故事分享

這裡有過來人的故事、年青人的心聲、社會各界人士的觀察與及其他與心理健康有關的分享,希望藉此讓你更關注自己、身邊人及社會的心理健康。

致:在抑鬱裡掙扎的你

5711257843_3f82b7e0ea_o香港社會對精神病患的態度雖然比以前開放,而且越來越多人關注精神健康,但是社會上仍然有不少人對精神病存有不少偏見和誤解,例如精神病患者被標籤為暴力、有攻擊性的危險人物,導致仍有不少受精神病困擾的人因為這些社會強加的標籤而不敢求醫。因此,我希望分享我的故事,打破沉默。

在親朋戚友的眼中,我是一個愛笑愛說話的陽光女孩;而從樣貌上,我也只是個普通人,與其他的年輕人無異。可是外貌不能讓你知道我心底裏有多討厭自己學業成績永遠都不夠其他人好,而開朗的面孔亦不能讓你知道我有多少次想衝出馬路,由得車撞死自己的衝動。所以當身邊的人得知我患有抑鬱症,他們大多數都感到驚訝。反而我自己對這事一點也不感到驚訝,現在回想過去,抑鬱的症狀一早已經出現,我當時應該就要處理這個問題,可惜我沒有去做。

尋求協助的勇氣

如果兩年前沒有因為懷疑自己有專注力失調/過度活躍症(ADHD)而找精神專科醫生,我都不知道我會再拖多久才會去找我多年前應該要得到的協助。我明白主動求醫是個不容易作的決定,因為這個決定代表著:1)承認自己的問題、2)需要其他人的幫助,但這並不代表你是弱者。萬事起頭難,踏出第一步背後需要莫大的勇氣,而決定要走這段康復之路已經是勇敢的表現。

經過醫生的診斷後,我ADHD的情況得到改善,我感受到廿年來缺乏的專注力,有一種我從腦袋奪回控制權的感覺,人生第一次終於能夠專心做好每一件事。更高興的是,我在第二個學期的成績有顯著的進步,令我對自己的期望、要求提高,從而壓力亦逐漸增大。不知不覺間,一個歪曲的想法在腦海開始浮現:「既然我已經看過醫生吃了藥,我就要把書讀好,追回在中學已虛度的光陰。」這個想法同時意味著之後的日子不可以讓自己行差踏錯,因為只要其中一科的等級比上一個學期低,我就不能維持之前的成績,所以一直以來因學業成績壓抑著的負面情緒終於在那時拖垮了我,觸發了醞釀已久的抑鬱症也是意料中事。

當時的我只要一見到成績下滑,即使輕微失手,自己便開始責備自己,對自己說出很多苛刻的說話,例如「由細到大你都係咁冇用,不如死咗佢算啦,你嘅存在根本浪費緊資源」,自我打擊令我失去生存動力,而情緒低落到天天都在哭,直到某一天我發現哭泣已經不足以宣洩情感上的痛苦,於是我選擇了自我傷害去處理這些情緒。每次內心感到悲痛,我自自然然地去傷害自己。自傷能夠帶給我只是短暫的釋放,未能帶我脫離痛苦,但我仍然繼續傷害自己,除了我認為自己值得懲罰,另外是自傷成為了我每天必做之事。可是,每次傷害自己之後,我更加覺得自己是個失敗者,令到自己病情越來越嚴重。我知道我需要把這事盡快告訴醫生和輔導員,但我覺得我辜負了他們的努力,不值得他們的幫助,不過我慶幸我最後鼓起勇氣向他們坦白,不然我現在都不會在康復中。

你,並不孤單

決定要面對、處理自己的病非易,尤其是你認為自己無藥可救,或不值得康復,但我希望你知道精神病是真實存在的病,而病並非可以靠意志來控制,你亦無須因為病而發生的問題而感到罪疚,因為生病不是你的錯,你是值得得到治療和協助。你可能需要極多時日才能從抑鬱症中康復過來,不過我想你知道你不是孤軍作戰,我仍然在康復中,每天仍然都要對抗抑鬱,而且我相信你身邊的人會一路上支持你。最後千萬不要認為抑鬱或其他精神病患是不能治好,我剛剛好已經有一年沒有自傷,康復對你、對我不是一件遙不可及的事,是有可能達到的目標。希望我能夠啟發到你踏出尋求協助的第一步。

 

Sandy Ma
二十出頭大學生,曾修讀心理學副學士,現修讀英國語文研究。
閒時喜愛與朋友遠足,間中也會寫關於專注力不足/過度活躍症(ADHD)與抑鬱症的文章在社交平台分享。

Original English Version

To those who are depressed and struggles to seek help

The Hong Kong society seems to be more open on the discussion of the mental illness, but this topic still remains as a taboo for daily conversation. The stigmatization of the mental illness makes people to avoid talking about it, but we need to stop this. We need to start talking about it. We need to stop this stigma from holding people back to get help. That’s why I’m writing this to break the silence by giving my story a voice.

