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兩次給警察叩門的故事 The police knocked on my door twice

2015/2/14 — 17:15

芳芳 Fong Fong

芳芳 Fong Fong

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某日中午聽到叩門聲,平日我鮮有訪客,還以為是電訊商推銷員,正想著怎樣打發他走,怎知開門一看,原來是一個「行單咇」(單獨執勤)的老差骨,他希望我能為他「做個證人」。原來老差骨正要進入我的一位鄰居家中,處理一宗「有人擅闖民居」的報案,屋裡其實只有一位女士,故要我做個「證人」的要求總覺有點古怪。

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老差骨經驗豐富,一進門口就知道是什麼的一回事,在屋內巡了一圈後就跟那位女士說:「不用怕,他們已被我趕走了!」女士一臉惶恐:「他們還在這裡呢!有三個人!」。實情是,屋內空無一人。接下來警察召喚救護車送那位女士去醫院檢查,也聯絡了她那位正在上班的丈夫,警察把電話端過來給我,那位丈夫覺得為我帶來麻煩,說了聲抱歉,我沒多說話,只著他盡快回家照顧太太。

那位女士是否有精神病症,我從沒去詢問過她的丈夫,除了是心照不宣外,也沒這個必要,我們總要想辦法去好好地相處下去。在我居住的老屋邨,他們算是比較新的居民,回想他們幾年前搬進來的時候,也許是不適應環境的關係,每晚總會聽到她漫罵丈夫的聲音,一罵就罵不停口,而丈夫哼也沒哼過一聲,我常想如果沒有了她丈夫的心理支援,後果真的不敢想像。

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阿開 Hoi

阿開 Hoi

這樣就過了一年有多。

某晚深夜時份正想入睡之際,就聽到了叩門聲,這次是一名女警,甫一開門就問了我一個很弔詭的問題:「家裡的人都回家了罷?」我點頭說是,她便端來一張即影即有的照片,問我是否認識相中的女士,原來她在我家門口走廊的不遠處,縱身跳下自殺。這宗悲劇在隔日後的報紙角落裡,只是一段小得不能再小的新聞簡報,報導大概得知她患了精神病,住在別的屋邨,那個晚上老遠走過來我們這裡結束自己生命。

我一直在想,那個漫長的夜晚,她心裡在想著什麼?

炯常 Kwang Sheung

炯常 Kwang Sheung

幾年前《一人生活》攝影集和展覽除了慶幸得到了大眾的關注外,衍生出來的「有你同行」義工計劃,也徵集了一群熱心的義工去定期探訪一眾康復者,為他們提供了難能可貴的心理支援。正當為自己作品帶來的效果感覺良好時,媒體上卻不時傳來涉及精神病患者所發生的慘劇,公眾對精神病的負面觀感好像有增無減,發覺要令大家了解病友並不能一揮而就,之前所做的好像走了條回頭路。還有的是生活壓力愈來愈大,有情緒問題的人也愈來愈多,甚至連自己身邊周遭都有朋友親人受精神症狀困擾,精神病友不應再是邊緣社群,而是切切實實在我們生活裡的一部份,就如我這兩次給警察叩門的親身經歷,問題不是存在於那本書和那個展覽裡面,而是在身邊。

自上次出版及展覽後,不覺已經七年有多,這些年來一直都有跟一眾街坊接觸和一起參與活動,高興的是得知他們有些生活狀況改善了,有些性格變得開朗了,也有惋惜的是有的病況變得反覆,有些更離我們而去。另一方面,也新認識了好幾位街坊,更加深刻的認識到他們所遇到困難的多樣性。也許當大眾對精神病患者問題的關注度,漸漸被各式各樣的社會議題所淹蓋時,也許是時候讓我們給大家細訴一下他們的近況。

炳滿 Bing Moon

炳滿 Bing Moon

這次再製作攝影文集,並沒想過要提供什麼新的視野或觀點, 你可能會發現這裡沒有悲天憫人,沒有慘慘戚戚, 有的都是一些瑣碎的生活片段,或許是某些記憶的碎片,也可能某段生命的情節,把這些林林總總呈現出來,就由你們去編織。為的只是一個卑微的願望──建構出一個心靈圖像,讓讀者或觀眾能好好進入他們的內心世界,從而了解他們,猶如你被邀請到他們的家裡坐坐,呷一口茶,聊聊天。

因為接納建基於相互了解,沒有接納和同理的心,就算有多好的政策、多好的新藥物、多好的支援服務也是枉然的,更何況這些政策、藥物、服務從沒到位呢?上面提過那位自了的女士,可能就差一點點的關懷,一點點的開導,一點點的幫助,就可能會重拾對生命的欲望。就差那一點點。

感謝街坊們勇敢地在我的鏡頭裡出現,打開心扉,訴說自己的故事,也謝謝讓我在你們生命中的七個年頭裡佔一個位置。生命無常,活一生人,本身已經不易,更可況是比我們一般人要遇上更多的挑戰呢?謹以此書送給一眾街坊,希望這會成為你們的「一點點」。

(原文為《活一生人》圖文集的後記。詳請請參閱SoCO網頁:http://www.soco.org.hk/lifeandtimes/index.htm

 

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澤基 Chak Kei

澤基 Chak Kei

At home one afternoon, I heard a knock on my door. Since I rarely get visitors, I thought at first it must be a telecoms salesman. As I opened the door, thinking of ways to get rid of him, I saw that it was no salesman but a police officer on patrol.

