Saturday, December 10, 2011

My First Blind National Convention Experience

I was thrilled when I was invited to attend a national convention organized by the National Council for the Blind, Malaysia (NCBM) recently. However, the thrill turned to trepidation when I was requested to be a speaker on a tough subject entitled “Healthy Financing Breeds Quality Projects". Just the thought of public speaking in the dark to a large audience is still something that is a challenge for me, i.e. not being to able to see the body language and assess the reaction of the audience. Another challenge is to remember my presentation from memory and not reading from Braille notes (I am still Braille illiterate). Glad to share, it all went well on the day. Gauging from the Q&A and comments, I guess I was successful in delivering my thoughts and views on the topic I was presenting.

This experience helped to raise my level of self esteem and confidence as the bricks of my blindness barrier was knocked down even further.

Below is the summary of my presentation:

Topic : “Healthy Finance Breeds Quality Projects".

Introduction: Money is a driver. In everything we do we need money; to survive, to have fun, to care for your family, to help others and even dying also need money. We know for a fact that NGOs get their funding from corporations and public donation to help the society they represent. Without financial support NGOs will have difficulty in achieving and realizing their set objectives It is the norm for these NGOs when campaigning for funds to stress on the dependency of the group they represent.

Times have changed. Corporations and the public are not as ready to contribute as quickly as they were before. Nowadays they are more cautious of giving away money and they are more selective in choosing the causes they desire to champion. Some of the concerns they have are:

a. Abuse and misuse of the funds: A case in mind is the National Kidney Foundation in Singapore which was highlighted in the national news. More recently, another case that was mentioned involved a monk in Singapore where funds were misappropriated.

b. Selection of deserving causes: Corporations are very selective these days. They have professionals and dedicated persons to manage CSR projects (Corporate Social Responsibility). These big corporations not only look at bottom line but also the need to portray their corporate image as a caring company, e.g. giving back some of their profits to deserving community. The project they champion normally has to relate to their business and credo. At times they may require participation of their staff in the projects or become a partner.

c. Stiff competition: there are too many NGOs and sometimes with similar objectives, vying for limited financial resources available. E.g. within our own compound we have NCBM, SBM and MAB soliciting for funds from the same source. It is confusing as to who these groups of NGOs are.

d. Management behind the NGO : the credibility and the professionalism of the people behind the projects or organization comes into play

Gone are the days of simply sending donation requests for contributions. One can still continue to carry on but admittedly money is trickling and not pouring in. Yes, public donation is definitely declining as the public is beginning to question if their contributions are being put to good use.

What does this mean to us, NGOs? We must change with times.

When soliciting for funds you must be very clear in what you are asking for. The corporations and companies you solicit for funds are not interested in your operating costs. However, they are normally more open to sponsor projects and programs and the end result to the society the fund is for and to them the sponsors.

Project base fund raising: Be clear and precise with your objectives, what your project is going to achieve and it must be measurable in terms of target reach and time specific. More importantly, what is it in for the corporation/companies who is contributing the money. No doubt win-win is the key word but in reality they are looking at a bigger win. At times they may require their staff to be involved or they may want to take the lead. These days it is common to deal with CSR personnel from these corporations/companies. Therefore, you need to be professional in your approach as well.

People behind the NGO/project : There is a need to deploy a dedicated professional to manage this serious responsibility. Not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry, please. This is serious affair if you are negotiating for money.

Branding: It is important to create awareness of your organization and what it stands for. It must be top of mind with all the agencies and corporations e.g. when you think of instant noodles you think of Maggie mee. When you think of BMW cars you associate with class and top level executives. How wonderful it is if NCBM equals champion of the blind and the partially sighted. Solid brand image will definitely give you an advantage in fund raising

At the end of the day, fund raising is still a sales and marketing pitch.

Last but not least I would like end with this acronym: C A R E

C for Consistent – We must be consistent in our efforts to help the blind and partially sighted (BPS) in gaining independence through access to education and skill training.

A for Assimilation – The plan is to assimilate BPS into mainstream society

R for Recognition/ Respect – As an organization, we want be recognized and respected for the work we do. For the individual, to gain respect and recognition for what we are i.e independent, and self reliant

E for Empowerment and Equal opportunity: With the 3 pointers mentioned it will empower the BPS to equal opportunity in career choices

More challenging times ahead!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


December 3, is a day to commemorate International Day of Persons with Disabilities worldwide. 

