MCD Students interviewed a prominent legislator and social service practitioners for people with disabilities of Macau





Students of the Master in Community Development interviewed a prominent legislator and social service practitioners for people with disabilities of Macau.

Four students of the Master in Community Development, namely Olivia Lam, Nelson António, Katrina Lok and Calvin Tam, accompanied by Professor Ray Choy, taking the Module ‘Power, Strategy and Social Change’ interviewed one of the Macau Legislative Assembly law makers and social service practitioners of Macau. As part of the classes, the visits were aimed at having a better understanding of the process of social and community change in Macau, and in particular comprehending the various power strategies adopted and recognizing the main characteristics of community activists and leaders.

On 14 January 2017, students had an interview with Mr. José Pereira Coutinho who is a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Macau SAR. Discussion topics included Macau’s power structure and his leadership strategy and style. Some of the Macau’s major current social issues were also discussed. Mr. Coutinho believes that Macau’s education system and youth generation have great potential for future improvement. He shared that Macau social values tend to be materialistic nowadays because of the increased importance of the gaming industry. In his point of view, for the sustainability of Macau’s development, the government has to diversify the economy. He also advised that the younger generation should raise their competitiveness and broaden their horizons.

On 20 January 2017, students visited the Holy House of Mercy Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind and had an interview with the center director, Ms. Janet Leung, and the coordinator, Mr. Eric Leong.

Eric, an individual with visual impairment, shared his experience of empowerment. Besides the administrative work at the center, he organizes training and public education workshops. He also teaches his fellow members to use IT tools, computer and smart phones to help them integrate to the society. During the interview, the students realized that he Eric is a graduate of USJ and is now pursuing a master degree in Counseling and Psychotherapy. During the conversation with Ms. Leung, the students learned that the center representatives are actively participating in the government consultation for transportation for people with disabilities and free access facilities.

Katrina, a student, shared that “Mr. Coutinho is very experienced in politics and he shared some aspects of his own strategies and working style.” She also said that “Eric showed us a positive attitude towards his life, what he needs is people to have deeper understanding of visual impairment rather than simply showing sympathy. People with visual impairment lack job opportunities and respective training to better integrate into the society.”

Professor Choy highlighted that “It is a good opportunity for students to have community visits and learn from community leaders.  Students should have learned the kinds of power the law maker and the individual with visual impairment have.  The aim of their strategies such as social and community actions, and public education is to give Macao people more power over their own lives and to make Macao a better society”.