My life may not be ordinary because of my appointment as the Young Ambassador of the National Kidney Foundation Children’s Medical Fund (CMF) and position as a freelance writer for Today newspaper. After all, I am only 14 years old.
…I am fully aware that I am just an ordinary person. I will always be ordinary, no matter what I become. This will not change while everything else about me will.
It is quite a challenge just fulfilling my role as the CMF’s Ambassador, writer, and having to behave myself in public. I think it is hard to conduct myself well, when I know it is wrong only after I have misbehaved. What’s more, most of the time, I did not agree that I was wrong. Yet I was being chided by my parents.
On top of soliciting support, performing ceremonial duties and writing, I have to keep up with my studies in school and find time to indulge in my hobbies – playing computer games, watching television and reading comics.
Nevertheless, I am not complaining. The alternative – lazing around and watching the world pass by – is not an option for me as I want to be a useful member of the society. I realise that if I do nothing, I will become nothing.
Being responsible for my life, I have no other choice but to do whatever is necessary to achieve my aim. I cannot control what others think of me but I can control what I do.
Therefore, I do whatever I can to contribute. For those who appreciate or recognise what I have done, I say: Thank you very much. It is my pleasure. For those who do not, I say: I will do better the next time. For those who criticise me, I plead: Please help me.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope that more people can be magnanimous to those who are less fortunate than they are. If they do not want to help them, they should not make life difficult for them.
On several occasions, I was stopped in my tracks while using a ramp meant for wheelchair users, because it was blocked by a vehicle. It is also not uncommon to see handicap parking spaces taken up by cars driven by the able-bodied. Only compassionate and considerate people can make our society caring and gracious. Only they can make it easier to integrate the disabled into mainstream society.
The disabled must also play their part. They should not wish that things would be easier. They should wish that they would be better. They have to do whatever they can to help themselves. If they build walls around themselves, they should not blame others for not accepting them.
It was not easy for me when I was younger. I was stared at like I was some kind of a freak. People passed unkind remarks. However, the experiences have strengthened me. To put it simply – I am thick-skinned. I am also fortunate to have met a lot of nice people. Their encouragement and support have provided me with the fuel, which keeps my passion to achieve my dreams, burning.
Among them is Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Mayor of the North East Community Development Council (NE CDC), who wrote in my autograph book, “You inspire us all. You made the difference to the NE CDC Alive show. May your dream blossom into reality. We all wish the best for you. Keep the spirit high and inspire lots more people.”
More importantly, he made me feel welcome at the show; he gave me a souvenir which was meant for him; and he wheeled me up onto the stage.Thank you Mayor. I salute you for having “a place in your heart and your life for the disabled”
(This article was published in the North East CDC Spring Magazine Nov-Dec 2004 Issue)