Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Respect for the blind..

A phrase forever ingrained on my mind.. 
A blind scholar once told me: "Books are just pieces of paper bound together. Its useless when you are blind.."
I met the man more than 15 years ago during an assignment the Malaysian Association for the Blind building. 
The scholar granted me an interview and the two hours I spent talking to him was very meaningful to me.

A blind pupil taking his public exam
Enter Mr Killjoy..
I was very excited with the prospect of writing the story. 
It has to be told and sadly, it never saw print. The irony was this: the piece was given to a Sub-Editor to be cleared and slotted in the then-prestigious English broadsheet daily.
I was given a long-lecture by a has-been reporter who also 'covered' the 'same old story' about blind people.
"Aiya.. What is the big deal about a blind man receiving his PhD? I also did some stories about these people when I was reporting.. Bla-bla-bla.."
After being bombarded with nonsense and treated with hostility, I never forgave this man. From the vibes, he was unhappy and bitter. He later went on to be a production editor in a business magazine and retired.
I don't think I learned anything from the man and felt betrayed because after much lecture, the story was spiked. My efforts went down the drain.
In similar situations, there are assholes who gloat about their past. We have to move on with times. In the case of Mr Killjoy, he slayed every hope of the blind dude getting his story told. About how hard it is getting a job even when you have a basic diploma, degree, masters and a doctorate when you are blind..
So, that said, each time a blind guy comes by peddling tissue paper, I give without question. Because by spending time with a learned man who is blind, I knew how tough it can get to make his end's meet... 
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