KUCHING, Sept 3, 2015:
For Loh Wei Siong, his world has always been dark. Pitch black, as he describes it, because he cannot see a thing.
But despite being born blind, the 25-year-old is not a person who will accept defeat and is certainly no quitter.
Last Friday, Loh became the first blind Sarawakian called to the Bar.
Welcoming him, Chief Justice of Sabah Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum described him as the best candidate.
“I was lost for words when he said so. I had prepared myself for my big day like how I always do in all the exams before this,” said Loh when met by The Rakyat Post.
The youngest among three siblings, Loh decided to read law after the Sijil Pelajaran Tinggi Malaysia examination and was offered a place at Universiti Malaya.
“My parents didn’t want me to be a lawyer. Instead, they wanted me to be a teacher. But I thought the law was something I would like to study further.
“Thankfully, my sisters understand my passion and helped me to convince my parents that I could do it.”
Four years later, against all odds, Loh graduated as a top student with CGPA of 4.0.
To be a lawyer, one needs to read a lot of text.
Loh could not see anything but he certainly could listen attentively, a skill he said helped him in his studies.
“I read Braille in primary school, but when I furthered my studies in secondary school, there were hardly enough textbooks. Sometimes, we got our textbooks a year later. When we were in Form 5, we went through the Form 4 textbooks then.
“In university, it was even worse — there were none. So I had to use the computer to read the text to me as I studied.”
Loh is currently working with Sarawak’s oldest and first legal firm, Reddi and Co. Before he landed the job, he was rejected by eight others.
Though they, too, were sceptical, his mentor, Reuben Yap, said other than his disability, Loh proved that he could be a thorough researcher when building up a case under Yap’s tutelage.
“His disability is also his strength. Unlike most of us, he is thorough in his work, which is a great asset for us when handling a case,” said Yap.
Though Loh has yet to have his own clients, he has done well in drafting sale and purchase agreements, tenancy agreements, preparation of conventional housing loan documents and also drafting letters of demands, among others.
Yap said that Loh had impressed them in the span of a year, although Yap admitted the firm was rather worried how he would be able to find his way around at first, although he has since overcome the obstacles.
“His outstanding education results were also one of the reasons for us to give him that chance. For someone like him to be a top achiever, we felt it was our social responsibility to provide him a platform to go further. And I personally believe he can go far in this line,” said Yap.
For many, “pushing the limits” may be an understatement, but for Loh, going that extra mile is his daily life. His next challenge will be to convince clients that this blind lawyer has more to offer than what meets the eye.