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10 questions for Edward Bunker (interview)

The name might not ring a bell but it does for me and in a big way.

It was during my days in Hong Kong, I was going to this fitness center on a daily basis. One day, I noticed a man walking around who I'd never seen before but he was hard to go unnoticed as he had half of his body paralyzed. In despite of his handicap, he was going hard on the machines and getting up a good sweat.

In that moment, I was just astonished by this person and I was aware of a strong feeling of being inspired arising in me...but it was just the tip of the iceberg. As I was about to leave the changing room, I bumped into him and without thinking twice, I engaged conversation. I had to tell him what I had on my mind... seize the opportunity.

As I started conversation with him and thanked him for being such an inspiration, I discovered one of the warmest, happiest and kindest people that I've met in my life. He was carrying this huge smile and speaking with great excitement and humility.. What a man! Edward became a friend and stills remains to this day a great source of inspiration.

I'm absolutely delighted to have him as my first guest for an interview and I'm sure that he'll generously contribute to the platform in the future!

Edward, tell us more about you: who are you & what are you doing?

Hello, my name is Edward Bunker I am originally from the UK but moved to Hong Kong with my family when I was very young and have been here now for 40 years, with a four year break at university in London.

I was born with a form of cerebral palsy, called right handed hemiplegia although it affects the whole of my right side; basically I had a stroke when I was born due to lack of oxygen. I am apparently the third oldest person on record in the UK with my particular condition. The condition limits the use of my right side and I walk with a limp, but I certainly have not let these limitations hold me back from living life as fully as possible.

After graduating from university with a degree in Mandarin and French, I returned to Hong Kong where, with varying amounts of success held various office jobs. I am slower at performing some tasks and I find it difficult to work in a disorganized environment. At interviews, I brought this potential issue up and was reassured on numerous occasions not to worry and that, if needed help it would be offered by the other staff. However well-intentioned this was, the day to day reality of working in an office where everyone is already more than busy enough working on their own tasks, the last thing they wanted is for me to show up and ask for help.

This was the reason why I eventually left the office life and took up the role of support worker at an English Speaking Special Needs Centre for adults. I greatly enjoyed the work. Growing up here, I already knew many of the people who were at the centre, as I was able enough to be in mainstream classes at school, yet needed the extra support around the edges which was provided by the special needs department. It took several years to establish the right levels of assistance and in what circumstances. The fact that I succeeded in obtaining A –Level secondary school qualifications is a testament to this and to the support and assistance I received from staff and friends alike. Because of being able to identify myself and understand through my own experiences, I would like to think I was able to help those I worked with at the centre in an altogether different way from other support workers, they certainly were a great group of people to work with!

I come from an active family, always doing something physical, hiking, swimming, etc. Only when it was really necessary, was I ever granted allowances for my limitations and was expected to do what everybody else was doing. Although tough at times, this allowed me to develop in me a sense of independence and self-sufficiency which has helped me greatly to “get on” over the years.

At a point, I decided to join a gym as a way to maintain my fitness and stay in shape. As anybody who has ever been to a gym knows, there are times when you can overdo things a bit and suffer the resultant aches and pains for a few days afterwards. It was after such an instance that I happened to meet in passing someone I knew only vaguely who said she was a Reiki practitioner and that it would be good for that as well as for my physical condition in general.

After much persuasion and coaxing on her part, Rosina gave me a Reiki session. That was the spark that lit the path ahead for me to do the work I do today. From that first experience, I soon went on to learn and move up through the levels of Reiki to the point where today I am a Reiki Master and teaching students. Something which, even five years ago, I wouId never believed I would do!

Could you explain a bit more about Reiki?

Reiki is a healing modality which originated in Japan, it was “discovered” by a Japanese monk in 1922 after many days of meditation after which he acquired the ability to use and teach other people about it.