This year's theme is “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development.”

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) marked this day with an event whereby different groups of persons with disabilities came together to have fun and food.  The Mayor of MBPJ officiated this event and presented recognition awards to NGOs and individuals who had contributed to the ongoing `Barrier Free City' campaign.

I was honoured to be one of the recipients of this award.  I am also very happy that I was recognised for my capability and not my disability.

More challenging times ahead!

Picture 1: Receiving the award from the Mayor

Picture 2: Gift and Certificate received

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Technology creates career opportunities

Little did I know when I was invited to attend a meeting, as Volunteer Chairman of the Cyber Club of Malaysian Association for the Blind  (MAB), to brainstorm the organising of an ICT and Job Fair event, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of MAB, I would be landed with the task of heading the organising committee.  I was indeed flattered as I was the only non-staff member of MAB in the group.  Heading and managing a team of both sighted and visually impaired, was indeed most challenging.  From a blank page, the 2 months of deliberation and hardwork culminated into a hugely successful and well attended affair.

All this while public opinion is such that when one loses one's sight, one is labeled as a person with disability.  However, the experience of managing, directing the meetings and churning out all the ideas into reality, with the end result of a successful event proves to me that my blindness is not a disability but only an inconvenience.

Here's the write-up of the event in the Malay Mail news online.

`Insight into sightless tech

TalksPE software gives the blind ability to use phones through voice command

Hamzah Nazari

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 11:50:00

BRICKFIELDS: As he skillfully scrolls down the blank screen of his iPhone, it could be heard listing applications.
"I'm now checking my email… and I have three messages," said Yam Tong Woo.

"Oh! Is the screen black? Can you not see anything?" asked the 57-year-old blind man from Sungai Buloh.

"Sorry, I normally leave it blank for privacy," he apologised with a laugh. He then brought the screen to life with a tap of his fingers and continued his demo.

Yam, blind since January 2008 because of a bacterial infection, is an avid blogger and golfer.

He was the organising chairman at the ICT Day & Job Fair 2011 held at the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) in Jalan Tebing yesterday.

One of the most popular booths at the fair was run by Smartphone Mobility Enterprise executive director Allan Wong.

The 34-year-old blind man from Kuala Lumpur demonstrated how he could use a Nokia N8 phone with a touchscreen to check his calendar or dial a number.

The phone had been installed with TalksPE, a software that would read out the text on his screen wherever he touched.

To select an item, Wong would quickly lift his finger and tap it in the same spot.

The TalksPE software has been around since 2002 but was recently modified to be used with touchscreens.

These phones were of particular interest to Chan Chen, a blind phone user who was looking to upgrade as he uses an old Nokia phone with the special software to send and receive messages, as well as record names in his address book.

"After I save someone's name and number, the phone tells me the name of the caller so I can choose who I talk to," said the 63-year-old masseuse.

Aside from the highly popular mobile phone offerings, other products such as electronic notebooks with Braille keyboards and teaching software for the blind were also demonstrated to show how such products could help the blind be more independent.

Internationally-recognised courses in information technology for the blind were also offered by the St Nicholas' Home Penang.

"The International Computer Driving License (ICDL) is an internationally-recognised course started in the European Union and provides students with a good foundation in Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office," said the home's IT department volunteer David Hathaway, 35.

"A modified version for the blind offered by St Nicholas' provides graduates with the same certification. We simply changed the directions from using the mouse to using keyboard shortcuts," said Hathaway, who moved from the United Kingdom to Penang.

During the opening ceremony officiated by Higher Education Minister's political secretary Mohammad Khairi A. Malik, 10 employers were honoured with plaques for their efforts in providing employment opportunities for the blind.

Among those present were MAB president Datuk Dr Abdullah Malim Baginda and acting executive director Godfrey Ooi.'

More challenging times ahead!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blogging on the go

My first attempt, blogging on the go via iPhone. My wife and I are now traveling to Penang, 400km north of Kuala Lumpur. Will be stopping at Ipoh to say hello to a couple of old buddies and not forgetting too, the delicious roasted duck.

More challenging times ahead!

