PERSATUAN PERKHIDMATAN KOMUNITI TAIPING (known as ESDA)

Life Story of Founding Director

Whenever I prepare my story, I look back at my life and am filled with gratitude. I am thankful and grateful to God. He has been with me since the beginning and until now, I am still awed by His mercy and Grace. Today, I am happily married to my wife, Gin Choo and am blessed with 3 beautiful children, Andrea, Sean and Audrey. I am humbled that He chose to bless my life and even until now, God still is writing my story. Within those beautiful and happy moments, there are hard and difficult times. One does not have a life like a bed of roses. However, I will stand faithful to God towards the end and trust in Him wherever I am. I have been working in Penang and now doing full time work here in Taiping. Who knows where God will put me next? I can only pray and ask for guidance as I take my next step with Him.

Stephen Chow with his family during 2014 Chinese New Year
Family photo with mum at Alor Setar during 2014 CNY

I suffer from moderate Cerebral Palsy (brain damaged). I only started walking when I was only 4 years old. At the age of 7, I still have difficulty in reading and pronouncing words. Up till my teenage years, I could not speak clearly and have problems walking steadily. All this took a toll and I felt my life was meaningless.

Stephen Chow when was a child
Stephen when young
Stephen Chow with was young walking with tripods
Stephen with tripods

So I enrolled in a normal high school. During one of the functions held, I met a group of Boys' Brigade (BB). BB is a uniform activity for young active boys. Also they were mostly for the non-disabled. I had a desire to join this despite my mother's discouraging words. One day, I decided to join this uniform unit. I expected to be turn down but to my surprise the teachers of Boys' Brigade allowed me to join! From there on my life has changed. Transcending from a negative mentality of being unable to do anything to able to accomplish anything, I strived for the best and excelled in the Boys' Brigade. I got physically stronger, improved my speech and started to awaken the tremendous potential in me. It was blood, sweat and tears but I was able to survive and be victorious. I graduated Form 5 despite my disability. The BB motto has been my motto in my everyday life. Whether with my family and friends or in the work I do, I will live by this sure saying, which is 'Sure and Steadfast'.

  • Sure = (steady and confident) To be able to make clear decisions in my life and determine our future.
  • Steadfast = Persevere through all obstacles.

Life is like the waves in an ocean. It is always filled with challenges. There are times you are up on the mountain but there are times you are down in the valley. It is true that people still look down upon me for my disabilities and not being highly educated. At times, the struggles are so great that I would breakdown and cry. However, I will not give up. For what I learnt in BB is to be tough like an anchor hook in under the sea which cannot be moved. That is the BB emblem I live by every day.

Stephen Chow during Boys' Brigade
Stephen as Boys' Brigade

God is so gracious to me that even at one point in time, there was an open door for me to go to Japan for social work training for one year. I took this opportunity as it would enable me to unleash my potential and train myself further. I took this chance as I believed in doing social works. It is a professional career where we touch people's lives and uplift others. As the program was for more qualified and more capable people, I felt inferior. I was the only man from Malaysia, who is a non-graduate and a disable. My other course mates were Master degree holders from different countries and backgrounds. Life in Japan was very tough. I needed to study Japanese for 3 months before I went for field training. The syllabus was all in Japanese. All those homework and reports and exams were all in Japanese. I failed 2 times exams and almost went back to Malaysia after 3 months in Japan. However, I persevered and am thankful to God for being there with me.