Live Alone A Life - Photo Exhibition of People with Mental Illness

by Society for Community Organization

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People with mental illness usually live their lives alone. This exhibition contains 14 stories of people with mental Illness. The photos reveal their character, their courage in meeting life's challenges, and how they cope with adversities. Through lens and pen, SoCO brings their inspiring stories to the public.

Date: 21 April (Sat) to 26 April (Thu) 2007

Time: 10:00am to 10:00pm

Venue: Exhibition area E3 and E4, Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

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Looking from the other side

Contradiction is commonly seen in a society: mainstream/ edge, normal/ abnormal, acceptance/ discrimination, contentment/ frustration, accompaniment/ loneliness, etc. A person standing on one side is not easy to understand the lives on the other side. If one moves from mainstream to the fringe to take a look, another scenery will be seen.

Turning over the pages of this album, you can see Ah Hoi and his family seem to be cursed by fate that all of them suffer from mental illness; Kam-ho and her doggie mutually depend on each other; the "homeless home" of Kitty and Ah Che; Ah Sing was abandoned by his beloved wife after he suffered from mental illness; Pa Pa Mon-Ching is too anxious to contact with people for forty years, rather he likes reading masterpiece, letting his imaginary fly high. They are all people with mental illness, living in the edge of the society, and regarded as abnormal by the mainstream, normal society. They suffer from discrimination of the society, with full frustration, living alone for the rest of their lives.

They are living at the edge of the society tormented by illness and abandoned by the society, yet in the realm on their own island, they want to see their dreams come true: some do as much as they can to hope their relatives give them response, no matter it is only in few words; some work hard without any complaints; some only want to make "normal" friends. To make their dreams come true, the response from the mainstream society is needed, otherwise, they can only build castle in the air above their own island.

When you finish reading this album, we hope you could know more about mental illness and understand their lives. In addition, when you looking back from the edge of the society and looking into the eyes of each story owner, we hope you can reflect and treasure of what you have as inspired by their stories. We also hope you can lend your hands to build a bridge to help the people with mental illness come back from their islands to mainland, edge to mainstream, abnormal to normal, discrimination to acceptance, making them never ever feel frustrated and lonely, but with accompany, filling their lives with contentment.

Ho Hei Wah

Director

Society for Community Organization


 

Could you hear how much water is left in the pan?

I remember once passing a classroom where blind students were taught to cook. The smell of cooking rice apart, I heard the teacher asking a question I would never forget. The question was :Could you hear how much water is left in the pan?;

My understanding of the people with mental llness disturbed stretched back to a lady living downstairs when I was young. Every night she would shout and shake her flat・s old-fashioned window frame with all her strength.

No one ever talked to her nor asked her about her name. I only remembered all the sweet dreams she ruined. The lady is still living in that flat, and yet the noise is gone. Maybe she is tired. So when I took over this project, my hesitation was not that I might not be able to refrain from looking into what the culprit of my sleepless nights is after,but whether I could find a way into their world. The stumbles I made during our shooting sessions had offered me a shortcut to getting to know them. Whether it was the cursing resulting from my accidentally knocking off the soft drink bottle where only ice cubes were left, or the empty staring of the relapsing scoliosis patient. Witnessing the fragmentation of body and soul is a chilling experience. We say the people with mental illness are .crazy・ and yet like you and I, each of them embodies his or her own character. I believe they just live by their own set of rules, different from ours, struggling to experience what little pleasure they can attain in the otherwise restrained environment. To us, their .rules・ could be unbearable, irrelevant or loathing. To them, however, these rules provide enclaves to nurture their wounds. The lady in that public housing estate where I lived might not have received proper treatment but we did not try to marginalize her. Perhaps it・s because we were also a group being marginalized. We thought better of ourselves as we and the society progresses. However, we fare poorly at the same time in being more accepting of others.

