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Unsettling muscle twitches , odd sounds emitted from his throat, and being recalcitrant ‘naughty’ boy --- these are just several accusations that Josiah Ong, a 24-year-old man with Tourette’s Syndrome had to endure since he was a boy.
Despite the overwhelming challenges posed by his disorder, the man managed to score a Asia Pacific Breweries Foundations Scholarship to the National University of Singapore (NUS), reports Lianhe Wanbao via Lianhe Zaobao.
Now a third-year business administration student in NUS, he shared with reporters the frequent odd looks from classmates and strangers alike.
Once, his neighbour even asked his mother to ‘slap him hard to rid him of his bad habits’.
Josiah recalled that while he was in secondary school, there was once he was in the library studying, when a student imitated his twitching and openly laughed at him.
He confessed that the incident had shattered what self-esteem he had, and he did not have any friends he could turn to either.
It was only when he was 14 years old that his mother came to know about Tourette’s Syndrome, and brought her son to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for an examination, where doctors confirmed that Josiah was suffering from the disorder.
From that day on, he realised that none of the odd symptoms were his fault.
After being on medication, his twitching reduced by 80% to 90%, and he started to actively participate in school activities, even coming in second in a school singing competition.
Josiah said: "We cannot decide how we were born, but we can decide how to face the problems we face.
"The most important thing is to accept and believe in yourself. That way, you can find your own way to solve the problems."