Masterclass · Mastermind

(英文版) A female protection project – RainLily 風雨蘭

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Hope I did not get people yawning in my last few posts but today, be prepared for something serious – I wanna get you to learn about the ‘protecting female’ concept, get you to unlearn your stereotypes or myths, and as usual, I will talk about myself. But before I start, let me recall how I come to this issue myself and let me warn you that this entire post will be lengthy LOL. By the way, I have been having a bad week so don’t mind my negativity.

 

I would have to trace back to the time at around maybe June/July time. Having made  better recovery progress from my mental sickness, I have been suggested by my psychiatrist to get myself to do some volunteering work if that interests me. June to July is quite a life-changing period. This was the time when I got even more involved into dancing (check out those dancing videos on my Instagram if you want 😊), started my job teaching English, going to different charitable organisation to interview for a volunteering post, and failed my first interview. If you wonder why people need to be interviewed just to be a volunteer, no explanation needs to be offered if you study subjects like social work – to brush up your CV, like how I would hope for a chance, actually, I should say to get as many opportunities as I can to work in a law firm, the same goes for those interviewees who all introduce themselves as students of social work.

 

The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong turned me down, the famous Castle Peak Hospital has forgotten about me even I passed their training programme, and I was left with this work every Friday where I had been helping out in carrying out playgroup activities with the kids with mental illnesses, thanks to my friend’s recommendation who I knew from the training day at the Castle Peak Hospital. So kids there all came from a comparatively disadvantaged  background, loads of their mothers did not sound very well-educated but are new-comers to Hong Kong from the Mainland.

 

Having discovered that I am good with kids in general, I really enjoyed my time there, and the kids cheered me up since I was having my ups and downs and at the same time, at the worst stage in dealing with the fact that I was dumped by my ex unexpectedly in the name of my mental problems. These kids and I were both ‘crazy’ and I like this common trait we share. They got diagnosed with problems like my bipolar which I don’t know the actually name as they would get annoyed easily and scream and cry like they got kidnapped, and they have other problems like ADHD and autism etc. Me and them were so similar since they liked to scream and lay on the floor and even roll around. Perhaps, the only difference of me to them was that I did basically pretty much the same thing, only in that I would try not to behave so in public. I guess that’s why I put my ex off, and I annoyed my parents so much that my Dad said I was doing acts that provoked him to become a mentally ill person too, and I knew that again I was not being a good person again.

 

What I really want to say this time is that despite the fact that even I dislike myself, through volunteering for a project with the aim of anti-sexual harassment against women, I did not hate myself more but I found that I could add some meaning to my life, at last. I did not become a feminist who are like those extremists, erm, you know, you see some women protest in the Western world that they have the right to be naked in public etc. There is this organisation that took me in as volunteer in August as I saw their advert on their Facebook page, named ‘Anti-480’ which is actually a sister group to ‘RainLily’. You might have probably heard of ‘RainLily’, as the flower but also as an association that works to help women who got harassed or suffered from other more violent sexual acts. When I told my mum that I would volunteer at ‘RainLily’ before I go back to U.K., she said she heard about this association. It seems to me that mostly people have heard about this association, but they don’t in fact know what it truly does practically.

 

Basically, I helped out as part of a group to promote to any human beings, women in particular that any sexual offences which may not necessarily be classified as legal offences are still unjustified. Let’s say, sexual jokes, a simple touch on a woman’s shoulder, things that happen in our everyday social life. I remember I went to the first few meetings of ‘RainLily’ and I shared the fact that I was molested for three times by men of Middle-East background(just to say no racist issue here) on the public transport in London, yes, that damn tube. I don’t accept the proposal that with me sticking to wearing trousers and giving up on my skirts would be the solution to avoid harassment, as those of you who know me well, I am a very very stubborn person. I felt like I wanted to do something about the status quo. Remember I said in my post ‘What I learnt about my mind in 2016 我在2016學到的心理‘, a little help is better than nothing?