We try to provide an entry point for people to find a way into our subjects・world. Their living quarters, their possessions, and the ambience created by their presence give us clues leading to their souls. We also wish to provide a platform for dialogue and a place to meet them eye to eye. The relaxed faces found in the photos might not make sense when juxtaposed in their life stories, yet none of them wanted the unnecessary pathetic labeling. We cannot capture .the past・ nor .the future・. Only .now・ is in our hands. Trying to understand the people with mental illness
might seem .mission impossible・, as is asking the blind to hear how much water is left in the pan. Yet judging from the smell coming out of that classroom, it should be a nice meal.

Could you hear how much water is left in the pan?

Dustin Shum, Photographer

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Cactuses in the black room

It was a hot and sweaty afternoon in September 2006. It was the first time I followed Yan, social worker of
SoCO, visited psychiatric patient Man-man, Sung at his cubicle apartment in Sham Shui Po. I remembered Manman・s
upper body was naked when he was having interview with me. He did not talk much by just giving simple
response to each of my questions. His thoughts were logical and for issues he had no idea with, he would reply
frankly, :I have forgotten.; I kept asking Man-man a lot of things while there was a nasty smell came from his body sweat. There were only a few clothes and waste papers in his less than 100 sq. ft cubicle apartment. His most valuable
property seemed to be the connector of Broadband TV which Man-man had got it for free. It then became Man-man・s life.

Man-man was straight forward by telling me lots of stories of his previous experiences in prison. I expressed my heartfelt gratitude to him at the end of the interview. I looked at his eyes when I was shaking hands with him,then my .sixth sense・ made me asked suddenly, :Are your eyes okay?; Man-man then told me his right eye was blinded by firecracker when he was a child. I was extremely depressed after knowing this. Then I kept asking heaven: Why Man-man・s life was so miserable?
Later on I had Yan as my partner walking through Sham Shui Po, visiting different people with mental illness.

I discovered their stories were very much similar with Man-man・s one. Firstly, they had unpleasant family background or grow-up story. Secondly, they are pessimistic and have groundless fears deep in mind. Thirdly, they do not know how to relieve stress and often bear too much responsibility.

People with mental illness suffer physically and often live with the following symptoms: auditory hallucination,optical illusion, giddiness, blurred vision, losing memory etc. Mentally they are tortured by loneliness. Most of them do not have family and friends. Some of them are being isolated while the others are having a sense of inferiority.

They do not want to be other people・s .burden・ and preferred hiding themselves. They are used to stay alone on birthdays and festivals. The best ways to relieve loneliness are watching TV, smoking and drinking. But without the love and care of family and friends, people with mental illness are very much like cactuses living in the black room. They no longer have strong vitality without sunlight and oxygen.
No wonder every time the patients kept talking a lot of things to Yan and me during our visits. They wanted to tell us their own stories as best as they could.

Interviewing people with mental illness required patience because they had problems with expression and organization. Moreover during the interview process I could not feel they camouflaged nor pretended. They accepted what destiny had arranged with an open-mind and they hoped to recover from the sickness.

The stories of Man-man and others in this book reminded me that happiness does not always come with everyone of us. It is time to really treasure what I have had. I am a local journalist and have to work all round the clock nearly everyday. Every night I go home my parents are asleep and I have not met my best friends for long. Tonight I gave myself a deep breath, and then I put down my work at office and went home early. It is time to plan a holiday with my parents. It is also time to write emails, sharing with my friends the story of Man-man, my new friend.

Lo Man-sze, Maisy, Reporter

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One Person Stories

     

 

Chow Man-hoi - That・s a life-long responsibility

Chow Man-hoi (Ah Hoi) can't go without smoking, having on average 4 packs of cigarettes a day. One day, whilst enjoying his smuggled cigarette brought from market, amid clouds of smoke he reminisced about times with his former wife. They divorced about 10 odd years ago, but having been together as couple entails a debt of gratitude and he felt sorry for his former wife who, like himself, has been tortured with mental illness for half a lifetime. They also have 2 sons who suffer psychiatric problems. Ah Hoi especially feels that his shoulders bear an immense burden, helplessly sighing that :my life is really a sin.;

Ah Hoi and his Indonesian wife now live at a flat of merely 250 sq. ft. of non-public housing in Shek Kip Mei. In his worn, yellowish white shirt and with a pair of brownish spectacles held together by a red wire, he touched the lopsided frames and then said with a smile,:money is all for the rent; how would I have any spare for my glasses?;

 

Both being unemployed, Ah Hoi and his wife rely on public assistance in the sum of HK$6,500 per month together for living. Despite the fact that the rental, at HK$3,200 per month, costs him a substantial amount, Ah Hoi insists on living in Shek Kip Mei because it is more convenient for him to visit his exwife,who resides in the nearby Pak Tin Estate.

