Friday, November 21, 1997

People With Grit and Determination
By Elaine Jeyakumar

Full of grit and determination. This would be the most apt way to describe this group of people with disabilities who are under the assistance of the Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah for the disabled.

Without the use of limbs, whether by accident or by birth, these people are the epitome of the "don't give up" idiom.

Living a life without the use of any one of our four limbs is not easy to say the least.

But instead of wallowing in self-pity, these people have called on the strengths within them for another shot at life.

Kok Chin Seong, 30, is one such person.

A polio victim whose illness rendered him unable to walk, the gutsy man has overcome this disability, and lead a normal life by marrying and having children.

He takes himself around town on a motorcycle with a sidecar, selling Big Seep tickets at various pasar malam in and around Ipoh.

Trained by Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah to be independent, Kok loads and unloads his wheelchair onto his sidecar by himself suing his arms and admirable balance.

"I go around the city myself and am self-dependent," he says with a cheery smile.

Cheong Choon alias Cheong Chee is another paraplegic who has the use of a sidecar.

The 62-year-old lives by himself and makes a living cutting vegetables for a restaurant in the city.

Losing a limb can be a terrifying experience as Arunasalam Munusamy and Krishnamoorthy Kulandayappan found out. Both victims of motorcycle accidents with a lorry and car respectively, they each lost a leg in the incidents.

Married with four children, Arunalsalam, 45, makes a ling by selling newspapers at the Buntong market while Krishnamoorthy has had to change jobs form being a crane operator to doing less strenuous work at the factory.

Despite their experiences, both men are still living life to the fullest, refusing to allow their handicap get the better of them.

The Yayasan is a foundation specially founded to help people with disabilities.

Besides its base in Ipoh, it has started numerous centres in Perak, heling them get off the ground in their quest to render help to as many disabled people as possible.

The Sungai Siput association for the special people is on such centre.

A model community centre, members take leading roles in identifying and promoting equal opportunities as well as providing the necessary resources within the community for people requiring such assistance.