Monday, October 17, 2011

White Cane Day Celebration at Kota Damansara Community Forest

A great day out for those who turned up yesterday for the celebration event. Learning, touching and smelling the varieties of herbal plants in the herbs garden was truly an eye-opener. Trekking up a short distance up the forest to "see," touch and feel the sheer circumference size of the Petaling tree trunk amazed all. Yes, Petaling is a species of tree, standing easily 70 feet (21metres) tall. Food was sumptuous, BBQ and variety of catering food available. A memorable day indeed. Thank you all for your contribution in making the day a very successful eventful day.

Not forgetting, the theme of the day.. White Cane Day, I am happy to share my speech delivered at the event yesterday.

`October 15th was declared White Cane Safety Day in 1964 by the late President of USA, Lyndon Johnson. Since then it has been celebrated all over the globe

Today we come together to commemorate White Cane Day. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the organizers Pet Positive and Friends of Kota Damansara and to MBPJ (Petaling Jaya City Council) for sponsoring the whole event.

1 What does White cane Day mean to me.. A day to educate everyone to respect the person walking with the White Cane, to recognize the person is blind and cannot see you, so give way if you are walking and slow down if you are driving.

The White Cane gives me the Independence in mobility, the ability to move about safely and confidently.

2. Walking without sight can be traumatic and a painful experience especially when the sighted is even more blind than me, For some strange reasons, they tend to bump and knock into me even though I walk with the White Cane. I often wondered whether these sighted people are aware of the significance of the White Cane.

a. I had an unpleasant experience of a sighted person walking right into my path, got tangled with my cane, she fell and my cane broke into two. She got up and walked off without a word of apology. Fortunately I was walking just behind my wife.

b. Another scary experience was when I was learning from my friend Mr Mano who is also blind and he is here with us today, on how to move around Brickfields area. I was struggling to follow him from behind, listening to his white cane tapping/gliding along the tactile pathways, leading us back to the MAB (Malaysian Association for the Blind) complex. All of a sudden my white cane snapped and became wobbly. I panicked and really, really struggled with my wobbly cane, trying very hard to keep paces with Mano. I heaved a sigh of relief when we reached MAB complex.

c. An amusing tale to share traveling with my white cane. When my wife was checking in at LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) enroute to London, a ground service staff came over to me and asked `Sir are you traveling to London?’. I said yes and she left. Next my wife told me someone had put a baggage tag to my white cane. When enquired about it, we were told that the tag was to allow the white cane to be stored somewhere else if it cannot get into the overhead compartment. Did they not realize that no blind person will separate from their cane and moreover white canes are foldable. An example of the ignorance of the public towards white canes.

3. Since then, I have come to recognise and appreciate the importance of the simple white cane. Do not underestimate the mighty cane and the independence it gives to the blind and the partially sighted.

4. As a member of MBPJ OKU (Persons with disability) technical committee, I am happy to be able to contribute towards making Petaling Jaya, a barrier free city with accessible facilities for the elderly and people with disabilities. Here, I must commend MBPJ for doing such a great job. For the blind, it means more guiding blocks pathways at strategic locations, etc. However, let me say this, the white cane still has its important role to play. It is without doubt an important tool that gives the blind and partially sighted the independence to move about to desired destinations safely, and now made possible with more tactile pathways in Petaling Jaya. So, now you understand why I do not leave home without my white cane.

5. However, it would compliment my white cane if I have a guide dog, too. Pet Positive is an NGO offering assisted animal therapy to both elderly and people with disabilities. Animals such as dogs, cats, fishes to name some, have proven to have therapeutic healing effects. Pet Positive hopes to introduce guide dogs to assist the blind.

More challenging times ahead!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blind Golf Inspired!

An inspirational story to share......

I stumbled upon this story about blind golf whilst browsing the internet. That was during my initial experience in using a screen reader software installed into my desktop computer, during the early days of recuperating from a bout of bacterial infection that resulted in my total blindness. What this assistive technology does is, it converts the text to speech, literally reading out aloud whatever is on the computer screen when I navigate around using the different keystrokes on the conventional keyboard.

