Sunday, 13 April 2008
Chaoqun dumplings 超群水餃
Last week, I did a story on an 18 year-old boy named Chaoqun (pinyin) in need of TWD 700.000 (USD 23.100) surgery to make his skull whole again. Thirty percent of it was crushed to bits during a motorcycle accident two years ago, along with part of his cheek bone. He comes from a single-parent home with very limited financial resources, but instead of taking charity from people, his mother decided to start making dumplings with Chaoqun to earn the money need for his surgery. She used this opportunity to teach Chaoqun how to fish, rather than to just feed him fish.
The story of how I met Chaoqun goes like this:
Tuesday afternoon, he was passing out flyers for his dumplings near our station. As I was on my way to buy my favorite Tuesday vegetable wrap lunch, I also got a flyer. Because I was starving to death and dying for my vegetable wrap that I haven't had in two weeks, I didn't pay too much attention, only noticing that there was something strange about one of his eyes. I took a flyer and decided to find out more after I got in line at the veggie wrap stand. But before I got there, Zen, my cameraman that day, called me and said, "hey, there's someone passing out flyers and looks like he needs help. Go check it out." That was him. Zen got a flyer too.
As I stood in line, I looked at the flyer, read his story and called my assignment editor for approval, and got it. As soon as I got my veggie wrap, I ran back to the office, threw the wrap on my desk and grabbed a microphone and camera with Xiao Xie, another cameraman who also basically just swallowed his lunch and didn't even have time to wipe his mouth, and ran back downstairs to film Chaoqun passing out flyers.
After Chaoqun was finished, we said we'd meet him back at his shop later.
This is the transcript of the sound bites, which were quite good. Pity we can use only a small part of it because our stories are only a minute and a half long.
(passing out flyers)
- Can we order these?
- Can you deliver them at lunch time?
- Let me tell my coworkers about this. This way they can help too.
- Thank you.
Hi, please have a look. Hong Kong style dumplings in 12 flavors.
填 合 壓 成
(making dumplings at the shop)
This is filling the dumpling. This is pressing it. Then this is squeezing and closing it. And there you have it. My uncle taught me to make it in this shape.
視力 焦距 沒有辦法去平衡
We already completed the cheek bone reconstruction. Before we did that though, my eye was next to my nose. My eye sight and focal point was off and I couldn't keep my balance. After the cheek bone was put in and my eye was pushed up, I still can't keep my balance. So I did rehab and now I look through my left eye. I can't use my right eye, because I get dizzy if I do.
前年出車禍 去年動手術 差不多
- For how many months did you make dumplings to get this surgery? How many months?
- A year. The accident was the year before last, we did the surgery, so yeah, that's about right.
There's still another surgery coming up, but this one might take longer before we can do it. If the last surgery cost TWD 100.000, and it took a year of making dumplings, then this next one costs TWD 700.000, then that means I'll have to work lots of years.
- What if you don't do this surgery?
- It's dangerous. That'll be it for me. It gets hot in the summer, and when it gets hot, my brain pressure goes up, and when it goes up, I start having a headache. When it's bad, I can even pass out. Like when I was passing out flyers earlier, I was in the shade and already feeling dizzy.
- Is there anything you can do about these headaches?
- The doctor prescribed pain killers, but I don't want to be taking those all the time. If I can bear with it, I won't take them. I'll only take them if I can't handle the pain, because pain killers aren't something you're supposed to take all the time.
In the winter, no matter how much you put on, it's still cold. If I get sick, my experience last year was, I had only a mild cough and I went to see the doctor. The doctor said I developed puss in my throat and I had to be admitted to the hospital.
- Have you ever thought about what you'll do after you've come up with the money and have had the surgery?
- This whole time, I've been dealing with the food and beverage industry, and all my experience has been just here. So I'm naturally going to keep walking down this path and make our dumplings famous. Besides, our dumplings are really good, because each one of them are made with love. It's like going home and having a meal that Mom made with love. It tastes really special.
- Where's your mom today?
- She's at home, resting. She's getting old, and I don't like her having to work so hard. She makes dumplings with me every day, until late at night. When we're rushing orders, last year we were making dumplings through the night, and Mom started getting nosebleeds as we were doing it. I couldn't bear seeing her going through that.
When I had that accident, I saw another patient who also had an accident, but he became a vegetable. I have a choice. I don't have to go and commit suicide or close myself in, because I do have a choice. I chose to slowly come out of it.
If I said I don't care how people look at me, I'd be lying. But I still need to face it. After all, I caused this. There's nothing I can do about what happened, so I chose to deal with the problem. I don't want to run away from it. But I also want to thank that patient in the hospital, because it was after seeing him that I was able to stand up. I have a choice, but he didn't. Today, I'm taking that option that he didn't have.
Thank you for the support you've given us over the past two years. I've completed my cheekbone surgery. Next is the cranium. I'll work hard and pass out flyers myself. Of course, I want to help other people too, so every month, we also donate dumplings to orphanages. Thank you, everyone.
After I completed the story, a coworker started bugging me to put the information on the intranet so people at the office can have a chance at buying dumplings and helping Chaoqun. I have a compassionate bunch of coworkers.
港式魚蛋鮮肉餃 129元 (特價，原價165元)
XO干貝鮮肉餃 129元 (特價，原價165元)
日本鯛魚鮮肉餃 129元 (特價，原價165元)
海鮮花枝鮮肉餃 129元 (特價，原價165元)
大個蝦仁鮮肉餃 129元 (特價，原價165元)
請撥超群陽光生鮮手工水餃專賣店 02 8257 3636
Michella Jade 郁容
Hopefully Chaoqun will be able to get the money he needs for his cranium surgery and gets everything done before the blistering summer comes around.
(picture of Chaoqun and mother via Liberty Times)