A new computer software is aimed at providing more employment and education opportunities for visually impaired people in the SAR. With a $2 million grant from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Department of Computing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Hong Kong Society for the Blind have developed Access with Speech and Braille, or ASAB- 98v1.1, reputedly the first add-on software designed to help the visually impaired gain access to Microsoft Windows and its applications. Providing voice output in both Cantonese and English and Cantonese and English Braille input, the system enables a visually impaired or a totally blind person to handle Chinese word processing with the regular Microsoft Window's graphic user interface environment. Speaking at the launching ceremony, PolyU President Professor Poon Chung-kwong said the appropriate attitude towards the visually impaired was not one of sympathy but rather acceptance and care. 'The breakthrough system can help the visually impaired integrate into the mainstream of society,' Professor Poon said. 'It can help enhance employment and education opportunities for the Cantonese-speaking visually impaired and improve their life skills.' Professor Daniel Yeung So, head of PolyU's Department of Computing, said: 'The system is very user-friendly. It now allows the visually impaired to work with Chinese Windows 98 applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. But I hope the modified version can enable them to browse the Internet and 'read' e-mail.'