An Apology

Words once uttered cannot be retracted. In my impatience in trying to futilely get my points across regarding why non-disabled people should not use accessible toilets, I have, in some instances, been tactless, callous and impolite. I may have hurt someone (Jess) in that process. I will not make excuses for those misconducts. I have reflected on that for the past two days, realised that my discourteous behaviour was uncalled for, confessed to my parish priest yesterday and made penance for it.

Further to that, I would like to apologise to Jess whom I had an intense debate at Narcissism Is Necessary. I am sorry for using those unpleasant words. There was no necessity on my part to conduct myself in such a manner. However, I stand by the facts that I have presented. I would like to humbly appeal to you to try to understand the restricted use of accessible toilets from the point of view of disabled persons. There are rationales why they are so.

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. Columnist of Breaking Barriers in The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

123 thoughts on “An Apology”

  1. I just think that you should try to get her sponsorship back… Not that i’m a great fan of XX, but it was quite mean to, in a way, rob her of a livelihood… I mean she has spent time on blogging to gain a status such that she is able to get sponsorship, but a few words of yours has taken away all that…

    On a separate note, i think the less fortunate have every right to use the handicapped toilets BEFORE ANY NORMAL PERSON, but it is also ur privilege that the handicapped toilets are there at all… Everyone has disabilities, one way or another, just so happens that for some, it is physical…

  2. Yeah, this is the 101st comment !!

    I am one of the stupid fools among 101 replies !! *Clap* *Clap*

    Some of you really acted like smart asses, listening to only one side of the story from XX, then come over to blast Peter. Did you guys seek for any clarification before doing so? What XX wrote you all follow without any thought. Good, that’s how you people justify things.

    Some even acted more stupid and thought Peter apologized to that XX. Open your eyes and read the words again one by one CAREFULLY !!

    I think there will be the 102th fool coming in and so forth, let them come and show how dumb they can be. *Clap* Clap*

  3. To Lilian

    You asked Peter to shut down his comment board so that people cannot smear the good name of the Catholic Church???

    Damage is already done. His behavour has disgraced his faith. And what he wrote about menses dribbling down……. it’s sexist.

    That’s a good one though. Go on, shut it down. That’s what underhanded people do.

  4. Roman! I love Roman Tam. Are you as ghey as Roman Tam?

    You want to talk to Lilian issit? This is not her blog la wei. That old lady’s blog is at http://chanlilian.net. But she talks crap only. She would bore you.

    Why don’t you come to my ghey blog. I so wanna plug you! Your name gives me a hard on already.

    Roman, Roman, Roman. You enjoy hanging around here dude?
    Since you are into replying comments for Peter, why don’t you also reply all the 102 comments?

  5. This issue of rights or privileges is getting out of hand… everyone just take a step back and see why theese 2 individuals are debating on this point and lets not attack their personalities.. they are both right in their own point of view… but to disrupt a person’s livelihood is ridiculous…

  6. Peter I agree with the other readers argument about your action. Taking down one’s rice bowl is a cruel thing to do. She is rude, I read her website and she is taking down all malaysians with the worse words I have ever seen. I don’t like her either but I pity her for she has commitments to her family. You should clarify things further besides confessing to god.

  7. If someone relies on brands and endorsements for a living, it is expected that with so many obligations to companies other than his/her own personal agenda, the person in question should be more aware and responsible for the things that he/she says. as an ambassador of these brands, your image represents them. if you do not represent them positively, or in the manner that they expect of you (at the time of contract signing), it is understandable if they choose to withdraw or terminate the endorsement. comparing xiaxue to angelina jolie etc is a false analogy. the companies/organizations that all the rest of these celebrities represent have full access to their public statements, and possess the liberty to judge and discern too – they may terminate their services if they deem that they no longer represent them appropriately. in this case, xiaxue did not privately publish these rather inflammatory thoughts. she put them up on her website, where she herself confirms, thousands visit everyday. there was nothing defamatory in peter’s actions – however, plenty in her’s. she should have expected that sooner or later, her companies are bound to find out. unless you’re fully certain that what you’re saying is consistent with your companies’ views or is accepted by them, then you shouldn’t say them at all. they aren’t paying you for nothing. if you cannot behave like a responsible adult and think before acting and learn how to bear the consequences of your actions, then perhaps you do not deserve to earn your income in this manner. i don’t think it’s unnatural that i feel very little pity for a loose cannon with unthinking callous remarks that target an already underprivileged, misunderstood and under-represented group. in the fight for rights, there are always scuffles and skirmishes and i’m somewhat shocked that people can question the morality of peter’s actions. true, we should not cast pity on the disabled and write them off as charity, but if he (an SCI sufferer and people who have never had SCI have really no right to have an opinion about their plight) doesn’t speak up for the disabled, may i ask who will and who can?