I could remember vividly those challenging times, practically re-learning the many tasks that I had taken for granted when I was sighted. Re-learning computer skills was one of the most important task which I realised could get me to re-connect with the world, friends, etc. I had to endure several hours of frustrations, as even I had to re-learn touch typing on the keyboard, remembering the various screen reader keystrokes and keyboard layout too. Re-learning the computer was an arduous challenge but I was determined to `master' this new re-learned skill and had to spend many, many hours sitting in front of my computer typing continuously to re-gain and work the muscle memory in my fingers.

Golfing was the furthest thing from my mind then. I was glad that my sons, who knew then that I needed some form of exercise to stay fit, to help in my recuperation after going through those traumatic times, practically dragged me to the golf range to try to hit some balls. It was a disaster as I could not hit due to my blindness, loss of orientation and mobility.

I was glad that during one of my wild search on golfing for the blind, I managed to stumble upon Gerry Kelly's story (append below) that inspired me to get back into playing golf, a game which I enjoyed when I was well and sighted. It did not dawned on me that I would get to meet Gerry one day and to cap it, playing a round of golf with him at the historical Preswick St. Nicholas Golf course, Scotland. This happened on Tuesday, 26th April 2011. Thank you, Gerry and Mary! It was indeed a memorable experience.

More challenging times ahead!

Click link to read. The evolution of blind and visually impaired golf

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dare to Dream

It was totally unexpected when I was told I was going to play a round of golf at Preswick St. Nicholas Golf Course, Ayrshire, Scotland. Jonathan Smithers, my son-in-law's father went out of his way to arrange a game for me with the Scottish Blind Golf Society when he learned I was going to visit him in Scotland during my recent holiday to the UK. It was my good fortune that the Scottish Blind Golf Society had in their calender, a golf tournament at Preswick during the time when my family would be in Scotland.

`Hello, you must be Jonathan and this must be Eric Yam, from Malaysia’, the first words I heard as we, the Smithers and the Yams, walked towards the clubhouse. `I am Gerry and my wife, Mary’ as our hosts introduced himself. We, then, proceeded to the clubhouse for some snacks before the tee-off which was scheduled at noon on that day. I took the time in between snacks to gather more information about the day's event. Gerry and I would tee-off together, two ball flight, walk the course with our caddie/guides. Jonathan was my caddie/guide for the day, his first experience in this role and Mary was Gerry's. This would be the first time that Hong, my wife, would not be my 'advisor' on the course. It was quite nerve wrecking, with the anxiety and thoughts that were in turmoil in my mind. Worse still, I was expecting a typical Scottish cold, wet weather, strong winds and was been wondering how I was to survive and complete the game. Another concern was that I would be playing with a borrowed golf set.

It was an exhilarating experience standing on the first tee-box, on this historical 160 year old link course, an experience, which I would not forget for a very long time. It was an impossible dream that became a reality. Golfing was the last thing in my mind after losing my sight 3 years ago due a severe bacterial infection, and now I am about to drive my first golf ball onto the fairway in this historical link golf course. Like many other golfers, it's a wish and a dream to play a round of golf in Scotland, the home of golf. The emotions and nostalgia got the better of me and cause my first tee shot to stray out of bound. No complaints though, as the satisfaction overcame the frustration. It was, after all, not a dream but real golfing in action.

Mary was ever so patient and was giving tips, advice and all that was to know about blind golf to Jonathan, a role he took up for the first time in being my caddie/guide. As we walked the course Gerry and Jonathan, too, described to me the scenic landscapes around the course, as we played the holes. I could feel the openness, the fresh scent of the plants, especially the gorse bushes found growing alongside many fairways, emitting scent similar to that of coconut. Every hole has a name and a story to tell. I could clearly recall playing the 16th hole, the Tom Morris signature, par 4 hole, which, I too, had a good drive and a shot to remember in my first ever Scottish golf experience. Not forgetting too, the elevated greens which were at my eye/head level, as Jonathan coolly informed me when my ball landed near and below the greens. He must had had wondered how he was going to advice me on how to play the next crucial shot, i.e. landing the ball onto the green! Kudos to Jonathan we managed.

Surprisingly, the weather was kind, with blue sky and the sun out in full force, and the cool breeze blowing, making the day a truly memorable one for all of us, especially Jonathan and I.

