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Transcript of Bilibili video trying to encourage Chinese with disabilities
2021年11月有个网名《梦姐》 的硕士生想访问我， 帮国内的障碍朋友们以免消极态度。我以为她只发给高中校友而已，但她能从我们的一个多小时访问拔出几个句子放在哔哩哔哩（B站）视频网站，短片的B站访问量6个星期后改平了在17万2千。以下是抄写还有我所选择的听众评论。
In November 2021 a Master's student who uses the Internet name "Dream" wanted to interview me to encourage disabled friends back home not to give up. We filmed for over an hour and I imagined we were doing it for a class at her old school or something, but there were segments she found suitable for China's "Bilibili" platform where the resulting video was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people (the viewer count leveled off after 6 weeks at 172,000; analysts said 80% of Bilibili viewers are under 25). Here is a transcript and selected audience comments (with my English translations) for reference.
Video on Bilibili's site
Title: story of a visually-impaired person who finished Cambridge's Computer Science degree
Dream [to a background of me trying to explain cane techniques]: In Cambridge I happened to get to know a visually-impaired person Silas. But what amazed me was that since [matriculating in] 1997 he finished Cambridge's Computer Science degree, self-learned Chinese, helped establish a Chinese student society in Cambridge, and helped with the development of Cambridge's computers and pinyin software so Chinese students can use the university's computers to write Chinese so I went to find out
... because at the age of ten I entered that school for children with mental problems [here I slightly muddled up the sequence of events: I was investigated from about 10 but admitted when I'd just turned 12, but really I was focusing on the next part] and then when I was 15 they finally found my real problem and then gave me a lot of help ...
... when my Dad first heard I had a disability he wasn't very happy about his son being disabled but I was happy because as I said it's better than being crazy (laugh) ...
... we don't think it's shameful. I met a Chinese person who said people suspected she had what is called "autism" which is recognised as a disability in the UK and they can help you, so I suggested she tell her university and teachers she has this disability because if you tell them they can treat you better. But her reaction was very bad, she said she didn't want anyone knowing she's disabled, she thought it was a shameful thing, so I said ...
... because this is perhaps a cultural difference, I mean, here we had Stephen Hawking, we think yes he's in a wheelchair and he's a very very smart person, we don't think [his] disability is shameful ...
Dream: Do you think visually-impaired people still have some difficulties?
... maybe is a cultural difference because in the UK there's a spirit of independent living: if you've grown up you're an independent person and should leave your parents and live separately, but I've heard that in Eastern culture if you have any problem your family look after you your whole life.
Dream: yes this is a real phenomenon...
Dream: ... you've always enjoyed study, right?
yes, yes, in school a lot of children hit me---a lot of bullies hit me---but if I went to the library I could hide (laugh) ...
…… 因为他们以前觉得我是垃圾的人他们觉得我是没有价值然后后来我会写软件， 他们觉得“可能你有一点价值因为你会写软件” 所以我继续了……
... because before they thought I was a rubbish person, they thought I had no value, then I could write computer programs and they thought "maybe you have a bit of value because you can write programs" so I continued ...
…… 在我年轻的时候我曾经试试自杀了， 因为在学校我学过地球有太多人气候变化等等等因为有太多人太多人口人口太大， 一直说这样所以我觉得哦人说我没有什么价值, 人说我根本是垃圾的人, 然后我知道地球有太多人口， 答案肯定是我自杀的然后地球没有那么多人口是这样的但是我失败了我也失败了自杀(嘻嘻) 我从第三楼跳下来但是我的衣服在窗口下面有点问题我没掉了因为我的衣服还在窗口里
... when I was young I once tried to take my life, because at school we learned the earth has too much population---global warming and so on because the population was too big, always talking about this---so I thought "people say I have no value, people say I'm simply a rubbish person, then I know the planet has too much population, so the answer is perhaps for me to take my own life and reduce the population---it was like that---but I failed---even failed to take my own life (giggle) I tried to jump from a top-floor window but my clothes [struggling to recall how to say "got stuck" in Chinese] had a little problem with the window so I didn't fall because my clothes were still in the window
Dream: When did this happen?
When I was about 12.
... but then the doctors they finally knew my real situation and then my life improved a lot, so I think if someone is very sad and wants to take their life, I want to say don't do it because you don't know what changes your future life could bring. Maybe at the moment your life feels useless but if you wait a year or two, or three, maybe after that you'll find it's completely different, so you should wait...