  8. Of Brand XX, sponsorships and charity.

    What business are you in? If you are in the business of blogging, do you think that you can say anything, and not get commented upon. Or even complained about?

    If you are a blogger and you seek for charitable funds only, then you are similar to a charity organisation. If you are a blogger, and you seek for personal sponsorship and you developed a ‘brand’, ie your style of writing, your fan base, your advertisement, your PayPal banner so that people can give money to you, etc, and your blog makes a compulsive read and which gives you rewards for your personal needs and income, say, you are similar to many business and corporations out there. Hence, Xiaxue’s blog which overtly advertises itself and get sponsorship deals, and have so many hundreds of readers is – a business / corporation ,isn’t it?

    It is very simple.

    Because the business is disabled friendly, meaning the writing has been putting down disabled people’s rights, for example, “So tell me … our government spent millions of taxpayers’ money to build so many facilities for the physically disabled, and only they are allowed to use it?” (Xiaxue, Oct. 16)…hence the business gotta be accountable for its action. Don’t you think?

    This is nothing new. Businesses get hit back a lot of times, because they are not disabled friendly or there is a cause to complain. We complained once in writing and in the media about an airline that took an hour for a friend of mine to disembark via his wheelchair as they did not do their business properly, and they were not courteous. I wrote to a shopping complex before about letting non disabled people park at designated car parks for the disabled, and I will not hesitate to cc to the Ministry of Local Government to put things right or to write to the media and make the business more accountable.

    You know why I do this? Because there is no Disability Discrimination Bill in Malaysia (and if you want to know, neither is there a discrimination bill in most Asian countries including Singapore). If there was a bill as such, all I need to do is just complain to a Commission and they will act upon it, like in the UK, and get compensation. No need all these cc and writing to media stuff. Some other party will do the job for you. No need to get people to put you down in a blog like this. No headache!

    But as it is in Asia, we have just got to grit our teeth and fight for our rights the best way we can…complaining, it is!

    Do I want to be a pushover and let people walk over me and not get my rights heard? Of course not, and so do you. You may be a parent with small children, and elderly person, or someone who just got discriminated upon. So what do you do? Just lie down low and get stepped on?

    Let’s face it – businesses can get away with anything. Including the business of blogging. It’s part and parcel of the 21st Century issues, but we know businesses are run by people. And people need to be accountable for their actions.

  9. I guess there is no point in me putting the whole no you shouldn’t do this and that crap.. It’s been repeated in ao many people’s comments.. Amidst this whole thing, people have forgotten an aspect of it.. That is to learn how to forgive.. People make mistakes.. FOrgetting it is going to be difficult, but to forgive is something that is possibly done.. To have all this name-calling is uncalled for.. Among some of the comments that says that Peter has smeared the good name of a Catholic church, that he has set a bad example for the Catholics, itself is something i am appalled at that people can even think of saying..That itself, the act of saying that itself is already judging others..Only God knows his children’s heart’s desire, only God knows how much a person has repented from his/her sins.. WHo are we to judge and decide whether or not a person has repented.If God can forgive us for the sins we have done, why not a sin of a person..And to embarasss a person by attacking a person’s faith towards a religion, he/she believes so strongly about is frankly very dangerous..You probably do not realise it, but it indirectly brings down a person..