Ah Hoi, now approaching 60, was born and bred in a middle-class family in which his parents ran a business of trading jades. In his 20・s, Ah Hoi, not having a very good relationship with his father, decided not to rely on his family anymore. He chose to become an air-conditioner technician. At that time he was already earning a much-admired monthly income of HK$6,000.

While establishing his career, Ah Hoi met his now ex-wife in the factory where they worked. Their relationship developed from that of colleagues to lovers, and they got married after 1 year of courtship. Ah Hoi was only 29 then.

 


After a few years of marriage, Ah Hoi found his then-wife becoming more and more emotional. He suspected that she suffered from mental illness. :She cried frequently. She also hit me and scolded me for no reason.; Ah Hoi tried several times to get his wife to see a doctor, but she nevertheless said it was he who had mental problems. Ah Hoi's relatives, knowing his mood was severely affected by his wife, sent him to the Castle Peak Hospital, where he stayed for 2 months. After being discharged, Ah Hoi still believed he was 100% normal and it was his wife who was sick.

When he returned home, he tried again to bring his wife to the doctor; this time he succeeded. She was also diagnosed to have mental illness. During the period he accompanied his wife to receive treatment, Ah Hoi gradually accepted the fact that he was also a patient......

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Ching Wah - Two sweet dreams beyond nightmares

Ching Wah suffers from schizophrenia. She's been on medication for years and she says the drugs give her nightmares. Often, she dreams that she's lost and can't find her way home.

:Maybe it's because I took a wrong turn when I was younger,; she says as she lights up a cigarette in her cubicle apartment.

:I miss my daughter,; she takes a drag, then reaches with practiced hands into a drawer and pulls out a plastic bag containing a scarf, notebook and pen. It is at least two months to Christmas, but she's already bought her girl presents.

:I chose a blue headscarf. My daughter likes blue,; she says with a touch of pride.

Her daughter is 15 years-old, who is a child from a previous marriage. Ah Wah quit school in Form Three and took on a variety of jobs. She's worked in a factory, as a dance hostess, as a stock market agent, as a salesgirl.

A friend introduced her to her former husband. They dated, got married and she became pregnant. Life seemed to be working out well. :I was pregnant when I divorced him because he had an affair.;She was preparing to welcome her baby in the world when Ah Wah discovered that her husband was having multiple affairs.

:I loved him but he didn・t love me.;Her pride dented, she decided to leave him. She was 31.

 

:I still love my husband.;

Seventeen years after her divorce, she's still unable to let go of the past. The breakdown of her marriage affected Ah Wah deeply. Days after the split, she plunged into depression and was unable to sleep. She started hearing voices in her head. Her imagination ran wild. She was an emotional wreck and often took her frustrations out on her young daughter.

She contemplated slitting her wrists or swallowing poison, but always managed to pull back from the brink of suicide. Once, she attempted to throw herself off a bridge but was stopped by a security guard. Her former husband pressured her to see a doctor and she was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was admitted to a mental hospital and had to hand her daughter to her ex-spouse.

During her over one year in hospital, Ah Wah had few visitors. Even her own parents didn't bother to see her. As a fourth child, Ah Wah always had trouble fighting for attention from her mother. She thinks her parents look down on her because she lacks a good education and doesn't have a real career.

When she was discharged from hospital, Ah Wah tried to contact her mother, only to be rebuffed. But the final insult came when her mother forbade Ah Wah's siblings from revealing her address and phone number to Ah Wah. Mother and daughter are no longer in touch. All Ah Wah knows is that her parents live in Lam Tin.

