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Tommy Lau

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From scaring to busking

 (Photo provided by interviewee)

Tommy was a watch trader before his accident. He met a serious traffic accident when he went to Shenzhen to work in 2006. Although there was neither bleeding nor fracture, his cervical nerve was damaged, which made him change from a sportsman to a person with quadriplegic in one night. He was just thirty years old at that time, unmarried, no kids, but with his parents who were old. His life had been just like starting from the very beginning. After decadence and being roused, he joined the Direction Association for the Handicapped. He stepped out his comfort zone with other members. Now, Tommy got a warm family and friends who are passionate. He speaks out the voice of men in different competitions, performances and talks, and is always full of joy.

(Photo provided by interviewee)

I bring my son to every competition and performance. I want to let him know even his father is with disability, his life can also be colourful. I want him to know more about disabilities, and know more about the world.

One minute on the stage needs ten years of practice off stage. Tommy was not interested in singing before he was injured. All started with the music band in the association. His breathing system is limited due to his injury. He could not sing the whole piece in the beginning, like other members. After practising hard and reminding the breathing method purposely, he can now sing a song completely without stopping. He said that he needed to sing regularly to keep his energy. When he is having physiotherapy, he feels like he can't breathe, and his heart rate increases a lot. Then, he controls his breathing through singing. Singing is one of his most enjoyable activities.

 (Photo provided by interviewee)

The purpose of joining competitions is not becoming famous, but to keep energetic through them and set a target for myself.

The idea of busking had been in Tommy's mind for long. He thought that the quality of busking was staggering, but he did not have the courage to busk on the streets even though he did have some experiences of performing and racing. As it is not easy to schedule a free time between him, his friends, and teachers, he did not busk after preparation for several months. At last, he and his friend in the association went to busking together. Thinking about the first busking, he said that the feeling was odd. He was too nervous that he asked his friends to sing first. After his friend had sung his piece, he found the feeling of performance and he sang his first piece. He said that his purpose of busking is that none of the wheelchair user does busking before and he wants to sing as a wheelchair user.

(Photo provided by interviewee)

Busking is different from performing: the audiences stay because of my voice.

In 2018, he went to Taiwan for beauty pageant with six members in the association. He only prepared a 3-minute introduction in Mandarin, clothing, and his son to join this competition that focuses on 'inner beauty'. He had not gone to Taiwan and would like to take this opportunity to go out wtih his son also. When he went to the venue, he found that there were over 30 competitors from different places with both internal and external beauty, revealing their self-confidence from head to toe.

If you judge me that I am fat, I can go for fitness; but if you judge me as old, that’s what I can’t change. This is always a wonderful time.

Tommy thought that this was a good opportunity for learning, and became serious to the competition. He was not afraid of judging, his purpose was only to show that no matter the age, body status, and life, everyone could show the beauty and energy about life. He got fifth place in the competition. He said that he would still join different competitions, to let his son knows that his father, who was a wheelchair user, could sing in the competition, and had joined a beauty pageant.

 (Photo provided by interviewee)





Written by: Carmen Yau
Original story in Chinese, English translation by: Teresa Lam