Looking at the World, with Just One Eye

How someone who’s, blind in one eye, almost blind in the other, made his own life, meaningful, by helping those who are in need, translated…

On this day, we’d, met at a fast-food restaurant.  He’s a busy nine-to-fiver.  Two mornings ago very early, he wore his pharmaceutical delivery uniform to the hospital for work as a counselor; in the afternoon, he’d, switched to a plain shirt, and headed to the 101 to develop the opening positions for work.  But, every time he’d met someone’s gaze, the person couldn’t help, but focus on how his odd looking right eye, due to its, messed up lens.  On that very day, he’d, smiled at people, just as he’d done from before.

At first, I’d thought that his eyes was a prosthetic that’s been, “installed”, as he’d heard, he’d started, laughing aloud, “no, this is real, but, it looked, quite fake too, because my right eye was, completely, blind, I can’t see a single thing.”  And, all he had to rely on, was his, left eyes, and the sight on his left is, already, failing too.

He’d worked as a social worker in a social welfare agency, he’d called his workplace, “meeting place”, his job is to encourage those with mental illnesses who’d, stayed at home, to come to the “meeting place”, worked with them, to work alongside them, to sort through the things in the “meeting place”, for instance, cleaning, key entry, cooking, translations………to help the people gain that sense of achievement they’d, lacked; waiting until they’d had the abilities, then, he’d, helped them find a paying job.

“I think you have a very cool job!”  is that so?  He’d started, laughing, then, told me something he thought was, “really cool”.

Last year, a government agency had an opening for someone who’s handicapped, he’d, taken along two “members” from his office who’d shown great interests in working to the interviews.  And, those who were known as “psychologically ill”, were the members of his “office”.

He’d treated the interviews as exams, he’d, sorted through the “test questions”, and, believed that the interviewer would ask the job applicants: to introduce themselves, how they are going to, overcome their troubles, and, what sort of assistance would they need from the office…………and, he’d, guessed over ninety percent of the interview questions correctly, and, both of his interviewees will start working, I’d laughed and told him, “you have a hundred-percent success rate!”

He’d felt, that the “interview” wasn’t hard, because, all those who are handicapped, became, experts in their handicaps, and, had their own ways, of coping.  He is also, a handicapped person himself, but, I’d found, that in conversing with him, there was, that sense of empathy, that he’d felt troubled, by other people’s troubles.  Because it was his work, he’d, wanted to help the “members”, to break out of their cages even more.

He’d mentioned that he’d helped a case with bad hands, and the person can only type up eight characters with his middle finger per minute, and, he’d, slowly, increased to eighteen characters.  And, although being able to key eighteen characters per minute couldn’t help him find a job, but, because he’d gotten the cares and concerns from a social worker, he’d stopped, blaming his troubles on everybody else and his circumstances, he’d become, a brand new man.

Why did he mention this, unimportant case?

Turned out, although he’d, seemed quite confident, he’s, actually, not, he’d, managed to “overcome” that by finding the sense of accomplishment in what he does; for instance, as he’d found a job for a person, or if the person changed because of him, then, he’d, felt achieved, and, thus, his confidence level, boosted.  Just like he’d said, the handicapped, ARE the experts, of their own, handicaps.

He’d added another, seemingly ordinary image.  One day, he was working at his computer station, a member came over to him, sat next to him, the two of them started, carrying on in conversation.

“What happened to your right eye?”

“I’d become blind because I was born prematurely.”

“Must be really hard on you then?”

“I’m okay, I think, you have it worse than I had it.”

And, the two of them, started laughing aloud together.

This short conversation, brought the two hearts, closer together, and, this sort of a feeling was, hard to put into words, but, it’d, made him get that sense of achievement he’d, sought.

And, because the “members’” conditions are, quite unpredictable, and there were, challenges, everywhere, so, he’d needed to spend more time, to get in touch with their psyches, this made his job unexpected, and it’d, given him, surprises from time to time.

He’d mentioned something he was really proud of to me.

This member wanted to help him find a job opening, because he’d wanted to, help lighten his workload, he was very moved by the individual.  Actually, this particular member had made great strides during this last year.  He’d started helping out around his house this past year, went with his mother to the hospital without being asked, and stayed right by her side, and, although, he wasn’t, at all articulate, but, his actions, showed that he’s, very gentle…………he’d told how the “members” changed like it was, something major.

