A dialogue session we attended on Tuesday featured Singapore’s first guide dog for the blind and her owner.
He saw more than any of us could.
1. Positive change is worth waiting for.
His first guide dog was repatriated in 1984 after spending two years here. He waited 21 years for society to be ready, heralded by the change in PM who preached openness and tolerance.
Then he brought Kendra in. She’s been here so long that she’s ready for retirement.
Don’t give up when the going gets tough.
2. Look at who we already have and integrate them into society.
We are a country that looks outwards. We bring in foreign domestic workers, foreign labourers, foreign goods.
We don’t see many disabled people on the streets.
But are the blind hiding at home only insofar as we are infrastructurally unfriendly?
If we are socially and architecturally accepting towards the disabled, and they are able to lead full lives, do we still need so much foreign labour in menial and intellectual occupations?
3. The simplest changes make the biggest difference - and all it needs is common sense
Have beeping traffic lights to guide the blind. Japan has them aplenty.
Have automated bus ramps and have drivers test them daily.
Accessibility triumphs money spent on aesthetic considerations.