I was diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a tendency of depression about two years ago. I was struggling with ADHD at schools and in daily life for more than 10 years. The issues of inattention and hyperactivity haunted me for such a long period of time, deep down, those issues must have terribly crushed my mind and soul.

I can vaguely remember I started to have symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts since secondary school, but I didn’t seek help. One of the reasons was the older generations’d like to say “others have it worse”, so I shouldn’t magnify this teeny-tiny problems because there are starving children in Africa. Also, I should not showing any emotions, like crying, because they say it’s “a sign of weakness”. The invalidation of emotions didn’t make me feel better, so I subconsciously repressed my sadness and those suicidal thoughts every time I experienced them. But it just made it worse. It likes dumping bags of emotions and stuffing them into a room. I never cleaned them and it became a big pile of repressed emotions, until one day, the room didn’t have enough space and it exploded. But still, I didn’t seek help.

The self-doubt which have been existed for years finally erupted and broke me down, after the release of GPA for the first semester in the community college. The feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness started to creep in and hit my self- image hard. I just couldn’t bear the emotion pain that hid inside my body, I needed something, or anything to make the waves of painful feelings go away. So I decided to hurt myself. Self-harm was my go-to coping skill, and later it became a ritual, an addiction. I couldn’t stop myself, that’s when I realized I really needed help.

Choosing recovery isn’t easy, nobody said it was easy. But it’s possible and I’m glad that I made that decision, because I’m alive, my heart is still beating and I’m still breathing. If I didn’t seek the professional help from my school counsellor and my psychiatrist, I wouldn’t be here today to share my story, to encourage you to reach out. They helped me through the first two years of this purgatory of depression. I’m still recovering and there’s long way ahead. My condition is unstable sometimes, but I’m a better me than the one two years ago. Recovery is possible for me, so it’s for you.

Some of you may have experienced the battle with your own mind. The self-inflicting thoughts held you back from reaching for professional help, saying things like “self-harm won’t kill” or “you don’t deserve help”. But you are not. You deserve help. You worth it. I understand how difficult to admit you have a problem, to admit that you need someone’s help, but it’s all okay. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to reach for help. I know recovery is not easy because you have to choose the choice over and over again, but it is possible. I know all these because I’ve been there, just like many other people who are struggling with depression in this world. Remember, you will never be alone.

Sandy Ma
A 20-something university student. Proud ADHDer.
Studied psychology at community college and fell in love with it.
Advocate breaking the stigma of mental illness in the Hong Kong society

我對香港教育的見解

6945017312_2b2b82e60a_o我在十四歲時離開香港到加拿大升學,發現香港與加拿大在教育和家庭方面的關注點十分不同。雖然我已不是在香港居住,但仍有閱讀香港新聞。身為教育心理學的博士生,我十分關注學童的心理健康。近年,香港有多名學生自殺身亡,故此想分享一下我在香港期間的一些觀察。

在香港的一個月裡,我感覺到那種像要完成不可能的任務的巨大壓力。雖然我不是高中生或大學生,但單單是聽到或看到社會和家庭給予學生的期望已感到透不過氣來。當讀到南華早報報導中學文憑試優異生的故事時,我感覺到他們所考取的成績就是一般家庭所要求的標準。一些遭逢不幸但仍然表現理想的優異生固然可以鼓勵其他有類似情況的學生,但另一方面,應屆考生也有可能因此而對於自己的表現自慚形穢。其實,是否可以報導一些表現平平,但仍能入讀心儀科目的故事?

