Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to observe two contrasting examples of the human nature. Wuan and I were at Mid Valley Megamall and as usual, the highlights of our trips there were looking for a toilet for PWDs to enable me to perform intermittent catheterization. In the vast complex, it is sometimes difficult to find one’s bearings, especially when it is packed with weekend shoppers. My bladder was already full and I needed to drain it immediately. I breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the sign pointing to lavatories.
When we reached the toilet for PWDs, a non-disabled couple had already opened the door and was about to enter when they saw me. The wife, who was pregnant was obviously in distress, her face cringed in discomfort as she held on to her bulging abdomen. They stopped in their tracks for a moment, wondering whether to go in or not. The husband gestured for me to use the toilet first but I indicated that they could use it. I guess they chose that particular toilet because the husband could help the wife in there. After all, if he did not need to help his wife, they could have used the normal toilet within the same premises.
Not wanting to wait for my turn, we scampered all over the mall looking for another toilet until Wuan suggested that we use the toilet in Cititel’s lobby again. I am always attracted to clean toilets like bees to honey. Unfortunately, that toilet was locked from inside. We thought someone could be using it and waited outside for a while. Along came a middle-aged woman who evidently was not using a wheelchair and did not walk with a limp. She turned the doorknob a few times, ignoring the fact that I was in the queue waiting to use it. When she failed to open it, walked three steps and disappeared into the normal toilet. I glared at her when she came out but she acted nonchalant.
Some people have the mind to comprehend that toilets for PWDs were built for a purpose. The pregnant lady had to use the toilet but she recognised the fact that it was built for people like me. They graciously accorded us that priority even though the needed to use it in haste. Some are simply inconsiderate and abuse such amenities for their own convenience. Time and again, I have stressed that amenities for PWDs is not a privilege but a necessity. We need these to be able to integrate into society. PWDs have every right to go out and enjoy a barrier-free environment as anybody else. Please do not make it more difficult for us than it already is. Think before abusing such facilities and depriving the people who really need to use it from using it.
Unwitting victims of other people’s misconduct - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 11 January, 2014
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