CHINA / DISABLITIES

Preview Language:   Original
31-Oct-2009 00:09:26
In many countries, people with disabilities have been seen as a burden to society -- incapable of caring for themselves. But this is beginning to change in Hong Kong, where one man, determined to overcome discrimination, is changing the way society views disabilities. UNTV

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Description
STORY: HONG KONG / DISABILITIES
TRT: 9.26
SOURCE: 21ST CENTURY
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / CANTONESE / NATS

DATELINE: MAY 2009, HONG KONG, CHINA / FILE

SHOTLIST:

MAY 2009, HONG KONG, CHINA

1. Various shots, high way in Hong Kong
2. Med shot, Andrew driving
3. Various shots, young girls walking toward Andrew’s car
4 SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“When I was asked to be the driver of the beautiful girls, friends of my daughter’s, of course, that was the proudest moment of my life.”
5. Med shot, girls getting in the car
6. Med shot, Andrew talking and driving
7. Med shot, Andrew in wheelchair
8. Various shots, still pictures of Andrew
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“I thought of killing myself when I lost my love. Her parents thought that being a disabled person in the wheelchair, what future would I have? They thought that I wouldn’t have the ability to take care of their only child.”
11. Various shots, people with disabilities in public place
12. Various shots, Andrew with guests in his house
13. Various shots, still pictures of baby Andrew and family
14. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Father:
“Life was already difficult with so many children. There was nothing we could do about his condition. We pretty much left him alone.”
15. Various shots, still pictures of Andrew in old hong kong
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“We lived in a little hut high on the mountain. In those days, I had no wheelchair and couldn’t walk. So I had to use a little stool to move myself one step at a time. I had no friends. I was so lonely because every day when my brothers and sisters went to school I was left alone at home. Until one day a social worker knocked at the door and found me and asked if I had any schooling... It was 1967; I was at the age of ten.”
17. Various shots, Andrew visiting JFK School
18. Various shots, students at the JFK School
19. Various shots, Andrew talking to disabled students at school
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Education changed my whole life. The principal, Miss Marian Fang, a legendary figure now in the rehabilitation world, taught us always to regard yourself as a normal person; you don’t sit there to receive other’s help. But you offer help to others.”
21. Med shot, Andrew talking in front of fang’s portrait
22. Med shot, disabled at work
23. Tilt down, from hands to Andrew leg inside car
24. Various shots, still pictures of Andrew
25. Various shots, Andrew with other disabled people
26. Various shots, Andrew diving
27. Various shots, Hong Kong street scenes
28. Various shots, disabled people in wheelchair getting on buses, subway and stairs

UNITED NATIONS ARCHIVAL

29. Various shots, disabled people in the world

MAY 2009, HONG KONG, CHINA

30. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“When you are in a wheelchair, you are always regarded as an inferior person. As far as me is concerned, I am suffering from cerebral palsy. That is some part of the brain is wrong. I cannot walk. I cannot balance, and my fingers are not normal. I cannot move normally like you. A lot of people would think that people with physical disabilities will also have no sexual function. It is wrong… Most of them retain their sexual function.”
31. Various shots, Andrew working at his computer
32. Various shots, kitty in wheelchair in supermarket
33. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Kitty Hui, disabled:
“I don’t get a strong feeling in my lower part. When I am touched, I know. But I don’t feel any pain. And I don’t know if it’s hot or cold. For me when we are intimate, the most important thing is that sense of emotional connection, the sense of comfort and harmony.”
34. Various shots, Kitty serving tea
35. Med shot, kitty getting into car and driving
36. Various shots, still pictures of kitty’s wedding
37. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Kitty Hui, disabled:
“The doctor said we could have many children by caesarean. There are several ways to open up the belly. We could at least have five or six children.”
38. Various shots, still pictures of Kitty with her baby
37. Various shots, Andrew and Kitty in Andrew’s house
38. Various shots, people in wheelchair
39. Various shots, Andrew in radio studio
40. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Is it true that people with disabilities have problem with their romantic relationships?”
41. Various shots, Dr. Ng in studio
42. SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Dr. NG:
“The challenge is not because of the personality or intelligence, but because of difficulty in mobility. They need a specialist to guide them. The common belief is that it’s enough to take care of the basic daily needs of people with disabilities. Health professionals who provide sexual and reproductive health counselling are often mocked as perverts.”