讓學生按自己的興趣及志向訂立目標

在加拿大,我的工作會接觸到有不同困難的學生,如自閉症、讀寫障礙、專注力不足及過度活躍症或是焦慮症的學生。他們或未能得到完美分數,可都擁有個人目標與興趣;他們或未能進入最理想的學校,但我們會一起按著SMART原則(具體、可量度、可完成、實際、具時限性)訂立目標,這比追求完美分數更可行實際。研究指出,擁有SMART目標對一個人計劃將來更有建設性,所以我會與學生們討論他們的興趣及志向,包括一些一般人看來非傳統及具穩定收入的工作,例如藝術創作。

在香港期間,我接收到社會所發出的訊息就是進入大學以外的院校都不值得自豪。父母不會跟別人談論子女在大專或職業訓練學校的成就,而有一些父母深信進入大學是成功與獲得穩定收入的單一途徑。誠然,某程度上入讀大學是最直接的人生方向,但並不是成功的唯一方法。就算進入頂尖大學,亦不代表會立即獲得職場所需的知識及技巧。入讀其他大專院校或職訓學校亦有助於在未來工作上取得成就。此外,很重要的一點,是父母要明白子女的興趣未必與典型收入穩定的職業相符(例如醫生、律師、工程師)。提供一個開放、包容及安全的家庭環境,讓子女發掘及發展自己的興趣及專長尤為重要。多與子女溝通,讓他們知道無論他們選擇的是何種課程或院校,只要是他們真心喜愛的,父母都會無條件支持。一個人能對明天所發生的事有期盼總比在壓力底下擔憂好。

無論是在家庭或是教育上,我期望香港社會都能對何謂「標準」採取較宏觀的態度。大學的收生準則不一定要只根據考試成績而定,考生如能達到過往收生的平均成績,在課外活動上能表現出領導才能、良好的溝通技巧及語言能力,這比起背誦能力及應試技巧更能全面表現學生的能力,而學生亦不需追求完美的5**。

 

Enoch Leung
加拿大麥基爾大學 (McGill University)
人文學院教育心理學博士生

Original English Version

My Insights to Hong Kong Education

I have left Hong Kong’s social environment when I was about 14 years old. Before I left, I was studying in an international school. I just finished Grade 9 when I switched to a boarding school in Canada. Upon reaching Canada, I have realized a significant difference in the emphasis of education and family. While I am not residing in Hong Kong anymore, I still have family here so I still read current news in Hong Kong. As a doctoral student studying educational psychology, I am interested in students’ psychological well-being. In the past few years, there have been many students in Hong Kong dying by suicide. Here are some of my observations during my visits to Hong Kong.

I would like to highlight the emphasis of education in Hong Kong. During my one month visit in Hong Kong, I felt an incredible amount of pressure to achieve the unachievable. Even though I am not a high school or undergraduate student, just reading and listening to all the expectations from the society and families was too much. It was getting to my head but I am fortunate enough to be able to leave Hong Kong for my schooling. This can’t be said for other students who have to endure such societal pressures. When star performers and DSE exam grades were talked about in the South China Morning Post, it gave me the perception that this is what local families perceive is to be the standard. On one hand, providing the background of the students who have had unfortunate pasts can enhance the self-esteem and belief for future students to understand that it is still a possibility to do well despite their circumstances. On the other hand, it is possible to perceive these events in a negative, self-pitying light for current students who did not accomplish equally as well. While I was reading the news on these students, I kept on wondering if there were any examples of students who achieved average grades, but who were equally capable of getting accepted into their program of interest. In Canada, I work with students with various difficulties, such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety disorders. My students may not be able to achieve such perfect grades, but they themselves have their personal goals in mind that shape their interests. Most of them understand that their grades may not be able to get them into the most idealistic school, but we create more proximal SMART goals that are realistically, more achievable than achieving perfect scores.

One of the interesting ideas I have encountered here in Hong Kong is the illusion of stability in specific jobs. For example, doctors, lawyers, accountants, businessmen and women, and engineers, are all job fields that I have heard being recommended over and over. Yet, these job areas have an abundant amount of stress that come along with it that is not equally brought up in social media. Current students need to understand that social comparison amongst their peers may not be a healthy way of pursuing their future. Research shows that SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific, are goals that are more constructive in planning one’s future. With my students, we discuss what interests and passions my students have. I always plan to drag out the student’s own interests, including ones that may be thought of as untraditional. Such interests include jobs in the helping profession, creative arts, and other jobs that families may not easily perceive as stable and financially well-off. I also encourage students to not put such emphasis on the postsecondary institution’s fame. I understand that the fame of one’s school may have influence on the amount of opportunities and funding that the school may provide. At the same time, students also have their own responsibility in searching for such opportunities. Recently, I have had tutor mentors at one of my workplaces come from different universities. As their team leader in training, I had the opportunity to observe them, and there have been many times where tutor mentors from less well-known universities have shown more advanced skills when interacting with our students with learning difficulties. All this to say, going to the ‘best’ university or school is not to be equated as suddenly being knowledgeable and acquiring the skills necessary for the workforce.

