Jason Chee, the True Singaporean Hero

Jason Chee picture 1
The People’s Champion

Dear boys,

This is a person worth mentioning, because he is simply too inspiring not to.

Well, to begin with, Jason Chee was a ‘nobody’. Or he was someone who would have been perfectly happy with his job and carry on working, just like anyone of us. I’m sure he has his fair share of happiness, sadness, anger, and all those healthy emotions any healthy human beings would have. Being a sailor with the Republic of Singapore Navy, he would have his fair share of the Sun, the Sand and the Sea. He is one of the many countless headcounts in the RSN numbers, and with his looks, he wouldn’t even qualify to be a Navy poster boy!

Jason Chee picture
Once a sailor, always a sailor.

Well, his life took a turn for a cruel twist when he was a victim of a very tragic accident at sea. His appendages and left arm was severed when he was operating a winch which has apparently malfunctioned. That was back in 2012.

His story gripped the nation, out of sympathy and angst. He is a sailor, serving his duties on board a ship, how can something so horrible could have happened to him? What went wrong? Who can we blame?

Road to Recovery.

The loss of his limbs and left hand is permanent, the RSN decided to keep him on active duty, albeit desk bound duty, as he still wants to serve. I was thinking, of course the Navy would keep him, he is the son of RSN. We never abandon our men, as long as you’re in uniform, in service, you’ll be taken care of. But I can’t help but spare a thought of sympathy and pity. Perhaps the RSN kept him because of that. They owe him that much, as a token of apology.

He didn’t take it sitting down (pun intended). Now at 1.3m in height, from his standing 1.67m (he went from taller than your dad, to shorter than your dad), he rose to the challenge and focused on sports. He choose Table Tennis (he has been playing since 5) and trains hard in it. I was still thinking, ‘Yeah, sure, sports will help him rehabilitate, and get his mind off the horrific past.’ It a good sport for him to heal and recuperate. And thought nothing of it.

He wanted to participate in the Asean Para Games, and play competitively. I was thinking, ‘Yeah sure, what chances does a (Ex) Navy guy got against younger, better trained opponents?’ Yeah, getting him to compete is another way he can channel his energy into something worthwhile. (No, I didn’t think he’d win, not bronze, not silver, much less gold!)

I WAS WRONG.

No I don’t know him, but right now I’d love to. He made me eat the skeptic in me. He proved me wrong. He won gold, and beaten a younger opponent. He wasn’t doing this to ‘pass time’ or ‘feel better’ about his lousy self. He didn’t do it, so that he can let the world take pity on him. He did it to win

Life’s a big bad irony

To think of it, boys, had he not met with that accident, he would have still been a Navy guy, the whole nation (now the entire ASEAN) will not know about him. I don’t think he would have been a person who craves attention. He’d probably be a quiet professional, doing his duties earnestly and see the job is done.

Now that life has taken away what most of us will die if we were to lose them, 75% of our mobility. 2 legs and and arm. The irony for him is that, he rose to fame, because of his loss. Its a twisted fate.You don’t go through that pain and horror, you cannot rise to your epitome of his life, he will never become an ASEAN Para Games Table Tennis Champ.

Jason Chee in action with his team mate Aaron Yeo

Or he could have taken another path.

He could have gotten angry, gotten the best lawyer and sue the Navy for negligence, for putting him this predicament. He might win, he might have gotten untold amount of damages. What happens after that? He can play the blame game, no one would blame him if he did. He didn’t.

He showed gratitude instead, for the Navy, for taking care of him despite of being so critically maimed, by a ‘faulty’ Navy equipment. He talked about the support they have rendered him, the family they are to him. He used all of that to rise, and bring glory to himself, and his country.

He used the time given to him (perhaps out of sympathy) to train. He could have used the same free time to wallow in self pity, and cash in on the sympathy around him, get donations, get people to crowd fund him, milk the charity. He didn’t. He trained and trained, so that he can self actualise his goals, he got there, all by himself.

Now he has personally written a chapter in the history books, he can be proud that he did it, and no one can take that away from him. He set an example for all to see, able and disabled alike. Life can take away all your endowments, but life cannot take away your ability to choose. Life
is cruel, but we can choose to respond with love and kindness. He got where is is with love and kindness, and with that he is destined for greater heights!

Related links

http://www.straitstimes.com/sport/asean-para-games-chee-delivers-on-promise

http://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/people/navy-mans-167m-dream

http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/inspiring-story-jason-chee-who-lost-his-legs-will-play-spore

http://lifestyle.www.ns.sg/ns-media/ns-news/ndp-everyday-heroes-jason-chee#about:blank

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/asean-para-games-jason/2264656.html

(pictures sourced from internet. click picture to follow to link)

First published :Dec 7, 2015 10:08 PM

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