See the world through eyes of disabled

Events management executive Tay Puay Shan (left) and co-founder of Society Staples Debra Lam playing Giant Jenga with special goggles that simulate different kinds of visual disabilities.
Events management executive Tay Puay Shan (left) and co-founder of Society Staples Debra Lam playing Giant Jenga with special goggles that simulate different kinds of visual disabilities.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

At the SPD Open House, the public can play games and take part in activities to understand disabled people better

Step into the shoes of a person afflicted with tunnel vision or is wheelchair-bound while you play games such as Jenga, Snap and basketball at the first SPD Open House in Tiong Bahru tomorrow.

Those games will be set up for the public to play as they get simulations of visual or physical disabilities.

Ms Debra Lam, co-founder of social enterprise Society Staples, which is organising the games, says: "Through playing these games, the public can understand what persons with disabilities go through and that they are not that different from everyone else."

To make it easier for those with disabilities to play, the games feature supersized equipment.

  • VIEW IT / SPD OPEN HOUSE

  • WHERE: SPD Ability Centre, 2 Peng Nguan Street

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 10am to 5pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.spd.org.sg

In Giant Jenga, players wear goggles that replicate the vision of a person with visual disabilities such as macular degeneration and hemianopia. The blocks used are also many times bigger than the regular Jenga block and are made of cardboard.

In basketball, players sit in wheelchairs and use a ball that is double the size of regular basketballs.

The public can try their hand at para sports as well.

Dis.Is.Able, a non-profit organisation , which focuses on raising awareness of disability sport and disability as a whole, will set up bocchia and goalball.

Apart from the games, Peng Nguan Street in Tiong Bahru, where SPD is located, will be buzzing with other attractions, including a flea market and food and craft booths run by voluntary welfare organisations such as Metta Welfare Association and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds).

A photography exhibition, which was launched last month by SPD, formerly known as the Society for the Physically Disabled, will feature images reflecting moments of inclusiveness with persons with disabilities.

A free heritage trail around the hipster neighbourhood will be held to highlight places such as Singapore's first communal civilian air raid shelter and the coffee shop where local flick Mee Pok Man (1995) was shot.

All these activities will take place on the street just outside SPD's headquarters under the Streets for People initiative, a ground-up scheme by the Urban Redevelopment Authority to support community-driven projects to turn streets into car-free public spaces.

Mr Jeffrey Chin, SPD's deputy director of adult and elderly services, says: "By holding the event on the street, we hope to better engage the community and raise awareness on disability."

Visitors can take a guided tour within the SPD premises and find out about assistive technologies available for the disabled.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'See the world through eyes of disabled'. Print Edition | Subscribe