updated 7 Aug 2013, 11:32
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Sun, Aug 04, 2013
The New Paper
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All aiming to be beauty queens
by Jocelyn Lee

She lost hearing at the age of four


She is 80 per cent deaf in both ears, but that did not stop make-up artist Chui Yee Shia from joining the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant 2013.

The 25-year-old lost her hearing and the ability to talk at the age of four after she had a high fever.

Her parents noticed that something was wrong when she would not respond to them but instead stared at them blankly when they asked her questions.

They hired a speech therapist to help her learn to speak again. Now, Miss Chui can talk and string together proper sentences, even though her articulation and pronunciation is not clear.

She also can hear properly with a small hearing aid in her ear that is not easily visible.

Miss Chui told The New Paper: "I joined this beauty pageant as I want to raise awareness about deaf people in Singapore. I feel that many people look down on the deaf and think that they aren't capable of anything.

"I want people to know that the deaf can also do their jobs well... and I hope to encourage employers to set up more training courses for their deaf employees."

Into its 25th year now, the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant gives out five main titles - Miss Singapore Tourism Queen International, Miss Singapore Global Beauty Queen, Miss Singapore All Nations, Miss Singapore Friendship International and Singapore International Model Of The Year. The finals will be held on Aug 31.

Bullied in secondary school

Life has not been easy for Miss Chui, who was bullied in secondary school because of her hearing disability.

She attended the Canossian School For The Hearing Impaired (now renamed Canossian School) for her primary education before going to St. Anthony's Canossian Secondary School.

"My classmates... despised me and told me that I was stupid and useless and that I would not do well in my studies. They told me I would not be able to do anything that normal people can do because I was deaf," she said.

"I felt very hurt and inferior, and I would often cry and complain to my mum and ask her 'Why do I have to be deaf?' My secondary school years were a period of time that I want to forget and not ever go through again."

Miss Chui, who went on to earn a diploma in Professional Make-up Artistry from Cosmoprof International Academy, got her first and current full-time job through a friend's referral. Before that, she was a freelance model.

For her, working life is more enjoyable as people around her are more accommodating. She said: "I got my job as a make-up artist easily as all I had to do was to demonstrate my make-up and hairstyling skills and I managed to secure the job after 15 minutes."

Being able to get into the finals of Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant has been a huge encouragement for her, but she admitted she faced many challenges while preparing for the pageant.

She was unable to catch up with the rest of the contestants when they were rehearsing their dance steps for a flash mob performance on Orchard Road in early July,, and had to be at the rehearsal venue three hours beforehand to practise.

Even though the exposure in the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant could potentially be a double-edged sword and set her up for more mockery, she's not anxious.

She said: "I am not worried as I am used to negative remarks. If there are any, I will ignore them and pretend nothing happened."


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