As we’d finished eating, and left the fast-food restaurant, some passersby still focused on his right eye that was, awkward.  But, I’d, looked deeply, into his right, the eye that can only, sense, some weak light, that’s, always helped him, see the good qualities of the “members”.  This made me recall the sculptor, Rodin’s words, “There’s no lacking in beauty in this world, but a lacking in the eyes that can, see them.”

And so, this, is how someone who’s, “handicapped” started helping others who needed him to help, and, his job as a social worker is, enriching for him, because, he’d made his own life count, made it, more meaningful, in helping those in need, and, he’s, nowhere, NEAR handicapped, despite his physical conditions one bit!

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These Bald Creatures…

Seeing these rare species in abundance, translated…

On the “bald creatures in Africa”, all that came to mind were, the vultures, but the very first time I got up close and personal with a bald bird, it was, with a marabou stork.

The long beak, the pinkish head and neck, covered up, with the loosely grown in feathers, then, there’s, the white chest, and the black-brown wings.  It’s said, that because of how they were, scavengers, they had little to not feathers on the head, to prevent from getting messy, that it’s, best to keep themselves cleanly that way.  They’re, bald to the point of being logical, not a sight for sore eyes at all.

photo, courtesy of UDN.com…

The marabou stork staring into space, it’d looked like, a portrait, painted of a noble person.  Although they’d felt, that they weren’t something rare, due to the world wide web, and yet, it’d taken me, a total of THIRTY years, to, finally see on in person, and it’s also, the first time I’d, heard of its, name, seen the way, it’d, appeared.

After I’d left the national park, we’d met back up again, in the cities.  Such extravagance it was, there were, sighting of these huge birds in Nairobi.  But I’m thinking, in the cities of my own country, there are such rare species of creatures living there too?  And, I’d, felt that need, that drive, to keep the species around for someone, for another, thirty more years too.

And, this, is what you came to, as you saw the species of birds, and, because of how rare it is from your own home country, that is why, you were, so excited to see it, but, it’s, normal for these animals to be all over the places locally, and, you’d, realized, that there are, so many ordinary species that we take for granted in our own home countries, just like these, marabou storks.

The 43-Year-Old Released Inmate Fought Hard for His Daughter, Worked Hard to Get Certified as a Chef

He’d, turned over a new leaf now, it just, takes more time, for those who knew him from before, to see his change, and, he’d set a goal for himself, and is, currently working towards that, from the Newspapers, translated…

His daughter, was the only faith that Cheng, a forty-three-year-old released inmate’s purpose now, last year, he finally became eligible for parole, and was, released from prison, but, his girlfriend’s families mistook that he wanted to impose the debts he’d, accumulated onto their daughter, and, the door was, slammed in his face, in order to prove to the families that he’d turned over a new leaf, he’d worked hard, and got certified as a Level C Chinese cuisine chef, he’s working on his certification for the Level B certification for western style cooking, just to show that he could, provide for his own daughter.

查看來源圖片being trained, in his cooking skills, which gives him a better chance at starting anew again after he’d served his time, photo from online…

Back when Cheng was younger, he got involved in a bad crowd, got addicted to drugs, and started, selling, as he was sent to prison, he didn’t have the chance to hold his own newborn daughter in his arms yet, but, as his girlfriend gave birth, she too, was sent to prison for drug charges, and left the young daughter in the care of her own families.  And, in his over seven-years’ worth of jail sentences, his daughter had, visited him in prison too, and, looking after his own young was, his biggest wish after his release.

At the end of last year, Cheng was finally, eligible for parole, and finally, he got the chance, to see his own daughter, but, at the same time, he was faced with over half-a-million dollar’s worth of credit card debts, he’d worried he may not be able to take care of his own young, and so, he’d, entered into the “employment program for the released inmates”, and went to the Libertas Foundation to work as an assistant chef.

After Cheng received the work opportunity, he’d worked out a plan to repay his loans from the bank, but, they’d needed his daughter’s personal information, and, as he’d gone to his girlfriend’s, her family mistook that he wanted to pass the debts to their daughter, and, ever since, he never got to see his own young, and he was more set in his mind, to prove his capabilities, to show his girlfriend’s families, that he was, a changed man, and he wanted to prove that he was, able to, turn his own life around too, this year, he passed the level C Chinese cuisine chef’s exams.

from this…phoot from online…

The case worker who helped Cheng find employment told, that it’s not an easy thing, to accept the changes one is to face after release from prison, but he’d told Cheng, that people can decide on the time it takes to accept you again, but you’re, in charge of how well you do, so long as you keep on working at it, people will, eventually note that you’d, changed.

