It is heartening to read the report by Member of Parliament Denise Phua “Including those with special needs in our Singapore story” (Mar 25).
As a member of the Committee for Enabling MasterPlan, Ms Phua being a staunch advocate for those with special needs can help a great deal to secure more support for these citizens.
Many people do not realise it, but people with special needs, and they include those trying to cope with mental health issues, have creative minds that require much exposure and support from the community.
Throughout life’s journey – whether in personal family matters, while studying, and then carrying out our tasks in our careers and in the community, we are bound to encounter valuable experiences that will be useful to be shared to current and future generations. Of course, there will a variety of ups and downs. There will be also exciting and adventurous periods as well as times when we are faced with challenges, and how on occasions, we have managed to overcome adversities to beat the odds. Indeed, the passage through life is always an important learning journey.
As we mature to a ripe old age, we will have bundles of stories to tell. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that everyone of us, will in time to come, have a book inside of us.
Those with special needs have compelling stories that if well-crafted in words will not only raise awareness of their specific conditions but will enable those trained in the art of writing to build a career. Even former convicts who show determination to turn over a new leaf ought to be given opportunities to write their stories.
In skills training, efforts can be made with the support of government agencies and prolific writers who can be mentors, to train people with special needs to write their stories and with the support of big-hearted sponsors, they can publish their books and contribute to the literary culture in Singapore. Moreover, writing is a good way to heal.
Together, as an enlightened society, let us all do our part to build a far better society so that no one will ever be left behind. When this is achieved, Singapore will be the best home to live, work and play in.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO