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Economics Whiz, Chinese Classics Enthusiast, Researcher

Name
Ong Peng Kai
Age
24
Disability
Cerebral Palsy
There’s more to Peng Kai than meets the eye. Because he uses a rollator, or rolling walker, people tend to be surprised when they get to know him better. He might have difficulty manoeuvring steps and kerbs, but he outpaces others when he is crunching data.

Peng Kai graduated from Nanyang Technological University, majoring in Mathematics and Economics. His passion is for quantitative economics. Numbers, he says, appeal to him more than writing essays.

His interest in economics made for an easy transition to his current work, where he conducts research in the social service sector. Finding out “good, insightful answers to benefit others” motivates him and he finds the work he does meaningful. He has a great appetite for learning and dives enthusiastically into any new task.

For all his practical bent, Peng Kai has many hobbies and interests. One of the highlights of starting work for him was buying his very first gaming computer with his first pay cheque. He loves Chinese classic literature, manga and anime, particularly One Piece, which he’s been loyally following for the past 17 years. All these keep his weekends full, but you would never hear him say no to trying out new things to do.

Peng Kai shares many of these interests with his colleagues-turned-close-friends. They’re often seen walking together in animated, chirpy conversation. They go out for lunch together every day without fail, and keep a running tally of the hawker food stalls they have tried.

Some people feel awkward around Peng Kai. When he was younger, he used to be affected by children pointing at him, followed by their parents’ immediate, hushed responses. Peng Kai now tries to take a more philosophical approach to life. He prefers that parents talk to their children openly and naturally about persons with disabilities.

Today, he doesn’t feel different from the people around him – something he attributes to his parents who never treated him differently from his sisters and taught him to be independent.

“I just try my best in everything,” Peng Kai says. His plans for the future include moving up in his career and settling down.

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