Be fair on parents of 'forgotten children'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 May, 1994, 12:00am

WHILE I was horrified to learn of the plight of Hong Kong's ''forgotten children'', I feel it inappropriate to criticise the parents of these children.

Having worked in England with similarly disabled children, I can assure the writer that far from ''not giving a damn'', the majority of parents are riddled with guilt for years, if not for the rest of their lives, for ''abandoning'' their offspring.

These aren't ''normal'' children: many need daily physiotherapy, suction because they can't cough, feeding tubes because they can't swallow. They may have frequent and violent epileptic seizures. Their problems are not confined to the day-time only - many also require night nursing. Some parents get as little as two or three hours sleep a night. Until a person has witnessed the problems first hand on a daily basis, I really don't think they have the right to make such a damning comment.

And don't forget that until fairly recently parents were openly encouraged to put their handicapped and unwanted children into state care.

I am not condoning parents leaving their children in hospitals and trying to forget about them, but believe me, having worked as a nurse, volunteer helper and part-time foster mother with severely handicapped kids, these children are more than just hard work.

Caring for them demands a far greater degree of selflessness than does raising a normal child, and in a city that does not appear to have a terribly open attitude towards the handicapped, I can well understand what motivated these parents to leave their children in the care of others.

MRS S. W. WONG Causeway Bay