Inappropriate disability-related term: otak kurang upaya

The usage of the term “otak kurang upaya” to describe inconsiderate people who misuse accessible parking spaces irks me no end. This post was written in reaction to the following article:
‘Otak kurang upaya’ – activist slams able-bodied who park in OKU spots

Calling inconsiderate drivers “otak kurang upaya” is derogatory and an insult to those with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities. These are two categories of disabilities recognised by the Department of Social Welfare under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008.

It is unfortunate that a veteran disabled activist who is also an office bearer of a leading disability-related organisation in the country was reported to have used this term.

Champions of disability rights, whether they are disabled or non-disabled people, should choose their words wisely when pointing out cases like this. Creating awareness by using negative terms like that is counter-productive to the cause.

There are so many other appropriate terms that can be used to describe people who misuse accessible parking spaces like inconsiderate, lacking civic-consciousness, selfish and thoughtless.

People who are interested in protecting the rights of disabled people should think before they speak. And they should begin by not humiliating any group of disabled people when doing so.

Inappropriate disability-related terms: wheelchair-bound and able-bodied

This post was written in relation to the headline and content of the following article:
Wheelchair-bound Long Island teen is first in NY to compete against able-bodied foes

It is more appropriate to use wheelchair user instead of wheelchair bound and non-disabled people/persons instead of able bodied.

We use the wheelchair for mobility. We are not bound to it. We also use the regular chairs, toilet, car seat and bed. Why are we not described as bound to these as well?

In using the term wheelchair bound, one sees the equipment more than the person. It is better to focus on the person and use wheelchair user.

People are hindered from full and effective participation in society by attitudinal and environmental barriers. Given equal opportunities, everyone can enjoy full participation in all aspects of life.

We are disabled by those factors rather than our impairments. Therefore, when making a comparison with people who do not have impairments in this context, it is better to use non-disabled people/persons.

Durians to the rescue

We were in Putrajaya to submit an application to the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan early this morning and spent an hour circling around looking for the Ministry of Transport building. We had changed cars and required approval for the hand control attachment. Unbeknownst to us, the ministry had moved from Parcel D to Presint 4. As we were unfamiliar with the area, we took several wrong turns before we finally found the building.

Tek ka durian
Tek ka @ RM18/kg

All our forms were in order except for the medical report which was supposed to be filled up in an official form. The officer accepted the application anyway but requested that I get the medical report after which he would issue the letter of approval. I’ll be going to the University Malaya Medical Centre to get the report tomorrow.

Durian D24
D24 @ RM15/kg

To perk up the frustrating day, we decided to have a durian feast at Soon Huat Durian Market at Jalan Cempaka, Ampang. I’m very partial to the the king of fruits from Penang but they are not in season. I am a durian snob like that but beggars can’t be choosers. It is going to be another 6 months before the season in Penang begins so any durian is better than none.

Soon Huat Durian Market
Soon Huat Durian Market at Jalan Cempaka, Ampang

Our first fruit was Tek Ka, one of Wuan’s favourites. It had a bitter taste and not overly sweet. Still not satiated after we finished it, we got the seller to open another fruit. The D24 had a similar bitter taste but slightly sweeter flesh. The Tek Ka was RM18/kg and D24 RM15/kg. We’ll probably go back for more since the price is quite reasonable. At the very least our day ended on a better note.

* Soon Huat Durian Market is at Jalan Cempaka 3, Taman Cempaka, 68000 Ampang, Selangor.