Colourful fun for the visually impaired

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am


'Today was a very good day,' says 13-year-old Mike Leung. The visually impaired teenager had spent it decorating an Easter egg with 'chocolate and one hundred thousand colourful crystal candies'.

While Easter may have different connotations for different people, for children it tends to mean two things: a well-deserved break from school and eating as much chocolate as possible.

At Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually Impaired, students were recently treated to a visit by Kowloon Shangri-La's pastry chef, Wins Hung. Hung came with an entourage of Shangri-La volunteers bearing gifts in the form of icing, sprinkles and oversized white chocolate Easter eggs.

After leading the group of eager visually impaired students through a crash course on the basics of Easter egg decorating, Hung let them get to it. The students decorated with abandon, the finished eggs running the artistic gamut from more literal renderings of bunny rabbits and daisies to those with a more abstract sensibility.

The egg painting session was the brainchild of Kowloon Shangri-La director of communication Patsy Chan, who was inspired by watching visually impaired students take part in a cupcake decorating class at the hotel. Decorating may seem an odd choice of activity for students affected by varying degrees of visual impairment but, as Chan says: 'In their minds, they must have imaginations full of colour combinations we don't know about. They have so much talent.' Whether they can see or not, 'they can still feel and smell the ingredients'.

Fun aside, Fanny Lam Fan Kit-fong, the chief executive of Ebenezer School, is quick to point out that becoming comfortable with food preparation is incredibly important for the students. 'Their parents may not like them to cook in the kitchen. Some don't even want them to enter the kitchen at all.

'We must tell the parents and the public that they can do it - that they can live independently and cook for themselves. They may be blind, but we want to train them to be independent, to live normally.'

The activity proves a big success, with icing-smeared smiles all around. Vincent Chan, 14, says that he enjoyed the whole process, but showed impressive restraint. 'I'll eat it when I get home.'