Clearly an old hand, the officer indicated my neighbour’s flat and asked if I could be a “witness” in a case of “trespassing”. I followed him into the flat, and saw that there was only a woman inside.

How strange, I thought to myself.

But the officer knew what he was doing. He walked purposefully once around the flat and told the woman: “Don’t worry, I’ve kicked them out!”

The woman looked terrified and insisted: “No, they’re still here, all three of them!”

There was no one else in the flat of course. In the end, the police officer called for an ambulance, and the medics who came took her to the hospital.

The officer contacted her husband who was at work and handed me the phone. The husband apologised for causing me trouble. I did not say much, only urged him to hurry to the hospital to take care of his wife.

I never asked my neighbour if his wife was mentally ill. There was no need. We’re neighbours – it’s enough that we try and get along.

In the old housing estate where we live, the couple were relatively new tenants. I remembered when they first moved in a few years ago, I could hear her shouting at him almost every night, with not a peep from him. It must be the stress of adjusting to a new environment, I thought then. Later, it seemed to me that without her husband’s support, she would have been far worse off.

阿成與太太 Ah Shing and his wife

阿成與太太 Ah Shing and his wife

More than a year passed. One night, just as I was getting ready for bed, I again heard a knock on my door. This time it was a woman police officer, who asked me a strange question: “Has everyone in your family returned home?” I nodded yes.

The officer showed me a Polaroid photo of a woman and asked if I knew her. It turned out the woman had jumped to her death from a spot along the corridor not far from my flat.

The next day, the suicide was reported in a brief item in one corner of the newspaper. According to the report, she lived in another estate and chose to end her life at my block.

What went through her mind during that long night? It is a question that haunts me.

A few years ago, the Society for Community Organisation and I collaborated on a book and exhibition of photographs of recovering psychiatric patients. Live Alone a Life: People with Mental Illness was fortunate to have received some public attention. It also inspired the launch of a programme that arranges for volunteers to regularly visit patients to offer friendship and mental support.

阿就 Ah Jau

阿就 Ah Jau

But just as I was feeling pleased about the impact of my work, I read report after report in the media of tragedies involving the mentally ill. The negative public perception of these patients was not only very much alive, but appears to be becoming entrenched. We were back where we started. I realised that the work of promoting awareness and understanding is not a one-off effort.

At the same time, as livelihood pressures grow in Hong Kong, more people seem to be succumbing to mental stress, my own friends and relatives among them. People suffering such distress are not on the margins of society, as widely believed; they’re part of us. The police officers’ knocks on my door told me this much. Mental illness exists not only in books and photo exhibitions; it can be found next door.

金好 Kam Ho

金好 Kam Ho

It has been seven years since the publication of Live Alone a Life. During this time, I’ve kept in contact with those whom I photographed, and have occasionally joined them in various activities. I was glad to see that life has improved for some of them, and that some have become more positive and cheerful. Sadly, however, some have suffered relapses, and some others have passed away. I’ve also made several new friends, whose stories and experiences helped me to deepen my understanding of the range of difficulties that confront recovering patients.

Hong Kong today faces many social and political challenges that dominate public debate. Amid all that noise, it’s easy to neglect people who need our help. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the issues of mental health care, and to check in on some recovering psychiatric patients to see how they are coping with life.

This photo and essay collection offers no grand vision or startling new perspective on mental health care. Neither is there self-pity or melodrama. All you’ll find are the moments that make up an ordinary life: a fragment of memory here, a scene from the past there. They’re simply displayed, so you may piece them together any way you like.

阿成與志華 Ah Shing and Chi Wah

阿成與志華 Ah Shing and Chi Wah

By publishing this collection, I hope to lay out a rough map that leads us to the inner world of psychiatric patients, rather like we’ve been invited to their home for a cup of tea and some conversation. My wish is quite simply a plea for understanding.

There can be no acceptance without understanding, and without acceptance and empathy, we will fail to reach out to the mentally fragile among us, no matter how sound the rehabilitation policies, how effective the drugs, and how good the support services. And our policies, drugs and support services are falling short in the first place. We can do more. The woman who jumped off my block might perhaps still be alive if she’d received a little bit more care, a little bit more guidance, a little bit more help. Just that little bit more.
I am grateful to the people who bravely appeared before my lenses, and who opened their hearts and shared their stories. I thank them for their friendship, for letting me be a part of their lives these past seven years.

文民  Man Man

文民 Man Man

Life is ever changing. To live a fulfilling life is easy for no one, let alone those among us who have been given more than their fair share of life’s challenges. I dedicate this book to them, in the hope that in their time of need, this gesture of support can be their “little bit more”.

(The above essay is the afterword for the photobook Life and Times published by Society for Community Organization. For further information: http://www.soco.org.hk/lifeandtimes/index.htm)

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