 

I discussed ideas with the other volunteers on how to get this message across, we then began by drawing out plans and asking people on the street questions about their views on anti-sexual harassment. As expected, people would not normally have a broad definition about sexual harassment; they don’t know that apart from police, victims could seek help from ‘RainLily’ (well, I don’t know that much too before I joined Rain Lily too, to be honest with you).

 

Besides the cosy environment of the Anti-480 office of ‘RainLily’ where I could hug a fluffy sheep doll and get coffee (it is quite chilled there), I enjoyed observing the special kind of confidence shining on the other volunteers, who are all female like me. Yet unlike me who cannot change the habit of devaluing myself, they have very clear goal of what they want to achieve as part of ‘RainLily’, beyond the brushing-CV-up purpose of which I could tell by meeting them regularly. Of course in no means I could say I know them very well personally, but at least I admired their firm belief that being a female in Hong Kong who may encounter all these risks of sexual acts, they want to contribute to discard the stereotypes of women. The most vivid example I remember was looking at a group of photos that were stuck on a wall in the office. After having one side of the breasts removed due to women who had gone through breast cancer surgery, monokini was introduced to the world, and the models who only have one breast could still pose so confidently under the spotlight. This is the type of women I look upon at. I want to be a lovely and helpful person, and I also want to grow up to become a woman who advocates the rights and freedoms that she believes in, with confidence in what she does, who knows clearly why she is making sense to reject many social criticisms on women, not conform to the social standards.

 

So I do want to hang out with people at ‘Anti-480’more often because they have what exactly I lack – self-confidence. I still believe that I am a complete loser, I take in others’ criticisms and I think I long for positive appraisal by others through achieving those universally accepted standards set to be a tough yet desirable on a woman. For example, I know maybe at least I need to deal with my cooking skills so my girl friends cannot make fun of my cooking and joke that no men will ever want me as a wife.

 

I have a conflict in my heart: I know I want to be a lovely and desirable person as defined by the world so much that I get very distressed when I fail to do it, but I also want to be a woman who has the guts to not to conform to the social rules. ‘RainLily’ is no way near a perfect organisation, but at least their people do not just object the social standards of telling how a woman should behave and look like for the sake of it, but has the rationale to explain to why they don’t conform for the benefits for the greater good. I got an inspiration that I would love to share. Let’s say, we could have reduced the workload of police and crime rates provided that all female wear clothing like the burkha and this would be a win-win; the victim herself would not be blamed for having dressed up for a seductive purpose whilst there would be fewer sexual crimes to be dealt with by the police, fewer perverts(sorry I won’t have a better word to use) who do harm to women.

 

Perhaps you believe that a victim shall be glad for the unwanted sexual act(s) performed on her as this represents a confirmation of her attractiveness, or vice versa that a woman would be making a false claim as a victim if she doesn’t look the way of what a man would desire. If this is your belief, I can’t guarantee what the others of ‘RainLily’ would comment and do to you. (We’re keeping a close eye on you…😂)

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I did not come to aware how ignorant I have been till I joined a few ladies of ‘RainLily’ on the Christmas Day to make a visit to a mosque. I promised to go along just thinking that since no guys or friends date me, maybe I could at least help out a little by carrying stuff. I learnt something new again. I thought as Muslims, the women at the mosque would not bother with what ‘RainLily’ would present about, even there is the need for women to know some self-defencing skills in case of meeting some perverted male attackers(ok, maybe female too). When we got there, the Muslim ladies were very welcoming, trying to offer us a comfortable atmosphere, giving us drinks and laying chairs out for us which actually made me feel a bit useless and a little embarrassed.

 

So the staff of ‘RainLily’ began talking and quite a few rows of the Muslim women actually seemed to have pay attention to listen, and were happy to pair up and try out the self-defencing acts the ‘RainLily’ staff demonstrated to them. Apparently, no one would object me to infer that this means they have the idea that there is the need of protecting themselves, maybe for the sake of themselves, their boyfriends or husbands. No matter what, they didn’t belittle themselves but wanted to guard up against those potential attackers. I realised it was me again who thought many women out there would not bother with female rights. I remembered one organiser there from the mosque even approached me and asked me details about ‘RainLily’, asking me how our organisation would help out women in Hong Kong, how should she explain to the other Muslim ladies in their own language about how to get access to our service.

