Have #SpecialNeeds #Kids? Shut Them Up! #Malaysia #TCK #Autism

If you have special needs kids, that’s not my problem, shut them up and shut them down, put them where I can’t see them, nor hear them. They’re a NUISANCE.

Bangsa Ria Special needs kids
Bangsa Ria Day Care Center

This is essentially what two Malaysian citizens have to say about a day care center for special needs in their neighborhood, they have filed a case against the school and want it removed from their locality.

To quote them from the article linked above:

“The applicants have suffered nuisance throughout the day from 8.30 am to 5pm, Monday to Friday as a result of intolerable noise made by the special children as well as their attendants and carers. (The applicants have suffered) nuisance of experiencing the uncomfortable sensation of seeing the disabilities and sufferings of all the special children, the whole day, day in day out.”

What is it to me, and why am I writing about this?

My friend helps run the Bangsa Ria Day Care Center , and her son is one of the students.

But that is not the point.

I have been to this school. Watching the smiles of the people who work there, and the special kids they share their day with, is an incredibly joyous experience.

But that is not the point either.

That’s not my day care center, my son doesn’t go there, heck, I’m not even a mother. That’s not my neighborhood, Kuala lumpur is not my city, Malaysia is not my country. What business is it of mine if this little daycare thingie gets shut down? I can make a few sympathetic, clucking noises to my friend, and move on with life.

But here comes my point: I’ve had it Upto Here with people telling me to shut up. With people telling other people to shut up when all they want is to be accepted for being who they are, with no intention of harming anyone at all. Growing up in India as a child, and later as a woman, I have often been told that I should be seen, and not heard. That I should not poke in my nose where it doesn’t belong.

That is where it all begins, in that silence, that apathy.

That, right there, is the starting point for a Society that moves from being liberal and a Hub of the Arts to becoming a Host to Concentration Camps, in small, everyday steps. That is from where a Society starts where women are ultimately reduced to becoming pieces of property, or children are handed guns or sold as slaves.

The beginning of the end is when those without power are shorn of their Voice. When the rest of the Society thinks of it as a small thing. What is it after all, but a Voice unheard?

Who cares, no big deal, two crazies filing a stupid case. Right? Wrong.

Forgive me, dear neighbors of Bangsa Ria, who find these smiling, laughing children (and adults) a nuisance and want to take away their right to have a Voice, to exist.

I don’t give a damn if it is not my country, or my neighborhood. If  people without the power to make their voice heard are being asked to shut up and shut down, then it is sure as hell my business, because I’ve been there. I know first hand what having my voice strangled feels like.

Most of the kids can’t really make a noise, and a lot of them can’t speak at all. So, I’m going to shout and scream and yell and bang tables instead. I’m going to laugh and sing right along. I’m going to be downright NOISY.

If any of this speaks to you folks reading this,  if you believe that sometimes silence equals aiding and abetting, that these kids have the right to exist and be themselves just as much as anyone of us,  Join Me in Making Some Noise.

——-

Have you had experience with special needs kids? Do you think the Bangsa Ria Care Center deserves to shut down? Would you join in making some NOISE? Would you like to go show some of the brave folk running Bangsa Ria some love?

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

138 comments

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  1. AgileWriter

    As the saying goes ‘God Only Gives Special Children to Special People’, it can be used in the context of a society as well. Now, is the time to prove that we live in a “Special Society”.

  2. jmgajda

    Dear Ms. Damyanti,

    I hope it’s alright with you that I posted a link to your article on my blog (crediting you of course). I tried to Reblog it but for some reason that option wasn’t working. If you’d like me to take the post down I’ll be happy to comply. I just wanted to hopefully get the final number of signatures needed for the petition.

    Thanks again for the article!

    Sincerely,
    JM

  3. jmgajda

    Your words were so powerful and so moving the hairs on my arms literally stood up while I was reading it.

    “That is where it all begins, in that silence, that apathy.

    That, right there, is the starting point for a Society that moves from being liberal and a Hub of the Arts to becoming a Host to Concentration Camps, in small, everyday steps. ”

    So beautifully, wonderfully, loudly said!

