Thursday, January 06, 2011

Never Too Late To Make 2011 Resolutions!

ITMAY be almost a week into a squeaky clean new year but it is never too late to work on our resolutions for 2011.

Here’s a rushed up list that I prepared to help you along especially if you want to make a difference in the lives of disabled and elderly Malaysians in the country.

Some of them may take a little time and effort on our part. Others, however, are refreshingly quite simple to accomplish, asking for consideration and kindness to our fellow man.

Things that we can do:

  1. In the home:

·        Be a friend to a disabled or elderly person. Most people may not realise it but it isn’t easy to find friends when you have handicapping conditions. People who are not disabled may avoid persons with disabilities for a number of reasons. Some of them do so for reasons of awkwardness – they do not know what to say for fear of hurting the person with some insensitive remark. Others just fear disabilities. And others still, do not like to be reminded that they themselves may become handicapped one day through an illness, accident or old age. Taking such a negative view is not a healthy approach in life. We need to come to terms with our own “handicaps” before we can reach out to other people with visible ones. It is very important to remember that people with disabilities are just like any other person. Many disabled people, especially those living alone would greatly benefit from having a friend – just like all of us do. 
·        Offer to collect their medication or do their marketing when you do yours. Also when paying the bill. Take an elderly person in a wheelchair for a stroll in the nearest park. If the park is not wheelchair-friendly, write a complaint letter to the local council and then follow up on it until it gets done. Other things you can do is to offer to help give a bedridden patient a bath. This is helpful especially if the caregiver is a woman and finds it a gargantuan task to help her loved one out of the bed. Walk their dog, feed their cat, clean their aquarium, etc, etc.  
  1.  In public:

·        “Never park in a disabled car park if you are able-bodied unless you want to also take the disabled driver’s handicapping condition with you” says a notice at a handicapped parking spot of a local council.
·        When you see a person in a wheelchair or on crutches trying to cross the road, STOP YOU CAR instead of depressing the accelerator. Expecting them to wait for you to cross instead of giving them their way is a big “No No”. Try doing that sometime and see how good it feels, especially when they give you a big smile of thanks afterwards. The slowing down in our behaviour is also good for de-stressing oneself.  
·        If you are in a packed lift in a shopping complex and notice a disabled person in a wheelchair waiting outside, be the first outstanding caring Malaysian and offer them your space. Use the stairs instead. This actually happens for real often in countries outside of Malaysia – and frequently by people from such countries when they visit ours.
 3)    Government outfits:
  • Can we please go back to the time when you once insisted on disabled and elderly counters? They were a wonderful help once but now even hospitals and other buildings who used to practise them have abandoned them.
  • Can we have more sign language interpretation for other programmes on RTM instead of only the prime time news? Heck, imagine how unimaginable it would be for the rest of us – who are not hearing impaired – if we only got to see the news on the telly once a day! And when are the other television stations going to follow RTM’s fine example to start making their news accessible to the Deaf which RTM did years ago? Do you guys not want Deaf viewers?
  • Let us not forget the blind. They need talking lifts (to tell them which floor they are at), equal access to automated bank teller machines to tactile flooring (those yellow tiles with grooves) that we see in some places. Let’s not forget that these need to be built INSIDE the buildings as well as outside. It is most frustrating when you manage to find yourself to a particular building; and then have no clue as to where the information centre, toilets or lifts are in them.
  • Finally, remember to buy The Star, at least on every Thursdays so that you can keep it right here on Wheel Power throughout 2011 and beyond! Have a great year ahead!

The End
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