But Mok was not content to rest on his laurels. With the encouragement of a supervisor at Hong Kong Telecom, he decided to study social work at university at the age of 31. He is still grateful that he came across this supervisor in his life. “I have taken her advice and thought that people should take one step forward to improve. She was not my mother or relative, but she cared about me,” says Mok “She believed I could do better even when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Although Mok is passionate about his social work profession, his first encounter with social workers was not a happy one.
After he became blind, Mok’s school social worker tried to counsel him by asking Mok whether he had heard about “winter melon people”, a term referring to those born without limbs. He tried to convince Mok there were those who were worse off than him. “Telling me I’m not the most unfortunate but not giving me hope when I lost my sight was not the best way to help me,” says Mok.
Mok’s impression of social workers changed when he met an intern social worker at the Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired. Mok still remembers clearly how the intern tried his best to repair a radio for his best friend.
“I thought, wow! This social worker is really nice, [he’s] not just shooting the breeze with you or saying how you’re not the most unfortunate.”
The sincerity of the social worker inspired Mok and made him realise that a good social worker who could think from the perspective of the needy could really help them. It was the principle that helped him complete his social work degree and graduate with first-class honours in 1998.
Since then, he has devoted most of his time to developing new technology for the disabled and trying to get them out of their comfort zone. Currently, he is working with the University of Hong Kong to develop software called E-guide. This is a “controller” for smartphones that can receive signals from transmitters set in shopping centres. The controller provides information about the shops in the vicinity to help the visually-impaired navigate around shopping areas with greater convenience. He also wants to help the deaf to “speak” by developing a wireless speaker which would read out the words typed by the hearing-impaired.