Journey to KL (January 8, 2005)

1320: I almost always travel with a heavy luggage although that is not a sensible way for a disabled man to travel. I have one backpack for all the essential items that I needed to use frequently along the way and one big duffel bag for everything else.

“Seorang kah?” the lady security officer at the luggage-scanning machine asked as she helped me put the duffel bag on the conveyor belt.

I smiled and told her that I was. She helped carry the bag and put it on my lap after it came out from the other end of the machine.

1323: I had pre-booked my seat and the relevant information regarding my needs was noted when I collected my ticket last week. Checking-in was a breeze. The duffel bad was tagged and sent on its way. A boarding pass was issued. I was to change wheelchairs at the boarding gate.

1332: At the security checkpoint to the Departure Hall where all hand-carried luggages were put through another scanning machine, something suspicious in my luggage turned up on the screen. The officer pointed to what appeared to look like an artillery shell and asked me what that was. I was not sure and asked her to unzip the backpack and check. It turned out to be the packet of preserved ginger that Wuan brought for me from KL that indeed looked like a shell from its side profile.

1338: Gate 7 was at the far end of the terminal. I had a difficult time pushing the wheelchair because of the carpet. I was later to discover that that friction of pushing had scraped a piece of skin off my little finger. I did not realise it at that time because I have no sensation in that part of my hand.

1342: After checking with the boarding counter the time for boarding and found that I had a bit of time left, I went looking for a toilet. The toilet was at the farthest end of the terminal. Again I pushed all the way there. This is the part of going out that I do not like. Looking for a toilet adapted for the disabled in a large complex is already a problem. Finding one that is clean and dry is another. Some are wet and dirty. The airport toilet for disabled was dry but not very clean and not well adapted for the disabled to use.

1352: An aisle chair was waiting at the boarding counter when I got back there. We are usually allowed to board the plane first and the last to leave as a matter of convenience for other passengers and ourselves. I changed chairs just before boarding the plane. The aisle chair is a tiny contraption on small wheels just large enough to fit into the aisles of the aircraft. It was also very uncomfortable to be on, even for that short distance into the aircraft.

1358: The economy class seating of the plane is alphabetized A to F from left to right. My pre-booked seat was 5A, which was a window seat at the front row. Unfortunately, the armrest for the entire front row is fixed. The stewards said it was all right and I could switch seats. I had wanted the window seat to take some aerial shots. Next time I will remember to pre-book seats in Row 6 which had foldable armrests.

1508: It was drizzling when the plane touched down at KLIA. While waiting for the aisle chair to arrive I took a few shots out the window from where I was sitting. A MAS ground crew helped me transfer from the plane seat to the aisle chair and from the aisle chair to my wheelchair just outside the plane. He then escorted me from the plane to collect my luggage and then all the way to the KLIA Express Terminal for me to catch the ERL to Sentral Station.

1347: I got a little nauseous in the train from all the swaying and rocking. We passed some interesting landmarks along the way but the photos did not come out nicely because of the speed the train was travelling at.

1620: When the train doors opened at Sentral Station, a staff of the KLIA Express helped me with the duffel bag and direction to the Arrival Hall. I went to Starbucks to get rehydrated while waiting for Wuan. I usually drink less when travelling to prevent from having to look for a toilet often.

So I made it to Kuala Lumpur unscathed. This was only possible with the tremendous help from the MAS and the KLIA Express crew who went out of their way to make my journey trouble-free. Terima kasih you guys for the exemplary service accorded to me. Syabas.

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.

11 thoughts on “Journey to KL (January 8, 2005)”

  1. KS,
    Yes, the change of environment does wonders to the mind. I should travel more often. 🙂

    I need to install an image editing software in Wuan’s PC first.

  2. Peter
    You amaze me – with the minutes and seconds entries. Glad you are having a great time there. Don’t come back so soon!

  3. Good to know that MAS and KLIA express staff were of help to you.
    Have fun in KL!! I’m eagerly waiting for the pics 🙂 Oh..don’t forget to eat nice nice bak kut teh and hokkien mee ok?

  4. Wow never knew it was that difficult for diabled persons at KLIA, thanks be that the staff was helpful. Awaiting the photos! Go paint Kl red:D

  5. Dear Peter

    I amiable your courage to set foot out of your comfort the way how you take care of your bladder problem are you still on intermittent catherisation?
    Good and strong effort.. as a disable myself i am proud of you my friend. take care

  6. Lilian,
    All those chronological data are captured together with the images. All I needed to do was to look at the time and write about that particular scene. Don’t go back so soon? A lot of people in Penang are already missing me wor.

    The crew there were more than helpful. They made the journey wonderful with their sincere smiles. Hokkien Mee in KL nicer than Penang’s? Must try and tell you.

    Thank you. Trying to live outside my cocoon once in a while. I have been like a frog in the well for a while now.

    KLIA is not that difficult. Just that the complex is so huge that it is difficult to find one’s way and of course for one on a wheelchair, pushing myself from the aircraft to the exit can be a daunting task. Thank you to Haziff, the MAS ground crew who pushed me all the way.

    Come, come. 🙂

    Yes, I am still on intermittent catheterisation. This is a permanent routine I have to adhere to. I do use diapers when I am travelling but they can be very unreliable and leak after a while. Where possible, I always look for a disabled toilet to catheterise. You take care too.

  7. He he i will as soon as i can find someone to come with me ,,, ha ha not sure who could stand being on a flight with me for so long,unless it was night…
    I will visit maybe this year 🙂
    thanks for sharing the pics

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