What would it be like to be blind? To grocery shop blind? To find a seat in a cinema blind?
Dialogue in the Dark is a unique experience in being blind for an hour. Not what you expected to do in Hong Kong? I understand and, yet, it is so worthwhile. The program exists in 8 cities and started in 1988 in Germany. It was started by a doctor whose family were holocaust survivors. At a young age he became committed to developing tolerance in the world, When a colleague of his lost his eyesight he was charged with creating a rehabilitation program for him, it was through this colleague that he realized how much ignorance existed about the blind. His belief was that if he could help others understand what it was like to be blind he could create more tolerance towards the blind. Thus Dialogue in the Dark was developed in Frankfurt; with it’s amazing success the program has been recreated around the world.
I read about DID years ago but was waiting for my older son to turn 9 to take him, the recommended age is 8 and above. When I read about it I assumed we would be blind folded and use touch to figure out what and where things where, but this is much more than that. Once you enter the area is dark, pitch dark, and accomplishing even pretend daily living skills becomes a test of the tour group helping each other. Visitors are lead in groups of 8 making it a great family activity in which you learn to communicate and work together. A blind guide brings you behind a curtain where almost magically you lose sight. Once inside the guide takes the group through a series of activities, and attempts to decipher vegetables, cross streets and have a drink without spilling all over. I have to admit I found sitting in a theater the most difficult part, which would have thought finding a seat without sight you, could end up on your son’s lap?
Dialogue in the Dark has been voted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board as one of Hong Kong’s Most Popular Attractions and is regularly in the top ten attractions in Hong Kong on Trip advisor. Amazing for an activity that was created to develop tolerance and understanding of others, my son still speaks of it often and my 7 year old cannot wait to be old enough to go.
Details: Dialogue in The Dark, www.dialogue-in-the-dark.hk, Shop 215, 2nd Floor, the Household Centre, 8 King Lai Path, MeiFoo, Kowloon. MTR to Mei Foo station and then a ten-minute walk through a quiet residential neighborhood. There are tours Tuesday through Sunday in both English and Cantonese but tickets should be bought in advance to secure a tour.