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Blind boy leads book borrowers in Kaohsiung

2020-03-24Taipei Times  English News
Wu Ching-yu, right, accompanied by his father, reads a book at the Kaohsiung Main Public Library on Friday. / Photo courtesy of Taipei Times
Wu Ching-yu, right, accompanied by his father, reads a book at the Kaohsiung Main Public Library on Friday. / Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

An 11-year-old blind boy has received a “Love Reading Expert” award from the Kaohsiung Main Public Library for reading 161 books last year.

Wu Ching-yu did not let visual loss stop him learning, the library said.

Wu lost his vision due to retinal detachment at birth and had to spend his first two years in hospital. He attends a regular elementary school and is progressing well with the help of his mother, Chiang Hui-chun, who quit her job to accompany him in class, and after-school tutoring by a special education teacher for visually impaired people.

Wu started learning Braille in the first grade and regularly visits the Kaohsiung library, which has dedicated areas for reading and borrowing services for visually impaired people on the fourth floor, Chiang said on Thursday last week.

Every day after class, Wu would read Braille books from the library, borrowing a total of 161 last year, earning him a reading award, she said.

The Love Reading Expert award, which was established by the Ministry of Education, encourages reading and honors 24 winners every year. Participating entities include the National Central Library and all other public libraries across the nation.

Besides reading, Wu also plays the piano, sings in the school choir and loves trains, said his father, Wu Ying-yu, adding that he likes to visit the High Speed Rail’s (HSR) Zuoying Station and can listen to broadcasts of train departures and arrivals for hours.

When visiting his grandmother in Taipei during summer or winter vacation, he would insist on taking the HSR so he could listen to and mimic the names of the stations being broadcast in Mandarin, Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), Hakka and English, Wu Ying-yu said, adding that he has memorized all station names and can do wonderful impressions.

After reading The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, Wu Ching-yu aspires to be a talented person like the author once he grows up, Wu Ying-yu said, adding that his dream job is to become a train master for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.

Kaohsiung Main Public Library director Pan Cheng-yi said that the main library and the Sinsing branch have more than 15,000 Braille books and audio books, and the library has a network of shared resources with other libraries, providing ample reading materials for visually impaired people.