Thursday October 11, 2012
Forest walk for the blind
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN
IF you think that being blind is no fun – think again! This Saturday, as many as 100 blind participants will be having the time of their lives as they take a walk through the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It is said to be the oldest forest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia.
The group will be led by Selangor executive council member Elizabeth Wong. The event is to commemorate World White Cane Day (WWCD) which falls on Oct 15. WWCD is an occasion for the blind to highlight their concerns to a sighted world.
For most of the participants, it will be their first experience being up close and personal with Mother Nature.
“Many blind persons have never been inside a forest. This will be a rare opportunity for them to do so,” says Yam Tong Woo, 59, organising chairman of the event.
“Each blind person will be assigned a sighted volunteer who will guide them as they walk through the park. They will get to touch and smell the plants and rare species to better appreciate them,” says Yam, who is pro-tem president of a newly registered society called the Adult Blind Association of Selangor.
Yam points out that one does not necessarily need the gift of sight to be able to appreciate the forest.
“I know many sighted people who don’t even stop to admire the forest when they are in it.
“In fact, it is the blind who tend to appreciate the greenery more,” says Yam.
The event is organised by Friends of Kota Damansara and the Petaling Jaya City Council.
“The ultimate goal is to show the blind that they can do virtually anything that the sighted can,” adds Yam.
Meanwhile, a public forum to empower Persons with Parkinson’s (PwP) and their caregivers will be held on Oct 13 at Syuen Hotel, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Ipoh.
Participants will be able to know more about this insidious disease of the nervous system which causes the muscles to become stiff and the body to shake, and which progressively worsens as the patient grows older.
The forum will share the latest treatments as well as knowledge on how to become a more effective caregiver for PwP.
Dr Lim Shen-Yang, a consultant neurologist and professor of medicine at Universiti Malaya, will be one of the speakers.
Dr Lim is medical advisor to the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association in Kuala Lumpur, which is organising the event.
Tarun Amalnekar, a physiotherapist and lecturer at Masterskill Global College in Ipoh, will also be speaking at the forum.
Tarun will offer advice on the best exercises for PwP in their fight against Parkinson’s.
A couple of patients will share their struggles with Parkinson’s.
“I am delighted to be given the challenge to be organising chairman of the forum,” says Samuel Ng, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s five years ago when he was 42.
“Initially, I found it difficult to accept my condition. When I sought treatment, I started to take control of my life again and be positive in the face of Parkinson’s,” adds Ng.
The blind who would like to take part in the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park walk on Oct 13 can contact Yam Tong Woo at 012-305-3853. Those who would like to attend the public forum on Parkinson’s can contact Samuel Ng at 012-557-1682.