Saturday, November 07, 2015
Dining in the dark

I was in the Public International Law class when I came across the poster of Dans Le Noir on Twitter. When I saw the poster, I knew on the spot yang I want to be a part of this. I then told Hani and Yusra, who were sitting beside me in class that day yang maybe we should register for this event since the three of us tak pernah lagi experience something like this.

So we registered for the event. For fun. I asked the committee members what will we be doing that night besides dining in the dark? They told me that there will be people from the Malaysian Foundation for the Blind yang akan datang to give us a talk about the topic and there will also be an exhibition going on dekat the hallway.

The event started at 8.30 pm that night. Our dinner was served and all of us were blindfolded! Semua orang ditutup matanya, kecuali committee members. Lights dalam bilik tu di-dim-kan, so memang tak nampak apa-apa from belakang blindfold tu. 

"In front of you is your dinner; spaghetti carbonara. Your drink is placed at your 1 o'clock. The dessert is at your 10 o'clock. The fork and spoon will be at your 7 o'clock." 

We really couldn't see so we had to use our imagination to imagine semua food tu dekat mana. It was hard, I swear to God it was hard to even capai the fork and spoon to start eating. Bila dah capai fork and spoon, masalah kedua pulak timbul. How am I going to eat the spaghetti tanpa tumpah-tumpah dekat baju semua? Of course lah I don't want to spill my food kan. I can do this, I thought. Hahaha masa tu lah aku tiba-tiba jadi positive, dan dengan penuh berhati-hati, I started to eat. Sepanjang makan tu, I didn't really say much, because I was busy focusing on my meal. Literally focus tau tak. I memorized the position of the cup, the position of the fork and spoon on my plate etc. It was hard, memang susah nak makan without seeing what are you eating but after a while, I got used to it. 

Semasa sedang makan dan di blindfold itu, a few of the committees who walked pass my table told me that I'm doing a great job. I was shocked and of course lah aku tak percaya bila dorang kata macam tu. I bet my tudung semua dah kena carbonara cream dah sebenarnya. I asked them whether I still have food on my plate sebab aku dah try angkat banyak kali the food dengan fork and spoon tapi tak dapat-dapat and they told me I'm almost done with my meal. Lepas a few minutes, we were asked to open our blindfolds.

The end result.

Above is the condition of my plate bila dah bukak blindfold. When we were blindfolded, I tried to letak the fork and spoon betul-betul dalam pinggan macam yang aku selalu buat, tapi tak jadi. Hahaha. But to my surprise, I did not spill any food on my tudung! Hooray! Another achievement unlocked!

During the event, I sat next to Mr. Manu. He is in his late forties (or early fifties) and he has been blind since umur dia tiga puluh tahun. A strong man, he is. At first I was so takut to ask him questions sebab I don't want to ask sensitive questions yang maybe can hurt his feelings ke apa, so I asked him about his family, about his children. He told me he has two children and his children are studying in a private uni. 

I think Mr. Manu knew that I was scared to ask him the questions that I wanted to ask. Tiba-tiba je, after all those small talks, he started telling me his stories. According to him, he was blind when he was 30. Masa umur dia 30 tahun, he got into an accident with a lorry. The impact from the collision kuat sangat, so cermin depan kereta dia pecah and kaca from the cermin masuk dalam mata dia. He said when the doctor cakap yang he is going to be blind for the rest of his life, he was devastated. Yelah, who won't be sad kalau tiba-tiba je you hilang your sense of sight kan? His family mula-mula macam tak boleh accept him being blind, tapi lama-lama when they saw yang he is still the same person, they started to redha and accept his fate. Fatin being the cengeng Fatin, I can already feel the tears forming in my eyes masa tu.

I tried to distract myself, so I asked Mr. Manu, whether he is working ke tak. He said he's working in KL tapi dia duduk dekat Shah Alam. So I asked lagi, how did he go to work setiap hari? I was expecting answers like "Ada someone yang akan send me to work." or something like that. Tapi aku terkejut bila dengar jawapan Mr. Manu. He told me yang setiap pagi, sejak dia buta, he will take the KTM untuk pergi kerja. Every single morning. Yelah, he can no longer drive since dia dah tak nampak, so he had no other choice. Aku yang kadang-kadang terpaksa naik KTM sekali dalam enam bulan pun mengeluh sebab kena tunggu KTM yang lambat dan pack macam tin sardine tu, imagine Mr. Manu yang kena naik KTM yang sesak tu setiap hari simply because that's the only choice yang dia ada. Lagi sekali, aku sebak.

