If you have been following the media closely, I think you’d have read or came across the news on the “Disabled would could Not get Her Date”. If you’ve not, here was the article that this person wrote in to the Editor:
I WISH to highlight an incident where a disabled person was discriminated against. I participated in the "Win A Date with a Bachelor" contest hosted by CLEO magazine in April. A month later, a sales coordinator from CLEO called me to inform that I was one of the winners.
In my entry, I had stated that the preferred location for the "date" was Starbucks, but the coordinator suggested True Fitness instead. I told her that I was disabled and that the location was not convenient. She said she would consult with her manager and contact me again. As she failed to call me, I contacted her on May 13. She told me that my award had been given to another person since I was disabled. This is discrimination against the disabled and abuse of their rights. I am making this complaint on behalf of the disabled community as a whole. Read more: Magazine took away my date http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/21disabled/Article/#ixzz0t6X4zhAO
I actually came across this column or write up while I was eating my breakfast. And I seriously was pondering on the issue – Should a Disabled be Denied their Date; just because they are disabled? Please don’t shoot me, but a part of me did try to put myself into CLEO’s shoes. But the other half of me says that CLEO should not have done that. But my conscience told me, CLEO should not have reacted this way. I came into such conclusions without knowing or digging into details. Should a company like CLEO really deny the rights of the handicapped and disabled? Personally, I don’t think so. I’ve always been a person who believes that handicapped people should be given the same opportunity as a normal person. Or perhaps, they should probably be given more opportunities in today’s world. In a developing country like Malaysia, I often feel the lack of care towards the disabled. However, I must commend the effort by various parties who have been trying very hard to improve on this. Previously, there were not many malls with special car parks or even lifts. But recently, I’ve been observing that most malls in our country already have these special car parks and lifts for disabled. One thing that I see is coming up is also the special lifts for handicap to get to the hotel by just driving in their wheelchair (if they are not capable of walking). My guess on why such a scene is occurring in Malaysia is because of the lack of this issue in our education system. Just take a look around you, disabled kids or children are rarely allowed into normal schools. This is because they are deemed to be a burden to the teachers or their classmates. Hence, normal students never get a chance to mingle with them. When I was in St John’s, there was a special class called “Resos Centre” just for the disabled (whether be it blind, deaf, dumb etc.) However, we really get a chance to mix or mingle or even spend time with these students because they are often in one side. They are also in a special class where they were given special teachers as well as special attention. I see so much love, care, effort and commitment in these teachers. But we really never got a chance to work with them or speak to them. I am not sure if it was because of the barrier in communication or the culture just made us that way. Nevertheless, I had to say that St John’s “Resos Center” has made the school proud numerous times with their results and their sporting activites. This really proves that one that is disabled may not be useless or may not be as good as a normal person. I believe that God made each of us equal and we have our own gifts, talents and capabilities. Why must people be discriminated just that they are not as fortunate as we are? They did not choose to be this way; and we can’t choose what we like or what we want in life either – and this is what makes our life fair. Coming back to the CLEO issue, CLEO should not have done such an act (if that was the truth). Their Public Relations had soon release a reply regarding the statement above:
Sirs – We note the letter “Magazine took away my date" from Ms Pua Ghin Chu of Petaling Jaya, Selangor, posted on nst.com.my on July 6 and published on July 7, 2010. To clarify some of the points raised by Ms Pua:
1) We did not deny Ms Pua a date because of her condition.
2) A CLEO representative telephoned Ms Pua to let her know she had been selected following an in-magazine contest as the winner of the CLEO Most Eligible Bachelors’ Gym Date. She told our representative that she is wheelchair-bound and would prefer the café date.
3) Unfortunately the café date she requested had already been awarded to another contestant. This fact was not yet known by the CLEO representative she was talking to. As such we could not offer the cafe date to her.
4) CLEO did not follow up with Ms Pua as we assumed she was not interested in the Gym Date.
CLEO contests and promotions generate many entries. This contest was particularly popular and we had many entries for only a limited number of set dates, which filled up quickly. These dates are sponsored by third parties. As such CLEO is unable to award more than the occasions pre-arranged with these sponsors.
We were informed of Ms Pua’s unhappiness over the incident on June 24. We telephoned her on June 24 to discuss the matter and, as a result, another date was arranged for her with a CLEO Bachelor. We understand Ms Pua has already been on this date and to our knowledge she is satisfied with this outcome. In fact, we believe Ms Pua has also written to your department on July 7 informing as such. A copy of her letter is attached below.
Nevertheless, we regret that the communications’ process caused Ms Pua some distress and we have undertaken an internal review of these procedures to ensure they are more effective.
CLEO prints in excess of 70,000 copies every month with the aim of entertaining and informing our readership. We value every one of our readers highly and greatly appreciate the trust and affection they place with us. We know this is not to be taken lightly, and regret having caused any unhappiness with our actions. Certainly they were unintentional and we sought to rectify the situation as soon as we were made aware of it.
We trust this clarifies the matter.
Marketing Communications Director
ACP Magazines Pte Ltd
I don’t know how true this is, but I think I should be fair in writing showing the whole issue – and for you to make your own judgement. Yes, I am studying Public Relations and I have been convinced that many PR Executives should be using ways to overcome Crisis – Crisis Management, they call it. But, I am giving it a benefit of the doubt? Here’s Ms Pua’s response thereafter,
Miss Pua’s letter as attached in the original response:
Date: Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 7:49 PM
Dear NST editor:
In regards to the previous post titled ‘Magazine took away my date’ dated on 6 July 2010, i wish to express my gratitude to the consumer tribunal of Malaysia for his precious help in sorting out this matter for me.
CLEO Magazine had took immediate action and currently they are in the process of compensating what they had promised the readers in the contest form to my friend and I. Last Saturday, they had arranged my date with Dr Nanda (one of the CLEO Bachelor) and also they are in the process of arranging the prizes for me and my friend now. Finally, I will get what I deserve as promised in the contest form!
Once again, thanks for your concern.
Pua Ghin Chu
Miss Pua’s next letter to NST to clarify some things:
Thursday, 8 July 2010 11:11 AM
Dear NST editor:
In regards to my previous email yesterday, I am so sorry to make such a big mistake which is I thank to wrong national body.
I would like to clarify again here.
In regards to the previous post titled ‘Magazine took away my date’ dated on 6 July 2010, i wish to express my gratitude to the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) for his precious help in sorting out this matter for me.
Once again, thank you!
Pua Ghin Chu
Whether it is true or not that CLEO had done that because of the act of discrimination, I can’t be sure. But let’s all Malaysians – not discriminate the disabled, the poor, the needy or even the weak. Let’s make Malaysia a better place.