Welcome Para Games athletes as one of us

I found the commentary on transport arrangements for the upcoming Asean Para Games very thoughtful ("Ask the disabled how best to include them"; Oct 20).

I gained a lot of insight into how people with disabilities may feel on the topic of inclusiveness, and the challenges policymakers face when trying to integrate them into mainstream society.

The organising committee has taken the first step in getting the Para Games athletes to be our fellow MRT passengers during the event.

It is now our responsibility to ensure that we consider these athletes as one of us when we meet them in trains and other public places.

They have special skills in sports and are no different from other trained athletes.

As a gracious society, we should greet them, wish them the very best for their competition, and just befriend them.

Rather than taking pictures of them with our mobile phones, having a small chat with them would make them feel more comfortable and help them avoid any undue stress just before their event.

I hope we can collectively make a positive impression in their lives.

Pradip Mandal

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Welcome Para Games athletes as one of us'. Print Edition | Subscribe