Tap intellectually disabled people for birthday celebrations

Picture of Minds (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) participants taking part in the military tattoo, or during the March. First time Minds taking part in NDP.

SINGAPORE - As we approach Singapore's 50th birthday next year, let us not forget about a group of Singaporeans who are no less patriotic than other citizens.

I am referring to persons with intellectual disabilities, whose ability to perform simple tasks is often questioned. The common perception that their abilities are limited is flawed, given that they can do much more than expected of them.

I urge the organisers of next year's National Day Parade to allow people with intellectual disabilities to be part of the team packing the goodie bags.

Their productivity may not be as high as that of the national servicemen doing the job, but workflow can be redesigned to allow for more time for the task. For example, suppliers can be sourced earlier and perishable food can be avoided.

If my suggestion is taken up, I hope the organisers will pay the disabled helpers fairly as many of them are not well-off.

The slightly higher cost may not make economic sense if such decisions are made solely with the head, but it makes a lot of sense to those who think with their hearts in trying to make Singapore a truly inclusive society.

Lim Yongru

This article was first published on August 9, 2014.
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