    My oldest daughter was on the spectrum for awhile (thankfully, she’s doing so well you’d never know she started off having such a difficult time) and my stomach clenched when I read:

    “(The applicants have suffered) nuisance of experiencing the uncomfortable sensation of seeing the disabilities and sufferings of all the special children, the whole day, day in day out.”

    What a horrible, ugly, insensitive statement. ‘The applicants’ are lucky that they don’t know first hand what it’s like to watch your child suffer or be excluded.

    Thank you so much for bringing attention to this matter! It IS all of our concern. We do have a responsibility to say something.

  4. Tulsi

    Reblogged this on InspireMe and commented:
    I think this needs some attention. Apparently, special needs kids, kids with Autism are a nuisance and a problem to the eye-sight. Putting an end to people who think like this is one of the reasons nursing appealed to me. Make it right, sign the petition so they don’t close the learning center in Malaysia.

  5. Tulsi

    When I first read the title of this post I got angry because I thought it was something you supported. Well, good thing it caught my eye and I started reading and I will say I really appreciate you writing about this. I am a nurse and I witness such things frequently, from the media to bystanders looking in amazement at patients. I support your wish to make noise and I hope cause for this concern only grows. I am also an Indian woman and have always been the rebel (I clearly do not stand for the demoralizing of females in our culture) and I try to explain that to my mom, who finds it difficult to understand. Every child is gift, regardless of what ailment they have, they have a life and deserve equal rights like the rest of us. I only hope those people can understand that, if looking at the students in the school hurts their eyes then they can easily turn around or wear a blind fold… cause they clearly cannot see a life worth living in front of them. I wish you the best and I hope to read more about this… I’m right there with you!

  6. cindamackinnon

    I suspect that these kids make no more noise than a similar group but the neighbors are intolerant and using “special needs” as the excuse. Like bullying – this is a post close to my heart
    We were not really sure that my son had ADHD when he was a child; we just knew that he was precocious, hyperactive and noisy. This annoyed some people – and I think 15 years ago people were even less tolerant than they are now. He was constantly punished and made fun of in school. He grew up to be a caring (if talkative!) adult, but is only beginning to overcome being social stigmatized in his youth. Recently James was also diagnosed with mild Aspergers which explains why he has always had trouble reading social signals, but can do higher math in his head and remember phone numbers and trivia from 20 years. If people had been kinder when he was young it would have made a difference in his self-confidence and well-being – even today.

  7. ForksandFootprints

    Wonderful post, awesome seeing you bring to light an issue that tends to get swept under the rug. We need to advocate for those with special needs especially in Eastern cultures.

  8. Tom

    Hi Damyanti,
    Powerful opinion voiced from you, deserves all the support it can – I’ve signed, Tweet-ed, Face-booked, Re-Blogged and will share more when I get to FB again.
    I’m one of those who is lucky enough in life not to have been affected by any more than having to wear glasses, plus a fear of wide expanses of water. They’re not really disadvantages when you look at these children.
    The people with the real problem are the b…..s that are complaining. Fortunately I don’t live over there or I’d be inclined to demonstrate my opinion …
    Take care,

  9. Gregory James

    Damyanti

    Thank you for recently following my blog and commenting on my book, ONE PERCENT SOLUTION. Like you, I believe that words can enact change, and in my small way that is what I am trying to do as well. If those of us with a voice do not speak up for the voiceless, then we deserve the world we get.

    I’ve been to KL and what struck me most was seeing a church across the street from a mosque, across the street from a synagogue, across the street from a temple, across the street from a shrine, across the street from . . . etc. But this does not simply happen. There will always be those who seek to stifle the voices, and words, and beliefs, and lives of others—and there will always be those of us who fight against that. Good luck with your fight to save Bangsa Ria.

    I leave you with this quote from the anthropologist Margaret Mead, which is the last line of my book, and I think says it all. . . .

