Having a positive outlook, a positive attitude on life, despite his visual and auditory impairments, an inspiring tale of making one’s own life count, translated…
As the bells sounded off, I followed Jing-Teng into the classrooms of the liberal arts building. The professor followed right behind us, before he’d entered into the lecture topics, he’d told a joke, made the entire class laugh. Sitting there in the front rows, he seemed to realized, that there was, a commotion around him, until the personal assistant typed the events into a google document then sent it through the internet to his iPad, with his face right next to the screens, Jing-Teng started laughing, which came delayed for over ten seconds compared to the rest of his classmates, and I couldn’t help, but chuckle on this too………
As He’d Opened up the Lid to the Piano
The very first time I’d met Jing-Teng, it was an early morning. The new semester had just begun, the counselor in the counselor’s office was engaging in a passionate discussion about someone, “oh, he’s here!”, I’d turned my head, a slim and slender student “floated” in; if that thin body was found outdoors, I was truly worried, that he might, get carried away by the wind!
“Do you know him? He’d won the Presidential Education Award, he’s Jing-Teng Huang, this (pointing to the woman) is his mobile instructor…”, I walked up to him, to say hello. Turns out, they’d decided to head to the piano rooms together, “Are you interesting in hearing him play?”, of course, so, I’d, tagged along behind them.
Jing-Teng was a visually impaired student, almost completely blind from his left eye, and, his right eye was practically, legally blind too, and he can only see within a one-meter distance all around him; as for his hearing, it was also, severely impaired as well, even with the hearing aid, he still couldn’t hear a thing. He’d waddled left and right as he walked, in an S-shaped route, the other students on campus, as they saw him closing in, would dodge out of his way, and so, we’d “waddled” our ways, into the piano room.
He’d slowly, lifted up the lid, after calming himself down by closing his eyes for a while, he’d extended his ten fingers, and started, gliding across the keyboard, focused, and very entrenched into what he was doing.
As one piece was finished, he’d turned around, looked at us, sitting on the floors, his audience, said something, but he’d had to, repeat his words until I finally understood, “Any requests?”, I really don’t know that much about music, and spelled out “whatever…you…please”, but before I can finish the phonetic spellings of the first word, he’d asked me, in slurred speech, “Whatever I wanted to play?”
He’d slurred his speech, and I can only understand about sixty-percent of his words; he was limited in the use of his language, with that light and bland tone, his voice was just like his body, thin and long.
I’m an editor of an electronic periodical in the counselor’s office in the school, and there would be parents who came in, to inquire about their children’s goings-on in school. One day, I’d bumped into Mrs. Huang, and she’d told me of the outstanding performances that Jing-Teng had in the piano competitions, “Must be really hard to come by!”, I’d spoken, in awe.
She was extremely modest, said, that during that competition, a lot of the competitors were too nervous that they’d not kept the tempos correct in their pieces, that Jing-Teng was able to win by keeping a steady tempo, it’d sounded, like an ordinary music competition, but she’d told me of something that impressed me that happened then. The one of the rules of the competitions was, that if the pieces lasted too long, and the judges felt, that there was no need, to hear the entire piece, they would buzz the bells, to get the performers offstage; but, Jing-Teng couldn’t hear the buzzers, and continued playing, and so, his music instructor can only rush up to behind him, and wrote on his back, that, was when he’d stopped playing, and this uneasiness passed through the auditorium.
After we’d talked more on the hearing impaired, she’d told me an incident from before.
As she was training her son to become more independent and more mobile, she’d often followed behind Jing-Teng secretly. One day, it was raining, Jing-Teng had his guiding cane in one hand, the umbrella in another, as he walked to the intersection, he’d heard that someone from up ahead walking on, thought the light was green, and followed him on; but, the man was running a red light, rushed passed through the cross sections, and, as Jing-Teng got not even half way across, he’d realized, that cars were, running past him quick, he’d become, stuck, in the oncoming traffic, as she saw this, she was so shocked, to almost fainting………
I understand it, the parents of every handicap child always had a heavy heart; and, for children who are hearing AND visually impaired, the extent of the worries of the parents, is unimaginable.
The Colorful Dusk Expanded Through the Evening Skies
One noon, a group of students came to the offices for lunch and to chat, Jing-Teng was also there; and, despite how the rest of the group chit-chatted, and made fun of him, he’d not paid any heed, just focused on his iPad. I saw him, and wrote on his palms, “Would you like to be my friend?”, he was very surprised, flashed that beautiful smile, replied in no more than a second, “Sure!”
After the mid-terms, he’d asked me, his “new friend”, if I could accompany him to the piano studio to practice; but, as I’d arrived to the room, the doors were locked, and, I’m guessing that there must have been some miscommunications that happened as he’d called to schedule.
It was at four in the afternoon that day, the breezes gentle, with the warm March sunshine, shining down on the school. We shouldn’t, let this beautiful day go to waste, should we? “Let’s find some place and talk?”, he’d nodded his head hard.
I’d led him across the Gong-Deng Classrooms, with the azaleas in full-bloom all around, we’d passed through the garden, arrived at a pavilion; at he’d sat himself down, he took out a blue-tooth keypad, placed it on his lap, with his left hand, holding to his iPad, right hand on the keys, and we’d started out, in chatting mode.
“I’m used to communicating using the Internet, it’s easier that way”, he’d written.
As he just finished the sentence, the bell rang.
“Did you hear the bells?”
“Yeah, not normally, but, maybe because it’s too quiet here.”
“Did you ever hear the bell ring from before?”
“I only recall back in the elementary years, but it’d sounded somewhat different from what I’d just heard.”
“Would you think of yourself as being special?”
“A bit, but, there are no two people who are identical in this world!”
“Yup, there are, NO two identical persons in the world!”
The sun set in the west, the light splashed all around, I’d described the scene that was before us to him. In the end, we’d discussed what we will be having for supper, “I’m treating you.”
“My turn next time then.”
I’d set up a rule, in making friends with visually impaired people that’s unspoken, being fair to one another. I’d immediately replied, “Sure.”
After the supper, we’d said our goodbyes. There were still students, moving around, and as they saw him wobbling left and right, they’d made a path for him. Yup, everybody has a path belonging to oneself, carrying all the ups and downs, the sorrows and the happiness of life.
So, this is what one person gained, from working alongside, being friends with someone who’s physically handicapped, and this individual had learned many things about life from the college student, his positive attitude toward life, how he’d managed, to overcome some of the hardships in his own life, caused by his own impairments.