When I first entered the room, I thought it was all fun and games. But as we moved on further, I started to realize how serious it was to lose your sight. Being someone who relies a lot on sight, I felt suffocated and wanted the tour to end quickly. I kept bumping into the walls and my friends despite given the walking stick to find my way. The amount of “sorrys” heard during the tour was endless. I was getting tired and my eyes felt strained, somehow. Despite all those challenges faced during the tour, the guide taught us how to find our way by using other senses such as touch, hearing and smell. During the river boat ride, we can hear the engine roaring, the water splattering and the breeze in our face as we rode past different locations. I realized how we can still enjoy the things around us using our other senses too. As a sighted person, I realized that we have a major benefit in the world. Since we are the privileged, we should use it to take care of those who aren’t. For example, helping them board the bus, getting the blind around, and simply explaining/describing things to them such as the menu at a food outlet. I swear if the guide wasn’t there to describe our surroundings and guide us through, we would just be walking around in circles and tripping endlessly.
By having a first-hand experience of something we’re not familiar with can change our perspectives and empathize more with the person who has to live with it everyday. We, as humans who are “perfect” (gift of sight, hearing, health etc), tend to underestimate, neglect and assume the importance of accessibility of those who were not given that privilege. It’s simple for us to think, “What’s so bad about that?” as someone who has ease in living a normal life. It’s the same concept as telling someone with no legs to “just walk”. Creating products/designs for the less-fortunate takes much more effort and research to get to the end product. Through the technique of role-playing, it helps us realize how the simple solutions we thought of as “healthy” humans, could result in so many “what ifs” for the less-fortunate.
As the Malay proverb goes,
“Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul”
Translation: As heavy as our eyes see the hardships of other people, it’s even harder/tougher for the one who is going through it.
Sometimes, it may not be solely focused on physical disabilities. It could also be mental disabilities/impairment such as depression, dyslexic, dementia and so forth. We tend to overlook these health issues as it is something not seen on the surface. Though it may be hard to tackle this topic, I feel like it is a need to understand things from their perspective and to create awareness to the rest.