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Thursday May 16, 2013

From despair to cloud nine

GEorge town: Five years ago, business manager Lawrence Cheah Guan Keong and his wife were devastated when their son Delwin Cheah Wien Loong was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“We did not know what to do. He was only five years old then. We were looking for some consultants from hospitals who could help us but it was tough,” Guan Keong said.

He was speaking during a press conference held by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the latter’s office in Komtar yesterday.

Guan Keong and wife Erina Law Mei Sun, both 38, are now bursting with pride over Wien Loong’s achievement as the youngest artist to hold a solo art exhibition.

His feat was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records last month.

Early this year, Wien Loong held a solo visual art exhibition at the Living Essenze Gallery in Burma Road which showcased more than 70 pieces of his artwork in black and white.

His talent has been recognised by the internationally renowned organisation Stroke of Genius in New York which has only about 30 savant members worldwide.

Guan Keong said Wien Loong started drawing on paper at the age of three.

“He draws with a pen and he never makes any mistakes in his strokes. He doesn’t use any pencils or erasers.

“He loves to draw animals, jungle scenes, cowboys, cartoon characters and super heroes,” he said.

Guan Keong said one person whom he had to thank for bringing out the best in Wien Loong was Penang Art Society president Ch’ng Huck Theng.

“When we showed Wien Loong’s drawings to Ch’ng two years ago, he (Ch’ng) thought they were done by a teenager.

“He was shocked to learn that the drawings actually came from an eight-year-old boy,” he said.

Guan Keong said Ch’ng gave Wien Loong a needed break by acting as a sponsor for his first solo exhibition.

Guan Keong hoped that his son’s ability would create an awareness for parents to accept their autistic children and help them develop and grow up in a normal environment.

“If we really put our heart into this and give them the proper training, they will become somebody.

“I always believe that God is fair. If he takes something from you, he will definitely give you something extra,” he said.

Lim said he was moved by Wien Loong’s extraordinary ability and hoped that the boy could develop further. He was presented with an art piece by Wien Loong.