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead [1901-1978]

  10. vishalbheeroo

    Hey Damyanti! Great job yaa. It’s a matter of immense shame that people are being so insensitive. Well! The world is global and we need to do our bit and voice out concern to make the world a better place.
    Cheerz

  11. Stina Lindenblatt

    There are no words to convey how sad and annoyed this makes me. I’ve worked with special needs kids. They were sweet and no different to regular kids when it came to their noise level. This is just ignorance on behalf of the people who can’t except individuals for who they are.

  12. theundergroundman1

    Jesus Christ! That’s horrible. I can’t understand why so many people have so little compassion and so much hatred. It’s so sad and painful to hear about. I love working with special needs kids. The innocence, it’s a rewarding experience and I certainly don’t want to “shut them up”. They need people to help them speak. Have you seen the TV show Touch. It’s about this very connected, special, mute, autistic boy who communicates and connects people in the world through numbers. It’s the greatest show, seriously and it’s on Netflix. It only lasted 2 seasons sadly but Kiefer Sutherland is one of the main characters if that’s any incentive for anyone (24). Thanks for this post. You’re totally right about all of it, and I’m glad you’re able to speak for them.

  13. chymeera

    “All that is needed for evil to prosper, is for good men (and women) to do nothing”…I can never remember who said that (probably should Google it) but it is a sentence that always stayed with me…this feels like one of this time where people need to realise that doing nothing can be as harmful as doing bad things…Good on you to “scream and shout and let it all out” as Will.I.Am says. Blind intolerance (even open eyed one) gets my blood boiling.

  14. jen

    Speaking for me, who has been on the receiving end of the pure love of a special needs individual, my heart hurt reading this! I just feel a mixture of mad and sad about the level of ignorance displayed by these neighbors,

    I am a legal guardian for a special needs adult.
    She has taught me more about joy for life than I could have ever imagined possible…..

    These people just lost the best neighbors they could ever hope for.and gained a black spot on their souls…

  15. gpoppyg

    If only people would take the time to be around them, they would understand that they have more love than most people…….they’re a gift from God.

  16. ryanspeak

    Good day Damyanti. ^^/

    Thank you for writing this article.

    I went to an SEN school for 13 years and it eventually closed. I was ok as I was mentally prepared to leave but my classmates and the rest of the students were not. I know from first hand experience that closing schools can be very unwelcome, especially SEN schools.

    A lot of SEN schools are closing these days, at least in Britain, so I will help out and spread the word in anyway I can.^^

  17. Cimmorene

    Reblogged this on The Dragon's Lair and commented:
    This post deserves some attention. Apparently, a day care center for special needs kids is being asked to shut down by some local neighbors because they feel uncomfortable. Those of you that have been reading the Dragon’s Lair for a while know that my son has autism. Unlike many of these kids, he is able to make noise for himself and, as his mother, though I understand how special kids can make someone feel uncomfortable, rather than making the center go away, unhappy neighbors, why not do something for them so that you feel like it’s YOUR daycare center. Make that happy place more fun because it’s in your neighborhood. Anyway, my friend, Damyanti whose post this is, has asked for some noise. I’ll give you my son’s voice. He’s nice and loud and special kids have rights, too!

  18. violafury

    This is important because the pendulum that had started to swing towards emancipation for all, in the united states and the world over, has now begun to swing the other way. Greedy oligarchs; people who are uncaring or who have never experienced any misfortune are too quick to shout NIMBY (not in my back yard) and overlook the fact that we are all ONE. Whether we follow other faiths, live in different countries, or have different abilities, we are living, breathing creatures who should have access to the same fundamental rights as everyone else! These people who are disturbed by the sounds of happy children are truly warped! Are they so cossetted and entitled that they have forgotten that there are many, many different ways of life upon this planet and we all have to share? God has given us the most perfect model in His Son, Jesus Christ and we should be grateful for those happy sounds. It is immoral in my view to want to shut down such a place! Shame on the neighbors of this day-care center!

  19. Vidya Sury

    Is compassion dead? How can those people be so cruel! Heart-breaking.

    Proud of you for making a noise, Damyanti. With you on this! Hugs!

  20. backyardbattles101

    I will also go on to say that it’s usually the voices of children playing just outside my window that give me the inspiration to write stories. Their laughter and voices give me the strength and courage to tell my stories and give life to the characters that dwell therein.

