WBU-AP(Senior group) Fine Work
“What Braille Has Done for Me”
Malaysia Choo Kim Yoon (42/Male)
"Learning Braille may be a difficult task; but once achieved, it could bring you a fortune".
These are the words of Cikgu Murni which keep ringing in my ears; she taught me how to read and write in Braille and her words are a constant source of encouragement to me as I live from day to day.
Indeed, I have always cherished the fact that I am a skilled Braille user. I know it will bring me a fortune some day. Because of this, I have put in much effort to acquire my Braille skills. And so I read a lot of Braille materials and I did a lot of writing in Braille both at home or in school. I had the firm belief that mastering Braille will be the hope of promise and would brighten my future.
I have found this to be true. My Braille skills have already brought good fortune into my life even in my childhood days. I look back to my school days with much appreciation when I had so many sighted friends. They got along very fine with me in the class-room even though I was different from them because I was using the Perkins brailler. With the Braille machine, I was able to enjoy studying Mathematics, English, Bahasa Malaysia, Science, History and Geography. Best of all were the singing classes with my sighted friends -- they sang with their print notes while I followed with my Braille words. My only regret was that I had to miss out on the Art and Craft classes.
Fortunately, this did not trouble me too much as I knew I could fall back on Braille, my faithful friend for always. Moreover, my teachers and my friends were very supportive. By placing my trust in Braille, I eventually proved to society that I could excel in my studies in spite of my blindness. I obtained Grade A for every examination, including the Senior School Certificate Examination (or SPM) conducted by the Government. Truly, I appreciate Braille very much for having given me the opportunity to become a literate person.
Yes, in 2006 Braille did bring me a fortune -- this was the year when the Malaysian Association for the Blind organized the Braille Essay Competition in conjunction with the celebration of Louis Braille Day which falls on 4th January every year. I took part in the Braille Lyrics Category and submitted my composition entitled "Jasa Braille" (or "The Advantages of Braille"). It brought me the first prize -- hurray and thank God!
I was so excited and delighted. But more than just being the winner of the first prize, I felt much joy in having been able to express my deep appreciation to my loyal friend, Braille, in poem and in song. I felt such beauty and meaning in my composition as I had been able to record my deepest sense of gratitude to the "Father of Braille; truly, Louis Braille deserves world fame and a place in my heart because of the many sacrifices in time and effort in order to perfect the system of Braille for use in our daily lives as blind people. Braille will always be a source of hope and inspiration for my future destiny.
I am not only blind but I am also severely deaf. As a result, I find great difficulty in communicating with other people. Fortunately, because of my knowledge in Braille, I have been able to learn a special technique of communication for the deaf-blind known as Finger-Braille. By imagining that my fingers are the keys of the Perkins brailler, I can receive messages from another person when he taps out the Braille letters on the back of my fingers corresponding with the keys on the brailler. I can then reply in words because I can still speak.
Finger-Braille is cheap, easy and light. My fingers go with me wherever I go. I need not buy any special equipment. I can interact with my friends anywhere -- in the restaurant, market, church, hospital, bus or train.
If I should fall ill, my friends would use Braille labels to help me identify the medicines. Without the Braille labels, I would probably have consumed the wrong medicine and this could have endangered my life.
Braille has also opened up the way for me to technology. I am now able to use the Braille-Note PK to read and write Braille by using the refreshable Braille display. In addition, I have tried out the DB-Communicator on the mobile phone to make contact with deaf-blind persons and even with sighted people. However, although all this advanced equipment is out of my reach and not within my means to purchase them, I am very happy with the progress being made in technology that has made it possible to produce Braille reading materials more speedily in order to improve our learning opportunities and to increase our joys and pleasure in reading.
Braille has really brightened up my days. It will be a constant help to me through life until the end comes.
Thank you, Louis Braille.