The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

In 1968, this was the name of a movie

Today, this is a vivid portray of a number of the youngsters…. 

….the post-80’s …. also…. 

….the students in the Ebenezer School for the Visually Impaired!

As reported on Ming Pao Daily (07/13/10) …..a 17-year-old student hanged herself inside the closet of the Ebenezer School, the last day of school before the Summer Holiday…..a student who had finished her study in the last year of this school (Form 3).

Imagine how much more loss the students in Ebenezer experience when their contemporaries with vision are lost in their families, in the cyberspace, in their social circle, in their academics, in their future direction and in umpteen other things in life.

The students in Ebenezer

….are more than visually impaired or challenged

….some have associated health problems e.g. brain tumour, speech challenge, limbs challenge etc.

….some are withdrawn

….some are emotionally disturbed

….some are rich and well-attended to (e.g. piano lessons) but always ‘home alone’ with the maid….as the parents are at work

….some are not well-off.

There is one teenager who comes across as optimistic and out-spoken….but who knows what is inside his heart.    

The 17-year-old had also painted herself as ‘normal’ in front of social workers or counselors. 

Two things are common in the students in the school….

….they love and need attention and

….they love and need to have someone to talk to. 

That’s why sometimes, I defied my objective (practise English with the students) and talked to them in Cantonese.  I tried to bring the child out, to draw them out from their inner world.  I tried to be silly with them….so they have some fun.

Do their parents take time or have time to talk to them, understand their emotions and their non-material need?

The school has 80 students today and some classes are mixed-grade.  I read on the newspaper about a month or two ago that the Education Bureau (EB) was considering cutting back on the teachers as the student enrolment is declining.

I am not an expert in the academic arena.  I don’t want to be seen talking like an advisor.  But deep down in my heart, I wish…..

….EB fully understands that the teacher-to-student ratio for this type of special education should be different from that in regular schools

….the Principal has enough facts and figures to fight for the current, if not a lower, ratio

….the school has more access to student counseling resources… to help each student feel useful, plan and work towards their goal …way .. way… way before they complete their study (F3) in the school.   The 17-year-old was a good singer in school.

The 17-year-old….another example of  天涯何處覓知心 …. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter!

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