Azfar who was sitting in front of Mr. Manu then asked whether dia pernah di-mistreat oleh Malaysians. Guess what he asnwered? BANYAK KALI. Mr. Manu cerita yang he doesn't look like a blind man bila dia pakai shades. Orang hanya akan tahu he's blind bila dia pakai tongkat. Dia kata pernah sekali bila KTM dah turun dekat KL Sentral, he wanted to take a bus to his workplace. He walked to the bus stop, pastu dia tanya lah dekat orang yang dekat bus stop tu which bus is coming next. Orang dekat bus stop tu scolded him and asked rudely whether he is blind, sampai tak boleh baca sendiri what was written on the board. When he told him that he is blind, the man cakap yang people like him selalu menyusahkan orang lain. When I heard that, aku serious rasa nak pergi cari lelaki dekat bus stop yang cakap macam tu dekat dia and give him a tight bitch slap on the face. Such a heartless brat. Imagine your father being in that situation and people buat macam tu dekat dia. Kau tak marah ke? I was literally cursing in my head tapi bila Mr. Manu cakap yang dia dah maafkan those people yang aniaya dia, aku pulak yang terdiam sendiri. Dia yang dalam that situation sendiri pun dah maafkan those people, siapa pulak aku yang nak marah tak tentu pasal? 

Mr. Manu then asked whether I want him to teach me the ways the blind people pakai phone. I said yes. Masa tu tengah kena blindfold lagi, so I cannot see the screen of the phone pun. He said kebanyakan orang buta pakal iPhone. You know why? Sebab iPhone ada Siri and boleh guna motion. Mr. Manu took out his phone and asked me to touch the screen. Aku sentuh screen tu, tapi tak dengar apa-apa. Mr. Manu asked me to tap twice on the screen, tap merata-rata. So I did. Aku terkejut bila dengar suara Siri lepas tu. Siri cakap 'Contacts' bila aku ter-tap dekat Contacts. Siri cakap 'Calculator' bila aku ter-tap dekat Calculator dan Siri akan beritahu "You have one new Whatsapp message from YadaYada" kalau ada message masuk. I asked Mr. Manu how do you read your texts and how do you text back? Mr. Manu kata normally Siri akan bacakan the texts for him and Siri jugak yang akan taipkan the texts for him.

Ada banyak lagi soalan-soalan yang aku tanya dekat Mr. Manu sebenarnya but this entry will be endless kalau aku tulis satu per satu. Aku masih lagi berborak dengan Mr. Manu when Encik Silatur Rahim came forward to share his experiences and bagi a talk on how to help a blind person.

Encik Silatur Rahim, the Founder of the Malaysian Foundation for the Blind.

I'll summarize them for you:- 
a) When you're helping a blind person, always, I repeat, always walk in front of them. Let them pegang your arm and start to walk slowly;
b) Stop for a while and inform the blind person if kena naik or turun stairs;
c) Bila lalu jalan sempit, lipat tangan yang the blind person tengah pegang tu ke belakang badan. That way, the blid person akan tahu yang you nak lalu jalan sempit; 
d) Bila diorang tanya jalan, instead of pointing 'there' and saying "you have to walk along this road", guide the blind person dengan cara "Jalan ke kanan sampai ada jalan besar," ataupun "Lintas jalan, kemudian jalan ke kiri," or something like that; and
d) Tak payah insist on helping if they refuse your help.

Encik Silatur Rahim told us yang he doesn't remember how does a cat looks like ataupun how does a dog looks like since he was blind since dia lima tahun because of chicken pox. Dia dapat chicken pox at the same time dengan his sister and his brother. The chicken pox killed his other two siblings while dia pulak buta. He shared yang his last image, his very last image yang dia nampak sebelum he lost his sight was the image of his dead sister. Dia cakap masa tu dia ingat lagi yang his mum carried him and mak dia tunjukkan dia jenazah kakak dia yang dah terlantar kaku on her bed. And after that, he can't remember seeing anything else. Encik Silatur Rahim cakap, masa kecik, dia tak faham lagi maksud kematian so it was no big deal for him. Tapi after twenty years, bila dia fikir balik, masa tu baru dia sedih sebab dia dah faham the meaning of death. He cried when he told us the story and of course, everyone else pun tak boleh control rasa sebak tu bila dia menangis. It was very emotional. 

I came to the event to experience something new, something I've never thought of doing. I joined this event mula-mula for fun, but after dengar these people punya cerita, I realized that this event means much more to me and not just a mere 'dining in the dark' event. I appreciate people around me more and I thank Allah for lending me not just the sense of sight, tapi semua deria-deria yang lain jugak.

Before he went home, Mr. Manu told me that it was nice meeting me and dia jugak ada ajak untuk volunteer for the foundation. I told him I'll definitely volunteer if I have free time and I look forward to meet him again.

If you guys are interested in volunteering, you can log on to Malaysian Foundation for the Blind's website to see how you can help and not just that, you can also donate to the Foundation by transferring the donation to their bank account.

Bank Name: Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (BIMB)
Account Number: 142-100-1000-567-4

Your effort to volunteer and your donations will definitely change lives. Those people need us. Lets show them we care, yeah? 



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Fatin Hanani Adnan

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