WBU-AP(Senior group) Fine Work
In the viewpoint that is forward even if I have a visual impairment
Philippines Lucita Recana Manarpaac (27, Female)
Visual impairment! - people tend to see it as an obstacle to the blind in fulfilling their desires and in attaining their goals. Thus, when the blind apply for a job, the employers are inclined to believe that they are incapable of performing the necessary tasks, that they are unable to deal with people who have normal vision, and therefore they cannot be competitive in the corporate world.
Even when in school, the blind are faced with teachers who really think that the blind are incapable persons and that they are limited in their abilities. Because of this, they allow the blind students to excuse themselves from taking part in certain activities such as the Physical Education classes. In reality, the blind are actually able to perform many tasks if only the sighted are willing to show them how to do it. Unfortunately, many of the sighted, even the teachers, are unaware that blindness is not the real hindrance but it is rather because of their own negative attitudes that are closing their minds towards the blind.
When I was young, I often came across people who were so amazed at what I could do simply because I was blind. For instance, they would say, "Oh, she can hear me! Hey, she can walk!" Observing their reactions, I realised that these people were actually quite ignorant of blindness and that they were only capable of looking at the dark side of blindness. For such people, it was not easy at all to inculcate in them the idea that a blind person can live a normal life and that they have other ways of performing certain tasks in order to overcome the challenges in life.
For example, when I was in college, my Physical Education teacher put a bell inside a ball, thereby making it possible for me to play basketball. Another teacher would describe the diagrams as she drew them on the board in order to help me understand them by visualisation in my mind. In the case of my technical writing professor, she would describe how a proper outline is being laid out as she wrote it on the board. She would mention every margin, each spacing and all the capitalisations.
These methods of teaching had a positive effect upon me as they were a great help in enabling me to comprehend and deal with the subjects in hand. Despite my lack of sight, I was, therefore, still able to pay attention to my lessons by listening attentively with my ears. At times, I could hear my class-mates marvelling to one another, "Look at her! she is blind but she can understand the diagram better than we can and she has a higher score! We can see everything but we cannot get it perfectly!"
Their words made me realise that I truly ought to be thankful even though I was blind. Because of my blindness, I was less easily distracted by the things around me as I could not see them; I was thus able to concentrate better on the things that I heard, thereby enabling me to have a better comprehension of the knowledge being imparted.
When I started working, I had another experience that I will never forget. My screen-reader could not "read" the buttons on the website as it was in the Korean language. However, my manager found a way to help me by counting the buttons and letting me know the function of each of the buttons. In this way, I was able to figure out what I needed so that I was, therefore, able to carry out my work without any problems.
Indeed, these experiences had taught me a lot about life. Firstly, I learned that blindness need not be regarded as a burden because there were other means available for blind persons to gain knowledge and information. With the help of such aids, the blind are able to make an analysis in any given situation.
Secondly, a blind person can still do things normally in pursuing their goals as long as there is the willing guidance from other people. In my case, for instance, the positive thinking and perseverance of my family had really inspired me and this had helped me to look at things in a very positive light.
Furthermore, I had gained something else which is of great importance to me as a blind person, that is, the idea of acceptance. I became aware that I could never teach other people to accept me as I am if I did not accept myself. I thus came to understand that life is worth living not because you can do things by sight but because you can find other ways to do things in spite of your blindness.
Thus, I would tell my friends on experiencing the loss of vision that looking to the past with regret will not bring back one's sight. Instead, therefore, they should look at the possibilities and opportunities ahead by accepting their blindness and finding out what are the new ways in which things can be done.
I believe that it was my blindness that had enabled me to discover my true friends. While sighted people sought companionship through physical appearance and attraction, blind persons develop friendship based on approach, treatment and patience. In this way, the blind are thus able to detect whether people are sincere or not.
Generally, I am a person of courage and I believe that this is a consequence of my blindness. I feel that I would not have developed such strength had I been living with normal vision as I would simply have been relying on the things that can be seen by my eyes. Not being able to see has pushed me to strive harder in dealing with the challenges that I faced such as discrimination. Ironically, blindness has made me want to explore the world around me even more and it has urged me to contribute to the progress of my community.
Lastly, I believe and I know that I have been created by God in accordance with His plan which will, therefore, certainly yield perfect fruits. I was not created to be useless but to be an inspiration to everyone. And so in order to show them how blessed I am, I have to make use of all my remaining senses to do His will. This means passing on the knowledge that I have gained by "seeing" from a positive perspective in spite of my blindness.