    It doesn’t matter if the children say silly things like “I’m batman/spider-man/wolverine/deadpool”. I think it’s what makes listening to them so soothing. The best way I can describe it is their imagination powers MY imagination somehow.

  21. backyardbattles101

    What terrible people.

    I dearly hope that people of that sort don’t grow in number or that those mentioned in this article eventually learn the error of their ways.

    Based on the works of authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (especially The Hobbit films) it’s not really the big acts of good and evil that make a difference. It’s usually the small things that we do and say on a regular basis that we should pay attention to.

    And being intolerant towards the less fortunate people of the world is most certainly a step in the WRONG direction.

    Thank you for posting this ma’am as these are some of the major points I often want to make with others. As of late, laws in my country also want to silence the voice of the people but I will not be turned so easily.

    • backyardbattles101

      Demons indeed.

      A lot of people agree that the Nazis were evil people but what a lot of people miss is that the Nazis were or at least started as common citizens of Germany. The mentality mentioned above is where they seem to have started.

  22. Peter Nena

    I join you, Damyanti, in clamouring against this outrageous injustice. Children with special needs are special people; the fact that they can make noise freely and happily is a clear indication that they are cared for and cherished. Would it satisfy these aberrant complainers if the children were rather abandoned and lonely, shivering desolately in the cold, and quiet as dead? Would they be any happier if the institution was removed from the vicinity or if it did not exist at all? What then are the ‘special’ needs if the young ones cannot express themselves boisterously and unreservedly? Will this society ever stop to hate, discriminate, and judge based on conditions of which the victim has absolutely no control? To terrify the helpless, to torture them, to make a victim of the needy, to threaten the defenceless — what manner of evil is this? — what people, what God, what love, what demons approve of this? Let us all be kind to these children. They need acceptance, as we all.

    • backyardbattles101

      Demons indeed.

      A lot of people agree that the Nazis were evil people but what a lot of people miss is that the Nazis were or at least started as common citizens of Germany. The mentality mentioned above is where they seem to have started. So no, you don’t even need to be German or Axis-associated to be a Nazi…

      All you need is the idea that less fortunate people aren’t human and that they’re a nuisance. THAT’s where it begins.

  23. Wendy

    Reblogged this on Joyful 阅 and commented:
    My brother is mentally-retarded. One day, he came home from school and never wanted to go to school again. My parents and I suspect he was being bullied at school.
    Let’s make some noise, let’s show them the care and love. They need a healthy and happy environment like us.

  24. toconnell88

    Have not had any personal dealings with special needs kids, but strongly agree with your post on principle. Good on you for shedding light on this injustice.

  25. Biji Bytes

    Pathetic, self – centered, crass… but I won’t go on with such non-sense instead I will pray and see how I can help or be of service for the center and children involved.

  26. chuu2venge

    Reblogged this on refkanbluedesert and commented:
    This is an act of bigotry. As a person who works with children with special needs I can understand the necessity of having such a house and for people to wish it taken down is a an act of hate. I signed.

  27. Michelle Wallace

    I’ve signed the petition.
    This resonated with me… and made me sad… really sad…
    These kids are such happy children… genuine and loving and giving…
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention Damyanti. God bless you.

  28. JW Najarian

    Reblogged this on On Purpose Magazine and commented:
    This has nothing to do with aggression, but this post speaks to being assertive when you need to be. It is also about how we allow ourselves to be controlled and how others are always trying to control. Great read.

  29. literaryliason

    This made me sad. You hear too many similar instances. People are intolerant and unsympathetic. It is difficult raising a child and being an individual without all the arbitrary animosity. I feel for those parents. All you want is for your child to be loved and accepted. You hate to think someone is saying such horrible things and trying to rob them of outlets to express themselves.

