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  • 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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Xiaolu Guo
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
A love story - cultural differences, misunderstandings and yes, I see what she is saying.
concise.jpg
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!

 

10873007_10153123983784432_5729057683465798066_o.jpg

 

at Disabled Voters Operation at the HoC

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31 août 2008 7 31 /08 /août /2008 21:09
Following my complaint to Hastings bus company  about my being unable to get on their low access buses, I recieved this e-mail from the manager:

Dear Ms....

I have checked all the vehicles and everyone works. All are manual ramps. I have seen the driver who told you his ramp did not work, I have taken him to the vehicle concerned and pressed the button and pulled out the ramp. Clearly the issue was not one of a defective ramp but a driver who either didn't understand how to operate it or didn't want to operate it. Either way I have instigated a retraining programme for staff and will take disciplinary action against anyone who fails to comply with the rules.

Hooray! I guess he realised the implications of  DDA non compliance - this is still great that he has taken action.
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31 août 2008 7 31 /08 /août /2008 18:44

I recieved this in my e-mail from Wheelchair Steve, Steve Wilkinson. I thought this sounded like a great idea! Let's see if it gets taken up. Actually there is a local Chinese restaurant near me which closes its premises downstairs and serves only upstairs in the evening that I would like to see to impose the signage or a bell for service. I recommended it to them but they have not done anything about it yet.

My recommendation is to enforce every business to have a similar door bell. When rung, someone should respond within a reasonable period of time (not necessarily as quick as 15 seconds). Communication can then take place with the disabled person to agree how they can receive a service from the business. This would be based on the accessibility they have and the specific needs of the disabled person, which can be established during the communication. (I use the word “communication”, as this may not necessarily be verbal if, for example, the person’s disability restricts verbal communication).
 

I would like to see an amendment made to the DDA to make it compulsory for every business to have signage at each public or visitor entrance, with a door bell at a minimum of one of these entrances.  It may be preferable for this to be some form of intercom, perhaps even with a hearing induction loop facility, but appropriate signage, a door bell and someone responding promptly would be the minimum.

Unlike the rest of the DDA, I would propose this aspect of the legislation be monitored by a Government body similar to Trading Standards or the Health and Safety Executive (it could even be one of them).  Fixed “on the spot” penalties, say £60, would be imposed for failure to comply.

Read more at Wheelchair Steve's blog
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27 mai 2008 2 27 /05 /mai /2008 18:18
The Annual General Assembly of the European Disability Forum gathered more than 150 delegates from 29 countries in Ljubljana

 Ljubljana, 24 May 2008 – Three European disability movement leaders, among them the EDF Vice President, were denied to fly to Ljubljana for the Annual General Assembly of the European Disability Forum (EDF) due to discrimination on the ground of disability, announced the President of EDF Yannis Vardakastanis at the opening of the Assembly on 24 May.

They have been refused by the Slovenian national carrier Adria Airlines to board unless providing a medical certificate and traveling accompanied under the pretext of safety implications. As a result one of them was was prevented from attending both the Assembly and the ministerial conferencee "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – From Words to Reality?", organized by the Slovenian Presidency of the EU during the previous days.

 “It is unacceptable an EU national carrier not to respect its obligations under the new EU legislation. This is exactly a kind of situation which the EU citizens have to be protected from under the Regulation. We are going to take an action that the Regulation is respected”, stressed Mr. Vardakastanis, referring to the EU Regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when traveling by air, being into application since July 2007.

He called the Slovenian government to undertake measures towards the company which did not respect the Regulation and added that “that is why we need to put the UN Convention in practice as soon as possible, so that people with disabilities can enjoy their full citizens’ rights”.

In a message, addressed to the Assembly participants, the Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs Marjeta Cotman expressed the support of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU for the preparation and adoption of legislation on the basis of Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty to prohibit discrimination on the ground of disability.

“The Slovenian Presidency has put this down as an expectation. This directive is very important in our view, in particular linked to the transport problems, encountered by members of the EDF board. This proves the significance of such a legislation to avoid any further discrimination of this and any other kind”, stated the message of the Minister.

