Monday, December 31, 2012

What A Year!

CONGRATULATIONS to us all for having survived the dreaded Mayan doomsday clock last Friday.

However 2012 will not be as lucky when it rings out its last chimes just before midnight on Monday next week.

But what an incredible year it was for the disabled community!

Looking back through my columns, 2012 was certainly an occasion to celebrate events - as well as the personal achievements of Malaysians with disabilities in the country.

The start of the year gave me personally plenty of reasons to be thankful about.
I managed to keep my pressure sores this year at bay as in 2011.

The trick is through close therapy with my dogs and some good friends.

My canines did what they do best: keep me focused on the positive things in life. My human pals, on their part, helped out when I needed it most: hospital visits, errands and a listening ear.

On a larger scale, advocates for the handicapped in Malaysia called for inclusion of disabled persons in all matters involving them.

They also asked to add more bite into our local Disabled Persons Act as well as for all relevant authorities to observe The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of which Malaysia is a signatory.

Recall my article “How to train a dragon” about my rambunctious “little” Zhar the Doberman who turned one year old in January? 

Well, the four-legged service dog wonder is pretty much grown up now and just rearing to celebrate his two year old birthday next month!

He’s pretty much graduated from “wheelchair-school.” He can adeptly pick up things for me that I can’t do from my wheelchair.

He’s an expert with portable urinals to more delicate things like my toothbrush and even coins! (Psst, don’t tell him but a surprise party is already in the pipeline for my amazing Dobie.)

Volunteers are a true godsend to all Malaysian with disabilities.

I had the privilege to write about 24-year old Amir Tayebi from Seremban in March who spent most of his weekends for three months helping me out under a leadership programme.

The best part is that the experience was not only beneficial for one side but both. 

Said Amir afterwards:
“I discovered that it is not the disabled who are handicapped but society who has made them that way.”

Who can forget how Sally Lim, 68, and her husband Ivan, 74, “conquered” Parkinson’s!  The insidious disease attacked them 25 years ago only to make them stronger now than ever before.

“The secret is to never give up, even when the going is tough,” said Sally who is caregiver of Ivan who has the disease.

It’s tough enough to have one handicap. But what if you have two?  

Choo Kim Yoon, 44, shared his experience living as a deaf-blind individual.

Becoming blind as a toddler and then losing his hearing as a teenager, Choo had a difficult time making friends.

“People are not always willing to talk with you once they discover that you have a hearing problem on top of your blindness,” Choo explained.

But that’s NO excuse not to invite us for parties and functions, he argued, as the deaf-blind people too yearn for social events.
Imagine if you were disabled and had to live in your car for two years!

In June, I joined in a wheelchair-protest with about 30 people against a local council who made a wheelchair user do exactly that because of sheer apathy.

The council acted at once and got him a flat of his own within 48 hours. But that was only after seeing some very fuming and red-faced Malaysians in wheelchairs.

However, the question remains: Does it have to take such a drama to put people who truly need help as a priority?

“Monsters in our midst” was the title of my column in August. It was about two young foreigners who threw a hapless puppy down a manhole in Cyberjaya.  

The heinous act left us all to wonder what causes people to behave such a way in our society?

In the same month, the blind community sadly lost a true crusader in doing good by the name of Francis Chan. What a sharp contrast he was to the Cyberjaya incident in his life and legacy.

Francis, 64, was always cheerful being blind as a child. He would rush out and help anyone in need. Most of all, he was known for his excellent sense of humour that never failed to light up the life of everyone he met. 

Finally the 13th Paralympics in London in September offered scores of disabled sportspersons an opportunity to shine like the sun in all their glory.  

But to me, the real showcase of the more than 4,000 of the best disabled athletes from 164 countries was the simple message that  it’s not disabilities that handicap us but people’s attitudes.

A blessed 2013 everyone from Wheel Power!

The End

PET+BLOGSPOT is the ONLINE BLOG of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association or Petpositive. Our stories are CURRENT, ACCURATE and RELIABLE. We offer both local and foreign news on animals, disability and the elderly. PET+BLOGSPOT was first established in October 2007. Our hits since then are now 150,000 and ever increasing! PET+BLOGSPOT is updated daily. Kindly note that views expressed in PET+BLOGSPOT are not necessarily those of PETPOSITIVE. You may also visit our Webpage by browsing: You can also find us in Facebook under PETPOSITIVE EMPOWERMENT. Please sign up as a FOLLOWER of this Blog if you haven't done so already in order to show us your kind support for our work. Thank you!

1 comment:

Play angry Birds said...

Wish you happy new year to you and your family ..nice article..