  30. Jacqui Murray

    Good F***** grief–what’s wrong with them. Besides all the other, I agree–freedom of speech should cover everyone, not just a few (with predictable characteristics). Freedom of speech isn’t always free…

  31. jaime tong

    I’ve taught students with special needs and this case shows how important it is for there to be inclusion in schools, which would hopefully lead to a more accepting society once all these kids grow up. The classes i taught were segregated, but i pushed for my students to be integrated into various courses and you could see how much more they enjoyed the opportunities to be like a regular student. The mainstream students also got to interact with my students, and it just helps to reduce fear or stigma.

    Kudos to your friend for running this program — no doubt, attending is probably the highlight of the day for her students. If only the neighbours could understand that.

  32. Guilie Castillo

    What the–? May these people never find themselves in need of compassion or understanding from their neighbors. Karma is an unholy b*tch. I hope the city puts the complaint where it belongs–the trash, being kind–and proceeds to make an example of this situation for any other would-be rabble-rousers out there. No one wants to see suffering; I get that. But pushing it out of sight, building ten-foot-high walls around it, doesn’t make the facts of life go away. There *is* suffering, everywhere. You can turn away, or you can do something about it. Which is why I love your post here, Damyanti. And I’ll certainly reblog this and spread the word as far as I can.

  33. Ellen Morris Prewitt

    I have signed the petition. The part that really gets under my skin is the premise that we can claim those who are different from us devalue our property and somehow that makes our devaluing of them okay, even actionable by the courts. Thank you for sharing this situation.

    • Damyanti

      Thank you, Ellen. For every person that cannot tolerate differences, there’s someone like you, who speaks out in support of what’s right. That gives me hope.

    • Damyanti

      Thank you so much. We do need to make a din, as loud as possible. The marginalised need to be heard, because that’s what makes us human, that we have empathy for those who have no voice.

  34. Rebecca Masterson

    This really spoke to me. Thanks for making some noise! I live in the special needs world, and seeing someone step up like this because it is the right thing to do, and not because they “have to,” just made my morning. Thank you.
    p.s. Thanks for the follow.

  35. Kimberly M. Ringer

    It is truly sad that those who need to have a voice are the ones who have duct tape placed over their mouths. It is horrible beyond words that some crotchety Self absorbed people feel that kids… KIDS… Need to be quieted in this aspect. It is not like they are being kept awake at night, or being vandalized.
    Adults and Kids, and even more so, special needs kids, need to be encouraged and nurtured,

    • Damyanti

      I don’t know if I’ll call them names, I guess they’re just some people who haven’t learned how to see with their hearts. Empathy is a huge part of who we are as humans, and I can only feel sorry for those who do not have it.

      If the situation speaks to you, please consider signing the petition.

  36. brandyramirez

    Unfortunately, some people today have lost their sense of history and how our actions create a cycle of violence. All around the world, there are people who do atrocious things to silence the voices of those they deem a threat or unworthy. My blog is titled Outloud Outspoken for that reason. I live in America where supposedly life is home of the free. Yet there are still people in power seeking to silence the voices of those they see as unworthy or a threat to their way of life. I loved this post because you remind us this issue is global and we cannot stay silent.

    • Damyanti

      Yes, we cannot stay silent. Each oppression, each wrongdoing, no matter how small or big, must be protested. thankyou for addiing your voice– please consider signing the petition.

  37. VicciScrunchie

    When I’m not writing time travel novels I’m at my day job – I’m a special needs teacher. This makes me fume and unfortunately it’s not just in Malaysia. I’ve seen many ‘looks’ and heard comments while I’ve been out and about with my class. I have to say though, MOST people enjoy seeing us out and we do get lots of smiles and waves. Thanks for sharing this. x

    • Damyanti

      I know it isn’t just Malaysia, that we humans, unfortunately share similar negative traits everywhere. But for every sneer and look and comment, there’s someone like you who is doing so much to help.

      Thanks for dropping by, and please consider adding your voice to the chorus of protest.

