There are people who have eyes but refuse to use it to see. There are people who have ears but refuse to use it to listen. There are also people who have brains but refuse to use it to think. I crossed path with one such person yesterday. No, make that three. Here is what happened.
Jusco Taman Maluri Shopping Centre allocated a parking space wide enough to park two cars for disabled people just outside the entrance to the supermarket. The parking space is painted blue. Two signboards with the wheelchair logo were prominently placed there as well.
Is the signboard with the wheelchair logo not obvious enough to the driver and passenger of WLC 5702?
I was waiting for Wuan at one of the parking spaces. The other was occupied by a white Kancil. A middle aged couple who had no apparent disability got into the car and drove off. As soon as the Kancil went off, another car backed into the space. The plump lady driver got out. The passenger was a middle aged man. The following conversation took place after I wound the window down to confront the driver.
Me: Excuse me, are you disabled?
She was taken aback by my question.
Me: This parking space is for disabled people. The ground is painted in a different colour.
I pointed to the ground.
Me: There are signboards too.
I pointed to the signboard on the passenger side of the car. She looked confused by then.
Me: If you park here then disabled people have no place else to park.
Driver: Just a short while only.
Me: Everybody says it is for a while. If you park here then where are disabled people supposed to park. These are the only places wide enough for us to get out.
She looked more confused but still defiant. Her companion waved to her and said something that was intelligible to me. She immediately locked the car and walked off. And that is how lady driver of Kia Spectra WLC 5702 became the first inductee into The Digital Awakening’s Hall of Shame.
Drivers WLC 5702 and WNY 8347 abusing parking spaces for disabled people at Jusco Taman Maluri.
When Wuan came back, I got her to take a photograph of the offending car while I backed our car out. While Wuan was snapping away, a white Kenari drove into the space vacated by me. The driver and his entire family were all non-disabled people. It had been a long day for us and I just did not have the strength left educate ignorant people on the importance of not abusing accessible parking spaces. We went off just after Wuan got the photographs that I wanted.
While I am at it, let me rant just a little more. A few months ago at the same shopping centre, I wanted to park at the same parking space. The two signboards blocked the way. Wuan got out of the car to remove the signboards. A guard came out and shouted rudely at Wuan and told her to go park somewhere else without bothering to check if there was any disabled person in the car or if there was sticker with the wheelchair logo on the windscreen.
Wuan got annoyed and shouted back at him and pointed to the wheelchair sticker on the car windscreen. The rude guard even got the nerve to tell her that she could at least told him in a polite way. He then walked away, leaving Wuan to move the two heavy signsboards by herself. That was very unlike the courteous security personnel that I have come to expect from Jusco.
It is also ridiculous for Jusco to place heavy signboards to block the parking spaces. How is a disabled driver supposed to park there? Not all disabled people travel with a companion who can get out of the car to move the signboards. In trying to prevent non-disabled people from parking their cars there, which obviously is unsuccessful, the action is also preventing disabled people from using the facility.
It is ironic that people who are genuinely disabled are not able to use parking in spaces reserved for them while non-disabled people continue to abuse such facilities with impunity. These are inconsiderate Malaysians for you. They are not the majority but they make life difficult for disabled people who are already facing so many problems with public transport and the built environment.