Badan Latihan dan Hidup Berdikari Malaysia (ILTC) pada 23hb Mac 2016 menyerahkan memorandum kepada ahli-ahli parlimen mendesak supaya golongan orang kurang upaya (OKU) dikecualikan daripada cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST).

Disabled Members Protest

Disabled Members Protest
Disabled Members Protest at JPJ Wangsa Maju

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Disabled group’s protest disabled drivers required to produce doc's medical report.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Be more helpful

Thursday August 25, 2011

Be more helpful

Do not turn a blind eye to the needs of the visually impaired.

LIVING life as a blind person is something few people understand, except for the blind themselves. Blindness can strike anyone at any time, with little or no warning. When it happens to an adult, the experience is often devastating.

But it isn’t only the blind person who suffers. The trauma is also frequently and deeply felt by family members and loved ones of the affected individual.

For those who lose their sight when they are much older, coping with blindness is not easy at all.

My friend, Yam Tong Woo, 57, from Sungai Buloh, Selangor, knows about the condition all too well when he suddenly became blind three years ago.

We were chatting about it only last week. He remembers the incident as if it took place yesterday.

Yam was working in Kunming, China, as the general manager of a heavy machinery company when he fell ill and lost his eyesight.

“My life was plunged into total darkness and the future looked bleak,” said Yam.

Unfortunately, the doctors he sought were of no great help.

“I approached a well-known association for the blind for help on how to cope with blindness, but the association wasn’t much of a help,” Yam lamented.

He started looking for answers himself. The Internet proved to be a lifeline in times of crisis.

“I learnt how to use the white cane which is a very important aid for those who are newly blind,” Yam pointed out.

“Later I discovered how very different it is for disabled people in overseas countries. In Australia, for instance, the government takes a special interest in looking into the needs of aging blind citizens. No one is denied help, no matter how old they are, especially if they are people with disabilities.

“Regardless of an individual’s age, everyone is given a fair chance to be rehabilitated. In Australia, losing one’s sight at 54 is considered young,” said Yam.

Counselling for the blind is virtually unavailable in Malaysia.

“Even our NGOs don’t provide such a service. As a result, many newly blind people and their caregivers do not get the support and advice they need to cope with their condition.

“Assistive technology for the blind – such as screen reader software that converts text to speech in order for the blind to access the Internet – is much too expensive for the blind.”

Yam said this sad state of affairs is regretful when information technology is meant to empower the blind so that they can live independently. With National Day round the corner, Yam has the following three wishes for the blind community:

> There should be support for the elderly who lose their sight. It is even more traumatic for the blind person and his family members, if they do not get proper support and counselling. The various NGOs – as well as government centres – should buck up and provide a help centre for such persons.

> Doctors should arm themselves with knowledge on the blind. Every blind person who comes to them for help should be directed to the local NGOs. Every eye doctor should be trained on how to deal with blind people, instead of just treating their condition. Showing compassion alone doesn’t really help a blind person.

> The environment – both outside and inside buildings – should be made blind-friendly by the local councils. Members of the public should also play a supportive role and treat the blind like human beings and not aliens from outer space. Be courteous and do not knock into them in crowded places.

Always respect the white cane which is an international symbol of the blind.

When in a lift, allow the blind to get in first and get out as well. And when you see the blind trying to find their way about, always come forward to help instead of just staring at them.

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