2007 is another milestone year although there were some disappointing moments. After working for slightly more than 1 year in the Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT), which comprises 18 non-governmental organisations of disabled persons, I decided to leave because of differences in direction and purpose. How could one call oneself an advocate for disabled persons when one is willing to conceal discriminatory acts against disabled persons?
I could not live with that kind of contradictory conscience and would not want to be part of such hypocrisy. I may be out of BEAT but I am glad to have found like-minded advocates inside and outside the country and are working with them to genuinely bring advocacy on accessibility to a higher a level. Nevertheless, I have not forsaken local disability issues and have continued to highlight injustices and discrimination against disabled people in Malaysia.
Leaving the unsavoury bits behind, I am glad most part of 2007 has been fruitful. I GOT MARRIED!!! Yes, to the most wonderful woman I have ever met. I could not have asked for a better person to spend the rest of my life with. We took the plunge after 9 years of courtship. Life just got even better.
Several generous sponsors came forward to fund my participation at the 7th Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) World Assembly and the Global Summit on Independent Living in Seoul, South Korea. It was an eye-opener to be amongst such an esteemed congregation of leaders, advocates and activists from 61 countries. It was also an honour to be given the opportunity to speak on not one but two occasions in an international conference considering the fact that I had only been involved in the Independent Living Movement for only slightly less than 2 years.
After coming back from Korea, I began to impart my knowledge on Independent Living to disabled people, especially those with severe disabilities. They are the people who need Independent Living most but are the group most marginalised in society and are most times forgotten by disability advocates. The going is slow but I would not want it any other way as I would prefer to build a solid foundation before putting up the structure.
The one achievement that I am proud of for 2007 is that I passed the driving test and got my driving license. I am driving again after 23 years. The sense of liberation is priceless. Wuan and I are moving around more often and further. My being able to drive has also helped in my work in promoting Independent Living and reaching out to people who are unable to attend courses for one reason or another.
My faith has faltered badly though. Still, I know for sure that all the good things that had happened to me came from Him. My only resolution for 2008 is to be close to Him again. Despite this it has been a pleasure wrapping up 2007. God willing, I look forward to another fruitful year.