Eighteen years old and in the prime of life. The future… bright and full of possibilities. A reluctant dive off a jetty at the persistant request of friends results with a broken neck.
This, was the turning point in Johnny Ang’s life. Today he is a quadriplegic.
His case is more severe than most. But, there are countless stories of industrial and road accidents that in a split second have changed the course of lives forever. The reality is that it could happen to any one of us. Not all people are born with disabilities.
After the initial shock and horror, the harse facts of life begin to sink in. For some, their disabilities may still allow them to return to their original workplace. For others, it is the beginning of another nightmare and an uphill struggle to adapt to these disabilities.
Simple daily practices suddenly take on a new twist. For those confined to wheelchairs, special arrangements have to be made. Accessibility or the lack of it becomes an issue when ramps are not in place to help the disabled. Even going to the bathroom can take on a new dimension. Such are the realities of the world of the physically disabled.
For those with longtime disabilities, getting a job that fits their intellectual capability may be the largest stumbling block. Benevolent well-meaning companies may prove their community spiritedness by offering piecemeal production line jobs. After all, these are disabled people, so why expect so much of them?
But why should we not expect so much of them? How has the loss of the lower limbs affected the individual’s ability to work at a computer, develop marketing strategies or teach a classroom of children?
“I am just like you in many ways – sharing the same hopes and, perhaps aiming for the same goals. Like you, I to have dreams. I am disabled but I still run my race,” says Johnny Ang.
Picture of Mr Johnny Ang getting award from former president Nathan
And run is something Johnny certainly has done. He may not be able to move a single limb, but he more than makes up for his lack of mobility with the speed and sharpness of his mind. With his computer-aided words, Johnny has pierced to consciousness and conscience of many an able-bodied person, and shown that the disabled are indeed very human.
In an unpublished romance article sent to a local women’s magazine. Johnny wrote,
“Her negligee serves like a barbed wire fence.. enough to protect the property, never to spoil the view.”
Today, Johnny earns an independent living and is an accomplished writer.
His request :
“Treat me like a normal person. Forget that I am disabled – treat me like anyone else.”