She spent two years in a halfway house. She found a job as a parking attendant but quit because of a dispute with a colleague. She's not worked since then and lives on her public assistance of $3,000. She moved to her present room in Shamshuipo eight years ago.

Her days follow the same pattern. She wakes up early, goes to the park for some morning exercise, then to the market for some shopping. In the afternoon, she has tea at a nearby cafe. On days when she doesn't feel like going out, Ah Wah watches television or VCDs inside her cubicle. It is as if she's living the life of a retiree.

:Actually, I feel very empty inside. Time passes so slowly. It can get lonely. I sleep 7, or 8 hours a day, but there are another 16, 17 hours to kill.;

48 year-old Ah Wah views her divorce as
the biggest blemish in her life and the estranged relationship with her mother as her biggest regret.

She doesn't want the same thing to happen with her own daughter. They've not lived together since the girl was four-and-a-half years old, and only meet once a month. It's hard building a meaningful relationship. Her daughter would often taunt her for being overweight. She also spent long periods ignoring her. Ah Wah had to send letters, cards, apology notes and make endless phone calls, in order to win over the child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, on her daughter's birthday, Ah Wah would send over a cake and card. But this year,something unforgettable happened. After waiting for 15 years, her daughter finally told her,

:I love you.;

:She finally felt my love for her.;

Ah Wah is realistic about her future. She's poorly educated and doesn't have many skills, so she thinks she'll be on welfare for a long time. But she does have two wishes she hopes will come true.

:I want to tell my mother that I hope our relationship won't stay the way it was 10 years ago. And I want to tell my daughter that I hope that when she is finally independent, she'll take me out for a cup of tea.;

Are they listening?


 

Fong Kam-ho - The best psychiatrist

Kam-Ho's 'home' is a suite of 100 square feet; her neighbours are mostly prostitutes and secondhand goods traders, but if compared to the cubicle she lived in for decades before, it is indeed a great improvement.

The suite was messy - the ashtray that lay before the.KwunYum・portrait was full of cigarette butts - The room has no window but cold air kept draining from the air-conditioner. Her little dog jumped happily here and there on the bed, and slept on its owner's slim thighs when it was tired. This harmonious and peacefu portrait the Kam-ho had tried so hard to create would have deceived others, had not the wrinkled face and grey hair betrayed her past.

The husband of her first marriage was a drug addict. Both of them used drugs and this had almost ruined Kam-ho. When the two separated, her ex-husband had the custody of their two children. Since

was inferior to others, all her friends had their own family and lives; she did not contact any of them in order to let the past good image of Kam-ho remain in their minds.

Health, career, marriage, children and friends, all were lost one by one. Luckily, when Kam-ho was hospitalized for her mental illness, she met her best friend V one who had suffered a stroke and is now having difficulty in mobility. Kam-ho then spent most of her time taking care of this good friend. :I am only comfortable in making friends with those who also suffer one way or another; we could talk freely because we know each other's situation.;

One day, her friend told her that there was a dog on sale. She bought it for hree hundred dollars, but not without worry V could she take care of it when she herself was on the verge of collapse? Later she found out that the dog was as miserable as her. Its previous owner had not cared for it; the dog had been stolen then sold to others. This piece of .stolen goods・ had finally found its way to Kam-ho. It is now the centre of Kam-ho's universe. Every time Kam-ho was hit by her depression, this little dog was there to console her, even more faithful than her family members. :I was happy each time when I saw it.;


The dog has released Kam-ho from her distress. She goes outside more, for even strangers will converse with her because of the dog; and to the park for other dog owners will discuss with her tips for keeping dogs. The little dog is a healer of her heart,making her realizes that there are people in this world who need Kam-ho; and that she has to reconnect to
this world again.

Before she got the illness, she had a job and a social life as normal as everybody else. Since she was ill, she has not been working for years. Yet she still holds the belief that she is a person of use. :Although I am not highly educated, if I have the chance to work again, I would do my best to serve.;

Now the biggest wish of Kam-ho is to get public housing, so that she would have a place of her own,a bathroom, a kitchen and a living environment that is not as lousy as her present one. She hopes that she could have a brand new start following the change in
her living environment.