After Cheng’s release, he’d severed off ALL contacts with his friends from the past, he’s currently taking the courses, to help him pass the Level B certifications of Western Style Cuisines, Cheng said, that when he gets certified in the future, he will NOT just make his girlfriend’s family trust him, he’d wanted also to take his own daughter abroad, to a relative’s foreign restaurant, to start a brand new life for himself and her too.

to this…photo found online…查看來源圖片certified, as a professional chef…

So, all it took, for this man, to change was that one thought, that he didn’t want his baby girl to live without him, and it’d, taken him longer, to regain the trust that people lost in him, but, by working hard in what he’s been trained in, he’s, slowly, gaining their trust back, and soon, I’m sure, he will, get to take his own daughter abroad, to the relative’s restaurant to start his life anew with her.

There’s No Other Ways to Educate, Only Love

Commentaries, off of the Front Page Sections, translated…

Every year around the birthday of Confucius, I’d always, introspected on myself: did I, fulfill the responsibilities of being someone’s teacher?

Reason why I’d, introspected this was because in recent years, there’d been incidences of the parents accusing the teachers of abusing their young, from the kindergarten, preschool years, to the elementary, even in the special education schools too, it’s outrageous, that instructors would, abuse the special needs children!  It was really, stressing to see the news report footages on T.V., and I can’t help but wondered, are they teachers, for real?  It’s a wonder, teachers are no longer, a respected profession like it used to be.

I have taught for fifteen years on end at a special needs school with the children with polio and cerebral palsy, being trained in special education, I’d used my patience, my compassion, and my faith to treat the students, to help them know, that even though they’re, physically handicapped, but they’re not mentally, emotionally, or psychologically handicapped too, to help them find a sky of their own.  As I worked in the regular elementary school, even as the children became naughty, I’d used tricks, and lures, to help them change their bad behaviors.

I’m sure that every school teacher knows this, the Friedrich Frobel’s way, “there’s no other way to educate, but through love and example”, on the day of Confucius’s birth, I want to share this, in order for the public to show more respect to the educators, we must, respect ourselves first!

Because there’d been so many case of abuse and what not from the teachers, that, is why the teaching profession was no longer respected like it used to be, and besides, the students are more evolved, compared to generations before, because children are smarter by the generations, and if you still employed the methods you were educated with, then, it surely as hell would NOT work on this current generations of children, you DO realize that, don’t you???

 

 

 

 

Traveling to Germany to Perform in a Choir Exhibition

The choir diaries, translated…

Due to chance, at the latter half of July, the choir I sung with had the opportunity to go to a local church in southern Germany to perform.

On the day of the concerts, there was a tourist outing, the lunches were provided by the home competitors, after we’d had our chow down they’d invited us along to shop around and to have some coffees with them, but we’d, turned them down.  Because by the time the luncheon was over, it was already two in the afternoon, and we’re onstage at seven in the evening, and we had yet to check out the auditorium where our performances will take place, that we may need to adjust our formations, the way we’d rehearsed, the gift exchange, supper, and changing into our performance attires………clearly, we’re, already, running out of time, we needed to take every second that we have to get ready.

As we’d gotten off the busses, the church bells from the distance sounded off the welcoming calls, we’d felt moved, like we were being, worshipped.

Just as we’d suspected, the adjustment of the formation, and giving the home teams their presents, it’d, taken a lot of our time, plus we had yet to calm ourselves of the excitement of the morning travels yet, we didn’t perform as well as we hoped during rehearsal, and we’d started, feeling the stresses, thankfully, the leader of the choir and our singing instructor turned down the local teams’ offers to hang out, otherwise, we would’ve, totally messed up big times at our formal performances.

The temperature was comparable to Taiwan’s, between 33 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius, but without the air-conditioning, it’d become, difficult for us to handle, so from the rehearsals that started after a little past two after the luncheon, to the end of our show, everybody was, sweating like crazy, but we’d all, pushed ourselves, to adapt, that made me so proud of us.

查看來源圖片like this???  Photo from online…

At seven, the church bell sounded off loudly again, the performances started for real now, the first half was ours, of the six songs, there were four of which we’d sung as a whole choir, and two that were sung by the males and females in the various voice ranges, with an assortment of song choices, the quick-tempo “Taiwan, an Island of Treasures”, the softer, “The Mountain, in the Nothingness”, the strong and forceful, “Don’t Keep the Goldfish at the Bottom of Your Glass”, the ballad, “Memories”, the majestic “All the Flowers in Bloom”, there were, songs in Taiwanese AND Chinese, and we’d sung Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in German as the ending song.

