MAHA 2010

My arms are aching, from the deltoids down to the biceps. It has been like this for a few days already. I tried to recall instances when I had strained my muscles. I am sedentary most of the time except for transferring to and off the wheelchair. I am sure that is not the cause. The only time I remember I had exerted myself was at the MAHA Expo when I was being carried bodily into and out of the van and MPV.

MAHA Exposition 2010
Map of MAHA Exposition 2010.

The organisers of the exposition had prepared transport to ferry disabled people from one site to another within the sprawling grounds. While that was a thoughtful gesture, it was badly implemented. The van and MPV that I took were not accessible. The seats were too high. I could not transfer onto and out of them. The drivers and co-drivers of the vehicles were helpful. They carried and “stuffed” me into the vehicles like I was a cargo. However, they were not trained in assisting disabled people.

Those would be the last times I allow anyone carry me like they did. Thinking back, I realised how dangerous it was to allow myself to be handled like that. I could have been seriously injured if they had dropped me. In fact, I was injured. The muscle strain is proof of that. I must have sustained it while trying to pull myself into the vehicles. It was also dangerous for the drivers and Wuan too as they could have injured themselves too while carrying or helping me.

The organisers of the exposition should have provided accessible transport for disabled people, namely lift vans or sedans instead of vans and MPVs with seat that are too high for a wheelchair user to transfer onto. The other alternative is to allocate accessible parking bays and allow vehicles with disabled people drive up to the various sites. That would have solved the problem of having to provide transport for disabled people and endangering our life and limb in the process.

I cannot say I enjoyed myself there. Wuan and I only visited the bazaar selling plants, fruits and orchids. We had wanted to visit the livestocks and aquaculture but were not up to it. I could not find an accessible toilet. None of the staff knew for sure where I could find one. In the end, I urinated into the diaper I was wearing. We also agreed that it was too much trouble moving from one site to another, especially being carried up and down the vehicles. The organisers should take note of these issues and improve accessibility for disabled visitors when planning for the next exposition.