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October 27, 2003

Taiwanese supermodel doesn't let disability hold her back

From: Channel News Asia, Singapore - Oct 27, 2003

By Channel NewsAsia Taiwan Bureau Chief Young Ming

TAIPEI, Taiwan: One of Taiwan's top fashion models is also a popular television news anchor and a best-selling author.

Wang Hsiao-shu or Sue Wang, doesn't let her disability stop her from fulfilling her dreams.

At 33, Sue has almost everything a woman could ever aspire to be - good looks, great job, wonderful personality and friends and family who love her.

But she is deaf.

However, the fascinating thing is that she's everything but a "quiet" person.

By lip-reading, Sue can interpret what others are saying and talk back.

Her aunt, Chu Lan-hui, said: "We're the guilty ones for her endless talking. We used to force her to talk. We made her make it a habit to talk. We never used sign language, we ask her to talk slowly, but to keep talking. That's why she's so talkative."

When she was about three years old, Sue's mother was wondering why her daughter did not start to speak.

A doctor then revealed that Sue had only about 20 percent hearing ability.

Doctors suspected that this may have been caused by a careless pediatrician who may have given Sue an over-dose of antibiotics to treat her flu, when she was two years old.

Success did not come easy for Sue.

When she first entered the modelling world, she was nicknamed "the queen of screen tests" because Sue auditioned for almost every available opportunity.

And there were certain aspects of the job that needed an aspiring model to have a sharp sense of hearing from time to time.

But Sue was not one to give up easily.

"For instance, when I walked on the stage, I couldn't hear the rhythm and the beat of the music being played. So, how can I overcome this? Fortunately, most stage platforms are made of wood, so I can feel the vibrations on the wood. So, when I'm working, I always have to pay more attention and work harder than others," she said.

Two years ago, Public Television Service invited her to host a programme specially produced for the deaf and mute, called "Listening Eye".

The programme was designed to provide all kinds of information to the deaf.

Many people enjoy watching her presentations on TV and her glamorous look in a fashion show.

Sue felt that being deaf is like a God's gift to her. If she had been a normal person, she would definitely not have all the fame and achievements. She would be just an ordinary girl with a very plain life. - CNA

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