The following interview was conducted over the telephone with Mr. Wong
Biography: Mr. Wong is a teacher at Zheng Sheng College (only drug rehabilitation school in Hong Kong, which uses basketball and track&field to rehabilitate its students)
How did you become involved with Zheng Sheng College?
I was introduced to Zheng Sheng College by one of the school’s administrator. Throughout my life, I have attended and later helped many different drug rehabilitation centers in Hong Kong, and even gone to prison. So, when I learnt about Zheng Sheng College and how it helps students battle drug addiction, I decided to join the school as a teacher.
Why does your school use sports to help the students?
Most of our students have made mistakes in the past due to too much energy. Thus, we offer sports as a way for our students to release energy in an effective and safe way.
Why does your school use basketball and long distance running and not other sports?
Our school believes that basketball is one of the most effective sport for our students. First off, the tight rules against physical contact is perfect for our students, many of whom have had physical violence problems in their past. Secondly, the controlled atmosphere on the basketball court helps our students, as they are quite prone to getting angry. Lastly, skills such as teamwork, discipline can be learned while playing with teammates on the court. For long distance running, its perfect in that anyone can participate. As unlike other sports where talent can make a significant difference, a lot of practice and training can allow anyone to succeed. This is very important for our students, as their past background and low self esteem as a result of their past mistakes makes them very vulnerable to giving up. Furthermore, long distance running helps train discipline and dedication, as it requires our students to constantly practice to improve and beat their goal.
Can you describe more about your basketball team’s unique style of play?
At Zheng Sheng, our basketball team plays a tactic known as help-defense. This requires every player to not only do their own job well, but also help their teammates if necessary. This idea helps instill in our students the mentality that in life, you must do your own job well, and then help others when you can.
What do you think about the power of sports to change the lives of your students?
I believe that sports is a gift from God. People must have physical activity and this is God’s gift. For example, sports can help our students lose weight, as our students can set a weight target and achieve it through sports. Sports can also help bring positivity to our students’ life. As the joy and happiness on the field can raise our students’ esteem and confidence, which they can bring into their normal life. Lastly, students will often have conflicts with each other or with the other team while on the pitch. So, they must learn how to work with others and solve or overcome these problems.