As our performances were finished, everybody in the audience gave us a standing ovation, the applause sounded continually, even until we got off stage, and returned back to our seats, it’d made us all very excited, and moved.  What’s more encouraging was, the instructor told us, that this, was the best performance that the group’s given in all the years combined.  And, everything we’d weathered through, the hot weather, the sweating it out like crazy, it’d finally, paid off.

Later on, the German choirs performed the bottom half of the show, they’d sung mostly hymns, they were, younger than we were, and, kept their eyes on the sheet music as they performed, which was what we’d not done, this was, something we’re, most proud of.  In the end the two choirs performed “Looking Toward the World” together, with our conductor conducting, in the chorus, we sang the first and third, while the German performers did the second and the fourth, we’d sung in Chinese, they, in German, on our separate choruses, this was our instructor’s idea, it’d, made the song even more majestic, it’d made the German group who were against this awe over it, such a perfect ending for this show.

We’re not a topnotch choir, just ordinary people who loved singing, with the average age of over sixty-five, before we flew out, I’d once said to myself: we’re flying to a foreign country, although it’s a mid-sized town we’ll be performing in, so long as the auditorium is packed up, not an empty seat in the house, we’d, found success, and we had.

Later on, in the restaurants, plazas, train stations, by the lakes, under the ancient castles, came our “flash mob” performances too, and we’d gained the German’s applauses, and they had nothing but good things to say about our performances, we’re, so very happy!

As we returned, the German newspapers printed out our performances in the local church.  We’re from Taiwan, and the world finally saw us!

And your huge success is still due to those endless hours of rehearsals you’d had before you went to Germany to perform, and, because you and the members of your choir were fully prepared, that is why your performances gained all the attention, and it had, put Taiwan on the map, for Germany, at least!

The Golden-Winged Butterflies

Being mistaken for a group of female gangbangers on the way to rehearsing their act, and the hard work these women put in to their act, why it’s, important, to have a hobby after we retired from our jobs, translated…

I’d started taking the belly dancing lessons from community college for almost two years to date, this time, we’re to perform the pretty easy dance with the scarves, I thought that I should fly by the recitals, but on the first day of rehearsal, the instructor not only switched out the usual music, and demanded us to use the shiny golden plastic wings, instead of the scarves to dance with, it was, too difficult for me, to keep my balance, it’d made me feel like a toad, that suddenly, had wings on her back.  “Shit!  There’s only, three more classes until we’re about to head onstage!”, everybody in the class became, really tense over it.

In the calls of the head of the class, we’d, started rehearsing after the class sessions on our ow, met up at the local elementary school’s auditorium, but, the draft was, interruptive, and our golden wings that swayed, became golden cocoons immediately, we were, wrapped too tightly, couldn’t move an inch.  And, we’d all, worked hard, to raise up our golden wings, but, we’d become, covered up immediately, we’d lacked, that flair needed to perform the dances.  Plus, the beats to the Egyptian tune we were dancing to were difficult to count, our steps always never matched up to the tempos, we’d become, crazy people, just running around.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, we all felt, injured, traumatized, in this first sessions we’d gathered for the rehearsals on our own.

illustration from UDN.com…圖/蛋妹

Some of us who had weaker fundamentals, started crying on LINE, but I’d never heard any of them quitting, instead, they’d become, more driven to perform better.  And, maybe, I was given the talents to learn how to dance, but that was, a given to me, and the “shortcomings” of others had, opened up my eyes.  One evening, the group of us were moving our place of practice.  The head of the class worried we might not find the place, and had ridden her scooter to lead us there, we’d, put up our golden wings inside the bags made by the head of the class, the seven of us ladies, set out, in the dark of nights, as riders carrying the swords.

Not long thereafter, I’d felt the weird gazes from all around.  I was thrilled, “We’re like, the female gangbangers, ready for a confrontation!”, but actually, I was more concerned with leaving my driver’s license at home.  “What if we get stopped by the police!!!”

As we arrived to the location, the classmates who’d parked the rides started getting rowdy, the group of us, ordinary, fitting housewives, mothers, and young ladies were, excited for being mistaken as gangbangers…what’s happening here???

video found on Youtube…

What happened later you asked?  Naturally, our show was, a huge success, the golden wings turned and swirled, the Queen looked very beautiful, and everybody had nothing but good things to say; but I couldn’t help but wondered: could it be, that on that night we went elsewhere for practices, we were, mistaken for a group of female gangbangers, that it’d, sparked our inner potentials, that was why, we held ourselves up, walked very tall, as we’d gone onstage for the performances?

