Read the passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.

 

HEROES AMIDST US

 

Wardati Mohamad was on the shore of Chenderoh Lake when she heard children shouting for help. The passenger boat the schoolchildren had been on had overturned. Wardati did not know how to swim! Thinking quickly, she rowed a small boat out and managed to rescue seven drowning youngsters. When asked, she could not figure out how she had done that. This brave act landed the 17-year-old in the first Heroes for Today column in the Reader's Digest ten years ago. Knowing that she could deal with an emergency has changed her from a shy, reclusive girl to a confident young woman. She now works for the local council in Lengong, Perak, handling public complaints. The incident forced the schools in the area to conduct swimming and life-saving courses for schoolchildren who commute by boat. The government has also now provided safer boats, one of which is named after Wardati.

 

Since its launch as a quarterly column in May 1994, Heroes for Today (later renamed Everyday Heroes) has highlighted the selfless and inspiring deeds of more than 120 people. These people have been an eclectic mix young and old, male and female from across the region and around the world. The common theme of their stories is that they are all ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. People featured in the column have been inspiring because of their reaction to a difficult situation on the spur of the moment, or because they have helped the needy or stood up for the defenceless. Some saw a problem and figured out how to solve it; others simply had a "never say die" outlook on life.

 

One such hero with a "never say die" attitude is Roselle Ambubuyog of Manila, who was featured in the August 1999 issue. She became blind at the age of six due to an optical nerve disorder. Despite her disability, she developed a positive and determined outlook on life nothing was too hard for her even though she lived in poverty for most of her childhood and adolescent years. In spite of many obstacles, she did very well at school and went on to study mathematics at Ateneo de Manila University.

 

Roselle graduated from university with honours and was the top student in her class. Although there were numerous job offers from companies after she was featured in the Reader's Digest, she did not accept them and decided to continue her studies. She now has a Masters degree in Actuarial Science from the University of the Philippines. She works as a consultant for an American manufacturer of products for the visually-impaired and the disabled. In her spare time, Roselle gives talks to companies and organizations, encouraging people to focus on life's opportunities rather than its obstacles. All the donations that she receives go to Project Roselle, which provides computers to schools for visually-impaired students.

 

Roselle is the first to admit that being labelled a hero does have its downside. She is often recognized by people who approach her and want to talk to her. "It can be tiresome sometimes, but I tell myself that the person wants to talk to me because he might be having a problem." She feels that speaking to others about her experience will give them the courage to face their own difficulties.

 

 

Adapted from Reader's Digest, May 2004