While being here, the message I’m receiving from this society is that going to any postsecondary institutions less than a university-level is nothing to be proud of. Parents don’t talk about their children’s success in colleges or technical schools to their friends or other family members. I have asked some parents here in Hong Kong, and some of them do believe that going to university is the only way to find their own future success and be financially stable. I would agree to an extent that going to university is the most straight forward way of going about one’s life, but this is not the only way in finding success. Technical schools and colleges can provide job success. Understandably, many parents are exposed to success stories from doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, and businessmen and women. It is less common to hear parents talking about their children’s success in culinary school, other fine art education, or even in helping professions such as a social worker. But one thing that is important to understand is that their children’s passion and interests may not be in line with a typical financially stable job. It is important to understand that families need to be unconditionally supportive for their children, and not just bring up typical job examples such as doctors or lawyers. Bringing up examples that are less popular may give a sense of inclusivity and provide a safe space for their children to discover their interests, even if it may not make their families stereotypically ‘proud’, as when families brag to their relatives and friends when their children gets admitted into the medical program or an accounting program. In this collectivistic culture where cohesiveness, pride, shame, and family are emphasized, it is important for families to be inclusive in their verbal and non-verbal behaviour, communicating to their children that they will have their unconditional support with any program or postsecondary education they personally are interested in. It is, to my knowledge, better to look forward waking up tomorrow doing what interests the students rather than dreading and being stressed thinking about the next day.

One of the last few things I’ve noticed during my stay here is the difference in communication in families. When I take a walk outside here in Hong Kong, the communication between parents and their kids are very direct and have a purpose or goal in mind. On the other hand, in Canada, communication is very open and quite often, there is no purpose or goal in mind but simply an interesting fact, curiosity, or deeper and more personal issues. Using myself as an example, I talk with my mother quite a bit. Many people may think talking with their parents is a very childish, immature, or uncomfortable act. On the contrary, in addition to my friends who are there to actively listen to my problems, I perceive that I always have someone to care for me, my mother. Most of the time, I don’t want a solution from her. I usually just want a person to hear me vent. Some students may find communicating such personal issues with their parents as childish or uncomfortable, but there should be an increase in communication within the family. Communication doesn’t have to be forced but the perception of having family members to rely on and discuss without judgment provides a safe space for the students to vent. Most statements I hear about students from parents is their school success, grades, university admittance, job planning, or even the socioeconomic status of their kid’s partner. When hearing this, the only things I remember are things about academics, because of this huge emphasis from this society to excel in academic achievement. I take this time for families to provide open communication within their families.

As an outsider that visits Hong Kong from time to time, I would hope that Hong Kong’s society would be less rigorous with their standards. Admission into universities are not necessarily based on examination results alone. Instead of aiming for the perfect 5** scores, aiming for the mean scores of previous admittance scores and focusing more on extra-curricular activities that promote the framework of becoming a good team leader, having adequate communication skills, and having other technical skills such as language, may allow for a more well-rounded application and showcase the schools that the individual has more than the ability to memorize and understand the tricks and method of the exams.

Enoch Leung

香港中學文憑試優異生的自白書:

請人性化本港的教育制度

5843577306_1a98149efb_o香港中學文憑試(DSE)就像是人生中一場只此一次的賭博,十八年來的努力為的就只是這一張成績單。分數決定了我們的將來,亦定義了我們是誰。

縱使很多人告訴我們「求學不是求分數」,但無人會相信,因為教育制度告訴我們的是另一回事。就算大學聯招已加入較全面的評估方法,例如其他經驗及成就或個人陳述,我們都知道,最後文憑試的分數才至關重要,每一分都可以改變結果。其他因素如面試表現、才能、性格、創意等,亦只不過在兩名同分的申請人之間才發揮作用。大學的獎學金計算學生擁有的星星數目、大學招生部門自豪的公佈各課程取錄學生的成績中位數、媒體往往將公眾的注意力放在公開試的狀元上……凡此種種只會進一步助長「沒有東西比分數更重要」的扭曲心態,所以順理成章分數是唯一的奮鬥目標。