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Ng Yin-chow - A hang over left behind by the prior generation

Still clutching to a can of beer, Ng Yin-chow is a drunken man. Memory of how his hot-tempered father scolded him with foul language and kicked him out of home came back to his mind. Though his father has passed away, he is still the person Ah Chow hates most in the world. Ironically, Yin-chow is now following in Dad's footsteps. He is a mental patient and has become alcoholic in hope of healing the heartache and pain of losing his family.

Yin-chow, 56, is the eldest son in his family. He had to take care of his three younger siblings. He was forced to drop out of school when he was a Primary Two pupil because his family was too poor. He had to join his father selling dried fruits and began his life as a hawker. When business was not good, he had to go back home in fear of being beaten by his drunken father or being forced to sleep at back alley as punishment.

Ah Chow still remembers. Whenever he talks about his father he exploded and said: :Why was he always drinking? Why couldn't he make money?......

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Lam Kin-ting & Wu Kai-cheong - Memories of living together in cubicle

Wu Kai-cheong and Lam Kin-ting used to be good neighbours in a packed cubicle apartment in Jordan.

Ah Cheong is a cigarette addict and can smoke up to six packs each day. When his money ran out in those days, Ah Ting would give him a loan, or buy him coffee to numb his cravings. The two men also share one thing in common Vthey're both people with mental illness.

Ah Cheong is the quieter one, withdrawn and has little words. One year, on his birthday, he returned home to a commotion. One of the cubicles had been broken into and the occupant insisted the birthday boy was the culprit. The man attacked Ah Cheong with an umbrella, and only stopped after Ah Ting called the police. The beating was so severe that Ah Cheong had to be hospitalized for two months.

They lived in a 700 square feet apartment, along with some 30 men. Each occupant had a personal space the size of a single bed. A lot happened in those tiny cubicles - smoking, drinking binges, gambling, drugs. When Ah Cheong was admitted to hospital, Ah Ting became quiet and kept things to himself. He was terrified that his neighbours would find out about his psychiatric problems and bully him......


 

 

Sung Man-man - Insistence beyond .I don・t know・

As I entered Sung Man-man's tiny cubicle apartment, which was 40-square-feet, windowless, stuffy and grim. The room stank as a ragged T-shirt and a pair of shabby jeans was hanging on the wall.

The odor has become part of Man-man's life. Hiding in the boiling room, he in his bed, allowing the sweat on his body stay with him and enjoyed the last interest of his life - watching TV. Man-man is a television addict. When pay TV company, NOW TV, introduced a one-year free of charge special package deal, he signed up immediately.

The brand new TV decoder is like misplacement in his broken cabinet. But it is Man-man's source of comfort. Everyday, he will keep surfing the various channels. Documentaries, dramas, news, travel shows, he watches them all. Yet, when being asked to name his favorite programme, he will struggle to find an answer. Does he really enjoy watching TV? Or is it just a mindless past-time?

At first glance, he offers other an honest impression for his rectangular shaped spectacles and dark skin. But prominent eagle tattoos on his shoulders and a set of tobacco-stained teeth hint an extraordinary past......

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Chan Chak-ki - Add some colours and flavour to life

Ah Ki enjoys food and always does despite his illness. When Ah Ki was young, his father sold sugar in Guangzhou. Ah Ki and his younger brother Ah Ming led a happy life. They went through the good times and bad times together. The modest income from their father's business funded the brothers' schooling, and allowed Ah Ki to study in a secondary school.

In those days a junior secondary school education was deemed more than sufficient. Unfortunately the Cutural Revoluation began and Ah Ki, who was wellbuilt, was sent to work in a farm in Sha Tau Kok.

Ah Ki had never done any hard work before and he could not stand it. His skin began to crack as his legs were constantly soaked in water. His love for food did not make farming any easier for him. One day while no one was overseeing him, he climbed over the fences at the border, and escaped to Hong Kong on his own.

