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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I’m not the type of person who likes to go oning you about how I made it to university and how life was like there. It wasn’t easy, especially as those years were characterised by high fevers and generally bad health. It wasn’t easy because you get to meet all sort of people – some who are openly hostile to ‘your like’ being at university. I surrounded myself with close friends who did not care about whether I used a wheelchair or not.

I cannot say that this was problem free. There were many times I had to opt out from events just because I knew that I couldn’t possibly make it to the place. Or I knew that given my health at the time, I was practically exhausting my resources. There were occasions, indeed, I felt a burden. This I knew. At the time, the university did not have the canteen accessible from the common entrance.

So every time I needed to go there (which became fewer and fewer), I had to use the service lift. The canteen staff was kind, I admit, but I still felt bad odd having to use this lift. Even though, on second thoughts, people used to call us ‘cabbages’, so I might still qualify as a food stuff… hem…

But the point is this. I have been lucky enough to receive a good education. And with the support of others I did make it and still trying. But then it can be also a source of shame. Especially if you get the sharp end of both the disabled and non-disabled community.

On one hand, the non-disabled community tends to assume you’re unable to keep a job – let alone reason – because of your impairment. On the other, some members of the disabled community (it happens) will tell you that you cannot understand them because you’re really not like them. You got your education didn’t you?

So there’s nothing you can really do but remain silent. In your mind you know you did what you thought was best, but in your heart you feel that you’re at fault because you did so. I still don’t know what to answer here. But I guess it is one of the prices I must pay. Thankfully, local university programmes are gearing disabled people who hadn’t had the chance to further their studies.

Yet, the reality is that I cannot understand why I have been upset by a comment a disabled friend of mine made recently. It’s discouraging to feel that you’re being labelled because of your past or current commitments.