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.
Birthday present from Wuan – Lego #6860 The Batcave.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Wuan and I usually go shopping together. Somehow, she sneaked this large box of Lego home during one one weekend without me realising it. It is the size of a 24″ LED monitor, very difficult to miss, but she somehow managed to keep it concealed. I reckon assembling this will keep me busy for one whole month but, for the moment, it has to wait. August and September are busy months as I am occupied with preparing materials for a Disability Equality Training (DET) workshop slated to be held at the end of September. Thank you, Lou Por, for this surprise birthday gift! And thank you, everyone, for your birthday wishes in Facebook, emails, SMS and IMs.