When Ah Ki first arrived in Hong Kong, he met a kind chicken farmer in Sheung Shui, who helped him find his cousin who was a Hong Kong resident. His cousin in turn helped him get a job as a carpenter's apprentice.

Ah Ki could not even make a chair, and was always being de-moted by his boss who thought, :Never mind. If you can cook, do the cooking, or delivery or cleaning.;......

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Mok Moon-shing - It・s hard to let go of the past

Ah Shing had just moved in a new flat at Fortune Estate in Cheung Sha Wan. His son whom he had not seen for a long time suddenly visited him one day. His son said: :I've brought a few things for you,; passing him three statues representing fortune, prosperity and long life.

As Ah Shing looked at the ever-smiling statues .Fook Luk Shou・ painful memories of time he spent with his ex-wife flashed back.

When he was 18, Ah Shing met his wife who was a new arrival from the mainland in Hong Kong while he was working at a tailor shop. Shortly after their marriage, she gave birth to their two sons. As the breadwinner, Ah Shing switched to working as a waiter at a restaurant in hope of making more money for his family.

In the 1990s, the catering industry was flourishing and Ah Shing was very busy. He worked 12 hours everyday and only had three days off every month......

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Ah Man - There are lots of people whose life is much bitterer than mine

In 2003, with the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong, Hong Kong people were living in fear. Ah Man once went to a public toilet, she suddenly found that there was a bloodstain at her right leg. The bloodstain was not difficult to remove, but the shadow of horror could not be easily removed from her heart. Whenever she went to the washroom, she felt like she was on a battlefield. The disinfectant became her weapons to kill the enemy. "Whenever I go to the washroom, I will spray on the cover of the flush toilet and the handle of the doors. I have to spray, spray and spray." She examined toilet carefully, sterilized and inspected it again and again. She repeated doing so for several times and ensured it was 100% clean before using it.

Gradually Ah Man repeats her actions in her work. Even if there are many documents and envelopes inside, Ah Man would widely open each of the envelopes and look into it again and again so as to ensure nothing is inside before daring to throw such envelopes away.

Encouraged by her friends, Ah Man consulted a private practice doctor who diagnosed her as suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ah Man followed the instruction of doctor obediently and her condition was controlled. Although she was brave enough to confront such illness, at the very beginning, Ah Man dared not to mention her illness to friends and family. "I don't want to be regarded as crazy!"

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Lau Tak-keung - Start a new chapter in another home

Lau Tak-keung is slightly mentally retarded and easily bored. Disagreements with his family led him to move out of his parents・ home and live on his own. But after more than 30 years of being surrounded by people, Ah Keung couldn・t get used to being alone. He・s now trying to find a job and hopes to start his own family.
His room is functional, devoid of any decorations. A cupboard, a table, a bed sagging under the weight of odds and ends, and a television set. The TV takes pride of place inside the tiny space, along with a radio and a telephone. He gets excited every time the phone rings.

:I like picking up calls, it helps ease the boredom!;Yet the telephone is also a reminder of an unhappy incident with his father. When he was still living at home, Ah Keung had a shouting match with his then-girlfriend over the
phone. The din disturbed his dad who was asleep at that time. He stormed out and threatened to strike Ah Keung. Such run-ins occurred regularly. Ah Keung had trouble getting along with his entire family......

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Wong Sai-wing - Noises from gambling

Tortured by mental illness, Wong Sai-wing had been bothered by imaginary noises and ear pain during many sleepless nights for five years. His world is occupied by noises which sounded 'wee wee' and 'woo woo'. He could only sleep on his bed and kept banging his bed when he felt fed up with these noises which had been haunting him for years.

