Newsletter No. 442

2 442 • 4.9.2014 在 中大主修细胞及分子生物学的 谭乐皿 (Tom)天生 深度失聪,自出生起便活在无声的寂静世界,但他 坚信后天努力定可跨越先天缺陷,因着本身的付出,加上遇 上耐心指导的良师,以及得到大学的支援,Tom冲破重重障 碍,今年以一级荣誉成绩毕业,更获得尤德爵士奖学金资助 三年学费,9月前赴加州大学河滨分校攻读环境毒理学 博士课程,实现成为科学家的志愿。 Tom两岁时,其母留意到无论是打雷或飞机 经过,他都毫无反应,遂带他往检查,始发现 他有深度失聪。他三岁起在语言训练中心学习 发音和咬字,及后就读主流小学和中学。虽然 好些发音仍不能掌握,得靠助听器和读唇,但 Tom现时基本上可慢慢与他人口头沟通。 「小学上课时不知老师在说什么,放学后需由家 人解释一遍,做功课要比其他同学多花逾倍时 间。」其后,Tom的一耳接受了人工耳蜗植入手 术,另一耳用上助听器,并学习了唇读,上课前备 课,下课后积极向教师请教,成绩渐见理想,2010 年以优秀高考成绩考入中大细胞及分子生物学 课程。 Tom说,大学对他的支援并不少,例如上课时如要看影片, 学系会特别配上字幕,帮助他了解内容;学生事务处借给他 无线调频发射器(即FM咪),让他给予老师授课时配戴,透 过接收器更清楚讲课内容。 Tom主动争取各种学习机会,在三年级时于美国加州大学戴 维斯分校当交换生。他发现外国大学对听障生提供的支援 模式更多,例如有专人陪他们上课,并将教授讲述内容即时 输入电脑,在屏幕上显示,或安排同学为他写笔记,「如我 要兼顾抄笔记,便很难看到教授的嘴型,有了这服务,我就 可专注看教师授课。」Tom的成绩因此不但显著进步,更放 胆选修一些如天文学等过往未接触过的学科。 一年的交流,他体会到适切的支援可助听障人士开拓更辽 阔的人生,返港后遂建议校方增设该类服务,校方也迅即回 应。学生事务处与教学单位联络,招募与Tom修读同一课程 的同学,替他抄写课堂笔记,给他增加不少学习上的便利。 Tom感谢校内遇上不少乐于指导的老师,在学习路上扶他一 把。他报考了IELTS英文试以申请海外交流,并修读了应试 工作坊,任教的英语教学单位副讲师 李帼怡 (Miranda)表 示,Tom比一般同学更主动勤力,课后常发电邮问问题,或 相约时间当面求问,又会频做写作练习,给她批改,寻求改 进方法,因此Miranda对他印象很深。两人现时亦师亦友, 不时联络交流近况。 生命科学学院 方永平 教授曾教授Tom「蛋白质与酶」一科, 方教授同样形容Tom「勤力、永远准时上课」,并很欣赏他 的学习态度:「他求知欲很强,不明的会求问,不肯定的会 厘清,每周总有电邮来问问题;派给同学参考的模拟试题, 他是少数会先做一次并问意见的学生。」 虽然学习过程颇艰苦,但Tom视各种困难为挑战,他亦勉励 他人:「不要自怨自艾,自己并非最惨的一个,遇上障碍要自 己努力多作尝试,始终会有改善。」 无声世界的动人生命乐章 Life’s Marvellous Music in a World of Silence C ell and Molecular Biology student, Tom Tam , has suffered from severe hearing loss in both ears since birth. However, with perseverance, support from the University and the help of loving teachers, he managed to overcome this inborn defect. Tom graduated with first- class honours and won the Sir Edward Youde Overseas Scholarship. This September, he will pursue doctoral studies in environmental toxicology at the University of California, Riverside, to fulfil his dream of being a scientist. When Tom was two, his mother noticed that he did not respond to thunder or planes flying overhead. She took him to the doctor who diagnosed Tom with profound hearing loss in both ears. From then on, Tom started learning pronunciation at a centre for the deaf, and enrolled in a mainstream primary and secondary school. With the help of a hearing aid and lip-reading, Tom can now talk slowly and communicate with others well although he still can’t pronounce certain words correctly. ‘When I was in primary school, I didn’t know what teacher was saying during lessons and my parents had to teach me again at home. I spent nearly twice as much time doing homework as my classmates.’ Tom then received cochlear implantation surgery in one ear and wore a hearing aid in another. He also learnt to lip-read. His academic performance improved gradually as he prepared diligently for lessons and asked questions zealously after class. In 2010, outstanding A-levels results got Tom into CUHK where he majored in Cell and Molecular Biology. Tom said the University was extremely supportive of his studies. If there was video broadcast during lessons, it would be subtitled to ensure that he could understand the content. The Office of Student Affairs also lent him a FM transmitter aka FM mic, that he could give to teachers to wear during lessons so their voices would be amplified through the FM system in the classrooms. Besides studying, Tom sought out opportunities to broaden his horizons. In Year 3, he went on exchange for a year at the University of California Davis where he found a diverse range of support for the deaf. He was assigned an assistant to input what the professor taught word by word into the computer so that he could read what was being said immediately on a monitor. There were also students taking notes for him. ‘If I take notes, I won’t be able to read the teachers’ lips. But if somebody’s doing it for me, I can focus on lip reading.’ With these services, Tom made tremendous improvements in his academic performance, which encouraged him to take courses in new disciplines such as astronomy. During the year of exchange, Tom realized that with the right support, the hearing impaired could make progress. After returning to Hong Kong, he proposed to the University to put in place the new services he had encountered at UC Davis. The Office of Student Affairs quickly coordinated with the relevant teaching departments to recruit volunteer students to work as note-takers for Tom. This made learning much easier for him. Tom is grateful for having met many devoted teachers who gave him guidance. To prepare for the IELTS, the English test that students applying for overseas exchange have to take, Tom enrolled in a preparation workshop offered by the English Language Teaching Unit. Miranda Lee , an assistant lecturer of the unit who taught him, was impressed by his eagerness to learn. She said Tom always sent e-mails to ask her questions, did exercises and sought her comments on them. Now the two are friends. Prof. Fong Wing-ping was Tom’s teacher on the course ‘Proteins and Enzymes’. In his eyes, Tom is ‘diligent and always punctual’. He highly commended Tom on his attitude to learning. ‘Tom is thirsty for knowledge. He would ask if he didn’t understand and would clarify if he was in doubt. He kept on sending me questions via e-mail every week. I distributed a mock exam paper to the whole class, and he was among a few who actually finished it and asked for advice on performance. ‘ Although Tom’s path has been strewn with obstacles, he saw them as challenges and has succeeded in overcoming them. He has a few words of encouragement for those in a disadvantaged position: ‘Wallowing in self-pity won’t do you any good. Don’t keep thinking that you are the most unfortunate. Never give up. Practice really does make perfect.’

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