    I can’t speak or comment on the main issue, because i feel it’s unfair to take sides. I admit, i personally, (on that one occasion she talked about the toilet mess), was upset..It’s the way it was portrayed and the way it was brought up.. the way it was being addressed raised alot of people’s anger and curiousity..I guess in another way, it was the way she talked about it that probably stirred alot of people.. I just feel it’s unfair for us to jump all over Peter when he has yet to openly admit to the accusations against him.. All we have heard are stories from the other side.. Not from Peter yet…Anyhow it’s just my own opinion.. I hope i haven’t offended anybody…

  10. 1. Xia Xue fans who got here after being directed from her blog, READ THIS ENTRY CAREFULLY because Peter DID NOT apologise to XX…. I never knew how difficult it was to get people to ACTUALLY READ until now.

    2. Religious people who are pointing fingers at Peter, HELLO four fingers are pointed back at you.

    3. Flamers like Mr. Satan, you are using your Internet connection for the wrong purpose. Hades is calling, they need you back.

    4. All you PR and media students who thought that the brand image and association are not in play here, ffs PLEASE change your major and let those who actually know something about this pursue the course. And if you seriously thought that Voxy and Kimage did not read her post before making their decisions, you are seriously undermining their management. Because they did. Why do I actually have to say that out loud?

    Freedom of speech indeed. Fighting for rights indeed. I don’t see XX allowing seriously negative comments on her blog, and I know for a fact that there are many. I don’t see her apologising to Fiona Xie, Furong Jie Jie, the waiter she got fired, Muslims, Arabs, and so on and so on and so on and so on. I don’t see her publicly saying that she changed her entries, instead she quietly edited hoping that no one would notice. I don’t see her being more responsible instead of asking students to complain and flame their schools.

    And you are talking about responsibility here on Peter’s blog? Fighting for rights? Freedom of speech? Pffft.

    Get real, welcome to the real world.

  11. say… imagine this…

    xia xue is having a food poisioning… very very bad one… and her period is dribbling down her thighs and all the cubicals are occupied… only the handicapped cubical is avalible…there was no other handicapped people around at that time…. she THEN walks into it.. did her business and cleans up her mess… she opened the door and found a handicapped women, who is unable to control her bladder… peed on herself… and screamed at xia xue…

    so.. who is wrong here? xx or the handicapped woman?

  12. I didn’t think that someone (even in your position) would be so vindictive. Opinions are opinions. You took this too far. Shame.

  13. To all XX fans, do you seriously think a single email can tore her apart? Heh, give me a break.

  14. To all XX fans, do you seriously think a single email can tear her apart? Heh, give me a break.

  15. Hey Doenat, you can save your energy to talk to them. They are dumb asses with no brain. So, how can they think?

    I think more than 80% of them are kids who need some education. They cannot justify and they cannot READ PROPERLY. So, what can we expect from a bunch of dumb asses? The more they post, the more I see how dumb they can be.

    Talking about SIN, listening to only one side of the story and without seeking any clarification, then come over here and blasted people, can anyone tell me is that a SIN?

    When the whole incident was about toilet, they brought in Nationality and Religion issues. When everything was about wrongdoing, they come and talked about anti-who. So, what is next, you kiddy dumb asses?

    To quote Haley Joel Osment in the movie Sixth Sense, while he is saying “I see dead people.”, I can only say “I see dumb people.”.

    To those dumb asses, you want to flame somemore and let people know how dumb you are? Come, show it!

  16. Lots of people saying “how can you say blah de blah to her” and so on so forth.

    But why not? It’s within your right. There was a reason why God gave us the ability to judge—so that we can choose what’s right. You thought what she said was wrong, and you said so. And then suddenly all these people come out, saying, “zOMG HOW CAN YOU BE SO MEEEEN J00 H0R!!!!1one”?

    And you judged her. And it wasn’t too good for her, by the looks of it. Poor little blogger, crying into the night. Boo hoo hoo. I play little violin for her.

    At least you didn’t try to force your opinions at her and everyone’s face. Good on you.

  17. To shishi and all those who thought that xx was “just saying that one handicap man was rude”, pls read her entries again:

    “How come people have this notion that only the disabled can use facilities for the disabled?”

    ” … our government spent millions of taxpayers’ money to build so many facilities for the physically disabled, and only they are allowed to use it?”