…… 还有我帮助一些人阻止他们自杀了那 (梦姐: 怎么帮助呢?) 跟他们做朋友如果他们有问题我试试帮他们。至少听他们……
... and I helped some people to stop them taking their lives (Dream: how did you help?) make friends with them and if they have a problem I try to help. At least listen to their ...
... very sad thing that there was a Chinese student who really took her life ...
…… 所以那天以后我觉得我应该多认识中国学生希望我可以认识每一个中国学生所以如果下次有这样的情况他们他们自杀之前至少可以跟我聊，我不是[心理]专业的，但是有些人他们不要专业的人 ……
... so after that day I felt I should get to know more Chinese students---I hope I can know every Chinese student---so if there's a next time that situation happens then before they take their life they can at least chat with me, I'm not a psychologist but some people don't want a psychologist ...
Dream: How did you start learning Chinese?
I learned from audio recordings made by Chinese friends...
... I wrote software to help me practice with recordings, saying "listen and repeat", "say again", "how do you say", "how do you say" always testing me (laugh) ...
... I hope one day there won't be different countries because we're all one world, because there's too much of one country having conflicts with another country, and far too many people misunderstand each other ...
Dream: After chatting with Silas it's hard to express my feelings, seems to be tough and pure, he was visually impaired from birth and bullied, misdiagnosed, sent to a special school and tried to take his life but still chose to do good and help others as far as he could, I hope his life runs well
(The authors of these comments were all using pseudonyms)
I think we shouldn't limit ourselves or feel inferior because of a so-called "disability"; everyone is imperfect in some way, in other words still learning. Our eyes can't see behind us, so we learned to invent rear-view mirrors; our bodies can't keep out winter cold like animals can, so we have warm clothes. We learn to use all kinds of tools to make life easier. You might need a few more tools than others, but from this angle there isn't much difference between everyone is there?
中科大也有个视力障碍的学生， 双眼只能感光， 不仅完成了博士学位还去MIT 做了博后， 真的太强了。
There was also a visually-impaired student at the University of Science and Technology of China, whose eyes had only basic light sensitivity, who not only finished a PhD but also did a post-doc at MIT, really good.
我本科同学也有一个残疾， 他是双腿不能走只能坐轮椅， 肥科五教有电梯问题倒不大。至于做实验去一教还有二教的课就只能他妈妈和同学帮着抬上楼。然后他gpa3.9+拿了国奖（肥科国奖基本就是按成绩排序），非常猛。
My undergraduate classmate also has a disability, he is wheelchair-bound, and sometimes there's a problem with the lift in the fertiliser-studies department and he needs his mum or fellow students to help carry him upstairs to experiments or classes. His Grade Point Average of at least 3.9 got him a National Scholarship (which is awarded on the basis of results in fertiliser studies), unusually good.
It's not just a cultural difference. If you tell your tutor you're having psychological difficulties, most of the worry is "will you take your life at school and cause problems for the school" and not "what help would actually help you".
他没有见过树木 阳光 雨水 白雪 甚至没有见过一个中国人的面孔 。他在西方世界的大环境中也许听过许多对中国的抹黑 ，但他还是会选择主动去帮助那些他从未亲眼见过的留学生，为他们撑一把躲雨的伞。他真是一位心灵高尚的人。
He hasn't seen trees, sunlight, rain or snow and hasn't even seen the face of a Chinese person. In the Western environment he probably heard many smears against China, but he can still choose to go and help those international students he's never seen with his eyes, noble soul.
or maybe it's precisely because he can't see faces that he can try harder for close exchanges with people
有人好奇盲人和视障者会不会用电脑和手机， 答案是， 当然会用手机。
win10 可以按下Ctrl+Win+回车键开启、关闭“讲述人”， 它会实时朗读出你操作的焦点的文字。
比如win+d， 回到桌面， Alt+tab 在打开的窗口之间切换。上下左右光标浏览。tab 在控件之间切换等等。
当然， win10 自带的讲述人功能比较少， 一般都不用， 主要还是使用第三方各种收费或免费的读屏软件。
至于苹果电脑是command 命令键加f5 打开旁白。
也是单指左右滑动浏览焦点， 双击屏幕激活焦点， 切换桌面则是双指左右滑动。
和win10 的讲述人一样， 因为功能有点少， 大多盲人和视障者一般都会用第三方各种免费或收费的读屏软件
If anyone's curious if the blind and visually impaired can use computers and mobile phones, the answer is yes and they don't have to look at the screens, they can rely on a kind of software called screen-reading software to operate phones and computers. If you want to experience it: in Windows 10 you can press Control-Windows-Enter to open or close "Narrator" which can read out your operations in real time. When relying on a screen reader, all operations are done with the keyboard, for example Windows+D returns to the desktop, Alt-Tab switches between the open windows, Tab switches between controls, etc. Of course, Windows 10's built-in Narrator is not very functional and most people use third-party commercial or free screen readers. On Macs pressing Command-F5 opens VoiceOver, and on iPhones you can ask Siri to start or stop VoiceOver, and control it with gestures, such as slide to change focus and double-tap the screen to browse the available focal points. On Android you can turn on TalkBack in Settings / Accessibility [or hold down both volume keys]. Different models of phone might be different, and the method of controlling the phone also changes after you've started TalkBack or a [third-party] screen reader: you can slide a finger left to right to browse focus points, double-tap the screen to activate one, and you need to slide with two fingers to scroll the home screen [or whatever]. As with Windows 10's Narrator, the functionality isn't much; blind and visually-impaired people usually use a third-party free or paid screen reader.
