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  • : 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.

31 août 2008 7 31 /08 /août /2008 21:39
Yesterday I was at the Liberty Festival 2008 in Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Sq - Liberty Festival

It was a lovely day, very warm and sunny.  I saw a bit of wheelchair dancing, Liz Carr and Laurence Clark with his comedy act but most of the time i was helping out at a stand.

I did manage to visit some other stalls such as Artsline (bought 2 tee shirts), Attitude is Everything and the British Disabled Flying Association

David Morris was dressed as a chef because of his restaurant/ Bistro. The restaurant theme was accessible food - which had its own programme of music and poetry.

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21 mai 2008 3 21 /05 /mai /2008 23:05
Tonight I went to Artspace for the open studio invite from Laura who is the coordinator. I did an access audit for them and it is really cool to see they have put some of my suggestions to work.

They are busy trying to get funding for a lift to go down to the basement. So we had a few presentations from different artists and exhibitors and I started a conversation with Gaelle Roche who specialises in her artwork on glass. Gaelle is originally from Normandy and she explained her work to me.

Her work is lovely and she puts them to a practical application. They can be incorporated into interiors - such as dividers, bathroom fixtures, splashbacks in kitchens etc.

More of her artwork can be found at her website .

I really like this one of Venice canal - it is with apague glass, she said.

Many thanks to Laura who organised the event -and for inviting me!

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20 février 2008 3 20 /02 /février /2008 01:33
I went to the second  Cultural Disability Studies Research  Network  conference held at Leeds University today, The programme is as copied below. I wasn't sure at 5.30 am this morning that I really wanted to go and it was freezing too.  Here is a photo I took of Leed University when I arrive, the trees were covered with in white frost - very pretty I would have appreciated it more if I was not wandering up and down the street looking for the building.


I felt a bit of a fraud being there because I am not an academic and cannot even pretend to be a student - I just enjoy visiting academia and continue to wonder if I should do a Phd. I still think it is such an indulgence - studying - I would love to study all my life. Can I afford to?

If it is possible Leeds railway station is even worse that Euston. I had booked assistance this morning because of the early start but there was still nobody to meet me when I arrived at Leeds, the other passengers had to make sure the train did not go off before I got off. And upon my return, there was an older lady who told me sharply i was not booked on her list and there might not be a space for me on the train and insisted on seeing my ticket as though she did not believe that I knew where I was going.


Cultural Locations of Disability:

Situating a Cultural Disability Studies

A One-Day Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference

20 February 2008

Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT 

Conference Programme 

9.00-9.30am Welcome, registration, coffee
9.30-10.30am Keynote address

Dr. Stuart Murray, University of Leeds, ‘Disability Studies and the Humanities’

10.30-11.00am Coffee
11.00-12.30pm Panel 1: Disability Representation in the Arts (Chair: Rebecca Mallett) 

1) Ria Cheyne, Liverpool John Moores University, ‘Literary Disability: Why Genre Matters’

2) Terry Speake, University of Bolton, ‘Towards a New Praxis of Social Documentary Photography: What is Wrong with Disability Imagery?’

3) Irene Rose, University of Manchester, ‘What to do with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time? Fiction, Disability and Social Change’

12.30-12.45pm Break (lunch will be served throughout the roundtable discussion)
12.45-1.45pm Roundtable Discussion: Situating Cultural Disability Studies in the UK (Chair: Clare Barker) 

Panelists: Dr. Stuart Murray; Prof. Mark Priestley, Centre for Disability Studies, Leeds; Dr. Lucy Burke, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr. David Bolt, Journal of Literary Disability

1.45-2.30pm Lunch
2.30-4.00pm Panel 2: Disability in Culture and Society (Chair: Suzanne Ibbotson) 

1) Ruth Garbutt, University of Leeds, ‘Let’s Talk About Sex: Using Drama as a Research Tool to Find Out the Views and Experiences of Young People with Learning Disabilities’

