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    Jan 08, 2014

    He lost his legs but will play for S'pore

    HE IS up and about, even before he has properly learnt how to walk again.

    Mr Jason Chee, the navy serviceman who lost both legs, his left arm and three fingers on his right hand after a ship accident in December 2012, will represent Singapore at a regional sports event.

    Using prosthetic fingers, the 30-year-old has been playing table tennis since June last year, with the help of the Singapore Disability Sports Council.

    And, come Saturday, he will don national colours in Myanmar at the 7th Asean Para Games, an event held every two years for athletes with disabilities.

    Mr Chee told MyPaper: "I was very shocked and surprised. I took up table tennis as a form of rehabilitation and to remove negative thoughts. I didn't know I could represent Singapore. I've always been sporty. With my condition, I face challenges...but table tennis is easier for me because I've been playing since I was five."

    His coach, Mr Chia Chong Boon, 62, added: "Jason has very good ball sense, and he's very positive."

    It has not been an easy year for Mr Chee, who holds the rank of Military Expert 2 in the Republic of Singapore Navy. He was caught between a motorised winch and a berthing rope while doing a routine check on board a warship, and was fighting for his life.

    Asked how he coped after the accident, he said simply: "Just move on."

    He added: "Once I'm negative, I will think foolish things. What for? Being positive is very important so that you can do more things and achieve your goals."

    He is even motivating others around him. He spends his weekdays at the Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital and, besides relearning how to walk on prosthetic legs, he goes around the hospital to talk to other patients.

    "I encourage them to take up sports. Some of them have negative thoughts, and I want them to be positive like me."

    He trains playing table tennis in a wheelchair thrice a week and, in his free time, he cooks.

    "Cooking takes much longer than before...but I'm a patient guy. I take about three hours now to prepare chicken rice, compared to less than one hour before. It's quite challenging. I love cooking because of my mum. She was a chef," he said.

    Mr Chee's mother died from kidney failure in November 2011. "I miss my mum a lot, she's very important to me," he said. "I talk to her in my dreams, (tell her) how I'm going through my life."

    And because of her, he will be going back to SIM University at the end of this month to continue his studies to get a degree in mathematics. "(My) getting a degree is my mum's dream, I don't want to make her upset."

    But his biggest aim is something even his mother never dreamt of - the Paralympic Games in Brazil two years down the road.

    "If I don't give up, I will fulfil anything that I want," he said.