10 June 2011

Encounters At The Playground

I can tell how society views children like Vera just by bringing her to the playground.

Some kids can be mean.

A 5-year-old boy comes right up and laughs in her face.

"No laughing," I chided him defensively. "If you want to laugh, don't come near here."

He does the same to another special needs boy with cross-eyes, about his age, who also happened to be at the playground.

Two other bigger children, both sisters, come up to Vera and said, "She looks so special". Seeing that they were friendly, I proceeded to tell them about the miracles and obstacles Vera had overcome.

They were filled with awe.

One of them asked their mother to come see.

The mother took one look at Vera and said, "Aiyoh, why like that?" Then hurried her girls along.

Her daughter looked at me and said, "Sorry, auntie."

The girl actually apologised to me on her mother's behalf.

We may be a so-called first-world economy, but alas, no way are we near first-world standards in our attitudes towards those who are different from the norm.

Where I live, some people hurry into lifts and close the doors like they are hitting the panic button. They don't have time to wait for others.

Able-bodied people jostle for the lift with those in prams and wheelchairs, instead of taking the stairs.

It saddens me sometimes.