Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Project WANAYA

(MAD Club Independent Project VII)

(Project Coordinator : Shaq)

All of us are equally normal.

Conversely, all of us are equally abnormal.

How come?

Abnormalities are not only those which are visible. They can also be emotional or mental in nature.

Some of us have physical infirmities. We are visually challenged, or speech/hearing challenged, or physically challenged. But the term "physically challenged" in reality covers a much larger spectrum of "abnormalities". In fact, wearing spectacles and lenses is also a physical infirmity. And all of us have fallen ill occasionally - which is just another physical infirmity, albeit a short-term one.

Some of us have emotional handicaps. We're cruel, unkind, unjust. And all of us have lost our tempers occasionally - which is just another emotional infirmity, albeit a short-lived one.

Some of us have mental shortcomings. We're dyslexic, ADHD, autistic, or just slow in grasping new things. And almost all of us would have flunked a test - which is just proof of mental infirmity, albeit a temporary one.

Most of us have suffered all three shortcomings at one point or another. Nobody is “perfectly normal” – and that’s good, because nature loves irregularities and perfection is so boring! We're all a mix of abnormalities. Ergo, we are all challenged in one way or another.

Why then do we look at physically handicapped people differently from us?

How is a person who needs crutches or a wheelchair to move, any different from you and me? All it takes is one split second - the fraction of time required for an accident - to become lifelong “physically challenged” ourselves.

And if a "physically challenged" person is mentally and emotionally "normal", chances are that he or she is much more wholesome than many so-called "normal" people who are victims of emotional or mental challenges.

Why then should it matter if a person has certain physical handicaps? Do we look at people who wear spectacles as being different from us? If not, then why should we look at people on wheelchairs differently? They're human, just like us ... except their legs are a bit weaker. But in the long run, is it the strength in the legs that counts? Or is it the strength in the spirit?

If you talk to "physically challenged" people, the overwhelming feeling you will come away with, will be:

Do not give us sympathy. Give us respect as humans. Give us dignity.

And for God's sake, treat us as equals. Don’t single us out.

Because all of us are equally normal.

The MAD Club hereby launches "Project WANAYA - We're As Normal As You Are".

Here is what Project Coordinator Shaq wrote in his blog:

People know me as being in a wheelchair, as a wheelchair. I always try to put myself on the other side . IF I were looking at me, I am sure I would be thinking of that guy in the chair. I can't expect to think any differently.

"I must admit I can't really claim that I have been happy or content since I have been in a wheelchair. The frustration have always been there to take it away. For me each day, life is either bearable or unbearable. It has never really got beyond that. Very few days have got above bearable"

"Happiness is a positive emotion, short-term enjoying a film, an overall feeling. Before I was left "physically challenged"I was sometimes happy and sometimes not, but since I have been disabled I cannot claim that I have ever been happy. It is too much struggle , every day"

Can we do our bit to make them happier? Can we make their struggle easier?

Can we convince ourselves – and them – that there really is nothing wrong with them, after all?

Why not try? Because, folks, guess what – it’s true!

Come let us do our bit in helping the so-called "physically challenged" live with dignity and equality. Come participate in Project WANAYA.

And let us Make A Difference.

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