Before I was able to get over my jetlag from the New Zealand trip, Lindy was packing again. This time Lindy was going to Guangzhou and Hong Kong. She received an invitation from the Australian Consulate-General Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This was to celebrate the International Women’s Day. Lindy was going to speak at four events in Guangzhou and three events in Hong Kong, as well as do radio and newspaper interviews. All these official functions were in five days, leaving Lindy three days to take in the sights and tastes of Southern China.
After hearing such a hectic program, I opted to stay home in Canberra and have a holiday. So I sent my deputy, little Comet, with assistance from Amanda. The trio had a wonderful time. As they were in the eating capital of China, they ate their way through the trip. They had Italian, Korean and lots of Chinese. Little Comet, a stuffed toy version of me, watched rather than ate.
As I am only 8 inches long (20cm) and weigh very little, I had a cosy flight in Lindy’s laptop bag. I was able to travel in the cabin instead of travel in the Cargo hold! Then again, whenever Comet travels with Lindy on the plane, he gets a seat next to Lindy.
We left Canberra on Saturday evening and arrived in Guangzhou bright and early at 5am on Sunday morning. We were met by the Consulate driver, Mr Wu, and went to our hotel to check-in.
What better way to get over the jetlag than to have the buffet breakfast in the hotel. Lindy and Amanda spent nearly two hours sampling all the yummy Chinese breakfast, with me watching.
Before they fully digested their breakfast, we were met by Fiona Cochaud, Deputy Consul General, and Anna Lin, Austrade commissioner. We were joined by two other Consulate staff at the restaurant for Yum Cha lunch. The literal meaning of Yum Cha is “drink tea”. It originated from this region of China. In the olden days, men used to sit in a Tea House and drink tea and talk or write poetry with their friends. They will have a little snack to go with their tea. Nowadays we go to a Chinese Restaurant to eat lots of little dumplings and other small dishes and wash them down with tea!
Speaking at Four Events in Guangzhou
Over the next two days, Lindy presented at four different events in Guangzhou. Fiona Cochaud, Deputy Consul General of Guangzhou summed up her presentation in her letter:
“Ms Lindy Hou OAM visited Guangzhou 4-7 March 2018. She was a keynote speaker at several events organised by the Australian Consulate-General in Guangzhou to mark International Women’s Day. Her personal story of positivity and resilience in facing adversity resonated strongly with both blind and sighted audiences. Our local staff were particularly thrilled at the opportunity to meet a Paralympic champion in person and see her medals. Ms Hou also spoke with enthusiasm and humour to a large group of high school students and teachers at the Guangzhou School for the Blind, enabling them to speak with confidence about their own hopes and dreams.
It was a great pleasure to host Ms Hou — she was personally recommended to us as an inspirational achiever, and she did not disappoint!”
Below are some of the photos from the presentations in Guangzhou.
Blind woman reading braille on medal
Travelling to Hong Kong
We caught the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong on Wednesday morning. We were met by the Hong Kong Consulate staff, Gavin McDougall, Candy Leung and two others. The group went straight to yum cha for lunch. I guess this is what you do in the eating capital of China.
Speaking at Three Events in Hong Kong
For the next three days, Lindy presented to Australian Alumni; Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired; and her old school Tack Ching Girls Secondary School. Lindy had a wonderful time sharing her story with such diverse audiences. At the Alumni function, Lindy had comments such as, “I shed a tear during your presentation”; “I love the way that you can make us laugh”. While at the Ebenezer School, Lindy was able to encourage Benny to continue to pursue his Paralympic dream. Benny, who is a graduate of the school, is now studying sports science and competing in Triathlon. Lindy and her party joined the staff and students for a hot school lunch. It consisted of yummy dishes and rice. Students and staff were shocked to hear that we only get sandwiches at school in Australia!
Lindy was thrilled to hear that Gavin was able to organise a school visit to her old school. Lindy left Hong Kong at the age of 14, after finishing her first year of secondary school. It was a great honour to speak to 600 of the school students in the School Assembly Hall. The students not only soaked up what she said, they also asked many fantastic questions. The school was established in 1923, so it is now 95 years old! Lindy was surprised to ‘see’ her class photo was in the 60th Anniversary Year Book. There would have been around 600 classes over 10 years and yet Lindy’s class was one of a handful that made it into the 60th Year book. It is often interesting how things work out in life.
Lindy was interviewed by Karen Koh and Noreen Mir at RTHK Radio 3 in Hong Kong.
Noreen commented, “You came across super, and it was very special to hear about how you used your life lessons to motivate other people.”
The link to the interview (a 35-min program) is:
Lindy’s story also made it into the South China Morning Post by Ben Young: “Blind Paralympic cyclist Lindy Hou on self-motivation and not letting that hold you back”
Apart from eating and presenting, Lindy and Amanda also managed a bit of sightseeing. While in Guangzhou, the pair went up Canton Tower, the second tallest building in China, as well as rode in the bubble car around the outside of the building.
Bird meeting bird
While in Hong Kong, they walked up to Victoria Peak, caught the ferry across the harbour and visited the markets. They saw a group of older gentlemen taking their birds for a walk in their cages. They exchanged stories about their birds just like any other pet owners!
This Speaking Tour not just motivated people in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it also motivated Lindy to continue to share her story and empower people from all walks of life. We can all continue to pursue our dreams no matter what our ability or our age.
- Amanda for looking after Lindy and ensuring all her presentations went smoothly.
- Fiona and Gavin and all their staff for hosting Lindy for the International Women’s Day.
- Anna for recommending Lindy for this tour
“Let’s close the Gender Gap – give women the same opportunities as men.”
This is the tail of Lindy’s Comet