Category Archives: Matters Of The Heart

A Fine Final Lap

My year is going to end with a bang. I have committed to two workshops and a speaking engagement, one for each month of this last quarter. A couple more workshops are still under discussion. These will keep me busy and conclude just in time for me to wrap up what will become a rather fruitful year.

I like to conduct Disability Equality Training (DET) workshops although I dread the preparatory work beforehand. I would usually spend one week or more putting together the different modules depending on the participants’ level of understanding of disability matters and the goals the organisers want to achieve.

That is just for a one-day workshop. A two- or three-day workshop will take even more disproportionately longer time to prepare. This is because of the need to ensure that the contents of subsequent modules are built upon the knowledge of previous ones.

I have digressed. What I wanted to blog about is that I am happy at how the year is panning out. It is going to be an exhausting last lap but I relish the opportunity to be able to facilitate to more people a deeper understanding on the causes of disability and how society can make simple changes to enable disabled people.

TENA Malaysia Rediscover Dreams Video

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.

When Self-Enablement Is Not Enough

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?