In July 2006, he was admitted to Kwai Chung Hospital for drug overdoes. Sai-wing felt like he was being imprisoned, when
doctors and nurses closed the door of his ward. He felt fearful and kept repeating asking himself: :What have I doing wrong? Why lock me up in here? What's going to happen to me?;

He smelt something bad, as he entered his ward. He said faeces of other people were left under his bed, but medical workers refused to help him clear it. The smell was so strong that he kept vomiting and lost appetite for anything. He yelled and screamed to release his anger. When doctors heard him screaming, medical workers rushed into his ward and tied his hands and legs up. They also injected tranquillizer to calm him down. He started to sob after he was forced to stay in bed and memories of being in jail when he was young came back to his head......

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Kitty & Cheng Tse-chair - Tell you a jokeK

Yen Chow Bridge in Shamshuipo is a home for the homeless. One side is littered with makeshift beds belonging to some Vietnamese lads. The other is inhabited by newly-weds, Kitty and Ah Chair. Both are people with mental illness.

It is three o'clock in the afternoon and Kitty is home alone, playing with her two puppies and ten kittens.
She is letting loose a torrent of complaints against her Vietnamese neighbours when... An elderly gentleman walks by, Kitty's expression changes. She picks up the puppie' water bowl andempties it on the old man. In a rage, she yells, :How dare you come here? Move!;

Bewildered and angry, the old man shouts at her......

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Wong Lee-ping - All alone in a sweet home

Fate has been playing jokes on Ah Ping.

Being the only girl in the family, she is lively,cheerful, gentle and obedient. She loves to be clean and tidy, to keep herself beautiful and enjoys cooking. Her greatest wish is to take care of a family of her own. Not that she wants to live in luxury, all she wants is to raise her daughter and to take care of the daily routines of her family; just a home to go back to. She has no ambition or any drive for success, nothing but the humble
wish of a woman.

Ah Ping has all the qualifications for a good wife V the dumplings made by her skilful hands could delight the stomachs of all those who have a taste for them; and her moon-liked eyes are so revealing that they almost paint the words .a very good housewife・ on
her face. But fate has been careless; so careless that it has forgotten to give her a husband that would treasure and cherish her; and worse still, it has given her a wanton
daughter, one who has made her homeless.

Ah Ping, who came from Tianjin, married at 24 and gave birth to her daughter at 25. But failing to escape from the .seven-year itch・ curse her marriage ended into a divorce. Fortunately, she thought, she still had a daughter by her side and thus an intact family. When she heard from other fellows of her hometown that Hong Kong was a nice place to be, she got it in mind to have a fresh start with her daughter, and married a complete stranger from Hong Kong just to get a Hong Kong Identity Card......

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Yau Mung-ching - Books are the only friends

:An empty dream at midnight faints; Joy and laughter are in vain.;

These verses were written by Yau Mung Ching, a 73-year-old man as a reflection of his life. He lives on CSSA in a partitioned room which is less than 60 sq. ft. Yau has a collection of more than 2,000 Chinese poetry, literature and history books, many of which are very valuable, out-of-print, string-bound books. In spite of the huge number, they are all categorized and wellorganized in various plastic bags.

:I've just spent $400 on a hardback set of 'Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government'. I know I don't have enough space for itKbut it's so valuable that I just had to have it; he said, pointing to his new acquisition, whilst taking plain congee and vegetables for supper.

Over the past thirty years, Yau has been suffering from mental illness due to an obsession with books when he was much younger. He used to spend all his time, days and nights, reading Chinese poetry and literature, and eventually this obsession led to his mental exhaustion......


 

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Society for Community Organization

Address: 3/F, Princess Margaret Road 52, Homantin, Kowloon.

Tel:2713 9165 / 2307 9165

Website: www.soco.org.hk email :soco@pacific.net.hk

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Help the People with Mental Illness Downloard application form Download the fprm of the project

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After the exhibition...

Homeless II - Photo Exhibition of Street-sleepers

Five years ago, SoCO presented the photos of street-sleepers for the very first time. Today after five years, some of these street-sleepers have their living improved, yet some of them still wandering at the edge of homeless. SoCO captures their life again with some new street-sleepers telling why they come to bottom of valley in their life.

Date: 16 June (Sat) to 21 June (Thu) 2007

Time: 10:00am to 10:00pm

Venue: Exhibition area E3 and E4, Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

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