And … another disappointing experience with so-called “disabled-friendly” facilities in Kuala Lumpur

I am starting to think that Malaysian developers have no brains. Oh Lord. Just when I thought there was a glimmer of hope for a civic-minded experience, the newest mall in the neighbourhood – CITTA Mall (Ara Damansara) has … yet again failed to impress my high standards for quality disabled-friendly facilities.

Some may argue that my expectations are ferociously high. But really, is it?

While looking for Citta Mall’s management contact email to pass on a feedback on their facility, I stumbled across an article on Citta Mall dated March 22, 2012.

I agree in some aspects that the mall is family-friendly, comfortable, and accessible to disabled people. However, after patronizing the mall with my dad, who is still on a wheelchair, I was utterly disappointed with the management’s concept of building a facility in which they claim is “disabled-friendly.”

“Citta’s layout was adopted from malls in North America, where retail outlets are arranged in a row in an open-air environment,” said center manager Wong Sue-May.”

“… Other facilities include travelators, glass lifts that can hold up to 24 persons, another 1,200sq ft play area, bicycle parking, easy access ramps and disabled-friendly facilities.”

I agree it is a great concept for relaxing and shopping. My family loves the ambience there and so far it is the “best” disabled-friendly mall we have experienced in Malaysia. But here was our dilemma:

We parked in the basement, where the disabled parking lots were situated next to the entrance to presto supermarket. Initially, we thought we could just use the ramped moving walkway to get to the Ground level. However we noticed the warning signs which restricted its use for people on wheelchairs due to safety reasons. Additonally, there is no elevator nearby inside the mall once we were indoors. So we had to wheel my dad back out into the parking lot, and about 100m to the nearest elevator, maneuvering around other parked cars. While we appreciate the warning signs of danger at the moving walkway, what about my dad’s safety wheeling around in the parking lot where the danger could be from a moving car? Not all drivers in this world are 100% careful!

In my opinion, there must be additional wheelchair access parking lots situated right next to the elevators located at the basement parking lot. It just didn’t make sense for the parking lot to be so far away from the elevators. How is this disabled friendly? The person on the wheechair is already helpless and immobile enough, and yet he/she has to stress and worry about not getting hit by a car? Perhaps, we are expected to break the rules and wheel onto the moving walkway? So when there is an accident, who is to blame? Is management really going to be responsible for this overlooked matter? Or will the blame be on us for not unloading him at the groud level before parking? Where’s our rights to a proper parking lot then? Why should we have to do more work just because we have a disabled patron? What next, the disabled patrons can only enjoy Presto supermarket and not the rest of the restaurants/shopping on the top floors?

Absolutely ridiculous, isn’t it?

After that experience, and reading this article, I do wonder … if the layout had considered disabled friendly facilities from a North American concept as well. I have been, and still is a resident of North America for the past 10 years. Honestly, while I appreciate the fact that Citta Mall has considered parking spaces, and ramps for disabled folks, the entire concept and outcome of the layout plan for “disabled friendly facilties”, sad to say, is not quite achieved, and cannot be on par with North American facilities.

Yes, I have much to complain about Malaysia’s lack of civic-mindness and courteous culture for special needs people. Even though I have lived away from Malaysia for a long time, I pride myself for having a good family upbringing as compared to my Western counterparts. I was taught to respect and care for elders in any kind of environment, especially when I am an adult. This was a trait that I have always been proud of coming from a Malaysian Chinese upbringing. But now, I am ashamed to return to Malaysia or call it home. Returning home only to witness its society moving backwards, not even half a step forward …

Here’s another example where our education is doing a terrible job educating our youth:

I liked the fact that Sunway Pyramid Mall has wheelchair-accessible parking lots located conveniently for loading/unloading near the elevators. But once again, our whole experience was spoiled, by a couple of ignorant youth who decides to park his tiny Myvi car in between my car and the other car beside us on the wheelchair access parking lots. How is my dad going to get in the car now? I could not comprehend their idiotic, mindless, and disgusting self. Worse still, why isn’t management enforcing the wheel-clamp punishment for parking there without a proper disabled access permit?

Here’s another rant:
We brought my dad to dinner at Waterlily restaurant in Ara Damansara. Never mind the access was not as convenient, but we did it anyway while getting who knows what kind of stares and looks from the other patrons. Honestly, you swanky ladies in your Gucci shoes and Prada pants, sipping away on your heavenly mojito drink … is your ass worth that much that you couldn’t even move your seat a little to let my dad through to our table? So what if you have the money, the looks and the status, but your brains are below your feet and your heart, cold as stone?

And all this while, not a single person showed a kind gesture, “Let me help you there.”

What’s the use of studying Moral studies, seriously? Are parents nowadays paying attention to their children’s upbringing??

What’s the use of glorifying OneMalaysia, and all that great food and friendly people when in fact we have a shithole of incourteous, ignorant, disgusting citizens?

I am not afraid to use the word disgusting to label my own people. Because that’s the fucking truth.

Seriously, parents … get your child off those ipads, iphones and swanky gadgets. Start paying attention to what your child needs to truly learn in this world before it is too late. There are many quality life lessons that cannot be taught using virtual reality.

Such a sad thing to witness – a country that has so much potential, yet its society are forgetting simple virtues, and living in a world where we just want to throw away seniors and people who are not “normal.”

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2 Comments

  1. Greetings from California! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .
    . Anyhow, wonderful site!

    Reply

    1. Hi Peggy! Thank you! California … I regretted not travelling there when I was still living in the US! I miss American food … You have a lovely blog yourself! I’m goin to check out your food recipes! Have a great day 🙂

      Reply

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