After the game, the Provost of Ayr, was the honored VVIP for the event. Gerry and Mary introduced us, the Smithers and the Yams to the Provost of Ayr. We were treated to a great dinner and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Scottish Golf Society neck-tie as a momento to cherish from Gerry.
Gerry Kelly as I learned earlier was the founder of blind golf in the British Isles many years ago and truly a remarkable guy to meet. It was indeed an honor for me to have played a round of golf with him. As a matter of fact, I dare say that he was an inspiration to me in re-learning golf after my sight loss. When I first surfed the internet about information on blind golf, I stumbled upon Gerry's blind golf journey. Gerry's story truly reflected his determination to pursue his dreams of playing and introducing blind golf to his comrades in the British Isles. It did not dawn on me that one day I would have the opportunity to meet Gerry and not only that, I would also be playing a round of golf with him too!

I know that with Gerry's inspiration and his much advice to me, it will spur me to work in realizing the first Malaysian Blind Golf society in the near future.

A note of thanks to Jonathan, for without him my dream of playing golf with Gerry at Preswick St.Nicholas would not have been realized.

More challenging times ahead!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Simulated In-door Golf

When I first received an invitation to participate in an indoor golf competition, I was puzzled. "What! playing in a simulated computer golf game competition, in an indoor golf club located right in the heart of the city."

However, curiosity took control and I was determined and much tempted to discover more about this indoor golf thingy. Since losing my sight 3 years ago, I have to re-learn almost everything, daily living skills, computer skills, orientation and mobility skills, etc. More importantly, adjusting and adapting to a new dark world, maintaining social interaction with others, living and doing things independently as much to my capacity as I could possibly do in my present circumstances.

On the appointed afternoon, together with another two friends, both visually impaired, very keen to discover more and to experience playing golf, we took the bold step stepping into the KL City Centre Golf club, situated at the Novotel Hotel, right in the heart of the city.

Mr. Hock Tho, the club's founder and owner, was there to welcome us. Hock briefed us about the club business objectives, promoting this indoor golf concept to the many busy top business and top corporate executives. More importantly, Hock stressed that he has never forgotten his social corporate responsibility. Kudos to Hock, giving an opportunity and a fine gesture extended to the visually impaired to enjoy this indoor golf at this premier club. Another unexpected great news was that all the three of us were given a one year honorary VIP term membership to use the golfing facilities to train and improve our golfing skills.

More briefing on the workings of the simulator and the computerize tracking of golf swings, ball traveling speeds and spins, balls traveling distances, putting distances to the pin are projected on the large white screen, located four meters directly in front of the playing area.

Hock handed me a 7 iron club and guided me to position and placed the golf ball in position enabling me to hit it just like at a golf practicing range. The driving range mode was selected via the console controller. I hit some balls and interestingly, all the important information was projected on the screen which was read out to me by my wife, Hong, my caddie for the day. The information allowed me to analyze my performance and to make the necessary corrections and adjustments to my golf stance and position, delivery of a good shot which is every golfer's dream, a neat and perfect shot each time. The initial sound of the ball hitting the screen was something that I got used to and got over quickly. As the game was played in an enclosed cubicle, a U-shaped area, the sound of the club striking the ball did seem to be louder than normal. However, the anxiety in knowing how the shot was delivered, over-rode this noise. Next, for a real experience, a popular US golf course was selected via the console controller and it was all system go, so to speak! The scores were automatically computed for the duration of the game. The feeling standing on the tee-box holding the driver in position prior to hitting the first tee shot to the fairway generated the same somewhat nervous feel similar to standing on any other tee-box on the normal golf course which I am accustomed to now, looking but not seeing. After completion of a few holes, the sound which I dreaded most was the sound of the ball landing into the water.. plonk! plonk! In contrast, the most beautiful satisfying sound was the sound of the ball dropping into the pin hole, a rattling clicking sound click, click, click! Not forgetting the continuous soothing background sounds of birds chirping away happily throughout the game.

Hock had the last words which left us with a `feel good' factor boosting our confidence and wanting to come back to improve our golfing skills.. "You guys are playing on a USPGA fully endorsed simulated golf course that many golf professionals also play on." Hock said.

More challenging times ahead!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Right to Quality Life

On May 7th, 2011, a workshop was put together by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the Bar Council of Malaysia to create awareness among people with disabilities of their constitutional rights. More than 50 people with disabilities and their care givers attended this event.

