Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 16th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Hsu Yu-Wei, Taiwan—Performer with Multiple Disabilities
 [“Soaring Slowly” in the World of Music]

Try it again, again, and again. And one day you will let your music of life be heard.
I am a child with Down syndrome. Although I can’t talk fluently, I can share my feelings with you by playing the ocarina and the keyboard.
—Hsu Yu-Wei

Hsu Yu-Wei, a renowned performer with multiple disabilities, was a graduate from Taichung Special Education School (TSES). He was diagnosed with Down syndrome along with moderate mental retardation, visual and language disabilities one month after he was born, which made it difficult for him to learn. He had a hard time learning to play the piano and the ocarina due to his short fingers and bad eyesight. But after trying again and again, Hsu finally became adept at the skills, and music became the media that Hsu used to communicate with people. He was awarded the President Education Award, Taichung Outstanding Youth Award, TSES Principal Award, and third place of the 3rd National Talent Competition for the Disabled. He was also the first disabled person to get the street performer licenses for 4 cities in Taiwan. He took part in many charity performances, rewarding the society with his beautiful music. He is an outstanding musician.

An Angel Not Belonging to This World
Hsu Yu-Wei was born in Taichung on Jul 3, 1992. He only weighed 2,250 grams when he was born, and was diagnosed with Down syndrome, moderate mental retardation, visual and language disabilities a month later. 
As Hsu grew up, the symptoms became more and more prominent. He kept falling off when he walked. He had a bad vision and could not read, and his mental age stopped growing at 2 to 3. For Yu-Wei to learn like other children, his parents insisted that he go to school. But he seemed to be disconnected from everything in his life. Yu-Wei was a kind and hard-working boy and always listened to his teachers, but his innate disabilities made him stumble constantly on the road of learning. 

A Turning Point—“Meeting” the Ocarina

It was a day on which the miracle appeared. Hsu’s parents took him to the ocarina class set up by the Down Syndrome Foundation. Before that, they have taken him to attend many talent classes, including music, swimming, computer, rollerblade, taekwondo, but Yu-Wei never caught up with his classmates. His parents were very disappointed. However, when Yu-Wei played the ocarina for the first time, he showed much interest. His parents have never seen him doing something with such great concentration. Then they knew that the ocarina would accompany Yu-Wei throughout his life.
But for Hsu Yu-Wei, there were still many difficulties he needed to overcome. He could not read the sheet music, so he had to listen to his father playing first and then try to play the same melody. After practicing for countless times, Yu-Wei improved a lot and could complete a whole song. His mouth also stopped watering without control. After learning to play the ocarina, Hsu seemed to awaken from the nightmare of his disabilities. Hsu’s father said, “He learned so fast that I can’t even catch up with him. Now I can only be an audience and applaud him.”

Transcend Obstacles, Soaring High

As Yu-Wei performed better and better, his parents began to look for some performing opportunities for him, and encouraged him to take part in competitions. He was recognized with his performance by the judges and was awarded third place in the 3rd National Talent Competition for the Disabled, third place in the 2nd Performers for Charity Contest, and first place in the 3rd Performers for Charity Contest. Hsu’s outstanding performance attracted the attention of international performing groups, and he was invited to perform abroad for many times.
After mastering the ocarina, Hsu began to try other musical instruments. He learned to play the keyboard really well in a very short time. Hsu’s music talent made his parents more than happy. In September, 2011, they encouraged their son to attend the street performer examination held by the Taichung City Government. Hsu’s wonderful performance wowed the judges. After getting the street performer license for Taichung City, Hsu continued to get the street performer licenses for Nantou County, Chiayi City, and Tainan City, becoming the first disabled person to get the street performer licenses for 4 cities in Taiwan.
After getting the street performer licenses, Hsu Yu-Wei came to like performing outdoors. Although he had to stand there performing for more than two hours, he never felt tired. The applause of the audience was the motivation for Hsu to perform. Although he couldn’t speak fluently, he thanked all the audience with more exhilarating performance. “Although I can’t talk fluently, I can share my feelings with you by playing the ocarina and the keyboard.” If you happened to see Yu-Wei’s performance on the street, enjoy his music and give him the warmest applause!

Devoting Himself to Charity

Hsu Yu-Wei’s story has encouraged many parents having children with Down syndrome. Hsu’s parents often share their experience with other parents, with pride and gratitude. Yu-Wei then acts as the teaching assistant of the ocarina, sharing his own skills and helping them to learn faster. 
In order to promote the ideas of “all things in their being are good for something,” and “I made it, so you can make it,” Hsu has been to numerous schools and charity institutes to perform. His performance has touched countless people’s heart. In the future, Hsu hopes to perform in more places in Taiwan and share his love for music with everyone. He also wants to encourage the disabled to challenge their limitations and to make the most out of themselves.
Hsu says that he is grateful for his parents, who accompany him through all the difficulties. Now, Hsu still practices every day for fear that he lose his skills. Because of his disabilities, he forgets things easily. However, this makes him realize the importance of practice more than anyone does. With persistence and perseverance, Hsu Yu-Wei opens up his own world. He proves the potential of children with Down syndrome and multiple disabilities. With love and passion, every disabled child can let their music of life be heard.