An extra-special day for disabled dads

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2012, 12:00am


When nine-year-old Ngai Lan shows her father how much he means to her as they celebrate Father's Day today, it will be in one language he knows best: sound.

This is because Ngai's father, Ngai Fook-wing, has been blind since he was a teenager - and the little girl honoured their special bond by dedicating a piano song to him.

Far from viewing his disability as a hindrance, the proud dad said it made him and his daughter grow even closer. 'My blindness has not worsened my relationship with my daughter, but has made it better,' Ngai said yesterday as he took time out with two fellow disabled fathers to mark the occasion.

'When I go out with [my daughter], I always put my hand on her head so that she can lead me on the street,' said Ngai, who was also presented with a handmade card by Ngai Lan. 'I often chat with her to maintain a good relationship.'

The 36-year-old gradually lost his sight due to pathological changes in his retina and now works as a masseuse.

His family of three manage on a monthly income of less than HK$8,000, but Ngai says the tough cards they have been dealt has taught him and his family to be patient and to help each other.

The sentiment also holds true for 37-year-old Lam Wing-yan, who waxes and cleans cars for a living, and who came to Hong Kong from the mainland with his wife.

Lam, a deaf mute like his wife, also believes their disability has been good for their relationship with son Lam Hang-yu, aged 61/2.

'When my son was small, he asked me what water was and I showed him with the gestures. It was fun for us,' Lam indicated, adding that the boy is always ready to help him and his wife when they order food or shop.

Despite his father's disability and the family's humble origins, Hang-yu is studying in the prestigious La Salle Primary School.

Lam and his wife Zhang Tao, 32, say the secret of parenting is simply to spend as much time as you can with your child.

But Wong Kwok-wa, who is wheelchair-bound, acknowledges that taking his seven-year-old son Wong Pak-lam out to play can be difficult because of his situation, but says things improved when he got an electric wheelchair.

He is grateful that his son and daughter never shy away from introducing him to their peers, and cracks a surprised smile when his boy gives him a big kiss for the camera - the first time the bright seven-year-old has shown public affection for his dad.

Obviously, showing his love was hungry work, as little Pak-lam said: 'I want to have hotpot to celebrate the Father's Day.'

The three families have received HK$1 million from the Education Fund for Enriching Children of Disabled Parents, which aims to help the next generation of the disabled live life to the fullest.

Asked about their aspirations for their children, all three fathers said they hoped their children would help people in need and contribute to society - the best way they know how.

'I want him to be a sign-language interpreter for the deaf and dumb in court,' Lam said, using the sign language his son is now learning.