Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wheelchairs Are Scary Too!

T’WILL be Halloween this Sunday where people the world over will be taking part in devilish activities at night.

These will include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and visiting haunted houses and places to have a literally screaming good time. 

In Western society where the annual holiday occasion originated, people with disabilities like the blind and the physically handicapped in particular, will often join in the fun as well with the able bodied to carve jack-o’-lanterns, create bonfires and go on ghost tours.  

I recall being invited to one Halloween costume party in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago.

It was organised by a local radio station. I had such great fun that day.

Whilst everyone else came dressed up as vampires, werewolves or some other ghastly creature, I decided to come plain and simple in my wheelchair.

There was a good reason for using my wheelchair as a Halloween costume by itself.

After all, wheelchairs do in fact happen to frighten a lot of people.

I’ve discovered over the years that people are generally afraid of them because of the realisation that a time may come one day when they might have to sit in one permanently – God forbid – because of a disease or an accident or just old age.

However, being in a wheelchair is far from life being over for any individual.

In fact people who have lived in wheelchairs long enough will tell you how fantastic life can really be once you have made the right decisions.

And disabilities can profoundly enrich one’s perspectives on life tremendously.     
My interaction with the vampires and other monsters in the costume party that day proved to be a plus point for both sides.

For me it was a great opportunity to be included as a disabled person in a normal activity.

I was in the company of so many new and exciting people in the event. Had I been stuck in my home, it would have taken me years to get to know and be blessed by their friendship.

By interacting with me, many of them told me that it was their first time too in meeting and chatting with a disabled person.

By the time the curtains came down that evening, the masks all came off and wheelchairs were no longer an object of nightmares for anyone.      

They told me that until then, they had no idea that handicapped Malaysians were just as interested in normal things like the able-bodied.

This Sunday some of my disabled chums tell me that they are looking forward to play some harmless pranks on their able-bodied friends. Others say they are looking forward to watching horror films with their families and neighbours.

And others still, are waiting to scare their chums with some truly frightening stories for Halloween.       

Here is one ghost story sent to me from a blind individual who wanted me to share it with readers of Wheel Power. The writer who wishes to remain anonymous swears it’s his true encounter just before he became permanently blind.  

He writes:

“It was exactly a week before I crossed the 'bridge' from the sighted world into the unknown dark world of the blind.

“I was alone in my apartment at night with an episode of nonstop diarrhoea with high fever. There was also an irritating discomfort in my eyes.

“Suddenly, I had a strong sense of the presence of several uninvited and ominous company in my room.

“Exhausted and struggling to open my eyes, I watched in horror at something that made my hair stand on end and sent a cold shiver down my spine.

“A male stranger walked slowly past by me and across the bedroom. The next thing I knew, he headed straight out of the window.

“He was carrying a small bag in his hand and looked emotionless.

“Then, suddenly, another stranger did the same thing and jumped out of the window.

“I kept the lights switched on out of fear for what I saw and couldn’t sleep again.

“My health condition got worse the next day and I was admitted in hospital for observation.

“I was put on drips by the nurses. Then to my horror again, I saw ‘strange beings' mingling with the nurses as ‘helpers’ in the ward.

“When the nurses left, two of the beings – again males – walked over to my window and started leaning and looking out of it. They looked like westerners and were dressed in white.

“I just stared at both of them until I became very tired and fell asleep.

“When I woke up, it was just before dawn.

“The strangers were no longer around.

“That was the last and final encounter with such unexplained beings before I woke up the next day in a totally dark world where I am now a person who is permanently blind.” 

The End


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