    • Damyanti

      I’m hoping the case will be dismissed too. If not for apathy from some quarters, perhaps the situation would not have deteriorated so far. Sure, I’ll keep you updated as I learn more. I hope you’ll consider signing the petition, Patricia. 🙂

  38. barbarafranken

    Someone has to take the side of our special need kids… They have a right to schooling in their neighbourhood… These kids are excited and make a noise… I’d rather hear them than the drama and nonsense most adults talk about… Lets be the change we want to see in the world… You are doing a wonderful job… Barbara

    • Damyanti

      I’m only doing the easiest bit, writing a post on my blog. The kudos go to the Bangsa Ria team which has persisted against the odds for all the years I’ve seen them. I hope you’ll consider supporting their cause by adding your voice to the petition.

  39. All Out Of Excuses

    This part really bothers me
    “(The applicants have suffered) nuisance of experiencing the uncomfortable sensation of seeing the disabilities and sufferings of all the special children, the whole day, day in day out”

    So basically these children will be displaced, taken out of a school which they love and will be put under more distress worsening their condition, for the sake of a few people’s comfort? This is a perfect display of how shitty and selfish human beings can be. Petition signed.

    • Damyanti

      Thank you for signing the petition!

      I’m not sure what motivates the people who have sued this place, but I’m trying to understand their motivations. I’m not sure what to think, really. All I know is that I can’t stand the voiceless being further sushed.

  40. Dan Antion

    Behavior like this is so rude and so self-centered that it is hard to believe. I would like to think that if I was home during the day and close enough to hear this, that I might volunteer to help now and then. I would like to think that the sounds of those children (any children) being happy would make me happy. I don’t know if either of those would be the case, but I do know that I wouldn’t complain. I have been with a person who had special needs and who was welcomed into several restaurants where she enjoyed eating. The businesses that supported her needs will always be special to me and to the people who were much closer to this woman than I was. You never know when you may become the person with the special needs.

    • Damyanti

      I would like to think that the sounds of those children (any children) being happy would make me happy. i SO agree with that, Dan. Thank you for stopping by, and please consider speaking up for these kids.

  41. D. James Fortescue

    Well done to taking a stand for those who cannot stand up for themselves. My son is autistic, needing a school with dedicated special needs staff. We are incredibly lucky to find a nearby school with such staff, and the effort they make to include him in the mainstream class is amazing. Your article shows just how lucky we are, as some places in the world do not even allow for such people and treat them as ‘untouchables’, which is extremely sad.

    Thanks again Damyanti =)

    • Damyanti

      The staff at Bangsa Ria are great with these kids, too. The organization survives on donation, yet they make an amazing effort to come through for the children.

      I’m happy that your son has a caring school– please help these kids keep their school as well, by signing the petition.

  42. Siva

    Many people will not realize about these Special Kids and are more insensitive towards their approach, being a parent of a multi-disability child, I can understand these kids and my son is my world and my family cherishes his presence and support him. His sister supports him like anything.

    • Damyanti

      I hope these kids find support as much as your son does. If you think these kids deserve your voice, please consider speaking up through the petition.

  43. daydreema

    The centre should not be shut down! They’re just children whose parents want them to have a place where they can just be them, and not have anyone complaining about them! In fact

  44. Phill

    Well, there is nothing new about this as the world is obsessed with perfection. The society always prefers the successful, the perfect, the most blessed.

    This is one of the few areas where the United States is better than India or Malaysia or any other asian countries. From what I have seen, in the US, the handicapped, disabled and people with special needs are “heard” – I mean, a disabled can lead a normal life – the bus, the train, rest rooms, jobs etc, and to some extent even the society in the west are made to accommodate the disabled. Asia is yet to catch up, maybe some day.

    • Damyanti

      I see this everywhere, and I’ve heard about such cases from the US too. Some people on this thread also speak of the discrimination they and their loved ones have faced. We just have to keep asking for change till we see it, in every country.

      • Phill

        What I meant was that disability is treated in a different way in the west. I have seen many disabled people living on their “own” in the U.S. To my knowledge this is almost impossible in many asian countries.

        Yes, there is discrimination against the disabled in almost all countries. Only time can change the attitude of people around the world, nothing else.

        For every single case that we shout for justice, there will be another 10 more pleading with the world to take up their case.

