This video is about my work as a senior trainer on Disability Equality Training (DET) and my life story. Thank you to TENA Malaysia for the opportunity to promote DET to its staff and supporters.
Thank you, too, to the participants for their effort during the group exercises, action plan making and presentations. I am glad that I was able to facilitate you all into understanding disability better and the ways we can make society more inclusive of disabled people.
Special appreciation must go to the team from Lucideas for their unwavering support throughout this campaign, especially to Beatrice, Wendy, Benji and Gadiy; and to the video and sound crew for making me feel like a star with all the cameras and bright lights. This is an experience that will be hard to forget.
I am living with tetraparesis – muscular weakness of all my four limbs. My hands are weak although I have functional use of my arms. I have learnt to live with paralysis and the necessity in doing things differently where I can and use adaptive aids where I cannot.
I renovate the house for wheelchair access. I get the best wheelchair I can afford so that I can be more independent. This is also to protect my shoulders from repetitive strain injury and to improve my posture. Even the wheelchair cushion to protect my buttocks from developing pressure sores costs more than RM1,000.
I got a car, installed a hand control kit and learnt to drive because public transport service is scant when it comes to fulfilling the needs of disabled people who need to move around. Nevertheless, I still prefer buses and trains to driving because I can dispense with the need to transfer from wheelchair to car and vice versa every time I go out.
Over the years, I have spent a handsome amount for adaptive aids and renovations to enable myself to the best of my ability. That, unfortunately, is not enough for me to live a truly fulfilling life. The world outside is fraught with barriers the moment I get out from my house. Danger from bad design and construction lurks at every turn of the corner.
What I cannot understand is why the government continue to allow barriers to be put up despite recognising the importance of accessibility to the built environment for disabled people as promulgated in the Persons with Disabilities Act. Why cannot our country, in the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, put in effort to make the infrastructure accessible to everyone?
The elevator door opened. We went in. My only fear of elevators is having the door closing on me while I am halfway in, or out. Some people just do not have the courtesy to press the button to keep the door opened for others.
But it was different this time. The young man beside the panel held the door open for me.
“Thank you,” I said.
He replied with a “You are welcome.”
He was to my left. I could not see his face but I could sense he had a smile on his face when he said that.
The elevator stopped at P2 where we parked our car. I reversed the wheelchair out. Again, he held the door for me.
I said, “Thank you.”
He said, “You are welcome. Have a good day.”
Wuan and I responded in unison with a “Same to you too.”
There are still courteous, considerate and well-mannered people around.
To the polite young man who held the elevator door open for me one evening last week at Gardens Mall, I would like to say thank you to you again for being considerate and for infecting us with your cheerfulness. We sure can make do with more people like you.