WITH much appreciation I read in Saturday’s paper an appeal for malls to be more friendly to shoppers with different abilities. (“Make malls friendlier to the autistic”, StarMetro, April 13; online at bit.ly/star_malls.)
A new shopping mall opened near my home in Petaling Jaya. I was there one afternoon, standing at the top of the escalator with a walking stick in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.
A gentleman who had just gone down called up to me saying, “Just hold on. I will come up to help you down.”
I told him that it was all right as I could wait for my husband to come around to help me. He came up anyway to carry my shopping bag. With my husband holding on to me and with a free hand on the escalator rail, I managed to get down safely.
This incident indicated that I was not the only one who considered the escalator steps too shallow and the gradient too steep. The good Samaritan who provided assistance concurred.
Although I was later informed that there is a lift which senior citizens like myself could use, the entire incident could have been avoided if a signboard had been placed at the head of the escalator advising such information.
This brought me back to an incident where I was asked to help resolve a case where a children’s playground was constructed next to the guard house of a gated community. I requested for a tripartite meeting with the attendance of the developer, a representative of the Majlis Bandaran Shah Alam (MBSA), and representatives of the Residents’ Association (RA). While the developer readily agreed to demolish the playground, the RA wanted it relocated, as mere removal would deprive the children of a valuable public utility.
The developer’s defence for locating the playground near the entrance where there is heavy traffic, both vehicular and human, was based on the officially approved plan when they took over the development from the previous developer.
I asked for the updated planning guidelines for playgrounds in Shah Alam. The representative from MBSA informed the meeting that he would extract a copy from the office for presentation at the next meeting.
To cut a long story short, the playground was demolished. A new one was built in a safe location in compliance with
guidelines that had been set down in black and white.
Nowadays, proposals and policies are liberally announced in the raw, since ideas cost merely “a dime a dozen”. As I ponder at the English, Maths and Science requirements for pursuing the technical and vocational education training diploma in Software Engineering, I hope the procrastination over whether to stream or not to stream could be appropriately resolved as soon as possible.
I wish to implore all authorities, be they public or private, to deploy the “neighbour principle” (a person should take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions that s/he can reasonably foresee as likely to cause injury to the neighbour) before penning such policies and not to use raw data as an excuse for poor execution.
DR DAPHNE LOKE