Walking Tall Once More: The Jason Chee Story
By Tim Wee
February 26, 2014
Tragedy has the unfortunate circumstances to bring out the worst in all of us. When ravaged by misfortune, we would rather take the easy road out and wallow in the sullied pit of self despair that some never make it out of. While it is all too comforting to blanket ourselves with the deceptive reassurance of malaise, it is vital to put forth a fighting spirit which never backs down.
Commended by Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen for his resilience, Republic of Singapore Navy serviceman Jason Chee is a multiple amputee who has overcome the odds to become a national para-athlete. During a tragic naval ship accident in December 2012, the 30 year-old Chee was dealt a cruel blow when he was caught between a motorised winch and a berthing rope during a routine check.
Naval Military Expert 2 Jason Chee being visited by Dr Ng Eng Hen after his accident
Photo sourced from asiaone.com
Despite the devastating loss of both legs, a master left arm and three right fingers, the Military Expert 2 ranked Chee never lost his most important asset. His fighting spirit and grit ensured that Chee was already aggressively training three times with the help of prosthetic fingers in just under a year.
Up and about is the way for Chee
Photos sourced from asiaone.com
Having rediscovered his adolescent love for table tennis, the former primary school paddler found the sport vital in his rehabilitation as “it helps (me) remove negative thinking, to be positive and have self-esteem”. Inspired by national players Feng Tianwei and Li Jiawei, Chee professes that sports has always been one of his major life goals.
...“it (table tennis) helps (me) remove negative thinking, to be positive and have self-esteem”...
With the help of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, the wheelchair-bound Chee managed to clinch two gold and a bronze in the 2013 National Disability League with just three months of training under his belt. Stressing the merits of a healthy lifestyle, it is clear that table tennis have given Chee not only a sense of purpose but ambition as well.
Chee, the golden boy at the 2013 National Disability League
Photos sourced from yahoo.com.sg and asiaone.com
Translating his patriotic pride from the blue of the uniform to the red and white of the national jersey, the former weapons systems supervisor made his Team Singapore debut at the recent 7th ASEAN Para-Games. Touted as the biggest regional sporting event for disabled athletes, Chee, alongside fellow paddler Darren Chua, secured a bronze in the Class 3 Table Tennis Team event in Myanmar.
Chee with the Team Singapore paddlers at the recent ASEAN Para Games
Photo sourced from teamsingapore.com.sg
With one eye on the 2016 Paralympic Games, Chee hopes to don the Singapore colours once more as he proclaims “Wearing the Singapore jersey means a lot to me. It’s my nation; I want to do my nation proud”. As such, he’s not content to stick to just one sport. Expanding his sporting repertoire, Chee is hoping to extend his success into the field of shooting. However, his dreams don’t just stop there.
Proud to be Team Singapore, Para-paddler Jason Chee
Photo sourced from yahoo.com.sg
Building on his prominent sporting achievements, Chee hopes to inspire and act as a role model to other disabled Singaporeans. Witnessing firsthand the invigorating effects that sports can provide, the big-hearted paddler wants to “encourage all disabled Singaporeans to be positive like him, and if they can, to take up sports too”. Touched by the generosity of Singaporeans during his mishap, Chee is an ambassador who blazes the sporting spirit and brings light to those trapped in the darkness of despair.
Despite dazzling with his sporting excellence, Chee remains a true blue Navy boy at heart. Vowing that he “will definitely go back to the Navy”, he will find take on the new challenge as a desk bound operation supervisor once he is fully recovered with full prosthetics. Though still in midst of the process of rehabilitation, the plucky Chee is not content to sit back. Determined to continue his education, Chee wants to resume his UniSIM studies and obtain a degree in mathematics. Going by his success so far, he will have little difficulties in doing so if he sticks to his life motto of “If I don’t give up, I will fulfil anything that I want”!
...“If I don’t give up, I will fulfil anything that I want”...