BALAKONG, Nov 12 (Sin Chew Daily) — A bed-ridden teenager suffering from spinal muscular atrophy is seeking volunteers to help him move Chinese chess pieces so that he can represent Malaysia at international tournaments.
19-year-old Leong Yao Wen needs help to turn his head, move his legs and hands.
Leong was still able to sit on a chair to play computer games at the age of 11, but his condition began to deteriorate two years ago.
He has been a regular at hospital since young, and was at one point even sentenced to “death penalty” by a doctor.
A hospice nurse introduced Chinese chess to him when he was 14.
Since then, Leong has been falling in love with the game, and has made many friends through Chinese chess.
Leong needs assistance to play Chinese chess by moving the chess pieces on his behalf.
“Chinese chess is the only game I can play now. I love to think of strategies playing the game, and Chinese chess is so cool!” he said.
Leong also loves watching war movies and Chinese history series, where these two elements could be found in a Chinese chess game.
He aspires to take part in international tournaments so that he can represent Malaysia and make a living as a professional player.
Leong has participated in many Chinese chess competitions held in various parts of the country and has won numerous prizes.
His elder sister would move the chess pieces as per his instructions.
A personal assistant with the Malaysia Independent Living Association for Disabled (MILAD) used to play Chinese chess with him once a week, his only chance of practicing the game.
Not having a talking app to assist him, Leong relies on YouTube videos to practice Chinese chess “visually” when alone.
He will take part in a national tournament in Negeri Sembilan on November 20.
He needs a volunteer to help move the chess pieces during the tournament.
He can be reached on Facebook (Leong Yao Wen) or WeChat (yaowen_2002).