Since being diagnosed with peroneal muscular atrophy at age 15, corporate lawyer and newly appointed Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong’s nervous and muscular disorder has degenerated, causing her to rely on a wheelchair and other forms of support. Despite her disabilities, her family was adamant that she receive the education she wanted and deserved. Yong Yong has gone on to become an accomplished attorney and a passionate advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Yong Yong is a partner at Yusarn Audrey, a legal practice specialising in Intellectual Property. In addition, since 2008, she has been president of the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD). Her initiatives included setting up an Information Accessibility Center, which offers IT training to help people with disabilities access more and better employment opportunities.
As part of the committee overseeing Our Singapore Conversation (a Singapore government initiative seeking feedback on building the country), she has sought inclusiveness for people with disabilities, and is currently advocating for schools, workplaces and the society at large to be more inclusive. In 2012, she was invited to South Korea where she participated in the Incheon International Conference on Disability, one of the world’s major events for people with disabilities.
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In recognition of her voluntary contributions, she was awarded the President’s Social Service Award (Individual Category) in 2011 and the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarak) during the National Day Awards 2013.