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Peter Tan Is A Selfish Disabled Person – The Sequel

August 24th, 2008 - Sunday

Read this and this for context before reading on.

How do you tell someone who owns a blog but does not know what copyright laws are to not steal your online images? Using photographs without asking for the owner’s permission is called stealing. Francis seems to think that it is all right since I used the abbreviation “ILTC” without his permission. I think I also cannot use the name Francis Siva because it is copyrighted if we go by his logic. But never mind lar, I curi guna for this one entry. After all, someone did say imitation is the best form of flattery. I hope you are feeling flattered Francis Siva.

As for the images that he stole from my post here with the caption “Peter Tan in his brand, new shiny Honda car” Francis obviously does not understand what “test drive” means. “Test drive” means one goes to a car showroom to um… test drive the car. If every car that I test drive eventually belongs to me, I am going to test drive more than a “lowly” Honda Civic. A BMW or Mercedes Benz would more likely be my choice.

For someone who accuses me for not being able to take criticisms very well, it is obvious from his posts about me who really cannot take criticisms but have to resort to name calling and hitting below the belt to make himself seem like the victor. Francis, you should take your own advice and not be so defensive when someone disagrees with you. Or are you the type of person who cakap tak serupa bikin?

He also asked me to change the title of my post “Peter Tan Is A Selfish Disabled Person” because he said that I distorted it to imply that he said it. Ok, I agree that Francis did not say Peter Tan is a selfish disabled person. He just said, “Peter Tan, don’t be selfish.” That is not supposed to mean Peter Tan is a selfish person. If you say so Francis.

I asked Francis where in the Persons with Disabilities Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities say that only “disabled people living in poverty” have the right to public transport while disabled people who own cars are not entitled to that right. Instead of responding to that question he said he does not need the Convention to tell him how he should think and what he should do or not do. Perhaps he does not know that Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention.

Never mind the Convention Francis. Please tell me where in the Persons with Disabilities Act that says only “disabled people living in poverty” have the right to use public transport while disabled people who own cars are not entitled to that right. Or you also do not subscribe to the Persons with Disabilities Act? While you are at it, please also enlighten me on what your ethics are since that overrules everything else which includes denying some disabled people the right to public transport.

Truth be told, I am ignorant of how city councillors in Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya work. Do they each use transport provided by the MPBJ to carry out their official duties like how Anthony Thanasayan does? Actually, I have nothing against Anthony. I mentioned him because you mentioned him in your blog regarding the usage of the van.

All right, I get it now. In your ethical world some disabled people who have cars can use the MBPJ van while others who own cars cannot use it. So Anthony’s official duties takes priority over other disabled people who may need it to go to the hospital or for other pressing matters. So when you said, “The MBPJ van should be at the disposal of DISABLED PEOPLE WITHOUT TRANSPORT!” it does not apply to a disabled city councillor who owns a car. His official duties take priority over hospital appointments and pressing matters of other disabled people living in poverty. I get it now. Thank you for clarifying that.

You asked me if I was jealous of Anthony’s appointment as a city councillor. No actually. I do not envy Anthony. It is a heavy responsibility. I am only an armchair critic giving useless advice. Nevertheless, I am also one that could get you so riled up to the extend of you resorting to calling me names. But you know Francis, I sense jealousy on your part when you said all I have done is go overseas and brush shoulders with VIPs. Please do not be jealous. You too can go overseas and rub shoulders with VIPs when you get invited to present papers on disability issues in Malaysia. Your time will come and when that happens, you can be sure that I will be green with envy too.

A few months back, I had a similar altercation with another disabled advocate who may have been your friend one time or another. He told me that he has been in the disability movement for thirteen years. This is dejavu when I read you saying that you have been running a center for disabled people for ten years and that you have been a disabled activist for fifteen. You veterans sure like to tell people how many years you have been doing this and that. Ok lar. I am only two years old in the disability movement and like you said, I am just an armchair critic who gives useless advice, does not have a registered society and does not command the strength in numbers.

