If you’re reading my story and are keen to join me in driving more inclusion, I have four challenges for you!
WITH GABRIEL MOSES LEE
Challenge #1: Seek to understand
As someone with an intellectual disability, I speak for my community when I say – we just need to be heard. We’re more than happy to answer your questions and shed light about persons with intellectual disabilities, as long as you have a genuine interest and do not look down upon us. I am an extremely extroverted person, and love knowing more about people from different parts of the world. Actually, I’m the happiest when I’m around people. One of the best experiences of my life was when I attended the Special Olympics Youth for Inclusion conference in 2019, simply because I met so many people and had so many interesting conversations! I went in as an attendee, and came out from that experience making friends for a lifetime.
Challenge #2: Be kind even to people you don’t know
Trust me, a simple, kind gesture like a smile, can impact someone to a greater extent than you can imagine. Want to know how I know that? Because a random act of kindness by a stranger truly transformed my life.
This is the story of how I met my good friend, teacher, and confidant, Qing Hui. Once, I was sitting outside the principal’s office at my school. If you haven’t guessed yet, I was at one point, a naughty child. I was, yet again, being disciplined for being a troublemaker. As I sat there with my heart beating fast and hands trembling, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Qing Hui. He asked me what was going on, and I told him. We had a conversation which marked a turning point in my life. He explained to me the importance of being a thoughtful and well-behaved individual. There has been no looking back since.
So if you can, by all means, be that hand on a shoulder. Pass on a smile, or share a kind word, you never know how simple actions can brighten someone else’s day.
Challenge #3: Spend quality time with loved ones
If you’ve watched my story on #OpenBooks, you know that my life’s goal is to see my family happy. There is a different kind of happiness in being the reason for your loved one’s smile. I know we all have busy lives, we all struggle to find meaning and want to create a life we are proud of. But don’t let that make you lose sight of important personal relationships. It doesn’t take grand gestures to make someone feel cared for, just check in on them regularly and make sure they know you are there for them. Remember family and friends are all we got!
Challenge 4: Forgive someone for a mistake they made
The world could do with more forgiveness. We’re humans, we make mistakes. But if you don’t give people a chance, how will they prove themselves to you? You deserve to be forgiven and to forgive, always remember that!
I’m just a young man trying to live life with a positive attitude and a smile on my face. I know that life can be tough at times, but I truly believe that empathy and positivity can make all the difference. I hope that my story has inspired you to champion inclusion and make a difference in the world in your own way. Remember, it’s the little things that usually have the highest value.
Thank you for reading my story on #OpenBooks!