2) Yi-Ting Shih, University of Newcastle, ‘Developing from a Disabled Environment: The Disability Movement in Taiwan’

3) Clare Barker, University of Leeds, ‘Non-Western Locations of Disability: Representation and “Remodelling” in Postcolonial Fictional Texts’

4.00-4.30pm Coffee
4.30-5.30pm Guest speaker

Dr. David Bolt, editor of the Journal of Literary Disability, ‘From Persistence to Publication: A Discussion About How We Get Our Papers Into Journals’

5.30-7.00pm Drinks reception
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9 février 2008 6 09 /02 /février /2008 01:28
Since Chinese  New Year  fell on a weekday, the  celebrations in London were not till the weekend. I started  off  with having lunch with Elspeth at the Wong Kei in Waldorf Street  in Chinatown.  This is not the place to come to for fanciful eating  but it  was cheap and plentiful..as Elspeth said, like  home cooked food. The tables are pretty basic but it is accessible and spacious inside. The only fly, the loo is not big enough  for a power wheelchair unless you can have someone to mind the  door which opens directly  into the  main restaurant


We had crab with ginger and spring onion, steamed chicken, ma po tofu and choy sum. It was quite ample.

Gerard Street  was very crowded  - not as crowded  as when the parades are on  as on sunday probably  but  very busy. 


After  lunch we  set off dor the British Museum where  I  was to meet the others  to  participate  in the Chinese new year  events there.  We waited for a long time, sophie and I, for  the Monkey: Journey to the West  exerpt  and had  a close brush with Damon Albarn himself.

I am not sure if the British Museum has had ever that amount of people before.  It was so  crowded, there were queues round the buiilding. Tickets were needed for the  spectacle even though it was a  free event. I am not sure I like  the intrepretation of the story but then, I've grown up wth  Monkey stories.
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7 février 2008 4 07 /02 /février /2008 02:00
Today  I found  that my appointmment with  Bruce  was  postponed so I could  have lunch with Naomi  and her course mates  in Birmingham  after all.

It was  dim sum at  Golden  Pond restaurant  above the Chinese supermarket Day Inn at the Arcadian. I like it - access is on the level from the back of the Arcadian or via a lift from the parking lot. The food was quite acceptable.I can tell that they are real Cantonese people in charge because they were playing Cantonese opera arias in the background and they included Chinese sticky glutinous nin go - the cake the chinese offer to the kitchen god so that he cannot tell on the family because his mouth is stuck together by the sticky cake.

On the way to the restaurant  I passed  some interesting looking hairdressets - I think  I will get my hair done there next time.

Anyway, heres a  video to wish everybody a  Prosperous  and Happy New year!  (in Cantonese)

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11 décembre 2007 2 11 /12 /décembre /2007 00:22
I made it to the French Disabled Women's Association « Femmes pour le dire, Femmes pour agir" 3rd Annual conference Forum Femme Création Handicap and gave my little 5 minute speech as Maudy Piot, the President had asked me to - in French. Matthieu helped me with the translation.

I was late getting there because I did not want to stay the night in Paris  and I missed  quite a bit of the  conference at the beginning and the end - which is a shame because the programme looked very impressive. I enjoyed what I did see and can report on those bits.

I arrived at about lunch time and there was a tribal dance Grillons Papillons on stage. It looked very colorful.

« Femme Création Handicap » "Danse tribale avec les Grillons Papillons"

I made my way to Maudy Piot in the front row with her guide dog, she was happy I could make it and told her husband, Alain, who was the compere that I would be giving a short speech.

During the lunch interval I wenat around the different stands/stalls called ' ruches' (hives/cells). There were many organisations which did disability arts or music and theatre - a mixture of those ran by disabled people and some by therapists - I do not think that there would be such a mixture of non disabled and carers with disabled groups in a UK organised event.
There were some artwork depicting mental health survivors but the stand was not ' manned' and the explanations were hung too high for me to read properly.

