We Learnt It from Our Gifted Students with Diverse Exceptional Needs Especially Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Reflection on David Moyes: A Manutd Fan with Asperger
My AS* Student: I am sad that Manchester United fired (David) Moyes.
Counselor Jo: You told me before that United would take some time to recover from changes of management. You actually foresee that there has been something wrong with their strategies causing them to lose a series of games. I thought that you could see the doom of Moyes.
My AS* Student: People are too impatient to adjust for changes. In the era of Fergusson, people got used to having high expectations on the team. The successors, Moyes in this case, can’t be as successful as strong leaders like Fergusson. It takes time for the fans to adjust their expectations accordingly. People just don’t understand.
Counselor Jo: What don’t they understand?
My AS* Student: They don’t understand what it takes for United to grow. Over the past 136 years, the United Kingdom had gone through a lot of changes. United has become part of the history of England. It represents a major part of growing up amongst the working class. People who were born in Manchester ‘inherited’ the identity of United supporters. I had the privilege of living in Oxford as an overseas student. I have had a very personal experience of the football culture there and what it felt like to grow up in a family club that is devoted to the Manchester spirit from generation to generation. Manchester United is embedded in the history of England and the identity of Manchester people. People don’t see the importance of the time factor. Fergusson and his precedent Matt Busby managed to bring remarkable and victorious history of Manchester United for decades. They had enough time to find their way to success. I am sad about all these changes. Rapid changes of management will disrupt the continuity of culture and identity. I don’t want to see that United will follow the trend of frequent replacement of management as much as Chelsea. Over the past 10 years, 9 managers have been sacked. I may not be a United fan anymore. The spirit is not the same anymore. It has changed.
Counselor Jo: You feel sad about these changes, don’t you?
My AS* Student: Yes, it’s sad. United has become a business. There are many factors influencing Moyes such as the stock price and the finance costs of hiring famous football players. Some United players got million pounds for their weekly wages. Before, the football game represented the culture of working class, especially their hopes for training up talented youth to prepare for the growth of the club. Now, it has become a business in the commercial world, representing the diverse interests of investors and opportunities for making money from the football team. Football teams are commercialized and the football players have become objects of investment. It is dehumanizing.
Counselor Jo: You mean that sacking Moyes implies a loss at all fronts. I am very impressed by your perceptiveness, intensity and unusual depth. I envision exceptional richness in the recollective experience of your life journey. Would you write down your reflection on sacking Moyes to post on some forms of social media?
My AS* Student: No, I am too lazy to write anything. ADHD rules.
Counselor Jo: Your reflection is thought provoking, isn’t it?
My AS* Student: Majority of people won’t get it. I don’t want to see people attack my views.
Counselor Jo: Then I try to write it for you. I think that your reflection will lead people to rethink about the impact of rapid economic, social and cultural changes over the past two decades. Most importantly, these changes have silently stolen our identity and choices in the name of business. Let’s explore it more deeply in our next SKYPE meeting.
Scenario: It is one of the weekly SKYPE meetings with my student who studies in the UK.
AS* means Asperger Syndrome
Last night, we, a team of 4, went to find migrant children because we wanted to understand their needs and explore if we could organize some activities to build up friendship circles.
We had a great talk with a group of people in the park at Sham Shui Po, a district about 3 miles away from the Central Business District of Hong Kong. The CBD signifies power, prestige, luxury and future whereas Shamshuipoo represents poverty, deprivation and no future.
Walking through a park where one could find people from diverse ethnic background gathering, we met some nice children. We talked and played with them. Their parents were from Naples, Indonesia, Vietnam. Time flies. We talked with these families for over an hour feeling so close to them. They allowed us to sit on their mat and chat like family. They hoped we could help them Chinese.
We will see them next Saturday at 1930. Please join us if you have time.
Finally, we find a group of young people to start up our community services. Next weekend, we shall gather at Sham Shui Po, an area resided by lots of underprivileged people including new migrants, either legal and illegal, from diverse ethic background and then follow an experienced social worker to meet these poor people. We shall walk through the neighborhood of Sham Shui Po in order to meet people especially the youth and then talk with them. It would be great if such meeting on weekly basis will build up some mutual understanding and, more importantly, some friendship. There is the possibility that we find a place to gather these street children once a week and spend time with them. We shall help them learn Chinese Language or other schoolwork they find difficult. We shall discuss current social issues with them therefore they don’t feel themselves as strangers. We shall organize parties with them to celebrate for anything meaningful among us. We want them to feel at home in the city of Hong Kong where genuine friendship is awaiting them. They are welcome to our heart.
Most of our young volunteers come from middle class families. Meeting others from poor families will help volunteers learn. I believe that poverty is our teacher. For example, poor children can be happy as much as we do. What makes them happy is more than money or other materials. We shall discover things that we might have missed. For instance, we may judge the poor people and see them as lazy. Making friends with the poor will open up our hearts to recognize specific struggles hindering them. Maybe our understanding and encouragement will make a change in the lives of others. Empathy makes us strong!
I look forward to the visit of children in the street next Saturday. I know that poverty is our teacher to discover different aspects of living in a modern city like Hong Kong and above all, the meaning of life in the eyes of people from different background.
Bravo!!!! Let’s shape the future of our city by reaching out for dialogue and building friendship with people not familiar to us. As a life coach of the gifted, I wonder what the emotionally sensitive and visionary gifted youth, especially those with a big heart, will feel in this community service.