One word: WOW! It must be a great feeling to be running a registered society and be in command of a great number of disabled people. Very boastful words but never mind lar. This is one argument I cannot win. After all, I am just a lone ranger claiming to be a voice for disabled people. What can a lone ranger do? Certainly not much as compared to someone who runs a registered society and command the strength in numbers. For that, I salute you.

Just before I conclude this entry, I am reproducing a comment you left in my blog in December 2007 below. You once encouraged me not to give up our struggle as a disabled person and to keep up the good fight. You also advised me not to allow the setback stop me from speaking up for our rights. You said that we need everyone’s voice to make a difference in Malaysia. I talked about the right of disabled people to accessible public transport and you got all worked up and accuse me of being a proxy to Bathma. Now that I am speaking up, you complain so much about it. Correct me if I am wrong but when you said speaking up, you meant speaking up against other people but not against you, right? But never mind lar. Green horns like me should learn from veterans like you to be innocent as doves and wise like serpents. I am learning. I am learning.

Dear Peter Tan,

Thank you for your wonderful comments. We are sorry to learn that you have been cheated by disabled people that you once trusted. You have unfortunately discovered what we have learn long ago. We at ILTC would like to encourge you not to give up our struggle as disabled person. Please keep up the good fight. Dont allow this setback to stop you from speaking up for our rights. We need everyone’s voices to make a difference in Malaysia. Let us remember to be innocent as doves but wise as serpents. Thanks for exposing the hippocrips among us.


G. Francis Siva
President ILTC

Woops, did I just expose another hypocrite amongst us? Well, I am just doing what you advised me to do. Take heart that I took your advice seriously. And Francis, please do not address me as your friend. I was never your friend and have no interest to be one. As for you not wanting to respond to my other questions, it is all right. I do get tongue-tied once in a while, especially when I discover that my arguments have no basis. We are, after all, humans.

I am not expecting you to reply to this entry since you said I will not be hearing from you again. I understand. Someone as important as you who has been running a registered society for the past ten years and an activist for the past fifteen have more pressing matters to attend to and and not have time for a nobody like me. Yes, your letter has once again dented my ego. No worries, I will recover. Your apologies accepted.

Just in case your friends overseas would like to know the outcome of our exchanges and since you circulated your previous email to all and sundry, I am taking the liberty to copy this to the same people to let them know what great work you have done for disabled people in Malaysia. I am sure you will not mind. After all, good deeds should be publicly announced so that other people will be in awe of your great contributions towards the well-being of disabled people.

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Peter Tan Is A Selfish Disabled Person

August 23rd, 2008 - Saturday

Read this, this and this for context before reading on.

Dear Francis,

Firstly, I advise you to remove both images you stole from my website without my permission with immediate effect. You do not have the rights to use those images in your blog.

Secondly, you should get your facts right. I do not own the car in the said images. Go check with JPJ on its ownership.

I shall not respond to your personal attacks against me. Only people who cannot argue sensibly will resort to such forms of response. Lets debate this issue like adults instead of hitting below the belt with name calling.

Nobody put me up to it. Bathma has nothing to do with what I wrote. This is not about Bathma. Even if you had written the same things about another person, I would still have written what I wrote regarding this matter.

I know what is right and what is wrong and what you are doing goes against the grain of the Persons with Disabilities Act and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which amongst others state that disabled persons have the right to accessible public transport.

Nowhere did the Act and the Convention say that only “disabled people living in poverty” have the right to public transport while disabled people who own cars are not entitled to that right.

I would like to comment on the contradictory statements you made in your blog.

You said that people with cars have no business using “OKU transport and abusing and depriving others who have no transport at all from using it.”

In another entry you said, “Meanwhile, we are happy to note in The Star that the MBPJ van is being used by your Ahli Majlis Anthony Thanasayan to carry out his official duties for your council.”

