Radio programme lifts lid on secret lives of Hong Kong's disabled

Hidden devices recorded daily lives and public attitudes - and make uncomfortable listening

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 3:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 3:47am

While it's a simple task for most people, Yip Wing finds taking a bus a chore. The 27-year-old once had to wait two hours for a low-platform bus he could board in his wheelchair.

"It was packed with people, and I asked whether some people could get off so I could get on," he said. "But no one did."

As that was the last scheduled bus of the day, he had a strenuous 45-minute push to the nearest MTR station.

Yip is sharing his experiences in an RTHK radio programme as part of an initiative by the broadcaster to seek greater public input.

He carried hidden recording equipment to capture his daily experiences as a disabled person; including being told off by shopkeepers and members of the public.

Other disabled people also secretly recorded aspects of their lives for RTHK's Community Involvement Broadcasting Service, which is highlighting some of the challenges they face in a series of programmes on RTHK's new digital channel, DAB31.

Also sharing their experiences are Tang Kwong-po, who lost his sight after an operation more than a decade ago, and Law Wai-cheung, who uses a wheelchair.

The Community Involvement Broadcasting Service is a three-year pilot project in which the broadcaster is devoting airtime to the community.

RTHK invited 15 groups to share their stories, including Yip, Tang and Law. Other participants include musicians, members of ethnic minorities and disabled students.

Broadcasts started last month and will continue from 8pm to 10pm every night until April 13.

Architects Oskar Ng Kam-shing and Alice Chan Wing-yan are also taking part with their programme Love Arch-ually, focusing on the lives of young architects. "It's deemed a professional job, but in fact, while many architects design high-ended buildings, not so many could afford a flat themselves," Ng said.

And the pair are helping RTHK in another way, unveiling a plan to help it expand its headquarters by using shipping containers after lawmakers blocked plans for a new building.