The Slovenian Member of the European Parliament Ljudmila Novak, a member of the Disability Intergroup, also expressed her sorrow for the problems with Adria Airlines and assured that EP is on the side of the disability movement.

The human rights and their implementation in the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were the main topic, discussed during the first day of the Assembly. A number of case studies from different EU countries were presented on “Equal Recognition before the Law” of disabled people, one of the key articles in the Convention, soon to be ratified by the European Communities. On the second day the leaders of organisations of disabled people will also debate practical ways to further promote social inclusion of disabled people.

More than 150 delegates from 29 countries arrived in Ljubljana to participate in this key meeting.

 

For more information, please contact: Irina Papancheva, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; Mobile phone: (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; E-mail: irina.papancheva@edf-feph.org    

 

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13 mai 2008 2 13 /05 /mai /2008 22:33
London routemaster

When Boris Johnson was elected mayor of London beating Ken Livingstone, a group was set up on Facebook, 'Crips against routemasters' almost immediately.  It made me worried  - I am not a Londoner but I use buses regularly when I go there almost every week. My instincts were immediately that he cannot do this as it was by an EU directive that had made the buses accessible in the first place but then I read with a sinking heart this in Disability Now -

Disability, it seems, does not sit at the top of Boris Johnson’s list of priorities. When asked who he had been consulting with on his disability policies, he says: “With a wide range of relatives. Obviously, I’ve talked to various people. My team has talked to various people, but I am conscious that there is more I need to do to…” But when asked who his team had spoken to, he says: “I, I, I can’t say…I’m guided heavily by my mother.”

Before the elections, he had said last year in London's Evening Standard that he would scrap the bendy masters for the routemasters -

Boris Johnson has vowed that his first act as Mayor of London will be to scrap bendy buses and replace them with a modern-day Routemaster.

Mr Johnson said that the controversial buses were abused by fare dodgers and highly dangerous to cyclists.

Speaking at the first Tory candidates hustings meeting, the MP for Henley said that he would introduce a new version of the Routemaster bus that had been axed by Ken Livingstone. Their replacement would be fully accessible for the disabled and mothers with buggies.

I do not really see how he would manage getting the routemasters accessible. It would be really costly.
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10 mai 2008 6 10 /05 /mai /2008 12:25
This press release gives the UK stand on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. What can I say?

---------------------------

8 May 2008



UN Convention Campaign Coalition (UNCCC) calls for

‘Ratification without Reservation’



STOP PRESS – GOVERNMENT LATEST –

DISABLED PEOPLE ARE NOT REALLY HUMAN



The Blair Government wanted to see the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) happen – now the Brown Government wants to reserve on some of the most important rights.



For five years the UK Government worked hard at the UN in New York and took a leading role within the European Delegation to ensure that the CRPD was written and approved. On March 30 2007 Anne McGuire, the Minister for Disabled People was among the first signatories. By the end of March 2008, twenty countries had ratified the Convention and on May 3 it became a live and functioning convention.



But not in the UK . Last December, McGuire made it plain that there would be reservations tabled before the UK could ratify. On Tuesday May 6, she issued a statement outlining those reservations. Outrageously, despite the DDA, the Life Chances Report and promises of full equality for disabled people by 2025, the Government has decided that disabled people are only fit to receive some rights – not the general inalienable, indivisible and comprehensive rights that are due to other people.



Despite the fact that the CRPD states clearly that implementation of rights contained within it are incremental, they could easily set a target for completion rather than reserve. But the UK Government is saying loud and clear that there are certain violations against disabled people that they should be allowed to perpetrate for ever:



It should be allowed to bang disabled people up in residential accommodation, even though evidence has shown that they are often abused and have no real choice and control over their lives.


It should continue to provide segregated education away from home and friends, despite the mounting evidence that fully supported inclusive education in their own communities is the only way that disabled children can attain some sort of equality.