    “My inconvenience for waiting for other toilets plus my liking for big spaces”

    We are into these ridiculous hypothetical examples again huh? About what food poisoning and period dribbling down her thighs? All the WHAT IFs to justify her irresposible comments huh? Why don’t you think of these WHAT IFs:

    So WHAT IF not one but ten, twenty, thirty, or even everyone who doesn’t have an disability regard the accessible toilet as just another normal toilet because they all think “how come people have this notion that only the disabled can use facilities for the disabled?”? Then what will be the odds that the accessible toilet will ever be available for those really in need, given that there are a lot more able-bodied people than the disabled?

    So WHAT IF everyone starts using accessible toilet beacause they think that how come “our government spent millions of taxpayers’ money to build so many facilities for the physically disabled, and only they are allowed to use it”? What will be the odds for it to still remain clean and the facility not damaged??

    So WHAT IF a disabled person needs the toilet to perform his intermittent catheterisation, goes around the mall to only find this one accessible toilet but only to discover that someone able-bodied is inside because of his “inconvenience for waiting for other toilets plus liking for big spaces”???

    Do you see the implications of what she wrote? It wasn’t about just THAT ONE DISABLED PERSON but making irresponsible statements when she is supposed to be a “celebrity”.

    Furthermore, you really think that by just ONE Malaysian blogger writing to Singapore companies could cause her endorsements if there was nothing wrong with what she wrote at all? Get real!

  18. And to Jason, you said

    “Opinions are opinions”

    Good, then go and tell this to the Singapore court about the two convicted bloggers that their remarks about the other race were just OPINIONS and hey, “opinions are opinions”! Pffft.

  19. I agree with you Anotherfool. I do not understand why people just love to pick on religion and nationality on this matter. I don’t see there will be such a fuss if peter’s a singaporean. If a big company such as pepsi stop endorsing for a superstar by a mere email then it’s really laughable. And please stop flaming peter just because he wrote a single email to all of XX’s endorsers. Peter is not the prime minister and why don’t you try flaming ethan too? Sheesh.

  20. The reason why religion is being brought in here is that your friend publicizes and publicly declares that he is a Catholic, and tries to portray himself as a great one at that. Put it this way, he has even more of a reason to have good PR than Xiaxue, since he represents someone far more important than three measly sponsors–he is the representative of not only the Catholic/Christian (if you don’t believe that there’s a difference) population, but also of his God. While I can understand that not every Catholic can live up to the standards set, it is the blatant hypocrisy of Peter’s actions that is causing a lot of people to stumble. He not only should have governed himself far better, but he should have apologized. And judging from his next post, he still doesn’t see anything wrong with taking her comments out of context.

    So before you ask a stupid question like “I don’t know why people are bringing in religion to this”, might I suggest that you use your brain and understand that for many people, religion doesn’t divorce itself easily from one’s actions, public or private. If he declares his religion as openly as he does, then he opens himself to judgement based on it. If he can’t deal with it, or you can’t, well boo-fucking-hoo.

    He also doesn’t seem to have a problem with himself making disparaging remarks about Xiaxue. Should I start taking his comment about menses running down her legs out of context and scream “oh my fucking god he’s being sexist!!!! I’m going to tell the Malaysian press all about it and make sure he gets what’s coming to him!” Because that’s the equivalent of what he did.

  21. 1) Disabled toilets are for disabled people only.

    2) Xiaxue has become pretty much a public figure to some extend, where her opinions may influence others.

    Point 1) is something disabled people has always been deprieved of their rights. It’s as good as saying, all toilets are for male only. Females pee wherever. Disabled people and abled people have fight for that right and that right has been recognized. It’s not a previlege. The spacy toilet, it’s a necessity.

    And then, we have Xiaxue (point 2)) blogging about toilets for the disabled. The impression is that, she’s questioning the right. What PTan did, being proactive in this issue is, like what some women had done in the past, demanding rights; what rose did in the bus stop.

    And to XX’s fan, and like what suanie said, XX is also doing underhand work by editing OUT bad comments from her blog. Please realize that.

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