A fabric undressed doll sitting caged in box with string : Femme pour le dire femmes pour agir conference, Paris

There was a ' foot and mouth' artists stand too. However, I was impressed by Sandrine Lepelletier's ceramics.

Sandrine Lepelletier showing a ceramic to a visitor at Femme pour le dire femmes pour agir conference, Paris

I spoke with someone whom I think is one of the Retour d' image organisers, she told me she needed her lunch too much to talk to me but that there was a film festival happening just across the hall the 3rd Festival Retour d'image :

Our team programs movies featuring disabled characters, in accessible french cinemas and cultural centers.  All the films are subtitled and audio-described in french. A debate is conducted following each screening, by a disabled film critic or professional. French sign language interpreters are provided at every venue.

Certainly I missed Sandrine Bonnaire who was the guest of honour - she had just had a documentary out about her autistic sister:
Elle s'appelle Sabine de Sandrine Bonnaire,
documentaire Français, 2007, 85 mn, produit par Mosaïque films.
Le portrait émouvant par Sandrine Bonnaire de sa soeur autiste Sandrine, d'un an sa cadette.
I did not miss Nicolleta, however, she did not sing but she gave a lovely speech which she topped by saying that she is involved in the organisation because her mother had a learning  disability.

For me, the most impressive event was the premiere of the musical l’Opéra du désert par Duo Soma. The two Somas are both disabled musicians and singers and I was entranced by the breadth and the profound message in the music and the story. There was a verve, a joy, exuberance which is powerful and thoroughly enjoyable.  It was not intimidating at all inspite of being called an opera. My rough translation of the story as given is -

16th century AD in North Africa
A Berber noble, Tin Hinan, ‘She who came from faraway’ crossed the Sahara accompanied by her loyal servant, Takamat, to meet the spirits of Hoggar – volcanic mountains in mid Sahara – and to find her destiny. The spirits revealed her own liberty as a free woman and that she had to decide her own destiny for herself…
Legend has it that Tin Hinnan was a magnificent woman with immense and passionate eyes. She was also an authoritative woman who was the queen of her community.

Three actors on a stage : Première de l’Opéra du désert par Duo Soma - Femme pour le dire femmes pour agir conference, Paris

Unfortunately, after my very short speech, I had to leave to catch my train for Strasbourg.

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10 décembre 2007 1 10 /12 /décembre /2007 01:53
Since I was going to France, I thought I'd try to get to the Femmes pour le dire, Femmes pour agir conference - the disabled women association which is chaired by Maudy Piot whom I met in 2004 in Paris at a cafe philo evening. To my surprise, she asked me to say a few words at the conference. I am now worrying at what I can say - given that the programme looks pretty full and given that I have not schedule it in and I cannot change my Eurostar tickets.

I have been so busy I did not figure out how to get there - I found out the RATP website but do I have time to fiddle with the public transport? so I found an accessible taxi -
27/29 rue Raffet
Tél.: + 33 1 42 24 70 73 / Fax.: 0 825 18 77 56
Le transport adapté à vos déplacements.

Christophe (the ownner?) answered the phone and email very promptly and told me my relatively short voyage will set me back 48 euros each way from Gare du Nord to La Villette.

Well this is the price to pay I guess and to think that I moan about the prices of black cabs in London. At least he is available, the other people I tried
Aetas Services, they said they were not able to do it.

141 blvd Mac Donald, 75019
Tel:01 30 53 69 97 Fax: 01 34 80 94 58
website: www.aetas.fr
e-mail: aetas-france@wanadoo.fr

There is an Access guide to Paris with a book and a website  - http://www.accessinparis.org/ and there are accessible taxi guides there.

