Duskin Leadership Training in Japan

Mee Hong's Final Report

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Final Report

In the beginning:

During my stay in Japan, through learning Japanese, I have deepened my understanding on Japan and its culture and have had firsthand experiences of the world in which persons with disabilities live in Japan.

In addition, through mutual exchanges among overseas participants of the Daskin Leadership Program in Japan, I have come to know the present circumstances surrounding persons with disabilities in their respective countries.

I am very happy to note that the experiences I have gained can be made best use of for a human networking in the future.

The best program in this training was to learn software to make recorded library. I am going to use the one I made for my presentation, introducing to you what I have accomplished in Japan.

On the first day:

In the evening of August 29, 2000, with a bit of tension and expectation, I parted with my beloved family and took a flight all by myself to leave for an unknown country, Japan. I was full of expectation that this training would bring me various new experiences.

Program Orientation and Opening Ceremony:

The Program Orientation was useful, because it provided me with necessary information on living in Japan. On the occasion of the Opening Ceremony, I did not know the order of my speech. Simultaneous interpretation machine from English to Japanese was broken down. Although it was not my turn, I took a podium to make a speech. It was really embarrassing experience for me.

A three-month Japanese language training:

It was really difficult for me to learn Japanese grammars, which are totally different from that of English. I always asked my teacher, “ Why?” and “What is the reason?” English is easier for me to express myself. Living in Japan using only Japanese language was a difficult task for me to accomplish.

Individual training:

Training regarding independent life and my experience on daily living:

During a two-month-and-a-half individual training program, I learned two methods of managing an independent living center; they are a service-oriented method and a movement-driven method to promote an independent life for persons with disabilities.

Till now, I have been learning and observing the ways persons with disabilities live in Japan. And I have been comparing their situations with that in Malaysia.

What I was surprised most during the training was the fact that persons with disabilities in Japan have achieved active social participation and independent living.

In addition, welfare devices to help persons with disabilities to realize an independent life have been highly developed and widely diffused.

As far as I know, Malaysia is different from Japan in terms of the legal systems, the general environments, and its people’s way of thinking. People with disabilities in Malaysia cannot possibly feel the importance of their existence so that they inevitably live without hopes and dreams.

Especially, people with severe disabilities are mostly confined at home. After returning home, I would like to tell my people with disabilities how their counterparts live in Japan having forward-looking attitudes, and how they are supported by varieties of assistive devices.

A visit to “ Japan Association for Employment of the Disabled”:

The Association provided me with various information, regarding the issues of persons with disabilities. For example, its employment promotion activities and incentive measures. The information I have received there are quite valuable for employment promotion for persons with disabilities in Malaysia.

Personal Computer Training:

Various information technologies for persons with disabilities have been presented. The knowledge I have gained is really valuable. Especially important is to learn on software to make recorded books. The technology has contributed greatly to the expansion of the world of persons with disabilities.

After learning how to make a home page, I created my own home page. To my regret, I could not learn a retrieval system, nor an ID, because they are too difficult.

With the learned knowledge, upon my return, I will be able to make a home page including a bulletin board for persons with disabilities to get communicated and share information with persons without disabilities.

Unforgettable memories:


My world has been so much expanded after riding on an electric wheelchair for the first time in Japan, which enables me to go anywhere I like anytime all by myself. Not only the electric wheelchair has become my legs, but also it becomes eyes for Ms. Veronica and Ms. Zhuang Li, and hands for Mr. Ampol.

Scuba Diving Experience:

Before coming to Japan, I never dreamed of having a scuba diving experience. It totally seemed impossible then. When I went into water, I got tensed and anxious, because this was very new to me. Since I cannot swim, an instructor took me to the water.

I had a scuba diving-like experience in a pool, which was a great fun. But, there was no fish!


Even now, I remember the thrill that I felt in skiing. Frightening at the same time thrilling. I was bit anxious about possible injury in hands and legs in skiing, but I was so much excited. When we arrived at a ski resort, the snow-covered view was splendid. Mr. Ampol and I did use a bi-ski. We all got prepared and rode on a lift to climb up a slope. It was fun to ski down the slope, but it was frightening to ride on a lift. We all fell from the lift to the ground. With good luck and thanks to the low altitude, no one got hurt fortunately.

Home Stay:

Staying with a warm friendly host family, I had enjoyable New Year days. Just like a small kid, making a big snowman and sloping down by a sled, I had a wonderful time in a snow country. Even such an experience of slipping down outdoors many times on snow-covered roads seemed to be very enjoyable, because it is impossible to do so in Malaysia without snow. In Kimono, I visited a shire and observed a ski jump game. Also, I participated in a rice-cake making gathering. I am very grateful for everybody who made efforts to make everything possible for me.


During my stay at the Mainstream Association for a month, Ihad an occasion to enjoy a bowing game. Since it was the first time for me, I was bit excited. But in every trial, my ball went into gutter. I felt very embarrassed. I felt good when I could manage a spare only once. Although I thought of trying it only once, I found myself enjoy repeating it and came to like it.


I have a weak hand and leg. I do not have enough body weight. So, it is rather difficult for me to maintain proper balance in water. I have tried to swim in many different styles, such as a dog paddle, and the backstroke.

I was not able to swim alone without a helper, but even so, I was glad that I felt an enjoyment in swimming.

My fellow participants:

The participants with disabilities in the program came from various countries in the world to get together in Japan, understand each other and share joy and sorrow together. The greatest achievement for the three-month Japanese Language Training was the cooperative structure formed by the ten participants. They have been united under the understanding that they must know each other well including their disability conditions and help each other.

Final impression:

Time fries. Ten months of my stay in Japan flew fast. During my stay, I have done what I wanted to accomplish as much as possible. In doing so, I felt a real freedom for the first time. In Malaysia, although I had been very frantic in doing many things working among persons without disabilities, trying to be as their equal as possible, there always remained many things beyond my power, which has gradually given me a sense of inferiority complex. Now that I have to go back to my original life, I feel very apprehensive. This training experience may change my life course in the future. I will not forget the real freedom that I have tasted it in Japan.

I would like to say thank you very much for everyone who has supported me in various ways.

Finally, to my fellow participants;

We have been walking along an uneven road with so many ups and downs. But, our uneven life courses have not been created by others. That is the life we ourselves have chosen.

That is the life on which we walk with our own legs. Japan has given us many experiences showing its unique culture. After returning home, let us move forward in achieving our dreams by making the best use of the experiences we have obtained in Japan.

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