Christmas is a time for wishes and dreams, many of which will sadly never come true. But wheelchair-bound Cheng Ka-lung is determined to make his dream of freedom a reality. The 28-year-old has lived in a hostel for more than a decade. 'I want to live an independent life as an adult,' he said, using a computer with a voice synthesizer to communicate. Mr Cheng was born with spastic cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that causes him to move and twitch uncontrollably. He also has a speech impediment. He gets around using his electronic wheelchair. For the past 12 years, Mr Cheng has lived at Tin Yiu Hostel, run by the Spastics Association of Hong Kong. Life in the Tin Shui Wai residence runs according to a strict schedule. For Mr Cheng, this translates into boredom. 'He thinks like a normal person but lives like a prisoner,' said his friend Yu Wai-keung. Mr Cheng dreams of leaving the hostel. 'The colour of my life from the age of 16 to 28 was lost in the so-called adult hostel. How very sad!' he wrote on his website. The website, skymyworlds.com, carries his thoughts on politics and social issues. There, he says one of his wishes has been fulfilled - this year he met Stephen Hawking, who has provided inspiration for Mr Cheng. Dr Hawking also uses a computer to communicate. A few months ago, Mr Yu, a rehabilitation engineer who is also wheelchair-bound, designed the voice synthesizer to help Mr Cheng express himself more easily. In late 2004, Mr Cheng saw a ray of hope when the Social Welfare Department revised the rules on the special care allowance for quadriplegic patients which would enable them to hire personal carers. But Mr Cheng was disappointed in November when an assessment advised against it, citing physical immobility and possible communication difficulties with his carer. 'Ka-lung is only constrained by his speech problem and disability ... There's no medical problem really,' said legislative councillor Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. 'I think it's more to do with a conservative system that stops him from getting what he wants.' Dr Cheung said he was impressed by Mr Cheng's willpower and plans to help him reapply for the allowance. 'I hope his dream will come true in 2007. With his sort of determination I think he can make it.'