Friends From Afar

Sheila and LS

Peter is not working today. I got him to fetch me to town to get some things done right after an early lunch. It looked like it was going to rain but when we reached Little India, the sun was shinning brightly. After settling my affairs there, we went to meet LS at the City Bayview Hotel. LS, a Malaysian currently residing in England, is back here for a holiday. He has been a quadriplegic for twenty two years. Sheila, his caregiver for seventeen years now, accompanied him on his trip here.

We shared about our lives and our disabilities. LS was very vocal about the lack of basic facilities catering to the needs of the disabled community here. Transport, access and public awareness are foremost in his mind. It was an eye opener talking to him and Sheila especially when they talked about the rights accorded to the disabled in the United Kingdom be it from the government or the NGOs.

Forward – Published by the Spinal Injuries Association

LS had problems moving around here as there is no specially adapted van with lifts that can accommodate him in his wheelchair. Pavements were without ramps and were not built to give access to wheelchairs. Those that had oftentimes were obstructed by haphazardly parked motorcycles, carts, lampposts and fire hydrants. Sheila had to push him on the road most of the times. Wuan and I have experienced that when we went exploring the Inner City a few months back. It was a harrowing experience with traffic speeding by just a couple of inches from us.

We agreed that a lot can be done to improve the plight of the disabled here. I have seen the gradual improvement in the basic amenities for the disabled in public areas and buildings. However, the provision of such facilities is not at par with the speed of our nation’s progress. No wonder most of the disabled are left behind in our race to be a first world country by the year 2020. Apart from having limited job opportunities, we have problems with infrastructures that were built without giving much consideration to the needs of the disabled.

Before parting, LS presented me with the June edition of a magazine called Forward and a CDROM titled Moving Forward 3: A Guide to Living with Spinal Cord Injury that were both published by the Spinal Injuries Association. I left the meeting inspired by his doggedness in promoting the rights of the disabled in the United Kingdom and his determination in providing the impetus for the disabled community here to recognise our rights and to press the case with the powers that be. He may be less physically-able than me but he certainly made that up with his tenacity and fortitude in advocating for the rights of his peers which in all honesty put me to shame.

Sinfully yours – Chee Cheong Fun

On our way back, hunger pangs struck since I had an early lunch. Peter and I stopped at Genting Coffee Shop in Island Glades to get something to eat. We both had wanton noodles which was unexceptional. He then ordered popiah which was even more insipid. In a moment of rashness, I ordered a plate of chee cheong fun. This is one dish I had tried to avoid because of the copious amount of shrimp paste and fried chilly paste. The stream of people ordering it was enough to make me throw caution to the wind. This is one of the better tasting chee cheong fun although I have eaten much better ones. Wuan is going to nag me for this. I am sure of it. Ah well, the price to pay for my indulgence.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

16 thoughts on “Friends From Afar”

  1. Don’t try 2 pull a fast one on me with “the angle of the shot” excuse. I might not be a photographer, (in fact if i recall correctly – ppl always say that everyone looks FATTER in pics.) BUT I can always tell a scrawny person when I see one.

    Anyway if U are oredi eating enuff, then perhaps U need 2 sleep longer uninterrupted hours? Or are U staying up till the wee hours of every nite chatting with ur lady love? :o)

  2. Pauline,
    I stayed up till the wee hours chatting with you. We should meet like that less often huh?

    I was enlightened with how the disabled live in other parts of the world, especially the developed countries. We still have a long way to go.

  3. Hi Peter
    I think we might have to give you the chatter of the yr trophy or blogger of the yr trophy 🙂 Wuan will nag ya hehe, oh tsk tsk
    tcz catch up soon

  4. actually i kind of agree with pauline, peter.

    that day when i met you in church, i was quite shocked to see you looking well… ‘scrawny’. true. and when i told my mum about meeting you, and asked if she had seen someone in a wheelchair, she said “oh, you mean that thin thin man on wheelchair ah?”

    peter, try checking your BMI and see if you are underweight or not. if yes, better eat more!

  5. Lucia,
    I am comfortable with my current weight. Putting on a few extra kilos will mean excess baggage that will weight me down. It will reduce my agility, especially in transferring from wheelchair to car and back. Anyway, thanks for your concern.

  6. Terry,
    Yes, it had a peanut buttery taste which I did not quite like. I still prefer the heh ko + tee cheoh type anytime.

  7. haha, some people don’t like that taste of peanut butter in chee cheong fun.
    but i love it 😉
    it’s been long since i had one. gonna find one day to go genting. but i wouldn’t thought of going there to eat most of the time, becos of the traffic and the limited car park.

  8. Terry,
    The limited car parks there is a problem. I seldom go there too but so happened that when we passed the place, there were a few vacant lots. Apart from the traditional heh koh tee cheoh chee cheong fun, I also like it with the lemak curry.

  9. wah, talk about curry chee cheong fun!!!
    i’m drooling already, man.
    i don’t know wether they had it during your schooling time, but when i was in sxi,
    the curry mee selling couple have that.
    man, i wish i can have that as my supper now….
    arrghhh… one day, i’m gonna take a leave from work just to have my breakfast in school… man, that’s good…

  10. Terry,
    Now you have made me hungry too. I do not recall if curry chee cheong fun was being sold during my time in SXI. That was twenty years ago. But I liked the wantan noodles. It was not exceptionally delicious but it was cheap and filling.

  11. haha, the wantan noodles ain’t cheap now. it is the most expensive and the smallest plate among the food stalls in sxi.
    disappointing. inside the wantan are shredded chicken meat. it was so little, i swear i could only taste air in it.

    anyway, you don’t get too much craving for outside food, man. jaga your diet. take care

  12. Terry,
    Aiyah, you are spoiling my fun. But yes, you are right, I have to be more aware of what I eat. I have been indulging lately. Thanks for reminding me.

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