Friday, March 20, 2009

A swing in the dark!

“Good shot” exclaimed WJ, my son, as he stood watching me when I finally got back some ‘feel’ and could hit the golf ball with the 7 iron. Yes, we, including my dear wife, were at a golf driving range located near to our house and it was my first visit there since my loss of sight slightly more than a year ago. WJ, back home for a weekend break from Singapore, had been for the past few months talking and harping on me to psych myself back into golf. “Dad, let’s do it and make it happen!” said WJ last Sunday afternoon to me. Furthermore, he, too, need to hit some balls to improve and make adjustments to his swing. He has started to pick up the game after a long lay off due to his law studies. “Well, why not” I said, acknowledging that I certainly need more exercise to keep fit and this would be a good way to do it and at the same time enjoying the game that I liked playing before I lost my sight.

So, as I stepped into the driving range box onto the turf mat, I was staring into the world of darkness. However, with this new experience of going to the driving range, I did not get too nervous nor jittery despite being disorientated somewhat. WJ handed to me a sand wedge iron and I told him that I would utilize my mind mapping skills with the aid of my hearing sense and the golf iron club to probe, etc, in positioning myself in the correct direction for hitting the balls out into the open area. I was glad I was able to accomplish this task without much hassle. A simple and straightforward task to the sighted but a challenge to me now! I started to practice some golf swings with the sand wedge and it was not as simple as I thought it would be. The feeling of ‘off balance’ was being felt each time I took a swing and my body got tense. I soon learned to be more relaxed after several practice swings and decided then I should start hitting golf balls placed into position on the turf mat. Well, I needed assistance in the ball placement and also, in checking the club face position too. My dear wife was patient enough to help place and position the ball each time and advised me about the club face angle, etc. Again, with the ball in place, the whole scenario changed. It was so different from the earlier practice swings executed. I had to look down onto the ball to hit it during my downswing. It was a complete disaster for the first few shots. Either I missed hitting the ball or topped it, sending the ball rolling down the grass area. So, I then reminded myself to relax and hit the ball like I used to when I was sighted. Visualizing the ball in position, I was able to hit the ball quite well and after several balls, I started to enjoy it and had fun too. With the confidence gained, I switched over to the 7 iron to practice the shots and it was not too bad for a blind guy like me, taking a swing in the dark!

That was my first outing to the driving range and certainly, it will not be the last as there are still more different size clubs in the bag to work on. So I must continue to exercise determination and perseverance in achieving my goals! I may have lost my sight but I have not lost my vision

So much more challenging times ahead!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


“Good morning! You are featured in the Star papers” Harry, a dear friend, shouted excitedly over the phone. He unknowingly woke me up on that Monday morning, following the Charity walk which I participated the day earlier. Well, I thought I could pamper myself with a good rest and a lazy ‘lie in bed’ after the good outing, and more importantly, it was for a good cause. My body and especially, the leg muscles were aching all over. Must be the lack of exercise or age catching up? I prefer the former!

“Gosh! Everyone throughout the country would by now, know about my status concerning my loss of sight” I said to my dear wife. This too, could mean that friends, i.e. former colleagues and associates who were not aware then, would now learn about my status when they read the newspaper that morning. Yes, since losing my sight a year ago, I have not had the opportunity to inform many about my loss of sight or perhaps, I should rightly say, I did not know or not knowing what to say or how to ‘break’ the news to them. Thanks to the media report now the news was out.

True to my expectations, I received phone calls and emails from many friends who learnt about my status from the news media over the next couple of days. I was deeply touched and had mixed emotions. Though it was a total shock to my friends, their concerns and caring attitude clearly demonstrated the kindness and goodness in their hearts. They were glad to note my cheerfulness, positive spirit in moving forward and re learning all the living and independent skills enabling me to be self reliant. If they had spoken to me several months ago, I would have sounded depressed, and terribly miserable. Likewise, I could have made them feel miserable too. Reflecting back to those early days of losing my sight, I certainly had a traumatic and painful time. I sincerely hope that none of my friends or family members will have to endure such painful experiences ever.

A common curious question thrown at me was pertaining to my IT skills. “How do you communicate via emails and write blogs when you cannot see”. Well, they were pleasantly surprised to learn from me about the various assisted IT resources available to the blind community. Of course, lots of patience, determination and hard work required in the re learning process before I could become competent in using the computer again and to get myself back into circulation, so to speak. Here, allow me to recap briefly about some of the IT skills employed by me in IT communication with you guys and others too.

