Victor Liew and I met for the second time last week. He had already impressed me deeply the first time we met at Mid Valley Megamall in 2002. I have never encountered anyone quite like Victor. His zest for life is remarkably inspiring. That second meeting was no exception. We had arranged for Victor’s mother to pick us up from St. Francis Xavier Church after Mass. That short distance from the church to their house in Old Klang Road was another experience I will never forget.
You see, Victor is a tetraplegic. He is paralysed from his neck down. Going out, even for a short distance for people like us is always a problem, more so for Victor. Therefore, he has a specially outfitted van with a ramp and the interior customised to fit his electric wheelchair. That is the least of the problems. Imagine sitting on a plastic chair atop a moving lorry speeding along a stretch of uneven road. Imagine not having the use of your hands and legs for balancing. That was what I went through. That was what Victor went through every time he goes out.
Victor is an inspiration to me. Despite his disabilities, he has a great desire for life, not only for his own but for others as well. Without the use of his hands, he controls his wheelchair with his chin. He is currently working on a rehabilitation project for the disabled. He surfs the Internet not with a mouse and the keyboard. All navigation and functions are activated with his voice. Is he one cool dude or what? Truly, he lives up to his namesake. He has conquered all with his pure grit and determination. Victor’s fortitude is what all of us should emulate.