  45. rvraiment

    I had an heroically handicapped daughter who departed her life at the age of four and a half years. A long, long time ago. Being her dad and her primary carer for all of that time I met very large numbers of parents of handicapped children as well as the children themselves, and almost all had suffered some horrible experiences because of the kind of prejudice reflected by the complainants in this case. It was and is contemptible. I now work with autistic children in a mainstream school and I love them all. It is very very easy to do so.
    It is not the disabilities with which our children are born that are the real handicap – the real handicap is the failure of people and society to do what they can and to do what they should.

    • Damyanti

      Thank you for your support. I’m just raising my voice, it is those at Bangsa Ria who have taken on this battle, and I hope with the love from people like you, they will win.

  46. Naomi

    My good friend was always a quiet, non-confrontational person like me, until she had 2 children with autism. Now, she is always having to fight their battles. In fact, I have been surprised, that even here, there have been so many battles to fight. Even in places where it seems as though special needs children are valued, there is still a long way to go. I am so proud of my friend for everything she has done. This story from Malaysia is heartbreaking. Thanks for writing about it.

    • Damyanti

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I’ve seen my friend’s life with an autistic child, and this is not the first battle she’s fighting for him.

      I’m glad that for every naysayer in this sorry situation, we have positive folks showing their support. Please consider taking a minute to sign the petition.

  47. LC Aisling

    I grew up having to spend most of my childhood in hospital and neck to neck with children with all sorts of problems. Taken from my own experience – let them go together with others. Makes the ones, who have no problems, appreciate what they have and learn how to deal with their difficulties. It’s not that they are hard to communicate, it’s that people don’t know how to communicate and it’s always oh so easy to ignore.

    We had an instructor in the children’s hospital, who started her instructions to new parents in the group with this: “Disability is not the issue, it’s the problems we face on daily bases that come with it – like in math, we can learn how to overcome those problem. In long term, that makes us very smart people.”

    • Damyanti

      “Disability is not the issue, it’s the problems we face on daily bases that come with it – like in math, we can learn how to overcome those problem. In long term, that makes us very smart people.”

      That should be on a huge blackboard at all public spaces, I think. We need to see with our hearts–that kind of seeing makes us better, smarter people.

  48. waywood

    Those with money & power all too often get where they are at the expense of the downtrodden & those with no voice.

    Equality starts in our minds not our wallets 🙂

    Keep up the good work & take care.

    • Damyanti

      Absolutely, equality starts with our minds.
      I’m not the one doing good work, I’m jsut exercising my right to speak up, make noise. The good people of Bangsa Ria are the ones doing all the long hard work, and always with a smile.

  49. aaryasharma

    I recently visited Special School for Deaf and Mute…to donate sweets and snacks…it was my first time, as soon as I entered their building, most of them surrounded me, they started clapping and dancing…when I came back I was not happy, because they don’t have good facilities…they need new clothes, new mattress, new blankets the list is never ending…I know I can’t help everyone out there but I have made a promise to myself that once in every year I will try to contribute my little bit…to those Special Children…

    • Damyanti

      All the little ways count. If we can find a space in our hearts for those who are different, to become inclusive and not judgmental, the world would automatically become a better place. Good for you about your visit, and your resolve to visit again.

  50. Sally

    Another great post, Damyanti! It is depressing to read about these complaints, but somehow I’m not surprised. Throughout history people have targeted those who are different or perceived as ‘less’, so that they can feel more comfortable in their surroundings.

    Thank you for standing up and speaking out for a group which is often marginalised and treated pretty poorly out of no fault of their own. They deserve compassion and a place to learn, play and socialise like other children.

    • Damyanti

      They deserve compassion and a place to learn, play and socialise like other children.– Absolutely.

      Thank you for dropping by and please consider signing the petition. It will really help Bangsa Ria who deserve all the kudos, not me.

  51. bookangel2

    My grandaughter is autistic, with severe learning difficulties. Luckily, she attends a very good special needs school that has close links with the local community. We love visiting the school – the staff are wonderful and the children’s needs are so well met. Although my grandaughter does not speak, she is a wonderful child with a personality. Special needs children deserve to be treated as people, not monsters or sub humans. They have needs that need to be met with sensitivity and perseverence; they also deserve our respect and understanding.
    Shame on anyone who turns their back on these children and their families!

