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  • : freewheeling
  • freewheeling
  • : Blog on being a disabled person, different cultures, diversity, equality, disability, travel, being diaspora Chinese and disabled travel.
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Here are some of my photos. This shows some of my travels.


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Books I am reading

Xiaolu Guo
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
A love story - cultural differences, misunderstandings and yes, I see what she is saying.
Su Tong
Binu and the Great Wall

Binu and the Great Wall

Binu And The Great Wall is a wonderful myth retold in the words of Su Tong, the author of ‘Rice’.  The myth of Binu and how her tears washed away the Great Wall have been passed down through the ages. It is a tale of hardship, brutality and undying love. Su Tong’s version of the myth, brings to the reader the harshness and brutality that led to the constuction of the wall and the terrible effects it had on the common people.

12 mai 2015 2 12 /05 /mai /2015 01:24

I had forgotten the password to this blog. I think I should archive this but I still like the old fashioned look. Here's a recent photo!




at Disabled Voters Operation at the HoC

7 août 2011 7 07 /08 /août /2011 15:09



I have not used this blog so long I had to come back and familiarise myself with it again. And using this blog because a wheelchair review would not fit the remit of any of the other blogs that I do - this is my personal blog, I ve had this for more than 6 years. I think with social media - I ve slipped into the habit of leaving little messages when it came to the personal sphere in Facebook and Twitter status messages. Blogs require more work - and personal stuff didn't seem so important.


Yesterday while I was in Boots a lady approached to say hello because I am the first person she's seen who has the same chair! And that reminded me that I had said I would write a blog review about my new power chair.


Using google with a cursory search, I found one review online. This unnamed reviewer writes:



".... I really surprised the lady at Sunrise Medical that I talked to. It is the first time that a publication like ours has approached them for a review item I guess. The Sunrise Medical  Marketing Manager, Ms Jane Elsworth, was very helpful in locating and securing a demo model for me to try out for a few days to review, even though this is a very popular model at the moment, is brand new, and she is a very busy person right now. She put us in touch with Anderson Medical & Mobility who sent Stewart Taylor over to show us this new chair. Stewart was over three times in fact, once to demo the chair and once to drop one off with me and adjust it to my size so that I could test it for a few days then the day he picked it up to take over to someone else. They are very busy people and this chair is much in demand, for good reason as you'll see."



With hindsight, I see my mistake

  • - I did not ask for a test
  • - I did not keep the chair long enough for a proper test

My fault. I needed a replacement powerchair. I was too cocky I thought I ve used powerchairs for most of 27 years and I ve used Quickie chairs for the last 15 - manual and powerchairs - so did I need to test I thought. My local wheelchair services ha given me an assessment, my consultant had written a letter to say that I needed a riser wheelchair. My supplier (Midland Mobility) told me he had just the thing in mind - a  Sunrise Medical Quickie Salsa Mid Wheel Drive powerchair and he came around with the salesman.


To be honest,I was impressed by the extremely compact turning circle, allowing for great indoor manoeuvrability. A narrow width makes it easier to navigate through doorways and confined spaces. With its mid wheel drive technology, there is a suspension which makes bumps less 'bumpy' and the seat can be adjusted to tilt up so as not to fall out. Of course I like being able to reach things but find it takes a long time for the seat to go up in height. Joy of joys I can now sit up for the conveyor belt sushi bars at Japanese restaurants and at pubs not to mention being at the same height as people you do not want to look down at you! The downside? It takes an awful long time to reach the dizzy heights! it goes slowly when you re up there - there's a built in safety lock on the speed.


But I ve had it for a couple of months now. After a week or so, I sent it back because I thought it was odd that it should lurch and they found a screw (?) missing. They thought that it must have been missing form the start because it was not something that could have work loose. I became nervous. 


Problems with it:

  1. 1) no manual with how to use instructions - there were no instructions to go with it. I would have appreciated such a guide/manual. It would have also been good to have gone for a good 'ride' outdoors. The controls are very sensitive. Tim tried to show me how I can go over rough terrain.
  2. 2)the pivotal type see saw reaction (with mid wheel drive) when you re going up or down a ramp - like on a train. This is very disconcerting - I had no warning and nearly fell off the ramp at Euston a couple of times. The trick is to go down to the lowest speed when you going down a ramp and tilt the chair seat up - but not when you go up the ramp.
  3. 3)the creaks and sounds that come and go with no rhyme or reason but which worry me. Any sound unaccounted for makes me uneasy.
  4. 4)The batteries do not seem to last as long as my old Quickie - this machine goes to yellow bars after a day's bombing round town use.
  5. 5)My foot pedal is already losing paint at the edges and the hinge is loose.


But I really like it. I can recommend it but suggest a real trial before buying it by using it in different terrains -its good for climbing slopes.I like that the arms can be moved up, that I can tilt the chair and change the pressure points. I like the lights. I do have head rests and rear mirrors - apparently this is mandatory when travelling in public transport but I found that they really stick out and get in the way of turning corners- such as monoevring into a tight spot on the bus.


