WBU-AP(Senior group) Fine Work
“How Braille and Audio Devices Help Me Integrate into Society ”
Taiwan Li Sen-Guang(33/ Male)
In the past, blindness meant not only vision loss but it could also be fatal; if the person survived; his fate would be living a life in isolation from society. In fact, as we journey through life, about 80 percent of our activities are dependent upon the sense of sight. Blindness, therefore, is associated with the experience of a fearful future, limitation and lack of access to information. The blind person will face darkness and gloom and the social stigma of illiteracy.
In my case, a sudden accident took place without any warning. I and my family were overcome by shock and panic; I was keenly aware of the fact that I had been struck by the full force of misfortune. What was I to do now that I was blind?
When the gauze was removed from my eyes by the doctors, everything seemed to be blanketed in darkness and gloom. I had this overpowering feeling even though I was only three years old. My family had little hope as they felt that I had no future. Their eyes were filled with tears and sadness. They looked at me with great pity and much anxiety.
One day it suddenly dawned upon me that I had to wake up from this nightmare by working hard to move on in life. I realized that I had vented my feelings enough by shouting and complaining that everything was so unfair; I began to be aware that there was more to life than just moaning about doing nothing. After all, there were so many friends who would be willing to help me out of my troubles. They gave me hope that I could do something with my life.
Thus, I was introduced to Braille. I was amazed that within the world of six tiny dots, I was able to discover so much beauty; learning Mandarin and English pronunciation was like music to my ears and I felt such magic in dealing with mathematical numbers and symbols. Braille music notation brought to life the famous works of such great composers as Beethoven under my finger-tips. I began very slowly and eventually I was able to play one piece after another skilfully. Both family and friends were greatly impressed with my performance and achievements.
With Braille, I could now read texts and write down my thoughts. Suddenly, thousands of books were available to me and I could know what was happening all over the world. My family was too overcome with excitement to say anything. They were too aware that society was inclined to despise those who were blind as they were regarded as worthless beings. Now my family was elated to discover that I could do something with my life.
Indeed, we blind people owe a lot to others who have strove and made great strides in civilisation in order to bring development into our lives. Louis Braille the blind Frenchman is, of course, the outstanding example. Through his invention of the Braille system, the windows of opportunity have been opened up to the blind. Subsequently, there were blind engineers at the University of Tamkang who had carried out research in order to develop the Braille computer. With this device, our ability to communicate and to interact with other people has improved tremendously.
Indeed, these people belong to the special group who should be called “The Blind Warriors”. In spite of having lost their sight, they did not give up on life but instead overcame their sorrow by setting a new goal for themselves. They were determined to strive hard in order to bring benefits to others. I truly respect and appreciate their efforts to help others.
With the development of the Braille computer and progress in technology, coupled with the call of the United Nations in recent years to recognize the rights of the blind, both Braille and audio equipment are becoming increasingly popular. For instance, many elevators have been installed with Braille signage and sound reporting systems. Thus, we no longer need to be fearful when using the elevator because we can make our own way easily from floor to floor.
In addition, the audio system on buses and trains are most helpful in enabling the blind to travel freely and independently. Now we can feel safe and secure as we step out of our door into the open world; we are ready and confident to meet anyone on the street with love and understanding. I am able to walk without restrictions, I am free to engage with friends and acquaintances, and I can move along with the times.
With Braille, I am able to write letters and I can freely express my thoughts and feelings directly to the general population through the mass media or the Internet. I am able to read books to gain knowledge or to explore new ideas, thereby preparing myself for participation in social life; I enjoy taking part in essay contests or in contributing articles and stories to the various media such as the newspapers. With the help of Braille display and scanning software, I can make my own ticket bookings on-line, something which I used to be completely dependent on other people to perform the task.
In the work-place, self-esteem is a crucial factor in enabling us blind persons to succeed and achieve our goals. Now I can walk tall and confidently to the office because I can perform my duities, tasks and assignments independently and with satisfactory results.
Despite the obstacles and restrictions that remain and need to be overcome, Braille and audio devices have played a major role in bringing about the process of growth and transformation in the lives of the blind. Society is gradually accepting the fact that the blind are here to stay and that they are capable of contributing to development at all levels. We may be blind but we want to emerge from darkness into the light, we want to be part of society, and to be fully integrated into the community.