Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wonder kid writes for a cause

“Wonder kid writes for a cause”
Sun. Star Davao, Feb. 18, 2012

At thirteen year of age, Scott Lee Chua is such an admirable model kid.

A Grade Seven student at Xavier School in Greenhills (Manila), Scott is a consistent first honor student who loves a cornucopia of subjects from math, science, literature, arts, history, music, travel and even magic.

Like his multi-hyphenated mom, Dr. Queena Lee-Chua who is an award-winning author, Phil. Daily Inquirer columnist, psychologist, and Ateneo de Manila Ph.D. professor, Scott is fascinated with complicated mathematical concepts and has the extraordinary ability to explain them in simpler and more understandable terms.

Because of this amazing gift, Scott has been invited to do Math Magic shows and Math Singapore model approach lectures for students, parents and teachers and has represented his school in national and international math competitions, reaping various awards and medals.

Not only does Scott adore numbers, he is a voracious reader and gifted writer as well whose latest achievement is being one of the two youngest winners in the history of the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Junior adventurer

Scott’s passion for writing started when he was in Prep. The professed Dr. Seuss fan would creatively draw and write his own superhero comic books, which his proud parents would print and give to close friends and relatives as personalized Christmas gifts. By Grade 1, his poem, “Freedom”, was published in the “Junior Inquirer”. His travel articles have also appeared in the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” and “Working Mom” magazine.

His innate writing ability did not go unnoticed by Karina Bolasco, the head of Anvil Publishing. In 2006, Karina asked Scott to do children’s books after seeing his travel diaries. He was invited repeatedly to write for the respected publishing house in 2007 and 2008.

But, it was only in 2009, at the time that his grandfather, Dr. William Lee, passed away, that Scott decided to accept the offer. In 2010, he launched his children’s travels books, “Top Ten Travels in Tokyo; Kuala Lumpur; and New Zealand” in honor of his beloved grandfather.

In his book, he writes, “I started traveling when I was six years old, and I have not stopped since. Mom and Dad love to visit spots and learn about other cultures, and I have inherited this from them”.

However, Scott and his parents do not travel the way other people do. They refrain from joining package tours unless necessary, because they dislike hurrying through wonderful places.

“We want to set our own pace, and linger in spots that we love. We also don’t like to shop, because we prefer to eat new foods, learn new skills, and try out new activities. These are what make travels memorable”, Scott enthuses.

Top Ten Pinoy Travels

“My travel books on Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and New Zealand inspired many kids to visit these thrilling destinations”, the young writer shares.

Despite his foreign travels, Scott heartily shares that he believes that the Philippines is still one of the most beautiful countries with numerous sites waiting for him to tell the whole world. So, for his next writing project, he decided to focus on travels in his homeland. Thus, the “Top Ten Pinoy Travels” featuring Davao, Cebu and Manila was launched in September 2011.

Scott and his supportive parents have a special and soft spot for Davao. Dr. Queena’s best friend since grade school, Julie Tiu (who also happens to be Scott’s godmother) married a Dabawenyo and is currently based here.

With the same enjoyable format as his previous travel series, Scott’s new set of books is perfect for junior adventurers. The amusing and easy-to-read descriptions (both in English and Filipino) highlight the author’s recommended must-see local places. It is also colorfully presented with playful illustrations by graphic artist Rommel “Omeng” Estanislao. Oftentimes, Scott is portrayed in the artwork with his signature blue umbrella.

Writing for a cause

During Scott’s talk and book signing with mom, Dr. Queena, recently at the National Book Store Abreeza, he discussed the topic, “How I Wrote a Book: If I Could Do It, So Could You!”. His mom, on the other hand, engaged the audience with her extensive knowledge on “How to Raise Star Students”.

The day before, Scott was also invited by the Davao Christian High School (DCHS) to give a talk on “Writing for Life” to selected students.

He encouraged the DCHS students to keep on reading. “Read lots of books of all sorts, especially award-winning books. They are only boring if you don’t understand them”, the only child explains.

In the same manner, Scott advises budding writers to “write as much as you can”. He reminds them not to be afraid to be cold as ice towards their story. Learn how to “edit, edit, edit!”.

Scott emphasizes that the youth has a powerful voice; and that they can effectively express themselves by being “entertaining, humorous and witty”. This was how he wrote his piece, “Of Pixels and Power”, which won 2nd place in the Kabataan Essay Division of the Palanca Awards.

This early, Scott utilizes his voice for a worthy purpose opting to donate both his P5,000 Palanca prize money and proceeds of his published books to the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Technical and Vocational High School. It is a Manila-based school for disadvantaged youth which Xavier School adopted two years ago. His generous donation will help the needy students to purchase food, supplies and other necessities.

A wonder kid with a big heart, Scott indeed lives by his favorite line from the Spiderman movie, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

E-mail the author at Visit

(Photo of Scott in Grade 1 courtesy of Xavier School's website)

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