I have my bad days. This blog has allowed me to chronicle them. I have my good days. Those are the ones I would like to remember fondly. The most beautiful thing about all these is that I have made more friends online through my blog than in real life. This is what I told Rebecca MacKinnon when she asked me how blogging has impacted my life at the Global Voices IRC before the interview with Mack Zulkifli and Jeff Ooi.
That is not all. This blog has helped me rekindle friendships with a few of my ex-classmates and ex-schoolmates who found me through my blog. We have not met in more than twenty years. Getting an email from a friend from the past is like being able to relive part of that time when we were studying together. How wonderful can that be?
Rebecca asked about my blog readership. I truly do not know and picked out a figure from thin air and told her in jest that it is around twenty. As she rightly added, that is beside the point. I blog not for any reason other than to keep an account of the significant moments of my life. “I blog for myself,” I told her, “writing is an escape for me.” That reminded me of what Fazri said: “I write to express, not to impress.” Very wise words from a young man.
Nevertheless, it is heartening to know that people who read my blog have found meaning in my writings. Dr. Cheah has something nice to say in Spinal Cord Injuries : The Life After, an entry he published in May last year. Mack too has put in an entry titled Stubborness, Good or Bad. This was posted in his previous blog called Branding Conversations. I have not thanked them both properly for their kind words and am doing it here.
Likewise, I scour blogs looking for inspirational stories of people who have triumphed over great difficulties and come out stronger. These are truly exceptional humans who never gave up in the face of adversities. I, too, derive strength from these people. It is like climbing a mountain together. We continually push each other to go higher. It is this teamwork that will spur us on. Every word we write, we try to turn the word “impossible” into I am possible.
Yvonne Foong is a young woman who suffers from a debilitating condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Yvonne has been blogging since 2001. In her blog, she shares about her life. It is humbling to read how she courageously overcame her disabilities to live life to the fullest. If only I have half of Yvonne’s fighting spirit, I am confident I would have achieved something and made my life more meaningful than it is now.
Two weeks ago, I received an email from Selina Zainal. She recounted how she was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis one year ago and how the disease had destroyed two of her lumbar vertebras and how she had experienced severe pain and months of treatment. I read that email several times but I could not find the correct words to tell her how impressed I was with her bravery. I still have not replied to her properly. Selina, if you are reading this, know that you too have inspired me and I pray that all will be well with you again.
I know the havoc an immune system disorder can wreak on an otherwise healthy body. Crowded places must be avoided. The flu season is feared like the plague. Still, she trudges on that uncertain path, wondering when and where she will catch the next infection from. The human spirit is one that can never be conquered if we have the heart to overcome it. Nebula is one such person. We have chatted occasionally. She wrote something beautiful about me in Embrace Life! Nebula, you too are embracing life in your very own ways. One who can share her struggles openly is certainly one who is not giving up so easily. You go girl!
My life is not all a bed of roses. I do have my own demons that I sometimes find difficult to exorcise. Lately, there is this poem that I always look back to when I am faced with a situation that I feel has become hopeless. Becky could not have put it better. Thank you for those beautiful verses. I am reproducing it here:
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
I have a lemon,
What shall I do?
Make me some lemonade?
Or sit here and feel blue?
I wanna climb a hill,
I wanna run a field,
I wanna feel the grass,
Underneath my heel.
If only I can still feel,
The sand under my feet,
And sing my favourite song,
Tapping to its’ lively beat.
I wanna play the piano,
And strum my old guitar,
I wanna strut in my tight jeans,
And zip around in my own car.
I can’t do none of those things no more,
But I still have my faith,
Someday God will reward me,
When I’m finished in this race.
And between now and then,
I shall take the ‘lemon’in my hand,
Make me some cool ‘lemonade’,
And share it with my friends!
The Beautiful Things About Friendship
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Flood preparedness for disabled persons — Are we doing enough? - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 4 January, 2014
The case for accessible homes - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 28 December, 2013
I was an angry man last week - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 21 December, 2013
Giving back meaningfully - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 14 December, 2013