Samstag, November 05, 2005

Misrepresented

Following Straits Times reporter Jeremy Au Yong's article on Wendy's "toiletgate" (or Waterloo, if you prefer), the two charities which reportedly showed their "support" for Wendy in Au Yong's article have indicated that they were misrepresented.

It now appears that the organisations have responded to numerous complaints that they were, as a matter of fact, quoted out of context. They have also written to the Straits Times to clarify their stand.

This, from an e-mail I received from the Society for the Physically Disabled (other bloggers have received a similar reply, I believe):

We refer to the article “All flushed over toilet blog” (Sunday Times, 30 Oct). We wish to clarify that The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) was responding specifically to the reporter’s query on how it views non disabled using toilets designated for disabled people. SPD was not responding to the blog content or to the blogger of website xiaxue.blog-spot.com. Hence, the quote attributed to SPD in the article was used out of context.

Our specific response to the reporter Jeremy Au Yong’s query, as conveyed in an email reads:
“Accessible toilets are equipped with features that are not only useful for wheelchair users. Expectant mothers as well as the elderly will also find the grab bars and other features useful. In that sense accessible toilets should not be confined for use for wheelchair users only. We should work towards having public toilets that are universally designed, so that it would be of benefit to everyone without discrimination.”

Mr Au Yong however did not use this view and requested again specifically on how SPD felt about non-disabled using the disabled toilet. Our response to his subsequent request via email is:

“Accessible toilets are made for people who need special considerations for their limitations, and should be available for their use at all times. However, reserving them for use by people with physical disabilities without exception can also be impractical, like in situations when there's a queue of people waiting to use the toilet or when someone has an urgent need to use one. In such instances, it makes more practical sense to simply use any available toilet. That said, the priority for the use of accessible toilets should first be given to people with physical disabilities as some have poor or no control over their bowels and bladders.”

Our view remains that accessible toilets should be made available at all times to people who have special needs whether they are the elderly or wheelchair users. SPD strongly advocates an inclusive society where all users, regardless of abilities are able to access universally designed facilities and amenities equally.

Dr Ow Chee Chung
Executive Director


Compare the above reply to what Au Yong wrote: "On the latest furore, she has supporters from an unlikely source. The Society for the Physically Disabled as well as the Handicaps Welfare Association see nothing wrong with sharing the loos as long as the able-bodied give priority to the disabled."

The organisations agree with Wendy that disabled toilets aren't exclusive to people with disabilities. But that's their opinion on the issue; they were not giving official approval for the things Wendy say.

They neither condone what she wrote nor her superficial reasons for using disabled toilets. And they're most certainly not her "supporters".

The Straits Times has yet to respond to this until now. And ironically, with Straits Times foreign editor Warren Fernandez's commentary, "To be responsible, media must first be credible", appearing in today's papers, I really think Singapore's most respected broadsheet (and Jeremy Au Yong) owe these two organisations and its readers an explanation--if not an apology--for a sloppy piece of journalism.

8 Comments:

  • At Samstag, November 05, 2005 9:56:00 nachm., Anonymous Fucking Rebel said…

    Wow! Good one mate! Now WC is really going down!! This article should have be send to the Forum Page of the ST man!!

    Now I begin to question the objectivity of our newspaper liao!

     
  • At Samstag, November 05, 2005 10:47:00 nachm., Anonymous 2 for 1 said…

    love how SPD speaks for HWA as well.

     
  • At Sonntag, November 06, 2005 12:17:00 vorm., Blogger Yours Potatoly said…

    Hooray.

     
  • At Sonntag, November 06, 2005 1:19:00 vorm., Anonymous hohum said…

    Yeah how come you didn't produce HWA'S reply and only SPD's? You said both organisations were misrepresented. My geuss is you don't have it, but obviosuly that doesn't prevent you for speaking for both of them.

    And I seriously don't think they will run a correction on that. The gist of their message: ok for everyone to use but give priority to the disabled is intact.

    They do not support Wendy the person, the blog or even the way she wrote her argument,but they do seem to support her view.

    in the end, everyone has their own bias. You obviously to have an anti MSM, anti xiaxue one and hence write something that very clearly reflects that.... while pointing out someone else's lack of objectivity.

     
  • At Sonntag, November 06, 2005 4:12:00 vorm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    hohum wrote: "hohum said...
    Yeah how come you didn't produce HWA'S reply and only SPD's?"


    What we wanted to know was whether the reporter addressed the question to the two organisations in context to what Wendy wrote, since--as I've mentioned before--it was the way Wendy stated her case (her reasons for using the disabled toilets, and her condescending tone) that really caused the furore. The SPD has replied that he DIDN'T, so what makes you think the HWA would say he did?

    hohum wrote: "And I seriously don't think they will run a correction on that. The gist of their message: ok for everyone to use but give priority to the disabled is intact."

    Neither do I, but not for the reason you stated. The gist of our argument is simple: the main issue is how Wendy justified using disabled toilets--not whether it's okay to use them or not--and the callous remarks she made in her entry. The fact that the ST article noted that she had "supporters" being these two charities reflects badly on them, especially to anyone who has knowledge of what Wendy wrote.

    hohum wrote: "They do not support Wendy the person, the blog or even the way she wrote her argument,but they do seem to support her view."

    And what was Wendy's view? That it's fine to use the disabled toilet because it's spacious, has a basin and mirror (or in her own words, "coolness")? That the disabled should quietly queue like everyone else because, according to her, unlike their legs, their bladders are working?

    That wasn't why the charities think it's okay to share disabled toilets. And that's why it's a case of misrepresentation.

    hohum wrote: "You obviously to have an anti MSM, anti xiaxue one and hence write something that very clearly reflects that.... while pointing out someone else's lack of objectivity."

    Well, you're right, I'm anti-xiaxue. Or rather, I'm against what she represents.

    Me, subjective? Of course, I'm voicing my opinions here. =)

     
  • At Sonntag, November 06, 2005 1:26:00 nachm., Anonymous 小太妹 said…

    *applause*

     
  • At Sonntag, November 06, 2005 3:29:00 nachm., Anonymous Someone said…

    It never stops to amuse me to see that the people who always defend xx with the reason "she has the righ to her own opinions" are at the same time denying other people from having theirs.

     
  • At Montag, Januar 16, 2006 6:56:00 vorm., Blogger The Screwy Skeptic said…

    haha Waterloo... i love it

     

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