Dining in the Dark

If you’ve ever wondered how it’s like to lead your daily life (or having a meal) in complete blindness i would recommend you to come give Singapore’s Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) a go.

This was a uniquely special experience for me as i have always wondered how people who are visually handicapped continues to go on with their daily lives and why they are persistent on living. Being the curious guy i am, i have tried closing my eyes and walking around by feelings things and using my memory of certain familiar places to manoeuvre around which was really hard but i had eventually gotten a hang of it after a few bumps on the chairs and things lying around or blocking my path. This is where i feel that its nice that people have tried helping the visually handicapped by inventing things such as a walking stick or other devices such as these in the photos below that the exhibit showed us on our way out that helps the blind feel things ahead of them before continuing to walk as or visually aid them to read/study as they shouldn’t be excluded from society and have their chances of succeeding be removed. An intriguing thought that saddened me was how lonely they will feel when they get excluded from society.

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When i was being lead into the room in complete darkness with one of SAVH visually handicapped volunteers i was initially scared as i had no idea of how the room is like as i have never been in there before hence i cant count on my memory as well and its completely dark which was one of the things that impressed me as i feel that the environment for us to experience total darkness was set-up really well.

So, as i was being lead into the room the only thing i could think of was to hold onto the person tightly and to trust them to lead me to my seat as trying to look around for any obstacles ahead of me was to no avail and you would just be wasting your efforts as the room was seriously dark! After i got onto my seat the first thing i did was to feel my surroundings as we were briefed on what would be placed on the table for us and i wanted to touch them (plates, utensils , cup , tissue) and be curious and ask who’s beside me. When being served i felt bad as my class was really loud and the helper reminded us a few times that we had to keep our voices to a minimal for a fuller experience yet continued to yack away after being told.

For me i was sympathetic towards to visually handicapped and really wanted to experience how it feels like to even something simple like a proper meal so i paid close attention to my surroundings and to the bells the volunteer wore on their ankles as they were moving around the room to know when i would be served which made me appreciate how lucky i am to have all five senses to rely on and how crucial they are. I thought that the eating part for me would be slightly easy as i felt that i have eaten mostly everything on my plate however when the lights were on i was shocked to see how much food was left (quite a few bits).

To sum up my thoughts i would recommend everyone who’s fortunate to not have any disability to give this a go as you would never feel what it’s like to be put into their shoes to live life alone and in total darkness.

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