香港的招生制度應重視分數以外的元素

我很幸運地有機會嘗試過英國和美國的入學申請程序,比較之下香港的評估機制的確是很狹隘。要在英國面試和UCAS個人陳述中脫穎而出,個人必須學習結合學科課程以外的知識和時事,從而突顯你對有關事情勤學好問的態度。還有美國Commonapp系統,論述題目都集中在個人經歷,如失敗和成功、我們的抱負、世界觀和愛好。它著重個人的獨特性,及學生將可以如何在課堂、學校或是社會上作出貢獻,這些都與成績無關。我這樣比較不是為了說明外國制度有多完美,而應該在香港採用,我希望的是當中的重要元素能包含在本港大學聯招中。

每年我看到成千上萬有無限潛能的學生被拒之高等教育的門外,只因他們不適合以傳統的方法去評估他們的才能。我雖然不認識他們,但我有如看見朋友被社會嚴厲審判,難過他們被剝奪繼續進修的機會,只因他們未能在一場考試中突圍。

現有考試制度扭曲了個人價值

我可能是DSE的優異生,但我知道我只是幸運地掌握了遊戲規則。現在回想起來,我是多麼的可憐。多年來我所做的是背誦事實、完成歷屆試題以找出問題的規律,以及牢牢記著評分標準,掌握了所謂的「考試策略」。直到準備海外入學申請的那時開始,我才當頭棒喝,明白真正的學習應該是怎樣的。學校應該是容讓建立好奇心和自由探索知識的發展地,畢業生應該是帶著滿腔對知識的渴求和應用知識的熱誠離開校園,但是一個以考試為本的教育制度做的正好剛剛相反。

學生犧牲了夢想、熱情和時間,為要滿足教育制度的要求,令很多人在年幼時已經厭倦學習。可是,這制度所帶來的影響更為深遠。對學生而言,我們就如倒模工廠的製成品,僅僅以DSE分數作為標籤記號。這些都限制了我們的身份認同,成為一個冰冷、無情感的個體,經常被困於自我存在價值的危機,不斷地問自己 — 我們是誰?生命的目的是什麼?我的價值是什麼?對社會而言,它扭曲了個人能力的定義,並限制了人於「考試策略」上,這完全無助於訓練學生成為推動社會進步的終身學習者。

社會應該是多樣化的,不應只有一群讀書精英。大學是培育社會未來精英的地方,因此應該揉合不同類型、擁有各種興趣、個性和才能的學生。我衷心希望大學的取錄標準能人性化對待學生,而不是把學生的價值看成一堆分數,能考慮到他們的才能、性格、社交能力等。我也寄望政府能為不幸未被大學取錄的學生,提供更多自我提升的路徑,如資助修讀職業導向課程和增加STEM[1]課程。幫助青少年可以幫助他/她的家庭和下一代改善生活。這或許需要龐大的資源,但這都是明智和值得的投資。

 

Jennifer Qiu
在本地小學和中學就讀了12年,在2016年完成了DSE。
她考過ACTs、SATs、TOEFL、IELTS和AP後,申請了英國和美國的大學。
她現在於賓夕法尼亞大學沃頓商學院讀書。

[1] STEM : 代表科學 (Science) 、科技 (Technology) 、工程 (Engineering)及數學(Mathematics)各英文首字母縮略詞。

Original English Version

Confessions of a DSE High scorer:

Humanizing the education system

Trembling hands, tear-filled eyes and pale white lips.
Shivers, sniffles. Followed by yelps of glee or cries of despair.
Like defendants in court, awaiting the judges’ final ruling.

DSE is a one-time bet for life and 18 years of hard work has all been for one thing – this single sheet of paper. This scene on DSE Results Day is no stranger to Hong Kong students — it has been replayed time and time again throughout the course of our lives whenever a test or exam was given out. Marks determine our future and define who we are.

So often are we told “grades aren’t everything”, but no one truly believes that, because the system tells us otherwise. It is a delight to see the JUPAS office emphasizing on a more holistic evaluation of each candidate by introducing components such as Other Experiences and Achievements (OEA) and a personal essay (that isn’t even compulsory). However, at the end of the day, we all know it comes down to DSE marks, and every single mark makes a difference. All other components in the application (interview performance, talents, personalities, creativity etc.) are nothing more than tie-breakers. Universities award scholarships by counting the number of stars you get, admission offices proudly publicize DSE quartiles and medians of each program, agencies rank programs solely based on DSE medians of incoming students, and the media makes it a priority to direct the world’s attention toward the handful of perfect scorers. These only further reinforce the twisted mindset that marks is the only thing that matters, thus it should be the only thing we strive for.

