In organizing the Good Reads for Good Deeds charity campaign, Juven had the honor of sitting down with different individuals involved with NGOs and charities. We want to feature their stories here. Juven hopes that through this campaign, we can build a new model of engagement between charities, organizations and the public.
Translated from Chinese — Original below
Learning About the World and Pursuing Dreams Through Touch
There is a unique common culture within each community. Take a group of football fans, they would pay attention to different news regarding the latest player transfers, or those private feuds and friendships between players in a team — football fans have a unique language of their own.
Whether you like Korean television dramas, reading, movies, all kinds of music, any group has its unique culture and special characteristics.
Do the differences that arise from uniqueness create barriers? Or do we recognize and celebrate the goodness that it brings? This is a choice of values.
Thus, when you belong to the community of people who cannot see the world, how do you explore the world that you see?
Chong Chan Yau, who lost his sight at 6 years of age, learned to read using braille, as invented and perfected by the blind Frenchman Louis Braille 200 years ago, since his childhood.
“Learning braille wasn’t difficult. I started when I was little. Braille became my key for understanding the world. Through touch, it allowed me to read novels, to live in historical moments. Through touch I could empathize through the autobiographies of people of renown, understand complex mathematics — through touch, I imagined the shape and geography of China, its mountains and rivers, and I rounded the cape with the Portuguese,” said Chong.
Braille is a kind of culture, and learning is a kind of understanding.
Parents, schools, the media and the government all advocate the importance of tolerance, but humans naturally gravitate towards those like themselves, whether on the basis of ethnicity, language, nationality or differences — birds of a feather flock together.
Mr. Chong understands that the world will not adopt an attitude of acceptance for all differences. But it is possible to reduce hostilities, and adopt the correct attitude in critiquing those who do not accept differences.
And Mr. Chong has had the same dream since childhood — to change people’s negative perceptions around blindness.
The Courage to Pursue Your Dream
Mr. Chong loves to read. He introduced an Amazon bestseller to us, My Path Leads to Tibet. It was authored by Sabruye Tenberken, a blind woman from Germany. In the book, she shares her experience of travelling to Tibet to teach English and going on to invent Tibetan braille.
自11歲失明的Sabriye，中學時為了完成”我的夢想”的功課，隨意寫了一個具異國情調的夢想 — 到西藏教英文。
Sabriye lost her sight when she was 11. In secondary school, in order to complete an assignment on the topic “my dreams”, she had casually written an essay about her dream, which was full of exoticism — to teach English in Tibet.
If she was to achieve her dream, she would have to break through the barriers of language and vision. So her teacher asked her, “what action will you take to achieve the dream?” And told her to write down the action she would take. Forced to become serious, Sabriye told her teacher that the first step was to learn Tibetan language.
At the University of Bonn, she took her first step in realizing her dream. Afterwards, she went to Tibet to teach English to the locals. Then she surpassed her dreams by inventing Tibetan braille; and she wrote it all down in her memoirs.
“Oftentimes, people just talk about their dreams and that is the end of that. But dreams can only be attained if people take action. No one will say that your dreams are too crazy, or without value,” said Mr. Chong.
During his time teaching at the University of Hong Kong, Mr. Chong had seen the frustrations facing the youth today.
“Many felt that dreams are not what Hong Kong society needs. Reality dictates that you ought to study Business or Law. Dreams are for when you have free time, after you’ve made money and have got off work. Thus, many Hong Kongers lose their dreams, and they don’t dare to dream again. Dreams become a kind of luxury. One the dream is abandoned, it is brought up every few years as a way to complain about everything, “I never wanted to work here. I was forced to do it.” So they grow up in frustration, abandon their dreams and then accept that “this is where I am” and that’s their whole life,” Mr. Chong exclaimed.
“Life shouldn’t be like this. Society shouldn’t be like this. What I found in this book was that actually education can encourage people to go out and do the seemingly impossible — that dreams can be planned out and accomplished step by step.”
Despite the differences between people, we can always find that we share something in common — we want to pursue our dreams.
When Life and Dreams become Mutually Opposed, How are Hong Kongers to Realize Their Dreams?
On the subject of achieving dreams, Mr. Chong believes that we need education, supportive environments and self-encouragement. But the most fundamental thing is to own our decisions, and to be responsible for our decision to follow other people’s decisions.