Coventry wheelchair services got me in touch with Tim Cox who says he's passionate about this particular model. He could not tend to my fears the first time and said I had to go back to the dealer. Whan I was still not convinced and rang him again, this time he came out to see me. We took the train together to Birmingham Internatiional and back and I showed him my nervousness with the ramps but he told me it was a very stable chair and that I just needed confidence. He then thought that the ramps used on the train might not conform to the standards for ramp incline for wheelchairs. (Yea, I thought - try telling the rail service that they have to change all their ramps!) He did say I should have had more instruction about how to use the chair by the people I bought it from.Could I have asked for them to have let me have it for a couple of days? I am not aware if such rights. In buying a car, are you not allowed to go off for a spon before you make a payment?


I am getting used to driving it. I need to have more confidence in it but that can only be earned. Would be good to know what are other people's views on it.



Published by eleanor - dans independent living
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27 décembre 2010 1 27 /12 /décembre /2010 15:08

I ve been that busy that I feel like I ve been chasing my own tail.


Its now Dec 2010 - I am meant to be in Strasbourg but the bad weather - worst since records began - means that I am on my own in Coventry. Being hermit like not even venturing out for the sales.


John, my son, is there because he had the ticket and so hes on his own there but seeing old friends.


I do not know what 2011 is going to bring - its not going to be easy with all the cuts the Coalition is setting up. How will people survive without DLA or the ILF? Personally I am getting very boring because I am so busy campaigning that I can think of not much else.

Published by eleanor
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19 octobre 2009 1 19 /10 /octobre /2009 00:02
Tonight I spoke to an old classmate to whom I have not seen for over 25 years and we arranged to meet in December. I felt the years have not changed our relationship - she's still as efficient as ever, she told me what she was doing, what she's spending her time on and how she has no time till December. She did not ask me once what I was doing except to ascertain that I was not in UK for a visit.

I am bemused and curious as to know how to react. Shes coming to see me here, she would not entertain me meeting her in London and why was I not more assertive?

...but I also spoke to Sally today, I found her phone number in my old address book and called just out of curiousity. She was a student in Strrasbourg when I lived there and we fed her quite a bit and now when my son is in Brussels, I guess I hope she would do the same for him - give him some home cooking!

Maggie is someone else I got to know in Strasbourg - as an expat American family. We shared many pizzas together. Shes now back in Colarado but we catch up with family news.

People come in and out one's life however I guess I am not static myself
Published by eleanor - dans ewheeling
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18 octobre 2009 7 18 /10 /octobre /2009 17:55
I ve been having quite a few conversations about disability art - what constitutes disability art? do we label certain art disability art..is it art fuelled/inspired by our being disabled. At what level is art to be labeled as such? Would I want to be labeled as a practitioner of disability art?

is art an aspiration?

However, this is so premature. I have not produced anything yet. Art is produced by years of hard work, it should stem from a certain craftmanship, of angst, the throes of creating something...I am at a very embryonic stage. I am in the stage of research of looking for my tools, my medium.

But when I start, I would need to create a space, physical, virtual and mental. How do I start to learn my craft? I want to create an experience of disability intersected with ethnicity and mythology and multiple identities.

Just like learning any craft it takes time - it was suggested that I would be better to do a Ph d with my time. I agree. Whatever it is I should go and mix with some people who actually does some art.

Maybe I shoould just go to bed.

Published by eleanor
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17 octobre 2009 6 17 /10 /octobre /2009 00:29
Today is Divali/deepavali and brings me back to the days when we celebrated it in Malaysia - where we took advantage of the open houses of our Hindu friends and visit each and everyone in their turn while stuffing ourselves with festive food..

There has been a spate of e-mails spanning Malaysia, UK and Australia where the classmates of class 76 have been organising a get together. It makes me a tad homesick and feel like I am missing out

smjk convent Teluk Intan
However more that 2 decades have passed since those of heady Convent schoolgirl days. Do I really hark back to those days? I think it was a time when I felt left out of many things - although my classmates did not consciously leave me out nor was I ever bullied at school as disabled kids can be here in the UK. I went to a mainstream school - there are no public schools in Malaysia, everybody go to a state school. I was most envious of my disabled friends here who went to special schools and would ever so often blame their  special schooling for everything and call themselves 'special school survivors'

I consider our schooling back in Malaysia excellent. But I had no role models - there were no other disabled person to compare myself to. They must have been around but I did nt know any other disabled person. My parents were determined that I got everything I needed and I believe I was known by the devotion my mother gave me.

I remember my feeling of being excluded - from the class band, PE, class theatrical and choir performances. I am not sure if I felt really unhappy or resentful of being left out but I remember feeling a misfit.

