Saturday, March 01, 2014

A storyteller for the disabled

Published: Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 6:45:00 PM
Updated: Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 1:00:42 PM

Star2 columnist Anthony Thanasayan

Star2 columnist Anthony Thanasayan with one of his service dogs."
Star2 columnist Anthony Thanasayan with one of his service dogs."
How the writer became a storyteller for the disabled community in Malaysia.  


THE unruly crowd suddenly turned into a mob. To Anthony Thanasayan’s utter horror, when the gates of the Shah Alam, Selangor stadium were opened for Bon Jovi’s concert in 1995, men and women pushed their way forward like cattle released from their pen.

It was a reckless and terrifying force, especially for Anthony who was in his wheelchair. And the crowd was simply oblivious to his plight.

“Even though many of them were well dressed (in ties no less), they pushed, kicked and even punched others – and almost me – to get the best seats because it was a free seating concert!

“I felt so angry that people would treat me that way. I went home that day and wrote my first article,” he recounted.

Ever since then, without fail, the 53-year-old has written tirelessly for Star2, in a column aptly billed Wheel Power, highlighting issues faced by the disabled, often drawing on stories from his personal experiences, and becoming a storyteller for the disabled community.

“It was a great platform for me to carry my message of disability in a positive light to the ordinary man and woman,” he said.

After 19 years, the columnist still believes that Wheel Power gives the disabled, especially those who have to newly cope with challenges, hope that life is still worth living.

Anthony says: “If you accept and adapt to your circumstances, you can have a great new life ahead of you.”

The column, Anthony feels, also gives hope to families, especially mothers of disabled children.
And who can forget Anthony’s four-legged friends? They were very much a part of his column, as he would frequently refer to his furry companions who were very much a part of his life.

“When I got my dogs and trained them to become service and companion canines for the handicapped, my column took an interesting twist and piqued the interest of many animal lovers,” Anthony added, noting that he founded Petpositive, an animal assisted therapy organisation, that uses pets to help disabled and elderly persons lead positive lives.

He went on to say that his favourite articles were undoubtedly the ones he wrote about his service dogs.

“I guess that is because of the closeness I share with them. I’ve had large German Shepherds and now a Doberman sleep in my room and they know me well. I simply wouldn’t survive without my dogs and all my readers know that very well,” he said.

Once when the Shah Alam council was thinking of banning Rottweilers as “dangerous dogs”, Anthony wrote about his own experiences with Rottie and how it helped empower him. Eventually the council decided not to go ahead with the action.

Thanasayan counts those sort of stories as his best, the ones that he’s really proud of, articles that helped “to get rid of misunderstandings and prejudice in our society.”

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 250,000 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!

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