我近视， 每次剪头发的时候会开旁白玩手机顺带体验盲人怎么用的， 总体来说虽然有旁白确实有一定的可用性， 但比起一般人靠视力交互还是体验缺失不少的， 很多内容没有注释你就不知道是什么东西， 有些交互组建很难点按到， 这需要app 开发商还有平台都去考虑到他们的需求并做优化， 另外就是可能机器学习未来能提供更多帮助吧
I'm nearsighted, and every time I go for a haircut I use VoiceOver on my phone as a convenience, so I've experienced how blind people use it. In general, although VoiceOver definitely has its use, it lacks some of the visual experience as a lot of content doesn't have [accessibility] labels so you don't know what it is; this needs app development companies and platforms to consider the requirements and do it well; perhaps machine-learning will help some more in future.
Daren't imagine how someone can learn Chinese without sight: using Braille? Or relying on audio material. It's smart. [Somebody answered it must be Braille if I'd taken an exam in it that got me in to Cambridge. Which is not what I did but never mind.]
Not no sight, he's visually impaired, can't see clearly or can't see very far
Silas came into a new-student group and added a lot of people [on WeChat, referring to something they let me do in the COVID-19 pandemic]
上周末还邀请我去一个他办的中文朗诵线上会议好有意思的人。不好意思大家， 他说这个会议中有很多中文的初学者比较害羞， 不太希望把这个视频开放给网友， 所以……不好意思了各位
and last weekend invited me to his reading Chinese in an online meeting; interesting person. Sorry everyone he said this meeting has Chinese beginners who are shy and don't want the video feed to be public, so, sorry everyone.
我在考上英国大学前也自杀过几次， 不是因为学业， 而是不知道自己有没有出路……慢慢来， 说不定以后生活会有转机的
Before I got into a UK university I also tried to take my life several times, not because of schoolwork but because I didn't know if I had a future...take your time, who knows if life will turn for the better
If he can't play games, watch TV dramas and play on his mobile phone then he can study harder
视力障碍能考研究生吗不论是国外还是国内， 需要去哪里找信息呢？ 认识个朋友是后天的视力障碍， 在家里蹲了两三年， 现在想去读研， 但是学校大部分都是开放听障的课程， 很少有视障的科目还都要单独打电话。。。问题是学校还不接， 她本身大学毕业的是电脑软体类的学科， 还想读研继续这一类。。。有人了解吗。。谢谢
Can the visually impaired consider being graduate students? Whether foreign or domestic, where should we go to find the information? I have a friend with an acquired visual impairment who has spent two or three years at home and now wants to do postgraduate study; many schools have courses for the deaf but not many for the blind and you have to phone them individually. The problem is the schools still aren't connected; her undergraduate degree was to do with computer software and she wants to do research in this field, does anyone understand? Thanks.
有专业限制的， 大部分专业没有限制。研究生入学体检那个上会说。/ 国内限制还是比较多的 / 建议出国
Some subjects do have limits, but most don't. The physical examination that [Chinese] universities give you will say. / Domestic limits are higher / suggest you go abroad.
