Letter from Leo Chen Ian
President, Disabled People’s Association
I REFER to “Tan’s bronze shine” (Sept 12) and “Pin Xiu the golden girl” (Sept 16).
The Disabled People’s Association (DPA) congratulates Ms Yip Pin Xiu and Ms Laurentia Tan for their incredible accomplishments at the Beijing Paralympics.
Ms Yip won gold and silver in swimming and Ms Tan took home two bronze medals in the equestrian competition — Singapore’s first medals in the highest level of international competition for athletes with disabilities. They have truly made our country proud.
More importantly, they have made the disabled community proud. They have given us more reason to believe in our capacity to overcome obstacles and to never give up on our dreams. It is a pity that we were not able to witness these proud moments live. Unlike the coverage of the Beijing Games, there was only a delayed telecast of the Paralympics.
The DPA believes that such feats are crucial in breaking down any stigma associated with people with disabilities. It shows that any person, regardless of his or her condition, will and can be able to contribute meaningfully to society, given the chance and support.
Greater coverage by the media on the accomplishments of people with disabilities can contribute to breaking down these barriers and in uplifting the image of people with disabilities. Certainly, more doors of opportunities for them will subsequently open.
In addition, as DPA champions the equalisation and the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, we hope that the Athletes Achievement Awards given to Singapore Paralympians will soon equal the Multi-Million dollar Award Programme granted to able-bodied Olympians. An equal incentive for Paralympians will give them the recognition as equals with the rest of society — something they have aspired to and worked hard for.
After all, the Paralympics is as competitive as the Olympics. Paralympians put in the same amount of effort (if not more) and are just as skilled as the able-bodied.
Ms Yip’s and Ms Tan’s achievements have shown the world that they are not really that different from everybody else. They have dreams and worked hard to achieve them.
DPA hopes that the Paralympics willinspire the nation to be more inclusive and supportive to people with disabilities. We hope that the country will not only see the value of the people with disabilities through these two young women, but in every person with disability whom they meet.
We look forward to more people with disabilities to being given the chance to live their dreams as Singapore opens its doors to them and gives them the support they need.