WBU-AP(Senior group) Fine Work
The Positive Experiences and Opportunities That Can Come from Being Blind
Fung Kai Tuen Hong Kong 52  Female

In the past, all I cared about was my work. I spent little time socialising with people. But after my vision declined, my horizons were somehow broadened. I am now starting to see from within my heart.

Outdoor adventures organised by the organisations for visually impaired persons trained me to overcome challenges. I learned to drive a speedboat, rode on waves out in the open sea, climbed walls, and even jumped down from a pier ''. One time I jumped from a high pole which was dozens of feet high - I was scared out of breath! I thought to myself, if I could conquer this, why can't I conquer my blindness?

I never could imagine that blindness would enrich my artistic life. I joined a drama group for the visually impaired and received professional training. I performed in theatres as a pregnant woman, a blind Braille teacher, an adorable primary one student ''. And in some abstract dramas, singing revolution songs as I massaged my "old dad". Relying on my sense of touch, using strings on the ground as a guide, I learned how to orientate myself on the stage.

Blindness has taught me to use my other senses more completely, and to use my heart to express and appreciate. I received several awards in singing competitions and became a "Disabled Artist". I performed a "one-person duet" in a Cantonese opera in my red and gold embroidered custome, where I had to sing both the high and low parts and use my hand gestures to enact the characters. Blindness helped me to overcome surrounding distractions to focus on my artistic skill.

I shared my life experiences of overcoming blindness in the media. I participated in the "Dreams Come True for the Disabled" essay competition organised by a radio company. And I was chosen to go on a trip with the crew of the radio company to Japan to meet the guide dog Martha, a Labrador with golden fur. She led me up and down stairs, across puddles, through streets and alleys during the Japanese trip. She could lead me away from obstructions that could hit the upper part of my body which the white cane could not.

Back in Hong Kong, the Director of the company invited me to be the narrator for the programme. I used my vocal techniques and received praises for the performance. The travel programme was uploaded onto the radio's website, played on TV and its DVD recordings. The radio company featured my life experiences and how I used assistive tools in my work. As a result of this programme, a new mall pioneering accessibility was the first one to allow pets in. I brought the first puppy guide dog into Hong Kong to do promotion for a few organisations. And I became a star! I was also involved in raising funds for under-privileged children living in the rural areas.

I enjoyed sharing my life stories with others when I practised running with volunteers guiding me. I was transformed from being a helpless visually impaired female to a semi-Marathon athlete, widening my horizons and gaining many precious friendships in the process.

I am grateful to my peers for bringing me on many excorsions. I ran and rolled on the desert in Xinjiang; breathed the fresh air as I strolled in Qinghai's wild flower fields ''. And one of the most memorable trips was a tandem bicycle ride up the Wu-Ling Mountain in Taiwan. As we were climbing the slope, my front partner was exhausted. I had to massage him from the backseat and gave him sugar and water. He recovered, and we continued climbing, slowly but steadily until we reached the top. Guess what, we were the first team to arrive at the 3,000-m peak.

Blindness helped me to feel the beauty of life from within my heart, and to live every moment to the fullest. This is my life - it shines!


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