 

I am so much more highly educated than the Muslim ladies who are domestic helpers in Hong Kong, but in my mindset, I am not even qualified to graduate from that kindergarten of female rights. In the end, we left the mosque at around four o’clock as the mosque went into a prayer’s time session. I wanted to thank my ex to have dumped me in finding my mentality unbearable, otherwise, I  would not end up doing much more volunteering work, and no way I would come to a day that I untie my own myths, underestimating how much women can do nowadays.

 

After Christmas Day, my ups and downs did not fade away. I think about people at my age already having graduated for quite some time already with a few years of working experience, earning much more than me, looking both smart and pretty/handsome. Me in comparison, I am a loser as usual. I look at myself: what have I done besides living abroad in discontentment over years and having wasted one whole year just to be a patient?

 

As an idiot in Maths, if I count just roughly, yes, roughly, to estimate how much I have spent just to readjust myself in 2016, I would have spent at least over an amount of $10,0000 Hong Kong dollars already. I wasted so much money, from the need to get my parents to fly over to London to see me going mad crying on the street close to Waterloo tube station, paid for the three plane tickets to escort me on a plane back to Hong Kong, the money for the regular routine of seeing my psychiatrist, paying for my medication, paid my rent and many living costs in London for no reasons when in fact I left London earlier than expected… all things went out of control, and so so much money was wasted certainly. Why didn’t I manage to avoid myself falling sick and have saved up this amount of money for something more worthwhile? I guess if just by the look of my Instagram which I had explained before as my starting point to hold tight to some positivity, what I show on Ig are all just big fat lies. The true me is constantly having a headache about money issue.

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People tell me that I am still young, I can wait before I work on a permanent basis, and I will be able to earn back all those money that I spent, since I haven’t yet gone to hell but am breathing today. As someone who lives up to the value of upholding my manner, I said that thanks for these kind words, each and every single time when someone said something like that to me. Such words meant nothing but to remind me that I am a loser who is running way behind the others, not to forget that there is the waste of so much unnecessary money, when I am not from a well-off family.

 

A crazy person who gets emotional randomly and who wastes her parents’ money however see a better me through volunteering. I did not know that even a loser like me can be helpful to the others. I am not sure will I be a better person in 2017 or get sent to the tomb successfully, but even if I really go to the tomb, at least I have done some little things in 2016 and possibly in 2017 that are useful for the others.

 

I thank that those charitable organisations accepted someone like me and took me in to be involved with their work, and I did not disclose to them that they took me in at a time when I didn’t even consider myself fit to work, when I still saw myself as a piece of rubbish in this big big world.I deceived them; I did not find a loud speaker to tell them how I am still greatly affected by my bipolar.

 

I am so upset and pissed off about myself. This week I keep having moments that I want to throw things and scream by finding that Hong Kong being just too crowded everywhere. This place is unbearable but damn, this bears no logic since everyone in Hong Kong has to accept that this is life, why couldn’t I? So since when I have the right to want to throw a tantrum about this in public? I must be shameless. This is why once again, I think some people at ‘RainLily’ having learnt that I am mentally ill but still hasn’t told me to stay away from the organisation really has the guts to take on a challenge like me.

 

I conclude that I found some meaning to my life through volunteering. Because even someone like me can volunteer, I suggest that anyone may try out volunteering for a target group that he/she likes. For example, you all know I would prefer children and women but I can’t really deal with others very well.

 

 

Just this week, I was so unwell that I even could not make it to one exam, had a mid-night escape from home and in the end, entered to do one exam only. I would be lying if I say I am not distressed and feeling agonised, but at least, I think I still need to remind everyone that look to become the opposite of me to live a happier life.

❤ Lala

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