Michelle Siu Hoi-Yan

2017 Scholar

Michelle Siu Hoi-Yan

2017 Scholar

Michelle studies full-time in the Department of Music at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and is among the first JC scholars with special educational needs. Despite her young age, she is already an experienced performer and has won multiple awards. She brought her beautiful voice to Toronto in 2014 and Tsinghua University in 2017.

Michelle was diagnosed with eye cancer shortly after birth and had her eyeballs surgically removed at just three months old. However, she did not let her condition hold her back. With an angelic voice and exceptional musical talent, she began her journey to becoming a professional artist by gaining performance diplomas for piano and vocal music. Her talent and hard work was recognised with numerous awards. Most notably, she won the Hong Kong preliminary round of China’s Got Talent in 2011. At the same time, her passion for charitable work has earned her the prestigious Hong Kong Humanity Youth Power Award from the Hong Kong Red Cross in 2017.

“I visited people with visual impairment on a volunteering trip in Bangladesh. The education level there is generally low, and many people have become blind because they missed the best treatment opportunity. One day, I visited a four-year-old boy with cataracts. I could feel that he was scared and on the brink of tears, so I held his hand and asked the interpreter to tell him, ’Don’t worry. I am visually impaired, too. As long as you work hard, you can still take ownership of your life and realise your dreams.”

“I rely on my ears to learn. When I became stressed from homework and exams, I used to complain about my slow pace of getting things done. One such instance was when I prepared for the vocal music diploma examination. The songs in the syllabus were in seven languages. Because I could not read the sheet music, I had to listen to the songs repeatedly and drill myself on the pronunciation of the lyrics in each language. It took me months to grasp them fully. Later, I came to realise that being able to study hard was a blessing. Many people do not even have access to education. I’m actually very lucky — I can go to school and can afford to dream.”

“I am as passionate about charity work as I am about music. Even though I cannot see, I can still bring light to people’s lives. My goal is to create a supportive network of music teachers for the visually impaired, so everyone can experience the joy of music.”