THERE is a TV programme in India called “Geena Isi Ka Naam Hai” (This is how life should be lived).
If we had such a programme in Malaysia, one person who deserved to be a guest would be Winnie Ng, who died last week. She was the head of Malayan Association for the Blind (MAB), where my spouse started her working life in 1970 and worked for 21 years.
The head of any organisation is held responsible for the success and failure of the organisation. The success of MAB should also be attributed Ng as the head of MAB.
After our marriage in 1971, my wife’s name changed from Miss Fong to Mrs Karim. Every visually handicap person dealing with her at the Braille section referred to her by this name. From a clerk she progressed to become the head of resources. Ng was then the executive director of MAB.
MAB had a training centre where the visually handicapped learnt art and crafts. In Taman Harapan in Pahang, they are taught agriculture. The Braille resource centre was the lifeline for the visually handicapped in Malaysia. It provided braille books and other aid for education at all levels in its library, where special items like walking sticks, braille watches and many other items were ordered from overseas and sold at subsidised rates.
The Braille Centre functioned with a few staff workers and many volunteer readers who read the books to be transcribed into braille. The volunteers were usually spouses of high standing people in society, They were also the frontliners in the fund-raising projects of the MAB.
There was an international blind gathering in Indonesia sponsored by Japan. My wife was head of the secretariat for this conference.
There was also a global blind gathering in Dehradun, India. My wife and her team were sponsored by the Japanese government. I took the opportunity to tag along on this trip with my own plane ticket. While the spouse was busy with the conference, I enjoyed the sights in the most beautiful part of India.
Taking in blind students at university level was the biggest challenge faced by MAB under Ng. Universiti Malaya was reluctant to become involved in the project until MAB guaranteed to provide the learning materials and examination questions and answers in audio or braille form. Mrs KArim had to personally take on that responsibility. MAB succeeded and today we have the visually handicapped studying in UM.
On Monday, September 6, we were sad to hear the news of Ng’s demise. I am writing this to console my spouse during this period of grief. Covid-19 has made it impossible to give a decent farewell to Ng. May she rest in peace. – September 8, 2021.
* Karim reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.