Yes, it is important to know and understand what our constitutional rights are whether you are able bodied or persons with special needs.

When I was invited to speak on this topic on behalf of the visually impaired persons, VIPs, I quickly went around asking my VIP friends what they face in their daily lives. My friends were eager to share their views.

Firstly, banking, which is an integral part of our lives. It is without a doubt anyone can open an account with any bank including the VIPs. Then, it is the norm to progress to owning an automated teller machine card – ATM card. Do you know that persons with visual impairment in Malaysia are not allowed to hold an ATM card? This is downright selective discrimination. In the US and Australia there are already talking Automated teller machines which allow their VIPs to manage their banking transactions on their own.

The right to move around independently is of utmost importance to any human being in any country. This is so true for the visually impaired as well. Needless for me to elaborate and many of you will agree that there's still much to improve in terms of accessible facilities in public amenities e.g. banks, post offices, transportation hubs, etc. Accessible facilities for the VIPs include tactile guiding blocks, talking lifts, audible traffic lights, Braille notices, to name a few.

Web accessibility is another hot topic which I pointed out. In this digital age, even VIPs are learning computer skills to stay connected for social and professional interaction. In US, it is compulsory for all websites to be fully accessible to all walks of lives. It is the right of every American citizen. In Malaysia, many of our websites are still not fully accessible e.g. government and state agencies, some banks and commercial sites. I strongly believe it is our right to equal access to technology and communications.

In relation to equal access, I would like to share a friend's experience traveling on KL CAT from KLIA to KL Sentral. It is commendable that VIPs are offered a special travel fare concession on this train. However, my friend found to his dismay that he was only allowed to travel on the train that made a few stops along the way to KL Sentral and not on the non-stop express train. There is definitely an element of selective discrimination here. Are persons with disability considered 2nd class citizen?

I would like to share my experience traveling as a visually impaired person. Recently I traveled abroad on Air Asia X. When the announcement was made for the old, persons with special needs and family with small children to board first, I was happy to move forward as this denotes the right for this group of people to board ahead of the rest. My happiness was short lived as the airline service staff did not follow through on the announcement and control the crowd. The over zealous passengers scrambled and I was pushed back and had to retract my white cane to prevent any untoward accidents. An old man in a wheel chair was also pushed behind and had to queue to climb the stairs to board the plane. The rights of persons with special needs took a different meaning in this instance with sheer `tidak apa' attitude.

In summary, if the rights issues I have highlighted here today are addressed, I am sure it will greatly improve, enhance and empower our lives. Not to mention, this will also open up the windows of opportunities for employment, help to develop a knowledge base visually impaired community which in turn can contribute to the economy and growth of the country.

More challenging times ahead!

Dogs - man's best friend

Admittedly without shame, my feelings to be with and amongst the speciality breed of canines, GSDs could be described as a bag of mixed feelings, laced with both pride and emotions on the day. As a dog lover since my early primary school days, I could still remember vividly the first dog that became part of my family. Yes, a GSD named Lucky. He was a very obedient and an intelligent dog. Tasks such as fetching the newspapers, shoes, opening/closing doors were his primary duties and these were carried out diligently by Lucky and he was ever so happy all the time.

Years later, another GSD, mamed Mark became a member of my family. I wanted my 3 young kids then, to experience and learn from the special friend about love, communication and unselfish caring attitude, a natural trait in dogs. Mark, of the seiger line breed was with our family for 6 wonderful years. Mark succumbed to skin cancer and died a year later.

I dare say that Dog is the only animal that loves you more than he loves himself. Since losing my sight three years ago, due to severe baterial infection, my three companion dogs had instinctively knew my condition and became more protective and always staying close to my side when I move about in the garden of my home. The presence and the loving kindness demonstrated by the canines are truly therapeutic, especially during those early traumatising days of losing my sight. My canines certainly had a hand and played an important role in my tough battle, picking myself up and marching forward in my new life without sight.

More is needed to be done to dispell the myths about GSDs, particularly their misconstrued ferocious streak. Generally, public tend to be wary and shun away upon seeing GSDs and thus, creating and resulting in negative perception of such loving and the caring breed of canines.

My wishlist.. Proudly walking about independently with a trained guide dog by my side.

More challenging times ahead!