“Even if at one time we cannot do something we love, we must always remember our own goals. Save time comparing with others and do a good job on the task at hand. The effect will be better.”
With the changes in the times and forms of expression, we have more opportunities to express ourselves.
“As long as we take the initiative to express our thoughts and beliefs, we have a chance. Even if we try, and nobody appreciates it, as long as we enjoyed the process, then it was worth it. Not putting in the effort, wishing that the dream will catch hold of you, wishing that someone else would open the path for your dreams — these are not ways to pursue your ideals.”
“Chasing your dreams may require a lot of sacrifice. But don’t feel as though sacrifice means death. These are measurable sacrifices. And don’t complain that people give you pressure, you are in charge of your self. You need to adopt the right mentality, though that may take trial and error. Take the smallest step first. It is only through pain and sacrifice that we learn to cherish what we have and what we are pursuing.”
Mr. Chong believes that most of Hong Kong society uses “property ownership” and “finances” to define success or failure.
“For those whose names go down in history, success and failure has often not been reckoned in terms of money. The thinker Karl Marx didn’t leave any estate behind, but his thoughts still affect the entire world today,” stated Mr. Chong.
“Owning property can be an ideal, but we don’t need everyone to share this same dream. Those who won’t pursue their dreams because they don’t own property are making too large a compromise. Is it that I really want this, or is it just because everyone else is pursuing this? Ask yourself what it is you want, and why.”
Facing today’s social environment, when the cost of pursuing dreams has become so himagh, we must voice out — yet even as we demand social changes, leaving the posture of the victim behind is not a way to pursue our ideals. Instead, we should pursue justice.
Mr. Chong gave us his parting words,
“Become a person who solves problems, and don’t be a victim.”
Background of Dialogue in the Dark Foundation
- Providing assistance in manpower and finances, to give people with disabilities a chance to display their talent and potential, achieve their goals and become an example for society;
- Supporting people with disabilities in their pursuit of education and professional development;
- To develop training centers for people with disabilities in Asia
- Simultaneously, the Foundation, along with “Dialogue Experience” partners, through financial assistance to minority groups and “Dialogue Experience” workshops and educational activities, advocates and promotes social harmony, tolerance, respect and understanding between different people.
Please support Dialogue in the Dark Foundation HK through Juven
Juven builds integrated organization software that empowers charities, companies, associations and clubs of all sorts to build, engage and grow community. We believe that organizations should have access to beautiful, intuitive and reliable tools to create greater impact.
【 用觸覺認識世界，追求夢想 】
請支持黑暗中對話基金會@樂善樂書 by Juven
自六歲便失明的莊陳有，從少就學習由法國失明人士Louis Braille 接近200年前發明和優化的點字（Braille）。
莊先生喜歡閱讀，他介紹了Amazon 一本暢銷書書 — — My Path Leads to Tibet，它是由一個德國失明女士Sabriye Tenberken所撰寫的，她在書中分享了在西藏教英文和發明西藏語點字的經歷。
自11歲失明的Sabriye，中學時為了完成”我的夢想”的功課，隨意寫了一個具異國情調的夢想 — 到西藏教英文。
若她要完成夢想便需衝破視力和語言障礙，於是老師問她”What action will you take to achieve the dream?” 並叫她寫下來，被迫認真起來的Sabriye告訴老師，第一步就是學懂西藏語。
莊先生說：「夢想好多時講完就算，其實夢想需要take action 去達成，無人會話你既夢想太誇張，無價值。」
莊：「好多人會覺得，夢想唔係香港社會要既野，現實係應該讀Business 或Law，其他關於夢想既野得閒先做，放工搵到錢先做。繼而，好多香港人既夢想就無左，亦唔敢再去有，有夢想都當左luxury 既野。當放棄左夢想之後，過幾年就拎黎去complain 所有野, 去怨我唔係想做呢啲野，我都係被迫既。無奈地長大，放棄夢想，接受this is where I am就完左一生。」
「人生唔應該係咁，社會唔應該係咁，從呢本書中發現，其實教育可以多鼓勵人去做啲seemingly impossible 既野，而夢想係可以去計劃，一步一步左去做到。」
#樂善好書 #good4good #juven