I was lucky enough to have gone through both the UK and US application process, and in comparison, it struck me how narrow and atomistic the Hong Kong university admission system is. To excel in British interviews and UCAS personal statements, one must learn outside the curriculum syllabus and combine subject knowledge with current affairs so to showcase one’s inquisitiveness and broad intellectual interests. In the US Commonapp system, essay questions are centered on personal events, such as incidents of failures and successes, our aspirations, world views and hobbies. Ultimately, the system sought to bring out the uniqueness of the individual and how he or she can contribute to the classroom, the school, and the society in ways irrelevant to grades. My intent of this comparison is not to say overseas systems are perfect and should be transplanted to Hong Kong. But I hope they provide insights into essential elements that can be integrated into the JUPAS.

I know many foreign friends who were admitted into top universities because they’ve done extraordinary things outside classrooms. Every time I see them, I remind them how lucky they are, to have universities that prize students’ talents, leadership skills, creativity and resilience to adversity etc. It’s certainly not true that Hong Kong students are incapable of such qualities — all we can blame is the common belief that every minute spent on doing something other than revision is a minute wasted. I have a close friend who’s a talented debater. Due to the time and devotion required by debate tournaments, her grades started to go downhill. Studying for DSE was not only physically torturing (she slept less than 3 hours each day), but also mentally torturing, because she was hit with regret every day of how she gave up her studies to pursue her passion. And apparently, it was the worst decision ever. But should it be?

Every year, I see thousands of students with undiscovered potential being turned away from the doors of higher education because they fail to fit into the conventional measurement of intelligence. I don’t know them personally, but it pains me to see peers be doomed for life – deprived of further learning opportunities and judged harshly by society simply for their inability to excel in one exam.

I might be a high scorer in the DSE exam, but I know I’m just lucky enough to have understood and mastered the game rules. But in retrospect, what a pathetic player I was. For years, all I’ve done were recite facts, complete past papers repeatedly to identify question patterns, and memorize marking schemes to master the so-called “exam tactics”. Only when preparing for overseas application did it hit me what a true learner should be. Schools should be a place for development of inquisitive minds and free exploration of knowledge, and graduates should leave school with a hunger for more knowledge and an urge to apply what was learnt. But an exam-oriented system does the exact opposite.

Students sacrifice pursuits of dreams, passions and personal time to cater to the needs of the system, and many are already fed up with learning at an early age. But the implications of such a system much more far-reaching. To students, we are made into products of an automated cookie-cutting factory, identifiable only by a number label –– our DSE marks. Due to this way of narrowly confining our identity into one cold, emotionless, number, we are often trapped in an existential crises, constantly asking ourselves – who are we? What is the purpose of life? What am I worth? To society, it distorts people’s definition of human capability and confines it to a passive trait of memorization and “exam tactics”. This fails to train students into curious, motivated life-long learners for the benefit of societal progress.

Society should be diverse, not just a collection of book-smart individuals. Universities breed society’s future elites, thus it should take in a rich mix of different interests, personalities and talents. I sincerely wish that university admission criterion will start by humanizing the student, not confining our worth to a grade, but take into account talents, personalities, interpersonal skills etc. I also place hope in the government to provide more paths of self-enhancement to those who unfortunately slip through the admission system, such as a universal subsidy to take vocational courses, and increase in STEM courses. Helping a teenager helps his or her family and improves the lives of more generations to come. It would require huge capital, but it’s a very worthy and wise investment nonetheless.

 

Jennifer Qiu studied in a local primary and secondary school for 12 years,
and completed the DSE in 2016.
After taking the ACTs, SATs, TOEFL, IELTS and AP,
she applied to universities in the UK and US.
She is now studying at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

打倒考試怪物

4796754315_971867ca7d_o爸爸、媽媽,我終於克服了難關。還記得在一年級時,我曾遇過一隻把我的前途毀掉的怪物──考試。

當年,我成績差得很,每次發成績表都提心吊膽,等著回家被您們罵。可是,您們卻像天使一樣,不打我、不罵我,只是在旁安慰關心我。

當年,我受盡別人的譏笑、責罵。只有您們關心我,憐恤我,在我旁邊教導我,對我不離不棄。您們每天用心地教導我做家課,並幫助我溫習課本,讓我的成績從谷底慢慢地進步。

終於,我的努力和您們的汗水得到了認同。在四年級的結業禮上,我和幾位同學在眾人的目光和掌聲下慢步地走上台上,從校長中接過了「全年總成績第三名」和「飛躍進步獎」。當我在台上看見您們時,我隱隱看見您們的淚光。爸媽,我真想跑過去,擁著您們說:「我終於克服了難關!」

