Wednesday, 2 December 2015


A salutary glimpse into something big

Yesterday I was pleased to receive a rather nice, unexpected book through the post. Not only is this a handsome object in its own right, it will also be  a useful reference in the future and a source for further thinking.

The book is Succeed and Advance, the English edition of SAHK's Fiftieth Anniversary Book, published in Chinese in 2013. It was sent me by Mr C. F. Fong, Chief Executive of SAHK, the large and complex Hong Kong disability organisation that, along the way and among other things, aims to incorporate a conductive way of thinking into its very organisational being. It has also opened a wide door into Mainland China. The scale of all this is quite beyond the experience, perhaps even the imaginings of many of those those who are used to the generally small-scale, often minute Conductive Education projects elsewhere in the world.

This is a handsome publication, card-bound and full-colour-printed on 204 pages of art paper. There are so many photos of so many faces that I recognise, and many, many more that I do not.

The book is in itself a fine and excellent object, a pleasure to have and to share with others. It is also a comprehensive historical record of what SAHK has achieved for so many people in Hong Kong and in China over the years. And it is a reassurance of SAHK's considerable role in the creative development of the Conductive Education tradition, both now and for the future.

There some samples to give a flavour, and an idea of the scale and ethos...

In the words of the Master
Image result for sahk logo

The logo or symbol of SAHK is an asymmetrical representation of the character 'li', designed for SAHK by Professor T. H. Tse.

The Chinese character 'li' signifying to establish or to stand tall, speaks of the fundamental purpose of SAHK's Conductive Education and its efforts to aid the moral, intellectual, physical and social development of those whom it serves. More importantly, it embodies the kind and caring Confucianism of 'establish oneself and help others do the same' (Analects, Book V, chapter 28, Yong Ye).

The word 'li' means to stand, to exist, to set up, to erect, upright, to establish, to make a living, so Confucius's words might also be stated 
as 'Establish
 yourself then help
 themselves', or 'Stand up, or exist for yourself, and help others stand or exist for themselves also'.

(Derived from pages 3, 48 and 73, and from the Han Trainer Dictionary).

An inquisitive organisational culture from the outset

Dr Erik Kvan who died in 2003 was a major founding figure in establishing SAHK. An important heritage that he established in the early days was an 'inquisitive culture', encouraging openness to different views and ideas.

(From Chong Wong Chor Sar, pages 71-75)

(Enough said!)

A wide impact
In 2013 there were 53 names from different provinces and cities in the mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong on the Association's list of 'Units applying Conductive Education in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan'...
(Joan O'Conner, page 99)

Another disability

SAHK began its work with children with cerebral palsies. In the late eighties it began working with children described as having autistic-spectrum disorders. Study, innovation, hard work and imagination created its own approach and it now has a developing system of services, extending into ordinary schools, into higher education and into adulthood, with its own training courses and instructional materials.

(From Louisa S. K. Law, pages 101-104)

In the days ahead, we will step up communications with worldwide Conductive Education practitioners and strive to align our localised system with international standards.
(Fong Cheung Fat, page 113)

Knowledge management

Beginning in the 1990s this became a formal function within the organisation, and from 1998 it included an in-house Staff Development and Research Unit. Publication and presentation outside SAHK are encouraged and in 2008 130 journal articles and conference presentations were published together in book form. The SAHK Institute for Rehabilitation Practice was set up in 2013, with the mission of marrying contemporary theories with empirical skills.

(From Ivan Y. W.Su, pages 117-123)

A developing, communicable knowledge base

A tabulated chronology of programme developments, teaching resources, significant academic research papers and innovative projects runs over twenty-four pages and reflects changes and developments in professional emphasis over SAHK's fifty years. For example, the first Chinese translation of a work on Conductive Education from the West is Esther Cotton's Hand as a Guide to Learning (1983), the most recent is Susie Mallett's Conductive Upbringing and Lifestyle (2012).

(From Irene T. F. Ho, pages 123-147)

'We never give up' (SAHK's founding oath)

SAHK takes all-comers, however disabled. Where else might they go?

Nowadays children with ASP form the majority amongst SAHK's service-users.

When SAHK was founded staff did not come with professional skills, just their personal calling to serve, within and organisational culture that from the very top encouraged them to learn as they did so. To this is now added the formal training projects that SAHK has developed, and the fruits of a scheme introduced in 2006 to help fund professional qualification (seventy degrees obtained by 2013, from bachelor's to doctoral level).

The goal is to be 'a world-class rehabilitation service organisation'.

(From Fong Cheung Fat, pages 172-175)

And still more...

Not least the structure that it takes to run and inform this colossus

I see that I even get to hold a spear myself, almost at the very end of the parade! (page 191)


(2015) Succeed and advance (English translation of Chinese edition published in 2013), Hong Kong, SAHK 

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Blogger NormanP said...

Fond memories of the World Congress in Hong Kong, meeting inspirational people and hearing ideas that challenge our sometimes too easy parochialism here in the UK.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015 at 11:45:00 GMT  

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