UP主可不可以邀请Silas来B站开设一个账号, 我觉得他的分享肯定会鼓励更多的人 / 我求你，帮他注册b站吧
Could the uploader invite Silas to open an account on Bilibili, I think his videos would encourage more people / I ask you, help him to register for a Bilibili account [Dream did offer to do this but I declined: I gather this audience is easy to offend, and I'd recently had a message with a knife in a smaller group, so I didn't think I could cope without a knowledgeable editor to catch my cultural mistakes]
Our school also had a visually-impaired student and she passed the People's University entrance examination; they really can give us a lot of inspiration
无时无刻都在提醒我， 我真的是废物 / 当生活太难时看了这个视频以后才明白， 原来原因是自己太傻
I'm reminded all the time that I'm really rubbish / When life is too hard, looking at this video helps me understand the reason is I'm too stupid
I asked Dream to contact four people who said this kind of thing, to tell them they'd misunderstood our message, but the platform didn't seem to allow private contact so she had to turn my request into a pinned public comment:
Silas said: everyone's comments seem so positive, unlike on Western platforms. But could you tell these four: don't think you're a rubbish person. Because they said they're more rubbish than me. That's definitely not our meaning, we want to encourage them, not make them feel worthless. Please tell them for me that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, perhaps you and I have different strengths but your strengths are still strengths. Often one person's strengths can make up for another person's weaknesses, and that second person in turn has other strengths that can make up for the first person's weaknesses. We shared that video to encourage everyone, not to make anyone think they're rubbish. I think you have potential which will definitely show itself in the future if it hasn't already. "Let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person."
看盲文和盲操电脑手机， 对大脑的记忆力和反应速度都有很高的要求， 而且这种操作方式会一直训练人的大脑的记忆力和反应速度， 所以蛮多盲人脑子都还挺好使的
Reading Braille and operating computers and mobile phones in 'blind' mode has high requirements on the brain's memory and reaction speed, which are further trained by this mode of operation, so a lot of blind people's brains are quite good at it
我现在近视1000多度，我从小因为写字速度慢遭受老师的歧视，她还经常找借口当众批评我说我上课分神，连我父母也觉得我是因为懒才这样的，我也遭受了很长期的校园暴力， 被同学孤立，没有朋友，后来我靠自己的努力考上了中国大学，读了计算机专业，我顽强拼搏， 最终完成了自己的学业，我还自学英文， 我自己翻译了莎士比亚的十四行诗，我很喜欢西方文化，我也很乐于帮助人，昨天我还扶老奶奶过马路了，是个内心温暖的人， 我是不是很伟大
I'm over 1,000-fold nearsighted and since youth suffered discrimination from a teacher because of my slow writing speed; she often found an excuse to criticise me in front of everyone, saying I was easily distracted, and even my parents thought I was like this because of laziness; I was also bullied at school for a long time, isolated by schoolmates, no friends, and then I used my own effort to get into the University of China, studied Computer Science, fought hard and eventually completed it; I also taught myself English and translated Shakespeare sonnets, I really like Western culture, and I also like to help people---yesterday I helped an old grandmother cross the road; I'm a warmhearted person; am I great? [If this was sarcasm, it might have been in response to the large number of comments saying I'm great which I've omitted from this selection; someone mentioned I'd translated Xu Zhimo hence the sonnet reference. The video itself was not supposed to emphasise me; I was just being one example of many.]
我有个同学在大学做心理测试， 不知道为什么测出来她心里有问题。她辅导员就叫来她家长说必须签一个保证书， 内容为一旦我那个同学出事了就与学校没关系。如果不签， 是要退学的。如果你告诉其他人你有问题， 其他人第一反应是远离。
I have a schoolmate who did a psychology survey at university, I don't know why but the survey said she had a psychological problem. Her tutor called her parents and said they must sign a pledge saying whenever that student has a problem it's nothing to do with the school. If they didn't sign, she must stop studying. If you tell others you have a problem, their first reaction is to distance themselves.
I know there's a public welfare organisation for the blind called Bethel China; maybe they have children who'd like to know how to learn programming. [OK I looked them up but it seems their children are preschoolers wanting adoption; as I didn't write my first program until age 8 I'm not sure how to help preschoolers]
Disabled people in China not having a spirit of independence: actually the infrastructure isn't good enough to let them leave the help of family and friends, but there are lots of disabled people continually striving for self-improvement. [One of my fellow PhD students became a professor at Tongji University and tried to promote the inclusive design of cities, so I know they're on to it.]
I'll try hard to get into Cambridge and befriend him
Rather than saying he's a lovely soul it's better to say he's an ordinary person---letting people with disabilities better integrate into society means letting them view him as not exceptional.
All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.
Android is a trademark of Google LLC.
Bilibili is a trademark of Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., Ltd.
VoiceOver is a trademark of the Apple Computer Corporation.
WeChat is a trademark of Tencent Holdings Limited.
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.
Any other trademarks I mentioned without realising are trademarks of their respective holders.