鄧鎂錤
救世軍林拔中紀念學校

我終於克服了難關

463610938_ec3d42d218_o爸爸,我終於克服了難關。還記得我四年級時,當看到其他同學高興地在打羽毛球,我就會十分羨慕嗎?經過半年的努力,我終於克服了它。

四年級下學期,因為我不會打羽毛球,所以上體育課時老師說要進行羽毛球練習,我就很害怕,深怕老師會叫我打給他看,也深怕會被同學嘲笑。正因如此,爸爸發現當朋友們邀請我跟她們一起去打羽毛球時,我總是找理由推卻。

當年我十分渴望可以學會打羽毛球,怎知這個願望不知怎的被爸爸察覺到。從那天開始,爸爸每天下班回來都會拖著疲累的身軀教我打羽毛球。練習的第一天,我還有點懷疑怎會有一個父親堅持教一個連羽毛球拍都可以打飛的傻女兒打球呢?

從那天起,我和爸爸練習了半年,我終於學會打羽毛球了。我終於克服了難關,謝謝您,爸爸!

羅絲柔
救世軍林拔中紀念學校

有一種關愛,叫做「締造希望」

5025177315_c7c1e4f97a_o中三時認識了他,外表俊朗,能言善辯,人群中很容易成為眾人焦點。他的大名常常出現於「遲缺學生」的名單上。接觸後,更發現能言善辯的背後,是巧言令色,善找藉口,違規行動總有萬般理由與他無關,是一位罕見的「智慧型慣犯」。

每一位孩子都需要有「亮點」!朝夕相處後,發現他的成長背景複雜,需要入住家舍,由社工監管,花言巧語可能是他生存的技能吧!我開始邀請他參與不同活動,擔任領袖,引導他正向地發展自己,鼓勵他以自身的經歷去帶領一些迷失的少年,走出困局,助人自助。幾年間,他成功改變了自己,與生父修補關係,重新投入父親的新家庭中。可惜,他的天賦不在於學術之上,當年的會考成績亦未如理想。放榜那天開始,他靜靜地消失在我的世界裡。

七年後的某一個下午,陌生的來電傳出了那似曾相識的聲線,問道:「你還記得我嗎?我想向你說一聲多謝!」那一刻,腦海內動人的回憶不斷湧現,簡單地回應:「我怎可能會忘掉你!」。整天下午,聆聽著他離校後的故事及不同的經歷,他喜悅地說出:「我找到了人生的方向,我想成為一位出色的室內設計師。」。從前那桀驁不馴的小子,現在已一位從事室內設計工作,半工半讀的成熟青年。

由徬徨無助到奮發向前,確實來得不易,能走到今天,正是當天撒下希望的種子。師生「關愛之情」的彌足珍貴之處,正是那份共同創作的美麗回憶。而那甜蜜的片段,更是老師在無助乏力之時,最大的原動力,讓我們綿綿不息地「愛」下去!

黃智偉老師
天主教南華中學

「談判專家」來了

在電視劇集中不時出現「談判專家」抵達現場後,隨即高調接管與當事人對話的場景,現實中這樣做原來只會帶來反效果,破壞現場人員與當事人好不容易才剛建立的微薄信任。因此,談判員到場後,一般只會低調地在背後作出指引,確保「信任」及「溝通」的延續性,待至適當時機才慢慢接手。現實中的談判員究竟是怎樣工作?警察談判組資深談判員嚴明與大家分享他的小故事。

先紓緩情緒,後解決問題

在嚴明的談判生涯裡,面對著為數不少在天台危坐,或是絕室自困的人士。每一個場景,每一個危機,都是一連串事件綜合的結果。警察談判組談判員的職責是引領所有涉事人安全離開困境。在處理自困、企圖自殘或自殺者時,他們的工作目標只有一個,就是平復當事人的情緒,進而改變他在剎那間的決定或行為,避免作出傷害自己或他人的舉動。面對情緒受困的當事人,很多人知道必須運用同理心,但這個概念卻是知易行難。當對方情緒激動時,叫對方「冷靜啲」並無濟於事,這時負責溝通的同事便需拋開執法者的角色,以陪伴、傾聽、關懷及不批判的態度紓緩對方情緒,只有先平復情緒,才能嘗試理性解決問題。