It will be easier if I use my fold up chair because it means I can go in any taxi,  but it would mean I cannot have the freedom to move as I would wish in my power wheelchair.
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20 octobre 2007 6 20 /10 /octobre /2007 23:07

I seem to be going to a number of disability events and nothing else these days but I also have this notification I thought I should mention here:


Tell Us

Equality 2025: taking your views on disability equality to government

Monday 12th November 2007, International Convention Centre, Birmingham

Purpose of the event
Equality 2025 is a new body set up to advise the Government on issues affecting the everyday lives of disabled people across the United Kingdom. We want to know what issues you think the Government should be aware of. For more information about Equality 2025, please click here to view the Key Messages.

To find out what you think, we are holding a series of public meetings across the United Kingdom. Our first meeting is on Monday 12 November, in Birmingham. We will be inviting 100 disabled people to attend.

We want to meet with as many disabled people as possible, from every part of the United Kingdom. To try and make sure there is a diverse group of people attending the event, we will give priority to people who have not been to a similar consultation event before, making sure we include people from each region of England, plus Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you are interested in attending please click here to register your interest. If we are able to offer you a place, we will write or email you with a confirmation letter, on Monday 29 October 2007.

Who should attend?
The event is aimed at disabled people across the United Kingdom, particularly disabled people who have not attended a similar event in the past.

There is no fee to attend. We can help with reasonable travel costs if you could otherwise not afford to come (including overnight stays where this is essential). If you are intending to apply for financial assistance, please click here for the link to the expense claim form and guidance. Only compete this once you have received confirmation of your place at the event.

A copy of the agenda is available on this site (click here for link to agenda). You will see that two topics for discussion have already been chosen:

A. Developing Centres for Independent Living; and

B. The United Nations Convention on Disability Rights.

A further two topics will be discussed, but we would like delegates to choose these based on what they think is important to disabled people.

When registering for the event, you will be asked what topic you would like to cover in the morning out of the two choices above. You will also be asked to suggest a topic for the afternoon session.

Post event information
If you are not selected for a place at the event we would like to keep your contact details on our database to send you a copy of the Conference Report, and details of any future events you might wish to attend. Please let us know whether you are happy for us to do this.

We will be in touch again on Monday 29 October, to let you know if we can offer you a place at the event. If you have any queries in the meantime please contact the conference office on 020 8481 3340, using Typetalk on 18001 020 8481 3340 or e-mail equality2025tellus@livegroup.co.uk.

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14 octobre 2007 7 14 /10 /octobre /2007 01:13

Independent Living Mass Lobby

 2pm 17th October, Westminster Hall, House of Commons


Our Lives Our Choices is the national campaign for right to independent living. We seek radical reform
of health and social care so that:-
✓ Disabled people of all ages and backgrounds can take control of their own lives, live with dignity,
and participate fully in society as equal citizens;
✓ Families and friends of disabled people are not forced into poverty and lack of opportunities by
the inadequacies of the current system;
✓ All of us can enjoy security now and in the future without worrying that our independence will be lost.
When we experience disability, illness, or old age we should all be able to rely on a level of state support
that allows us to maintain our independence.
The current system simply cannot deliver. The result is dependency, poverty and exclusion.
Things could be very different. Lord Ashley’s Independent Living Bill would create a system that is fit
for the future – one we can all rely on. We are campaigning for the Bill to be enacted within the lifetime
of this Parliament and for Governmet to invest in all our futures.


The current system is broken:
 At present we cannot rely on the support of the state when through disability, old age, or illness
we need to maintain our independence. Eligibility for social care has become so restricted
that only those in the most difficult of circumstances receive any support.
 The individual has to pay for what little support there is, even people in receipt of state benefits.
 The reality today is many disabled and older people are being forced to live on the edge of society,
unable to choose when to get dressed or to have a bath.
 Families are struggling to stay together under the pressure of providing support the state cannot
be bothered to help with.
 What care there is often falls far short of basic standards of decency.
 People’s lives are being wasted because they are unable to reach their full potential to participate
in society.
 Because there are no basic access standards, houses, even new built, are very costly to adapt
to the needs of disabled people.
 Social care workers are disillusioned and fed up with the bureaucracy, penny pinching and
having to say no to requests for assistance.
 The current system is inefficient and wasteful of resources.