UNTV - ARCHIVES

43. Various shots, General Assembly

MAY 2009, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES

44. Wide shot, Akiko walking to the building
45. SOUNDBITE (English) Akiko Ito, Chief of the UN Secretariat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first human rights treaty that includes the right to sexual and reproductive health which has been neglected for the longest time.”

MAY 2009, HONG KONG, CHINA

46. SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Wu, Government policy advisor, China:
“The rights are there, but we have not seen is that these rights for people to enjoy must be clearly supported and articulated.”
47. Med shot, Anna walking
48. SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Wu, Government policy advisor, China:
“We have to start with things like counselling service, medical services, libraries, a supportive environment where they can get information and not feel ashamed by talking about these issues.”
49. Various shots, people with disabilities doing exercise at new page inn
50. Various shots, staff offering counselling
51. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Believe it or not, I don’t go for the idea that having family is a must the most important thing is each individual including the physically challenged should have equal opportunity to date, to pursue the social relationships, companionship, to pursue for an intimate relationship. I think the opportunity to choose is important.”
52. Various shots, Andrew having dinner with family
53. Wide shot, Andrew dropping off girls and driving away


STORYLINE:

Andrew Kwok is doing something he thought he would never be able to do.

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“When I was asked to be the driver of the beautiful girls, friends of my daughter’s, of course, that was the proudest moment of my life.”

He’s taking them to their high school graduation prom.

He has come a long way from a time when as a young man, he once thought of taking his own life.

Born with cerebral palsy and unable to walk, Andrew was devastated when the parents of a girl he dated for eight years forced him to break off the relationship.

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“I thought of killing myself when I lost my love. Her parents thought that being a disabled person in the wheelchair, what future would I have? They thought that I wouldn’t have the ability to take care of their only child.”

Attitudes like that are the biggest hurdles people with disabilities must overcome in achieving their full and equal rights.

But, as Andrew’s life shows, given equal opportunities and access to essential information and services, the physically challenged can live full and independent lives.

Andrew’s mother discovered his problem when he was one-year-old. His father worked in a shipyard. Andrew is the oldest of five children. The family was poor.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Andrew’s Father:
“Life was already difficult with so many children. There was nothing we could do about his condition. We pretty much left him alone.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“We lived in a little hut high on the mountain. In those days, I had no wheelchair and couldn’t walk. So I had to use a little stool to move myself one step at a time. I had no friends. I was so lonely because every day when my brothers and sisters went to school I was left alone at home. Until one day a social worker knocked at the door and found me and asked if I had any schooling. It was 1967; I was at the age of ten.”

The John F. Kennedy School is the first school of its kind in Hong Kong that provides free education for persons with disabilities living in poverty. The goal is to help them develop confidence and live to their potential.

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Education changed my whole life. The principal, Miss Marian Fang, a legendary figure now in the rehabilitation world, taught us always to regard yourself as a normal person; you don’t sit there to receive other’s help. But you offer help to others.”

With that inspiration, Andrew was the first citizen of Hong Kong with a disability to get a driver’s license.

He went on to earn a master’s degree

He married Sandra. They have two children, Samantha and Yo Yo.

Today, Andrew supports his family working as a legal consultant managing cases mostly for people who had traumatic accidents.

He travels extensively for work and vacations with his family. A man of many interests, he recently took on a new hobby, diving.

Since the late 1950s when Andrew was born, Hong Kong has been transformed economically, politically and legally. It has passed legislation to protect disabled people from discrimination.