It is perpetuating the discrimination of the DDA and allowing the armed forces to discriminate in the employment of disabled people – despite the disabled veterans that are going back to the war zones complete with their prosthetics.


And they are reserving the right for disabled people to have liberty of movement, nationality and immigration.




A meeting of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum at the Commonwealth Foundation in London, on hearing of the UK’s intentions to ratify only with reservations, issued a public statement in which they expressed their shock and said:



“We wish to express our deep concerns that any Commonwealth country should not be whole hearted in their support of human rights for disabled people. We are united in our hope that the UK will take the leadership in ratifying and implementing the CRPD without reservations and that their leadership will be followed throughout the Commonwealth.”



Rachel Kachaje, a disabled leader said:



“Disabled people see that hope springs out of the Convention - hope for a new, inclusive world where disabled people can be seen as fully human.”



“Apparently the present UK Government does not share that view of the full humanity of disabled people”.



-------------------





Notes to Editor:



The UNCCC is a coalition of 22 disabled peoples organisations and disability organisations campaigning to ensure that the UK Government ratifies the CRPD without reservations.



For further information contact:



Richard Rieser – r.rieser@diseed.org.uk 020 7359 2855

Rachel Hurst – Rachel.daa@btinternet.com 01666 837 671

Please add your name to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/noreservations/
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28 mars 2008 5 28 /03 /mars /2008 23:04
We are in Belfast and Michelle arrived telling  us of her ordeal with Air France. She had suggested I travelled with her  - good thing I  did not!  We would have to both track off to Heathrow, not a good place to fly from at the moment.  Anyway-here's  the  report on it on Sky News.

Anybody else who had similar experience with that particular flight is welcomed to add their voices by commenting below and I will let Michelle know for adding to the complaints.

Add comments where it says ajouter un commentaire. I am sorry but I cannot change the French  there into English.(Over-blog  is a  French  blogging  service)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Air France Grounds Wheelchair User

A wheelchair user has accused Air France of "blatant discrimination" after they refused to allow her to board her flight, reportedly telling her she posed a health and safety risk.

Michelle Daley

Michelle Daley, who works on the Government advisory committee Equality 2025, was travelling to Belfast on business.

But as stewards were wheeling her across the tarmac towards the plane in a specially-designed aircraft chair, Miss Daley told Sky News Online she was stopped by the pilot who asked her if she was able to walk.

"I said 'no' then the airline staff, stewards and the pilot were all having a conversation over me as I sat in this aircraft chair," Miss Daley said.

"You are already disempowered by being in this chair, it's very difficult to move at all.

"They told me: 'We can't allow you on this flight because you are a health and safety risk'."

She added: "It was just humiliating and degrading. Just blatant discrimination."

A week earlier, Miss Daley said she spoke directly to the booking agent and was assured the airline had been made aware of her access requirements.

And when she arrived at the Air France check-in desk at London City airport, the staff arranged for her to move into a specially-designed seat, in which she could be transferred directly onto the aircraft.

"Why put me in that chair? Why go so far?" the 36-year-old asked.

"They must have known at the time I booked my ticket and then when I checked in at the desk.

"I'm advising the Government on disability equality and ironically I was prevented from doing my job properly. That type of discrimination is just not on."

Air France planes
Air France planes

Describing the airline's treatment as "outrageous", she added: "Disabled people experience discrimination on a daily basis but I have rarely experienced blatant discrimination of this type."

A spokeswoman for Air France told Sky News Online that their flights between London City Airport and Belfast were operated by Scot Airways.

She added: "Scot Airways uses a 38 seater Dornier aircraft on this route which means that due to the aircraft configuration, the company can not carry lift-on lift-off passengers in wheelchairs.

"Having investigated the matter with its call centre, Air France is certain that correct proceedure was followed regarding the booking.

"Air France is now investigating the matter directly with the travel agent who made the booking. Air France is sorry to hear of any embarrassment and inconvenience caused to Mrs Daly as a result of her experience."

Eventually Miss Daley made it to Belfast on a BMI flight from  Heathrow.

