CHUNG Ying-tai, 58, knows what it means to have children throw stones at her while their parents turn a blind eye. She knows too, what it means to be an outcast in a New Territories clan village, where every one of her neighbours is a relative. The rest of the village openly despise her and make no secret they wish she was not there. Ying-tai is severely mentally handicapped - one of 56 people on the waiting list for the 40 places which will become available when a controversial new hostel for the mentally handicapped opens its doors, hopefully in October. Since last December, the Government has been locked in a public confrontation with residents of a Wong Tai Sin public housing estate over the issue of whether the mentally handicapped have the right to live within the community. At stake is the administration's policy of integration and the determination to make the hostel for the mentally handicapped in Tung Tau Estate a reality. There are more than 1,500 severely mentally handicapped adults on the waiting list for residential care, and welfare officials are acutely aware that backing down at Tung Tau could have a domino effect. Estate residents have resorted to violent protests to keep the mentally handicapped out of their neighbourhood. They have threatened to burn the hostel down, if the Government insists on pushing ahead with the home. Lost in the increasingly bitter battle of words and wits has been Ying-tai and others like her, who are in desperate need of residential care. Until she gets a place, Ying-tai will have no option but to remain at Lam Chun Sun Chuen, the Chung ancestral village off the Lam Kam Road in Tai Po, where she was born and where she is rightful owner of the house she lives in. Her legal guardian, Mr Chung Kam-yau, is the village head man, who collects her public assistance of $825 and disability allowance of another $825. In return, he provides her with one meal on Sundays and public holidays when home helpers attached to the Salvation Army Tai Po Multi-Service Centre for the Elderly have their days off. Ms Violet Ng Shun-shun, centre supervisor, said Mr Chung was reluctant to get care and training for Ying-tai because centres charged for their services. Ying-tai is collected three times a week and taken to the centre where she is given a supervised shower, her hair washed and her laundry done. She is fed proper meals. On three other days of the week, helpers deliver food once a day. Ying-tai has no cooking utensils. She empties the food given her into a plastic scoop and eats out of it with her fingers. When she is thirsty, she takes the scoop to the village tap. She has no money of her own and has not been able to buy herself a soft drink or a sweet bun. These ''luxuries'' are gifts of home helpers who pity her. Her mother and brother were killed during World War II and her father looked after her until his death in 1986. Since then, she has been left to her own devices, ignored and shunned by those around her. The people in the neighbouring houses slam their doors and shutters rather than talk to visitors she might have. Ying-tai does not take offence. She tells you in the only way she can - through loud guttural noises and wild gestures - that they are there, but sleeping. Her house is stacked high with firewood, some of it so old it is rotting. She crosses a major road to collect it. Her other passion is bags of rubbish, which she scavenges at the village dump and takes home. As her most precious possessions, they share her bed, except on the one day a week home helpers go in to do her weekly house cleaning. Gloria, her home helper for four years, said: ''We have this never-ending battle. We take all the rubbish away, but three hours later, it is all back on her bed.''