We are continuing to appeal to our readers and visitors to donate to our work of running two centres. The annual budget is RM120,000 (USD38,000) for 2014 and 2015 and will grow higher as we recruit more staff and take in additional trainees.

Please make payment to 'Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan' with your name and address on a cover slip so we can mail you our official receipt. All donations from April 1 2011 will be exempted from taxation by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia. Please send the payment to:

The Treasurer, Persatuan Berdikari Seremban Negeri Sembilan, 381, Jalan Kenanga 1, Taman Bukit Chedang, 70300 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Compassion in Society

Compassion is a feeling for another's sorrow or suffering. An equivalent term is empathy. Not many people has this ability to understand and feel for the sorrowful, the suffering, the disabled. Perhaps those who can already understood that in the realm of human capacities there is inequality and that they have experienced the empty or half cup syndrome, which is how a person feels looking at life up from the floor level, much as a crippled or a lame beggar would. They further understand that there are others in the same situation, and worst. As such it is easier for them to view life from a blessed eye and hence dispense compassion to those less well off. Or else how shall we explain the poor and the sick still having compassion for others? Compassion belongs to people of every status, wealth and educational background. I guess it is both a gift of discernment as well as life's experience that enable one to feel compassion.

How many of us has true compassion for the disabled people around us? Perhaps when they are truly disabled, like when they are obviously blind, crippled, speech impaired or mentally deficient that we are moved to feel pity and helpful towards them. But do we really feel the same way for others who are not so obviously handicapped? Like the learning disabled people in the workplace?

These people look as normal as you and I but for the exception that they are slow in thinking, expressing, learning and doing. Quite often we fall into the trap of raising our expectations of them. Like why are you STILL so slow? Why can't you learn as fast inspite of all the trainings?

Learning disability is a lifelong setback. Short of wearing a label that shouts 'I Am a Learning Disabled Person' we don't need to demean these fellow human beings any further. We ought to treat them normally BUT with understanding that they are not as normal as we normal people are, or ever will be. Strangers may be forgiven for not knowing the lack of certain capacities of these LD people but those in their circle like family members, neighbors and workplace colleagues ought to know better. Sadly, familiarity still breed contempt and over time our treatment of the LD shift towards the way we treat the other people.

Other factors as to why disabled people failed to receive special treatment are the 'why are they so special? I too have my own set of problems!' ,'it is not my problem!' and the 'they get the same pay so should do the same work!' attitudes. In bad times more and more people need compassion, including the regularly normal families who may cut off their feelings towards the disabled since they too believe that they now belong to the financially disabled crowd!

However, compassion towards the physically and mentally disabled must be an all-season attitude because they are an all-season disability people.

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