It all began three years ago when he was approached by the president of the table tennis association for the disabled, who asked whether he could help out occasionally as a sparring partner. Low, who is a sports enthusiast, agreed. “And then they considered taking me on as the trainer because I put in a good game,” he explains.
This is a slight understatement. For one thing, Low started playing table tennis at the age of seven and did extremely well in competitions. A further factor is that to be a good trainer, you require social and organizational skills: the patience to pick up the ball dropped by a player in a wheel chair for the hundredth time, not to mention detailed travel arrangements when there are competitions – such as the availability of toilet facilities for the disabled. “The logistics is often a nightmare,” Low says, speaking from experience. On considering what the world might be like in a hundred years' time, the manager wishes for more innovations to make life easier for those with disabilities.
In the meantime, his wife Sandy and his two sons Austin and Triston (aged 16 and 17 respectively) help out with the training, too. The volunteer work has become a family affair which brings pedagogical advantages with it: “Our sons now interact with disabled people completely naturally and without any inhibitions,” explains Low. “At the same time they learn how privileged they are to have all their faculties functioning normally.” He has also improved his own “soft skills,” which has been beneficial to him in his leadership position at work. A native of Singapore, he joined Siltronic as section manager in 2007. In a joint venture with Samsung, Siltronic produces silicon wafers in Singapore.
Low's team currently numbers 91 employees. Many of the staff play table tennis and they even play against each other in competitions. Low would like to organize a match between his co-workers and his Paralympic team. He feels this fits in well with the company. After all, “Here everyone who performs well receives recognition.” It has to be said: Siltronic staff will face stiff competition because the Paralympic team under Low's leadership train like professionals, and they are just as ambitious as their non-handicapped sporting counterparts.