Lee Kwong-tak starts work at 4am, six days a week. “I like it,” he says, “It’s so quiet at that time. I feel comforted by the tranquility.”
The 32-year-old, who is autistic and mildly intellectually disabled, says he enjoys the bus rides every morning from his Ap Lei Chau home to a market in Kwai Chung, where he is a production instructor at a vegetable and fruit processing social enterprise. There, he oversees the logistical operations and makes sure the produce is handled properly.
It took Lee a decade to work his way up to this position. He started off as part of the processing team, learning to peel and cut fruit and vegetables. “Different clients have different requests for different vegetables,” Lee explains. “I learned to cut them in chunks, cubes, slices, The hardest was to cut things in thin strips. Took me ages.”
Lee speaks confidently, and though no eye contact is made, he comes across as friendly and engaging.
John Wong Gee-chung, Lee’s boss, notes this is in stark contrast from before.
“The job was really tough for him at first. His autism meant he had problems communicating, so when he couldn’t get the tasks right, he never asked anyone. Then he would get so upset with himself for making repeated mistakes.”
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Lee also had a rage issue. Wong recalls regular frightful tantrums in the early days.
However, Wong, whose enterprise hires mostly intellectually disabled staff, admires how…