Source: Sky News



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18 février 2008 1 18 /02 /février /2008 03:54
Last year, on  22nd September 2007, I went to the Mailbox  for one of the few Malaysian restaurants which  in the area - the Oriental in Birmingham Mailbox.  I was going to celebrate Naomi's moving to Birmingham to go to Law College and plainly it was  an excuse to go eat some Malaysian Chinese food. I invited Rachel (Singaporean) and Liam too. 

And as is my habit I checked  the Mailbox website to see if it is accessible - and was reassured to see that it said it was  fully compliant -

The Mailbox is fully compliant with DDA regulations, all public lifts are fully accessible with Braille and voice announcements. There is a designated disabled entrance at the front of the building into both Wharfside Street and the car park. There are disabled toilets on Level 3 Wharfside Street and on Level 1 of the car park. Please contact The Management Centre on Level 5 on 0121 632 1000 if you have any queries.


However it was not the case there were staircases down to the waterfront but the lift did not work. Apparently it was for building work which did not follow up with reasonable adjustment, I was furious of being deprived and i wrote them an e-mail and followed it with recorded delivery letter.

Dear ----,
I was very disappointed on Saturday when I came to the Mailbox especially from Coventry to have some Malaysian food at the Oriental restaurant to find that there was no access to the restaurant. I did my check on your website - and according to it, you are fully DDA compliant - http://www.mailboxlife.com/disabled-access/.

On getting home, I rang the restaurant concerned and they said that the lift that they did have previously was closed down due to work on the Cube. I do not think that that would exclude your statutory duty to provide disabled access to restaurants which are very much public spaces.

I would very much appreciate if you could tell me if you have made reasonable adjustment for the loss of the lift?


Birmingham Mailbox
Birmingham Mailbox

Anyway at long last, they seemed to have put in some kind of platform lift which needed naomi to call the lift down in order to get it up again.

It was a lovely day, I would have been miffed if I had not been able to get down to the canal front again.


Birmingham Mailbox lift to lower ground Canal Birmingham Canal walk
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3 novembre 2007 6 03 /11 /novembre /2007 14:07
A Malaysian fellow disabled bloggist, Peter Tan,  told of his discriminatory treatment from Air Asia:

" I was required to sign an indemnity form to release AirAsia from all liabilities. I protested vehemently but was informed that if I refused I would not be allowed into the plane. When asked why I was not required to sign an indemnity form on the previous flight, the officer said she does not know but that was a requirement and I had to sign no matter what. I called up a staff from AirAsia Academy regarding this but she could not do anything.

I also witnessed several other disabled people on flights different from ours signing the indemnity form. As we did not want to miss our flight back, I relented but indicated in the indemnity form that I was signing under protest at being discriminated based on my condition. I paid the full fare like other passengers in the same flight but by signing the indemnity form, I was agreeing to give up my rights to hold AirAsia liable for damages, injuries or other claims even if those arose from the negligence of the airlines."

Source: Peter's blog

Scott Rains, of Rolling Rains Report, picks up cudgels and adds :

" Aside from the moral and legal issues involved in denying equal levels of service to passengers based on race or ability the tactic creates a public relations nightmare. Articulate and connected advocates like Peter are chided by their industry contacts for being precipitous, "We could have worked this out privately" is the line of argument-cum-shaming. That approach is ignorant of the ethos of advocacy that operates within a community when it becomes aware that it is tolerated as "special" rather than sought after as lucrative."

Source: Rolling Rains report

Air Asia has intentions of getting access to UK airports and cheap tickets to UK - while that would be appreciated by many Asians, the DDA here would certainly not allow such treatment - I found the Code of Practice for Access to Air Travel for Disabled People.

Not only will such discriminatory tactics be not allowed, Peter would have redress for such treatment I hope. I know to contact Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), an organisation which advises the UK Government on access for disabled people and signal to them about Air Asia discriminatory practice but the wider implications would be for the Disability Rights Commission now included into the Equality and Human Rights commission.

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