As mentioned and highlighted in my earlier postings, I had the opportunity to attend some IT programs specially designed for the blind community, conducted by the blind IT instructors at MAB, Malaysian Association for the Blind. We were taught in the use and application of the JAWS screen reader software program, most commonly used by the blind community worldwide. “No more Mouse!” was another posting about learning and operating the computer without the mouse but relying solely on various keystroke commands, etc. The screen reader has the ability to ‘talk’ when I access mails, compose mails and blogs, surf the net. Other than that, it is quite the normal standard operating procedure, like you, in accessing and working on the desktop computers or laptops. For the blog, it could be a bit tricky as it involved several ‘steps’ and I had to check and edit several times before posting with minimum errors. So, do excuse me if there were any mistakes made. Another alternative which I discovered in terms of composing and posting my blog articles was via email from the Microsoft Outlook directly to my blog posting. Unfortunately, I am not able to post pictures yet. There is still a lot more to learn. Slowly but surely, I know I will be able to improve my blog at a latter date.

More challenging times ahead!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Man of the Moment......

8 March 2009 was a day of celebration in honour of all women of the world dating back to the early twentieth century, way back to early 1908. It is the International Women's day. And it is on this day that the OGSM (Obstetrical&Gynecological Society of Malaysia) had organised the charity event, Walking Tall Charity fun Walk. This is the third year this event had happened. I could recall the first 'Walking Tall' fun walk held at the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur in year 2007 which both my wife and I were volunteer cum participant. Unfortunately, I had to give the 2008 'Walking Tall' event a miss due to my sudden loss of sight in early January 2008, and was going through a difficult period of adjustments to the new world of darkness when the event took place in March 2008.

I was coaxed to attend this year, together with a group of other members from MAB (Malaysian Association for the Blind). Before the walk began I was worried lest I would not have the stamina for the 3 km walk as I have not walked such a long distance since my sight went dark. Glad to say I completed the 3 km walk with spare energy left, though my leg muscles were beginning to get tired. It was a good day out, not only for me but for the rest of the blind members from MAB as well.

The next day I received an unexpected early morning call from my friend Harry who was very excited to tell me that I was featured in the Star newspapers on national news. Well, I thought I was going for a stroll in the park and it turned out I was the 'man of the moment'. I am pleased to share the article in the link below.

More challenging times ahead!

Don't underestimate the Mighty Tiny Mosquito!

“Hello, Nice to meet you” I said to a new fellow VIP (Visually Impaired Person) friend whilst simultaneously extending out my right hand to offer my warm and a friendly handshake. This chance meeting occurred during my recent ‘a walk in the dark,’ when Zainuddin, my mobility instructor for the day, stopped him and made the introduction as we were about to walk past each other near MAB, Malaysian Association for the Blind. After a brief `Hello’ and `how are you chat’, we exchanged our mobile cellular phone contact numbers. We then continued our own ways walking towards our respective destinations.


The same afternoon, the new VIP friend gave me a tinkle to enquire if I was still in the vicinity and perhaps, meet up to have a chat over coffee at a nearby coffee shop. It was timely that my dear wife was with me at that moment in time as she came over to pick me up from MAB. So after some minutes, we finally located the designated coffee shop and met up with my new found friend. I had to depend on my dear wife as the guide/navigator as I have not “passed my mobility skill test yet” which would have enabled me to locate the coffee shop on my own, so to speak. As we sat down enjoying the cuppa, we also got to know and learned more about each other. I related about how I lost my sight and he, too, related in detail about his experience in losing his sight some years back.


“Life is full of surprises” I clearly recalled writing in my first blog article expressing my thoughts and feelings during my early days of having lost my sight due to a severe bacterial infection. Well I was taken aback momentarily and  it was difficult to accept that my new fellow VIP friend lost his sight due to the common tiny creature and Yes! the Aedes mosquitoes. He contracted Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever and caused him to fall seriously ill.  The result of being bitten by the tiny aedes mosquitoes! This almost sent him ‘Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s door!’ This unfortunate incident happened when he was working in a building construction project site. The Tiny mosquito too, caused extensive damage to his liver, lungs, hearing and regrettably, the doctors could not managed to save his sight. Don’t underestimate the Might of the tiny mosquito!


I was truly inspired having learnt from him about his ‘bouncing back’ despite the numerous and extreme hardship he had to overcome in rebuilding his life and to live an independent life as much he possibly could. Kudos, my friend, you are the man! Your ‘never say die attitude’ gave me the added inspiration to continue marching on with great positive strides and confidence in achieving my goal of being self reliant and be independent too.


The ongoing anti Aedes mosquito campaign by the Ministry of Health nationwide is greatly laudable. Not only the tiny Aedes mosquito causing the various health problems resulting from contracting Dengue Fever but one could not have known nor realized that one can lose one’s sight due to this mighty tiny mosquito! Yes, we must give our fullest support and be on guard always too, in combating the spread of Aedes mosquitoes by ensuring the environment around us not becoming a haven for the breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes. So, do take heed of the “Rid the Aedes mosquito” campaign!


More challenging times ahead!