He says that when he was six years old, he was doing his homework when he suddenly realised he unable to see anything out of his left eye. Then, when he was 13 he lost the sight of his other eye when a classmate accidentally bumped into him and his retina became detached.
Mok was devastated by his blindness. “There is a lyric in a song sang by Roman Tam that asks ‘why you?’” Mok says. “Why me? I have two elder brothers and a younger brother, why am I the one to go blind and not them?”
Being blind changed Mok’s life completely, especially in his studies and when he was outside the house. He had to learn braille and listen to recordings to aid his learning and to adapt to the complete darkness.
“You can easily imagine. If you have experienced covering your eyes, you know that it is frightening to walk for 10 and more steps. Not just walking on a flat road, but also walking up and down the staircases, taking the MTR and buses.”
However, when he looks back on his life today, he is grateful for all the surprises his blindness has brought him.
Mok pushed himself to become the first blind student to study information technology (IT) in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) in the 1980s, when the subject was still new.
At the time, it seemed improbable that a blind student could take the exam. But Mok did not let his blindness affect his desire to try new things. He is reaping the rewards now, as the knowledge he gained of IT has inspired him to take part in developing new technologies for the disabled today.
Mok believes his life has been full of surprises and blessings. When he graduated from high school, he worked as a receptionist at a blind massage centre, then he worked as switchboard operator at the South China Morning Post (SCMP). In 1989, he joined Hong Kong Telecom’s directory enquiry services. His salary jumped from $1,800 for his first job, to $3,000 at the SCMP and $4,280 at Hong Kong Telecom. Few school-leavers manage to double their salary in the space of a few years.