After having moved around so much, I don't doubt if I did make it to a reunion there would be so much I cannot really share but those shared memories still hold those bonds even after not having seen some of them for more than 30 years.
Published by eleanor
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2 juin 2009 2 02 /06 /juin /2009 22:24
I've been following Sam's progress for a long time - well, since 2005 when there started a website to fundraise for equipment for him http://stuff4sam.wordpress.com/ and had a link to this site since then. It is so sad to learn about his death - and that of his parents Neil and Kazumi - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/8079123.stm

May you all rest in peace up in some lovely park in the ever after.
Published by eleanor - dans ewheeling
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31 mars 2009 2 31 /03 /mars /2009 20:34
i've been neglecting this blog because I have so many others to write and administer - I am beginning to feel I haven't got a life!

But I think this blog is reserved from the other part of my working life - this is where I meander and just write about whatever I feel like. I am a bit perturbed by the fact that over bolog now displays advertisements on my blog. It never used to. I shall have to do something bout it.

I have now bought a flat here in Coventry - I think it means I am settling down and putting down roots. Some people are surprised that I chose Coventry but for now, Coventry suits me. It is easy for me to go to London or elsewhere and Birmingham international is just 15 mins train ride away. My new flat has a very small balcony on which I hope to start gardening again. I think the last few years I've been focusing much on disability issues - which is important but it meant that I was getting too focused and I need something different - something to get me away from the computer screen and dare I say it, make some local friends.

Also found http://twitter.com/Coventry_Guide which gives some idea of whats on in Coventry.

Published by eleanor - dans ewheeling
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4 février 2009 3 04 /02 /février /2009 00:38
It wasn't as copious as what they had in the rest of the country - certainly not as dramatic as scenes featured on the BBC - with the snowmen etc. or the skis. It wasn't more than a sprinkling which became bits of ice.

Today I did go out to the railway station to meet a freind but true most of the time I stayed indoors and chatted online. I was sent Lily Allens My Space site - and I did enjoy the songs but my pal scoffed at me for listening to Leonard Cohen.

I get a thrill when I listen to Leonard Cohen such as his song, "I'm your man"

and lyrics that I do not feel for the songs  of Lily's - make no mistake, I think shes good and her songs do have a cleverness about them. I ask myself f its a question of age and gender.
Published by eleanor
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13 janvier 2009 2 13 /01 /janvier /2009 01:03
Christmas has come and gone - the days fly  by and new year resolutions come and go - with many hours frittered away.

One of the luxuries that I did fritter my time on is catching up on films and soaps on the internet. It was not intentional but I soon notice that some of them had disabled characters portrayal in them. And strangely enough, they were all women..

The first is a Hong Kong series Forensic Heroes, a CSI type of series following a police investigative team which often uses forensic science to help solve the cases. One of the women inspectors injured her hand in an explosion which killed her colleague - she goes through a period in which she had doubts about her engagement to another police officer, how can she stay as a police officer if her gun holding hand is disabled? And then in one episode, there seem to be someone loose who was killing disabled people ( a wheelchair user who was a translator (?), another person who has a communication disability, both women). The focus was not on their disability although they were killed because of their impairments (the killer's child was left in a fire in preference for saving another child who was disabled), the portrayal of the disabled women were that there were taking part in society having jobs and going to the hairdressers, doing very much what non disabled people were doing,.There was no patronising or charity type attitudes.
This series can be watched through Mysoyu website

From Hong Kong to Singapore. I was drooling over the nyonya food they were showing in The Little Nyonya. This is a Singaporean epic showing the Peranakan family filmed in Malaysia's Malacca  and Singapore.  The story spans over 70 years, from the 1930s till the present day. Accordingly "The Little Nyonya" achieved extremely high ratings, with an average of 934,000 viewers during its 34-episode run, and peaking at 1.67 million viewers (33.8%) on the last episode. This series has recorded the highest viewership rating ever since 1994. It starts with Huang Juxiang who was a deaf mute due to a serious illness when she was a child. She was exceedingly beautiful, gentle and a fantastic cook. She was ostracized and bullied not just because of her disability but because of jealousy of her beauty, the fact she was the mistress's child and she was a very good cook and seamstress.

I somehow get the feeling that this Cindrella story needs Cindrella to be beautiful and has all the feminie traits. The disability is not as important as the peckingorder and women were all trapped in a gilded cage - even those who had the benefit of a Western education such as Yuzhu, the second daughter of the Huang family. She was bullied, raped and had domestic violence from her husband.

I enjoyed the filming of the food, the good looking men and women but I found the characters to be pretty much two dimensional. The pretty women are virtuous, are good cooks, can sew and have a hard time.

The portrayal of her disability is unbelievable . There was no way she could have lipped read the way she did,.

The last was a Thai film Chocolate with Jeeya Yanin. This seems to be an autistic child who grew up to be an incredible martial arts. The story is a bit weak -even weaker than Ong Bak but I do not know enough about autistism - to know how accurate the protrayal is but she is truly good to watch.

Published by eleanor
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