The very next day, the classmates left messages on LINE, “I got moved each and every time as I watched the recordings repeatedly”, “I’m glad I was onstage with my best friends, helping each other, supporting one another, it’s, so inspiring”, the results naturally, became this mark of life we’d come to share, so wonderful; but, the group of us can only chat using LINE, lying flat on our backs, because the backaches that didn’t show as we’d rehearsed for the performances suddenly hit us hard afterwards, but this was a price we can all live with, because it was, more than worth it!

It’s really amazing, to share a hobby with a group of people, and look at all the fun you and your fellow dancer had, and this is more than likely, to keep you motivated, to continue to take those dancing lessons…and it gives you something to do, now that you’re, retired too!

A Small Journey

This young child with autism, given some time, slowly, adjusted, to the norms of socialization on his own, and, the parents’ worries were, excessive, it turns out!  Translated…

Before Strong started school, the anxiety meters that we’re experiencing busted (fine, maybe, it’s, just mine!), a week before school started, I’d already, started setting up the hours of operations, taking the weekends off, first, we took Strong to the Moonlight & Oceans Music Fest in Taidong.  Recalling how being very sensitive to sounds, last year, as we’d gone, he’d started screaming and crying that he wanted to leave, and, as we got outside of the concert, out on the sidewalks, he’d started, playing with the tiles on the ground, we’d not, gotten the opportunities to enjoy the music, to be in the concert, to feel the live performances; but this year, he was willing, to allow us to go to the outermost side, to blow the bubbles, to play with him, as we’d, gazed up the moon from afar, hearing the music of Wanfang Lin and Yujung Wang, on our way back, we’d gone to wetlands in Hualien to hear the rehearsals of the bands, for almost half an hour.

This two nights one day trip, we’d stayed in the car longer than we’re out of it, watching the scenes flow right by us, kept turning our heads around, singing to Strong, playing with him, tickling him, I’d carried on in casual conversation with Daddy Strong too, and, watched Strong’s reaction as we arrived at each of the sights we visited, I’d felt, “he really is, growing up!”, and I’d, felt a bit, saddened, that this trip was, lasting too short, fearing, that he might get too deep into his mind at school after he started it, to shut the world out, to become, an odd duck in his class.

Thankfully, on his first day, we’d taken him to the class to send him on that huge granite slide, as we’d heard the teacher explained what was expected of the new students, and what to watch out for in school, and as we’d turned to leave after we said goodbye, I’d turned my head around to look, found that he’d wanted to chase after us, but his teacher diverted his attention quickly enough, into the games; I’d stayed outside the door of the class, listening in, he’d not cried, neither had we, there’s just that feeling of, not knowing where we’re, headed next, what we’re, to do next?

After I’d discussed it with Daddy Strong, we’d gone to the press conference of our friend, without a political party, running for office, then, we’d, parked back at the bookstore, hand-in-hand, we’d, taken that stroll from the Mei-Lun Creek to the small diner of one of our customers from the shop, we’d found the crabs, walking on the riverbeds, and, as we waited for the lunch to get served, I’d checked my cell repeatedly, worried that we might miss the call from Strong’s teacher telling us to come pick him up, until the meal was served, we’d started, enjoying our lunch together, as we read the book from our shop, and found a way to operate the bookshop so it fulfills the mind, and the body at the same time and we’d, decided, to adjust the hours of operations, to give ourselves more time to spend with each other, as well as spending more time with Strong, to increase our income, and have more time to make our shared dreams come true.

After we finished lunch, we’d worked at the shop for a little while, and couldn’t wait to pick Strong up from school, and she told us he’d only cried for the nap hours when he didn’t see me, for half an hour before he fell asleep, and, had fed himself with a spoon too, with the teacher teaching him how, it’d, let me let out a sigh of relief, at least, he was, interacting with his teacher, wasn’t screaming endlessly, or with his eyes, glued to the ceiling fans either.

I believe, that we can all, grow in our new stages of life together, and I’m, looking forward to that day to come now.

And so, this still showed, how every child has her/his own schedule to growing up, there’s no one-size fit all, and, just because a kid is a bit slower to adapt to the new environments, that doesn’t mean that s/he can’t adapt, it just, take the child a little more time than the “average” kid is all!