Individuals with disabilities in Macau have found opportunities to lead productive lives and pursue meaningful careers in hotels and tourism related businesses, as employers develop a greater appreciation for their capabilities in a marketplace strapped for local labor.
Cheong Man I, who has a hearing disability, is one example. Mr. Cheong works in the canteen of five-star luxury hotel Four Season Macau. After working in construction in Taiwan for three years, he returned to Macau in 2004 and was unemployed for more than four years, largely due to his disability. This was a difficult and depressing period for him, since he is also supporting his elderly father.
When he did find work, in a hotel laundry, it was short lived, since, compounding his difficulties, Mr. Cheong can neither read nor write, and was not able to keep records, a requirement for the job. When he was hired by the Four Seasons soon afterward, he was transferred from their laundry department to the canteen, where he finally found work he could master.
His supervisor describes him as a diligent worker who takes initiative and does not need instruction, and often helps other staffers with their jobs.
Although he may at times have difficulty communicating with other staffers, he has been able to build good relationships with his colleagues by being helpful. When it is necessary to explain a task to him, he is able to seek help from another hearing impaired employee who can read and write.
To make it easier to communicate with workers like Mr. Cheong, the hotel has asked supervisors to learn the basics of sign language. Sign language translators from local associations are invited to training sessions so that the hearing impaired employees can participate. Cheong Man I says he is very happy with his current job. He appreciates this opportunity and works harder in his job. He even jokes that since he can't hear or speak, he can concentrate better on his tasks. As long as he has work he is capable of doing, he says has confidence that he can complete the task.
Cheong Man I's positive attitude and efforts to succeed have brought him recognition from his colleagues, who in October of last year voted to award him a prize for being the hotel's best worker.
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Family's care brings hope to an impossible dream
Getting pregnant during college time could be very challenging and most would think it could spoil their future career. However, with one's great perseverance and the strong support from family and friends, one could become an outstanding working mother.
Currently working at the housekeeping department in a five-star hotel, U Mio I was found pregnant during her 3rd year in college as a hotel management student. After thorough discussion with her family, she decided to defer her study until her baby was born.
Keeping her promise to her parents and supporting her family in their new chapter, U resumed study and work after her child was born. She spent 7 hours a day taking care of her new-born daughter while studying and working as a part-time. Thanks to her supervisor's encouragement and understanding, her family's help as well as classmates' support, she managed to complete her degree.
U has been working as a hotel housekeeper for years and she revealed that housekeeping duties also included cleaning at the casino and hotel lobby, gardening and so forth. She also worked once as a floor butler and food supply coordinator during her internship before she got promoted to her current position as an assistant housekeeping supervisor.
Working at a hotel, one has chances to get in touch with different people, and she shared that one would earn positive feedbacks unexpectedly with a sincere attitude towards guests. Once a 60-year old guest asked for her help when he couldn't open his luggage and since then, she was the one who helped him out whenever he stayed at their hotel. Another guest from Taiwan always brought them souvenirs every time he came.
With her family's great support and her painstaking efforts, U gradually established her own career. She didn't regret her decision made in the past and is very content with her 5-year-old daughter today.