    • Damyanti

      “Special needs children deserve to be treated as people, not monsters or sub humans. They have needs that need to be met with sensitivity and perseverence; they also deserve our respect and understanding.”

      Yes, that. How can anyone fail to see it?

      I’m so glad your grand daughter has a school that cares about her. I wish we would have more such schools everywhere they’re needed. And they’re needed everywhere.

    • Damyanti

      Yes, Nish. These are kids, and if we can’t raise our voices to protect the interests of our kids, then why were we given a voice at all?

  52. e*

    I did a internship at a school for children with special needs. I loved it and its more rewarding then a ”normal” school. Therefore I think this is awful.

      • e*

        People are scared for the unknowing? They do not understand to the fullest what is special about these kids or what makes them special. In my experience working with special need children is that they can come over as scary (not that they are). But they children might not understand the ”normal” way and will respond differently to certain situations. Id say we need to educate people about special needs so they can understand better. But that might not ever be possible because people are people. They listen only when they want to.

        • Damyanti

          As far as I know, the rest of the community, other than the ones who have filed the case are pretty supportive. I hope these two see reason and humanity as well.

  53. embrystical

    I’d like to give those idiots a piece of my mind, personally. I’m sure my friends would too – there are something like five or six people just in my year alone who have special needs, one of us who is always blamed for realising how stupid the rest of them all are. He has one arm from a birth defect and I remember a very nice teacher asking him to explain to her class once what it was, why he swore all the time, and how he was different.
    My point is, she didn’t do it to make fun of him, she did it to help. She was pretty much the best teacher at that school because she cared and she let us have our Voice. She let him make a den in her office and me borrow books from her library, and never forgot us, even when we left. Bless her soul.

      • embrystical

        We sure do. The fact is, when my friend (single-armed) had to go to class with three extremely annoying people (one of whom is also autistic, but that’s beside the point here) without his helper there. In the helper’s defence, he had “disappeared” according to some other people, plus he is always super busy. But after class I literally had to PULL him off one of the annoying boys in the hallway, since I was so scared he would try to rip his head off.
        We definitely need more facilities for kids like Craig.

    • Damyanti

      Anna, Malaysians are one of my favorite people, and some of my Most Favorite People are Malaysians. Can’t match the Malaysian warmth and hospitality. And I’ll always love you for coming to see me in Penang!

      This post is not against Malaysians, but against those who would shut us up, rob us of our voice. They are present in each country and community, and the only way to keep the world sane and loving is to raise our voices, every time they try to shut us up.

      All of us have the right to Be.

      The #malaysia hashtag is for Malaysians to know of this and to help sign the petition– more positive Malaysian voices would help the cause.

  54. justme0486

    Thank you for writting this, I have Cerebral Palsy (CP) myself and I am able to think and talk I just can’t walk and I have had people try to keep me quiet and it means a lot to me to know you’re adding your voice to the people that need it the most.

  55. Jenni

    People used to glare at my mother when we went to the park with my brother. He had downs syndrome and one time I remember a lady taking a hanky and wiping the swing after David had been playing there – I was 7 and I can still remember her looking at my mother and saying isn’t there a special place for him to play …. Bitch but go mum she said oh yes it’s called a park.

  56. laneswift

    I have a British friend who teaches in Asia (I’m not going to specify as I would like to protect her identity, however unlikely it is she could be identified from my comment) who has a son with mild learning difficulties. She and her husband are approaching the difficult decision of having to move their entire family back to the UK once their son reaches secondary school age (he isn’t able enough to meet ‘grammar school’ standards) as there is NO local provision for educating children with special needs. She works in a major city.
    This is, I suppose, an example of a cultural difference in the way children with special needs (and adults) are incorporated (or not) into different societies.
    I hope that bringing attention to this issue opens a few eyes and changes some hearts. Good luck!

    • Damyanti

      Thanks for the reblog and the comment. I guess we do need to make some noise so that the societies, in which special needs kids and folks are not accepted just like everyone else, wake up and take notice.