I believe Anthony Thanasayan owns a car too. So by your logic, he should not be using the van too by virtue of him owning a car, right? So which is which? Are disabled persons who own cars allowed to use the MBPJ van or not?

As a city councillor, Anthony should set a good example by using his own car even for official duties and not deprive others who have no transport at all from using it, right? By using the van for whatever purposes, Anthony is depriving other disabled people the use of the van “when others need it for hospital and other pressing matters.”

Is it not hypocrisy on your side to say disabled people who own cars should not use the MBPJ van while on the other hand you are praising Anthony for using the van although he owns a car?

Francis, let me put it very simply to you here. I have no quarrel with you. What I wanted to point out was that it is not our place to decide who can or cannot use the van. All disabled people are entitled to use the van if they are staying in PJ. This is called equality unless your form of equality is segregating disabled people into categories and deciding what they are entitled to or not. If that is so, I would like to know which part of the Act or Convention you based your arguments on.

Frankly speaking, I can see that you have such passion in advocating for the rights of disabled people. Why not use that passion to advocate to the powers that be to accord us our rights instead of you spending so much time and effort in denying another disabled person his? These are very interesting times and we should use this opportunity to get all disabled advocates to work together and push for the recognition of our rights so that all disabled people can benefit from it.

I am sure you understand what I am trying to say, right?

Thank you .

Peter Tan

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Transit OKU Should Be For All Wheelchair Users In PJ

August 21st, 2008 - Thursday

Public transport should be accessible and affordable to all. In this era, it is no longer a privilege but a necessity. It reduces the number of vehicles on the road thus reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. Unfortunately, wheelchair users are left out from the public transport system in Malaysia due the lack of foresight of the government and the reluctance to implement universal design principles in the infrastructure.

Wheelchair users who need to travel around often have to look for alternative modes of transport. Many of us have to depend on family and friends to ferry us around. This is subject to family and friends being able to take leave from work or when they are free. The few who have the means drive. The severely limited choices in public transport have left many stranded at home.

Mobiliti is the first organization in the country to provide door-to-door lift van service for a nominal sum of RM3 per trip to any destination within the Klang Valley. The daily demand for such service far outstrips what the five lift vans can handle. Earlier in the year, the Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) took the initiative to provide a similar lift van service to wheelchair users living in Petaling Jaya.

It must be stressed that such door-to-door lift van service is not a solution to an accessible public transport system for disabled people. Mass public transport such as buses and light rail transits are still the preferred options due to its wide coverage and availability. On the other hand, lift van service needs to be booked in advance. It is also resource-intensive due to the limited number of trips that it can make in a day and the number of wheelchair users that it can carry. Nevertheless, the availability of such modes of transport is a welcome relief while we wait for the government to draw up an inclusive transport master plan and effectively implement it.

On the same matter, it distressed me greatly to read a very caustic letter published in the ILTC Malaysia blog regarding the abuse of lift van service provided to disabled people by the MBPJ. The mail was sent to the Mayor of Petaling Jaya by ILTC President Francis Siva complaining that wheelchair user Bathmavathi Krishnan is filthy rich, has a maid and owns a car, and for those reasons, she is not entitled to use the service.

Francis’ arguments are without basis. Such form of transport service should be provided to all wheelchair users irrespective of their financial standing or social status. Many of us own cars and drive not because we are rich. We are forced to drive because that is the only form of mobility for us who need to travel often. Now that the MBPJ is providing such service, wheelchair users have another mobility option to choose from. To deny this service to a wheelchair user based on the arguments above is a blatant discrimination.

In advocating for our rights, we should not deny others theirs. This is one of the basic principles disability-rights advocates must adhere to. We should not, at any time, segregate disabled people into classes, be it social, financial, colour or creed. We have been fighting against exclusion for a long time. We know all too well the pain of being marginalized. Therefore it is contradictory to exclude one of our own based on discriminatory criteria.

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