Saturday, March 26, 2005

Post No. 7: More Just A Night of Music & Dance...

Last Saturday night (19/3/2005), on the invitation of a JC CCA-mate of mine who’s now studying in SMU, I attended a charity musical performance, named: “Courageous Heart Musical Extravaganza” (no offence to that JC CCA-mate of mine but I think a more original & inspiring name could have been chosen), which was held at the SMU Auditorium. A wide range of performances was showcased that night, including songs, dances, percussion performance and rap songs. On the whole, the musical performance was truly entertaining & spectacular. However, what was so special about the performance that it inspired me to write this was that it not only involved SMU students but also several youths with Down’s Syndrome.

Well, I suppose that most of you all, after reading the last sentence of the previous paragraph, would be assuming that the abovementioned youths are involved in the performance as plain beneficiaries. If you all are assuming what I’m assuming you all are assuming, then I have to say that you all assumed wrongly (pardon my multiple use of the word “assume” in this sentence, that is assuming you all noticed it… :p). You all would be interested to know that the musical performance wasn’t held to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome youths (at least, I think, that wasn’t the main purpose) but for those struck by the recent Asia Tsunami Disaster. Instead of being on the receiving end of charity as beneficiaries, the youths were contributing as co-benefactor by performing in the musical performance that night. What I’m trying to point out (and I suppose this is also what my JC CCA-mate and her fellow organisers of the event were trying to point out) is that despite their intellectual disability, those afflicted by Down’s Syndrome can also contribute, not only to charity, but also to society at large.

In fact, I would like to extend this point to include all those afflicted with any sort of disability. Having a disability doesn’t make them crippled. I suppose many of us are subconsciously planted with the mistaken perception, perhaps through the multitude of various charity shows on television, that those with a disability of any sort can only be on the receiving end of charity and that they cannot live normal and independent lives. Well, perhaps their disabilities does hinder them in living life as “normally” as us but that doesn’t mean they are any less human than us. They can too live life to the fullest and aren’t less talented than any of us (if not more talented). For example, Jaffar Sidek, one of the guest singers that night, who is visually impaired, is an accomplished and talented musician cum singer. Oh yeah, I mustn’t forget to mention that he’s also a certified Microsoft programmer. In addition, together with Wan Wai Yee, who is also visually impaired and a guest singer that night, Mr. Jaffar has participated in a recent singing competition held at Fort Canning Hill and emerged as champions, beating other participating pairs who aren’t disabled. Don’t be mistaken that the judges gave them the top prize as a politically correct gesture as Mr. Jaffar and Miss Wan are truly great singers, as far as I can see (or hear, actually) from their spectacular performance that night.

In conclusion, if you all thought that people with disabilities cannot and do not contribute to society or that their disabilities make them cripples, then I hope that, after reading this post of mine, you all would change your minds and think differently…

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