Once regarded as a burden to families and society and hidden away in institutions and at home, today, they are increasingly visible in public places, and have gained increased access to education and employment.

Despite these improvements, Andrew says misconceptions remain about their disabilities.

A United Nations report estimates that ten percent of the world’s population or 650 million people have disabilities. Often, society sees persons with disabilities as asexual, unfit and incapable of caring for children.

But these assumptions are inaccurate. People with disabilities have the same desires, hopes and dreams as everyone else.

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“When you are in a wheelchair, you are always regarded as an inferior person. As far as me is concerned, I am suffering from cerebral palsy. That is some part of the brain is wrong… I cannot walk. I cannot balance, and my fingers are not normal. I cannot move normally like you. A lot of people would think that people with physical disabilities will also have no sexual function. It is wrong. Most of them retain their sexual function.”

Kitty Hui also graduated from the same school as Andrew. She became paralyzed from the waist down after contracting a disease that affected her spine when she was two years old. Like Andrew, she disputes the assumption about the inability of persons with disabilities to have sexual relationships.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Kitty, disabled:
“I don’t get a strong feeling in my lower part. When I am touched, I know. But I don’t feel any pain. And I don’t know if it’s hot or cold. For me when we are intimate, the most important thing is that sense of emotional connection, the sense of comfort and harmony.”

Kitty works full time for a government agency, and believes that as long as she has the ability to take care of herself, she has the ability to have children and care for a family.

She and her husband have two daughters.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Kitty, disabled:
“The doctor said we could have many children by caesarean. There are several ways to open up the belly. We could at least have five or six children.”

She and Andrew are some of the few lucky ones of Hong Kong’s nearly 400,000 people with disabilities who have overcome barriers to marry and have children.

But many others, especially those who acquire disabilities in their adult life often lose their personal relationships after the injury. (08.50”)

Andrew, who co-hosts a weekly radio show, explores this issue. (04.25”)

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Is it true that people with disabilities have problem with their romantic relationships?”

His guest is Dr. Ng Man Lun, Associate Director of Hong Kong University Family Institute.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Dr. Ng Man Lun:
“The challenge is not because of the personality or intelligence, but because of difficulty in mobility. They need a specialist to guide them.”

In Hong Kong, sex is a subject that is not openly discussed. As doctors tend to avoid this issue, people with disabilities have little or no access to sexual and reproductive health services.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese) Dr. Ng Man Lun:
“The common belief is that it’s enough to take care of the basic daily needs of people with disabilities… Health professionals who provide sexual and reproductive health counselling are often mocked as perverts.”

Dr. Ng says such negative attitudes and misunderstandings about disabilities need to change.

In December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark treaty that gives greater rights to disabled people, including in areas that have been historically ignored.

Akiko Ito is the Chief of the UN Secretariat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

SOUNDBITE (English) Akiko Ito, Head, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations:
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first human rights treaty that includes the right to sexual and reproductive health which has been neglected for the longest time.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Wu:
“The rights are there, but we have not seen is that these rights for people to enjoy must be clearly supported and articulated.”

Anna Wu is a top government policy advisor and an advocate for disability rights in Hong Kong.

SOUNDBITE (English) Anna Wu:
“We have to start with things like counselling service, medical services, libraries, a supportive environment where they can get information and not feel ashamed by talking about these issues.”

In 2009, a non-profit group in Hong Kong initiated a pilot rehabilitation centre. Designed to help the severely disabled return to their homes and live independently.

It’s also the first such facility to offer regular counselling on their sexual and reproductive health.

SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Kwok, disabled:
“Believe it or not, I don’t go for the idea that having family is a must; the most important thing is each individual including the physically challenged should have equal opportunity to date, to pursue the social relationships, companionship, to pursue for an intimate relationship. I think the opportunity to choose is important.”

A happy father, Andrew has taken extraordinary steps to live an ordinary life.
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