信任建基於尊重、坦誠

此外,談判員亦不應輕視對方的困難,我們必須意識到對方面對的可能是一個經年累積的複雜問題,一句「無事啦」並不能讓當事人平復下來。我們需要細想一下問題的根源:只是考試不合格?還是背後隱藏著學習過程的不快、同學的欺凌或父母過於嚴格?在改變行為的五個階梯中,傾聽技巧是最重要的一環。雖然我們大多時都未必能夠針對當事人的問題提供即時的解決方法,但回應對方的感受可給予對方最大的認同及支持。若然我們過早作出判斷,或將對方的問題簡單化,只會無助溝通,事倍功半。

另一方面,當事人只是受到情緒困擾,我們不應因對方的異常行為而輕視他的能力和決心。善意的謊言無助解決事件,一旦敗露更會喪失對方的信任。堂堂正正向當事人說明來意,希望了解發生什麼事及保障所有人的安全,坦誠往往是贏得對方打開溝通之門的第一步。

談判。藝術

談判員能夠將當事人從危險邊緣帶回來,但其實並未真正解決當事人的問題,還需要其他專業人士跟進處理。至於當事人最後如何選擇人生路向,並不是我們所能決定。但是,我們要有正確的心態,切勿以為戴著「光環」去做事,否則會因載負過大,而對自己的能力有所懷疑,承受不必要的壓力。不過,談判並不是什麼特異功能,亦沒有什麼片言隻語可令對方馬上回心轉意。相反,談判是一種藝術,要用「心」聆聽對方的說話,以關懷及不批判的態度回應對方,守護每一位當刻面對困擾的巿民。

嚴明
警察談判組警長

一件難忘的事

StockSnap_BTIEX3RTYY有一件事深深刻在我的腦海裡。

去年夏天的一天,我和幾位同班同學一起在科士街籃球場打籃球,我們都玩得很開心。夏日的天氣說變就變,突然烏天黑地,下起大雨。我們一起沖到屋簷下避雨。 由於跑得太急,我不小心跌倒了,膝蓋皮都掉了,血滲了出來,疼得我淚流滿面。

這時,余小周同學一邊安慰我,一邊用蒸餾水幫我清洗傷口。他讓我在屋簷下等候一會兒,就冒雨跑了出去。不一會兒,余小周淋到像落湯雞的跑了回來,手裡拿著一把傘。原來他是跑去借傘了。“來,我來扶你回家吧!” 他完全不顧自己,用傘為我擋雨,我看到他的頭髮都在滴水,十分感動。

這件事情過去了一年多,我仍然歷歷在目,印象深刻,使我認識到朋友就是要互相幫助的。

鄒瑞元
聖嘉祿小學

九日·十年·天長地久

StockSnap_17QW4I2CLU《九天生命日記》,是2006年患先天性橫膈膜疝氣夭折的女嬰高琳琳父親所寫。高琳琳由出生到拔喉,在這個世界上只逗留了短短九天,但對琳琳父母來說是珍貴:「琳琳嘅生命好短暫,但對於我哋嚟講,卻好矜貴」。一份再也觸不到的感情,仍然天長地久。

琳琳父母對新生命極為愛惜,所以決定要把她生下來,希望出生後可以接受手術修正,有一半康復機會。可是出生後,經歷過大手術後,情況沒有好轉,可以擁抱女兒時卻已是訣別之時。琳琳父母在過程中沒輕言放棄,反而更珍惜每一刻與琳琳相處的寶貴時光,即使孩子離開了,父母還好好地記錄這9天相聚點滴,並寫成網誌。想不到高琳琳一個平凡小故事,引起社會極大迴響,不少人到網站留言,當中甚至令曾經𠝹手自殘的孩子懂得珍惜生命;也有青年說打消了自殺念頭,珍惜生命。

琳琳父母提到有些創傷不去處理,反而會形成計時炸彈,傷口亦會越來越深,找個人好好舒發內心的感受,說出來,或許創傷會在不知不覺中被治療。人生總會面對不少難關,面對還是放棄皆由自己決定,每個人的選擇都有不同。琳琳勇敢的面對生命,父母對子女的珍愛,在高琳琳的生命故事中活生生的展現出來。就讓我們好好擁抱生命吧!

文章出處:蘋果日報(2016年10月16日)「星期日專題:愛女9日夭折 爸媽療傷10年」
(鳴謝蘋果日報授權刊登此報導。本文乃本中心所編之撮要,全文請參閱 http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20161016/19802209)