Two Sides Of Human Nature

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.

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 “Two Sides Of Human Nature”

  1. Well, I’ve actually gotten those glares before from using those toilets, but I was wearing a knee brace thing that stretches a long way down and there was no way I would have had enough room in the ladies’ washroom….so it’s hard to say, really.

  2. i would definitely give her a piece of my civic conscious n educated mind if i were there, really. trust me, i swear with a smile.

  3. Hi peter, it’s me yr neighbour. Me take on this would be to snap a picture of this person… and then have all the bloggers post these inconsiderate ppl… muhahahah… SHAME on the person…

  4. How do you know that “aunty” didn’t have a problem? There are more problems regarding going to the lavatory than I think you can imagine. Maybe she had trouble bending her legs in a certain way which would mean that a PWD toilet would have been useful to her. Going to a regular toilet might have been painful for her but of course, an aunty has to do what an aunty has to do.

    You sound a little bitter and a bit too willing to judge. I think, as a Catholic, you should offer people the benefit of the doubt first.

    No offence intended.

  5. Samm,
    There are just too many of these kind of people who have no thought for others except themselves.

    Finding Me,
    I would not go to that extreme. People need to be properly educated on why these facilities should not be abused.

    mr smith,
    That aunty jumped queue. If she had a problem, she should have asked if she could use the toilet first which she did not. I was already there waiting for five minutes. It was rude of her to do what she did. Secondly, you who is accusing me of being judgemental is doing the same yourself. So please spare me the diatribe if you are not a Roman Catholic and a disabled person because I do not care much for your opinion. I dare you to live one month in a wheelchair and go through what I go through everyday. Do that before coming in here to lecture me about issues like this.

  6. Peter, I do agree on the educating the masses part. Somehow my mind kept drifting to flashback on the “Tak Nak” campaign meant well but never seems to work… maybe it is a different ball game altogether. I just had another movie flash in my mind (hmm must the coffee in the morning thing). Picture this.. RTM produce civic mindedness campaign and you are in it. Wouldn’t that be cool. That aside. I can’t help but think the Malaysian crowd needs more than educating for a lasting change. Sometimes I feel that certain stubborn Malaysian need the cane to whip into shape rather than self control. I don’t ever recall me using the PWD toilets. No I don’t believe I have. And that was before I am so expose to the trial and tribulations of the PWDs. This self restrain was not taught to me in school or by my elders… but rather deep down inside I know that it is not right for me to use and it is just not the right thing to do. I guess things like self-restrain is present in certain people’s mind or they just couldn’t be bothered about it. What’s your take, Peter? I am sure you have human nature’s ugliness more often than I do (bearing in mind as the cantonese saying you have been taking more salt than I have taken rice, walk bridge more than I walk road.. welll you get the picture.. hehehe)

  7. Understood. I’m not a disabled person but a catholic, I will never do such a thing. I think their parents never thought them manners. Things will never improve if parents don’t spent time teaching their children manners when they are still young, especially in the city where parents are busy working. A person with manners considers others. If everyone has manners, everything will be in order.

  8. I guess that is what I was looking for … MANNERS. I remember we were taught a lot of that when I was a kid. My parents teach it.. teachers.. elders….Nowadays parents are somewhat different…. I might blog about all this current trend thingy… I think I might just open a pandora box in my train of thought now… hmm… but anyway manners and being considerate and think about others….that is what I feel is lacking nowadays.. . I will add more when I can remember them. Cheers always guys and gals.

  9. Sometimes these people think that just because they’re old, they deserve to be given a priority ahead of others. I’m not trying to justify her, just pointing this out. I’ve been in those situations before, mainly because my grandmother uses a wheelchair to get around. Walking is hard on her. To findingme, I’ve met children who were kind and polite enough to let my grandma go first. So there is still hope in the world.

  10. FindingMe,
    If only there are many more people like you who have a thought for others. As you can read from my “toilet” entries, perfectly able people who admitted not feeling an iota of shame when they deprieve PWDs from using the toilets meant for them. These are not isolated cases. I face it everytime I go out. Yes, manners and consideration are sorely lacking in a small pocket of our society. They may be few but they make life difficult for PWDs. These are the people who must be educated on why the facilities are there.

    This is not a matter of religion or physical disabilities. That comment was meant specifically for mr smith who used religion and blind suppositions to put me down. I so agree with you when you say “if everyone has manners, everything will be in order.” We need a lot of that to become a more civil society.

    Silly Pat,
    I have met children who have better manners and consideration than adults. Thank God for that.

  11. Please don’t regard my opinion as negative simply because it doesn’t agree with yours. At least refrain from calling it a diatribe. It bore no trace of malice or anger. I am not severely criticising you or anyone else. I am merely prompting you to perhaps be more willing to accept that some situations aren’t as clear as others. Furthermore, other people’s actions aren’t always easily interpreted as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Without going so far as asking them their reasons to why they did something, it is almost impossible to guess with a hundred percent accuracy why anybody does anything. How do you know she wasn’t checking to see that the toilet was vacant or not for you? She may have been a good samaritan, trying to help you.

    Admittedly, she probably did jump the queue for her own selfish reasons. However, I personally think that you don’t have the right to comment on other people’s behaviour without knowing their true intentions. I only offer you this as advice, not judgement.

    My opinion is as valid as the next man’s, regardless of my physical capability or religious beliefs. I’m not trying to start a war here. I only offer my opinion in the spirit of discourse and nothing more. My emotions do not interfere with my reasoning.

  12. I have only been to the MVM once but I remember visiting the toilets in Jaya Jusco (within the store) and IIANM there was one for PWDs – perhaps you can check and see. Anyway it was very new at the time and impressively nice and clean – hope they maintained it after all these years.

  13. dobbs,
    Sadly, many of the toilets for PWDs in MVM are not properly cleaned. Jusco’s toilets which I once gave top marks are wet and dirty now. One toilet does not even have a lock or latch for its door. And we have to contend with non-disabled people to use those that are in working condition. Such is our plight and such is the mentality of the ignorant few who make life difficult for us.

  14. Dude, I fully understand your position with this, but a toilet is a public convenience. Yes an able bodied person should yield to let you go first, but a toilet is a toilet, there for everyone to use. Would you feel the same if an able-bodied person snarled when you tried to use a normal toilet instead of them? Like you say, these facilities are there for the benefit of disabled people to integrate better, but if you’re gonna walk around with a chip on your shoulder all the time, what’s the point? Just calm down, learn to take it easy or your integration is just a waste of time, a pretence for others to see while deep inside you carry all this anger. How dare you justify whether someone is worthy of using a disabled toilet by a criteria which ranges from whether they have a wheelchair or a limp? These are not the only form of disability. Get a fucking life.

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