A roller coaster dream in the making

March 19, 2016 08:03
Shreela's dream is to design rides with all the perilous and nerve-wracking loops, spins and slides through shark tanks.Photos: Hong Kong Christian Service

We all have at least one unbelievable, incredible dream.

Ever wanted to ride water slides in a tropical amusement park for a living? The job exists.

You can also get a job trying out mattresses or tasting ice cream.

Anyone disposed to giving emotional comfort can engage in professional cuddling.

Then there's designing roller coasters.

That's a dream job for Shreela, a middle school student born in Hong Kong to Nepalese parents.

She has the right mix of ambition, skill and meticulousness for the job.

Her dream is to design rides for amusement parks. “I want to bring joy to others,” she says.

Shreela looks forward to the day when adults and children alike can enjoy her rides -- the perilous and nerve-wracking drops, loops, spins and slides through shark tanks.

Her biggest thrill is seeing park riders come away happy. "That's my biggest motivation."

Shreela is fascinated by the science and engineering behind amusement rides, especially roller coasters, and the soaring ideas that inspire them.

For the moment, however, her plans are more down to earth.

She knows that she needs to study a lot of engineering subjects from civil engineering to mechanical, electrical and structural engineering.

Also, she is ready to break social conventions. Engineering is also a woman's world and math suits her, she says.

Gender stereotypes are not for her, so she believes that boys and girls can choose the jobs they want.

Shreela is further along her dream than many immigrants.

She is fluent in Cantonese and well adjusted to the Hong Kong way of life.

Most South Asian immigrants struggle to overcome the language barrier but having acquired a second tongue, they still face cultural challenges that impede their integration into society.

In addition, many Hong Kong schools are segregated in all but name, with one or more non-Cantonese languages as the medium of instruction.

Which is why minority students not equipped with any of Hong Kong's official languages often find their ambitions curtailed.

Shreela has no such concerns.

Just this month, she received an award from the Hong Kong Christian Social Service on the occasion of Women's Day for "striving for a new and better future".

If a teenager can dream this big, I can go to the moon or Mars as a tourist before I'm 80.

Or write my first novel.

Shreela puts it nicely: “When I pick up my pen, many ideas come to my mind.”

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Shreela's biggest thrill is seeing park riders come away happy. Photo: Hong Kong Christian Service

A Hong Kong-based writer from Norway