Designer Comma Leung is Crowdfunding to Make Wallets for the Blind
Comma Leung is the designer behind Mosi Mosi, a project that identifies disabled groups and designs products specific to their needs. She’s just made a wallet for the visually impaired, with raised markings to indicate the value of the banknotes. She’s currently crowdfunding to raise enough money to produce 1,500 wallets and distribute them for free.
How did you become a designer? I’ve always been into arts and craft. When I was little, I was crazy about origami and would challenge my classmates to fold the smallest origami piece possible. I once made a paper hawk the size of a grain of rice. I also enjoyed knitting. I studied at Hong Kong Design Institute after graduating from secondary school. That eventually led me to my university degree in design.
Why “Mosi Mosi?” “Mosi Mosi” was actually my Final Year Project for university. The name was inspired by the Cantonese phrase, mo si mo si (無事無事), which means “there’s nothing to worry about.” While preparing for the project, I wanted to create a brand that approached design in a humanistic way, and that was how Mosi Mosi came to be. I thought about how most of the time, designs are made for mainstream preferences and purely for commercial considerations. They target customers who are willing to pay, or are privileged enough to be able to afford high prices, and never think about designing for people in need. I reflected on why I pursued a design degree in the first place, and realized it was because it brought me great joy and satisfaction, and I wanted this project to achieve the same thing. I wanted to share this joy with people who needed it—and I wanted my designs to be user-friendly, to be able to be customized to suit individual needs.
Why wallets for the blind? One day, I stopped by Shek Kip Mei to do some research at The Hong Kong Society for the Blind. I befriended Kit Ying, one of the staff members, who is a visually impaired woman in her 20s. She showed me that one of the challenges people with visual disabilities have to deal with is that they are unable to easily distinguish the different denominations of banknotes. So I designed a prototype for her to try out, and to give me suggestions on how to improve the design. She really gave me an appreciation of the world of the visually impaired, and changed a lot of the stereotypes I held. She showed me that life without vision does not necessarily mean a miserable life—she is just as passionate about life as any young woman of her age would be.
Do you think there is a lack of compassion for the disabled in Hong Kong? There are a lot of Hong Kong people who still harbor stigmas and are unwilling to help. I also know that most people are kindhearted—but just won’t step up to help. The prevailing misconceptions and discrimination come from the fact that we have very little interaction with the disabled community, so there’s a lack of understanding. I think that’s how most conflicts begin. Disability is never a choice, but from what I know of people with disabilities, they never use it as an excuse to not live their lives to their fullest.