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The group photo of all the ASEAN deligates

Nurul at work with her mother Wairah

Seng Kit showing one of his line drawings with his mother Jenny

Art for All 2008 Thailand

This year, there were three ASEAN delegates, from each of the ten member countries in this region, invited to the event. One of the delegate, from each country, is a disabled person who has been chosen to represent their country in the art form they each excelled in.

Malaysia had the two artists at the camp. Tan Seng Kit was supported by his mother Jenny Soh and Nurulakmal was accompanied by her mother Wairah Marzuki. Seng Kit is good with his lines drawings and he makes his lines do intriguing designs on the paper. Nurul is accomplished in lines, shapes and colours and comes up with unexpected artworks occasionally.

Maman Sulaeman is a well known comic artist from Indonesia and he does his artworks from a wheelchair. Jesusa from the Philippines is an artist, singer, wheelchair table tennis player and a lawyer and she does mainly watercolours with great skill. Jushua Tang from Singapore is autistic but can do fantastic imaginative pictures. Pun Denh from Cambodia is a wheelchair dancer and a musician. (Just to name a few.)

The five days at the art camp was a crashed course in human relationship and cooperation through the media of art, music and dance.

The art of freindship

July 24th, 2008

Art for All 2008

The Art for All camp (16 to 20 July) for the disabled children had their annual outing this year at the Arayana Phupiman Resort, about three hours by road, northeast of Bangkok.  Like in the previous 12 camps, since 1997, there were about 150 kids gathered here with mixed disabilities from all over Thailand. There were also more then 300 volunteers and support staff to help run this fun-filled 5 days event.

All the participants are grouped into smaller groups of about 10 and each group is made up of one or two persons who is blind, deaf or with physical, mental disabilities and one who is without any obvious disability. There is an experienced leader assigned to each group and he or she leads them through out the 5 days from morning to night.

The concept of grouping the ten children with mixed disabilities is to get them to understand the art of friendship and the need for interdependence of each other during the camp and also later in life. The blind that cannot see may have the voice, the deaf who cannot hear may have the eyes, those without arms or legs may have the mental capabilities, the rest can all compensate for each other short comings and get along to create music, dance, and many forms and expressions of art.

What is in theory and what happens during their stay together may not always work out as expected, especially given such short time available. Nevertheless, many of the young people are experiencing camp life and the various art activities for the first time in their life in a luxurious scenic outdoor setting. For some this may be their first and last time in the company of some of their disabled mates and their memory and experiences at the camp are all they can take home with them.

Bowled Over

May 9th, 2008

Citi Hadijah, 25, from Johore, is one of the many tenpin bowlers competing for a medal in the 14th Paralympics in Kuala Lumpur (3 to 9 May). She is slow but she can sure swing the bowling ball over the pins. She has a personal style of holding the ball right up to her face, pause in concentration, before launching it.

The oldest bowler, Amaran B Bohri, 61, is from Kampong Paya Mebi, near Kuching, Sarawak. He is a veteran to this sport; he has won 3 gold medals and several other trophies, in individual and team events.

Amaran’s leg and back injuries were caused by an accident in his work place in 1995. That has not stop him from a happy family life and sports. He has six children and 20 grand children. Bowling is his favorite game.

Maizirah, 46, from Perak, is a first time bowler and she only started practicing two weeks before the games. She had just five bowling sessions at the Ipoh Parade Bowling Club before coming to this meet. She is a natural at the game and plays with a great deal of fun and enthusiasm.

She had a motor bike accident two weeks after her wedding and lost her right leg. At home she uses a pair of shoulder crutches to move about but she had to borrow a wheelchair to come to this venue. What she wishes for is a wheelchair so she can improve her mobility at home and at her sporting meets.

Maizirah’s contact no: 017 584 2639, (Please call her if you wish to donate a wheelchair).

Life and Cerebral Palsy

May 8th, 2008

Goh Cheng Yoong with his mother Ho Lee Mei

Goh Cheng Yoong playing ball

Goh Cheng Yoong, 37, has cerebral palsy (CP), he is here from Penang, with his mother, Ho Lee Mei, to take part in the 14th Paralympics in Kuala Lumpur (3to9 May). His game is boccia, an indoor bowling game especially designed for the severely disabled person.

The player, depending on his or her ability, may take 5 to 15 minutes to play, throwing or kicking or picking with a pointer from a headgear, the ball. Some players can play by themselves others need help.

Cheng Yoong needs his mother to help him play this game, as you can see from the photo. His mother sits on his right with her back against the playing field and she has to take instruction from him as to the detail position to place the shoot that launches the ball. His mother is his ‘hands’ and ‘legs’.

This couple, mother and son, for the last 37 years, has been closely link in everything in their daily life. His mother said, with a smile, that she is so use to doing things with her son, all the pain and the pleasure, good and bad days, are all mixed into one, that’s life to her. She is happy that her son can join in with the other CPs, in Penang and while at the games, and have a community life of some sort.

A Star Swimmer

May 7th, 2008

Fraidden Dewan doing the butterfly

Fraidden Dewan showing his sign after the event

Sarawak swimming team

Fraidden Dewan, 22, is an Iban, a Sea Dayak from Sarawak’s 20 indigenous groups.

He is the star swimmer of the Sarawak team that is in Kuala Lumpur for the

14th paralimpiad games, 3 to 9 May.

Eight years ago, when he was helping his father cut down a tree, in his village,

Mukah, near Sibu, he slipped on wet grounds while the tree was crushing down.

The tree fell on his lower left leg and crushed it. It had to be amputated.

He only took up swimming as a sport for the disabled in 2002 and since then

he has been selected to be part of the national team. He is in individual as well

as team events and he is here to show his swimming skills. Catch him and his

team mates in action at the Bukit Jalil sport complex today.

One of his problem outside the swimming pool is the difficulty of getting a

job in his town or near by Kuching. He is now a father of a two year old son

and has a young family to support.

At the moment he lives his family and his father is an odd job worker and the

family income is not predictable. What he wished for, at the moment, is to get

some professional training and to get a good job and to continue swimming and

may take part in the Olympics, in the future.

Last photo: from the left, Fraidden, Stanley, Zam, Zul Amirul