Our Lives, Our Choices
The campaign for rights to independent living

Our Lives! Our Choices! Is campaigning for a future that will: -
✓ Give us support we can rely on from the state so that through disabilty, old age, or illness we can
keep our independence and contribute to society in whatever way we can.
✓ The support we receive is support that we choose and control based on our lifestyle, interests
and aspirations – support that will let us live the lives we want to live.
✓ Ensure no one is forced to supply levels of unpaid care that limit their opportunities in life.
✓ We will all know what level of support we are entitled to, wherever we live.
✓ Treat people who are receiving support with dignity and respect.
✓ Give fair pay and a decent career path to those who give support.
✓ Ensure that houses are built to a standard that can easily be adapted to meet all stages in life.
✓ Give people what they say they want from our system of health and social care.
Lord Ashley’s Bill
Our proposals are set out in Lord Ashley’s Bill currently before Parliament. It is winning broad support.
Investment will be needed to make these changes happen but with that will come huge savings for the
Exchequer in terms of reduced benefit bills, higher rates of employment, better health outcomes, and
a housing stock that is much cheaper to adapt to the needs of disabled people.
Everyone is affected by this Bill. If this does not affect you now, it will do one day. We all need support
at some point in our lives – or our partner, or our mum, or our children, or our friends.


 Join the campaign. Membership is free and membership forms are available from
 Support the official launch of the campaign in London on 18th June 2007
 Support the mass lobby of Parliament on the 17th October 2007
 Lobby Members of Parliament to sign the Early Day Motion number 334 supporting the Independent
Living Bill
 Join and support the national steering committee for the campaign
 Raise the campaign in meetings and any public events you may be holding
 Use the campaign postcard to involve individuals in the campaign
 Get your local community group, voluntary organisation, disabled people’s group, carers’
group, trade union branch involved in the campaign
 Lobby local councillors to pass a motion to support the Bill
 Identify funding and resources that could be used to support the work of the campaign
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8 octobre 2007 1 08 /10 /octobre /2007 23:55
I went to the Disability Capital at the Docklands this year - not that I am a Londoner but because my new friend Maria is one of the speakers and she asked me to go listen to her. Some of my other colleagues were also speaking so I thought I might as well turn up.

List of speakers: (Archived webcasts)

  • Ken Livingstone - Mayor of London
  • Peter Hendy - Transport commissioner
  • Anne McGuire - Minister for Disabled people
  • Michael Lynch - Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre
  • Teresa Blankmeyer-Burke - Philosopher and Bioethicist at Gallaudet University
  • Edwin Black - renowned investigative journalist and author
  • Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton DBE - Chair, Disability Committee CEHR
  • Roger Berry MP
  • Caroline Bernard - Policy and Communications Manager, Counsel and Care
  • Mark Wheatley - Executive Director European Union of the Deaf
  • Penny Beschizza - Deaf Positive
  • Lee Jasper - Director Equalities and Policing, Greater London Authority
  • David Ruebain - Levenes Solicitor
  • Selina Aktar - Mental Health Activist
  • Tara Flood - Director, Alliance for Inclusive Education
  • Michelle Daley - Researcher on disabled people and the Transatlantic slave trade
  • Frances Elton - Researcher on BSL London dialect
  • Lucy Mason - Helping Empower Youth Activism
  • Peter Gichura - disability activist and asylum seeeker
  • Maria Zedda - Deaf business woman and writer

                                        Michelle and Maria

It was very interesting especially the bit at the end when Edwin Black, 'War Against the Weak' , scared everyone by his talks on eugenics which is the present day genetics. See the webcast.

I think my main take on the event is how it took me so long to get from Euston to the Docklands!
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