Shops should allow for better wheelchair access

I congratulate our Paralympians for doing us proud in Rio recently ("Hurrah for our Paralympians!"; Sunday).

They showed Singapore that they have the determination and grit to persevere, and they rightly deserve another medal for their sheer perseverance.

The recent spotlight on the Paralympians is a good time for all Singaporeans to be aware of the difficulties those with disabilities face.

Our society still has a long way to go in terms of including those with disabilities.

Someone I know who uses a wheelchair told me about the ostracism she faces.

She has been told not to enter shops, and when she is in one, she has been told unkindly not to touch things on the shelf. Yet, when she wanted to purchase something on a higher shelf, shop staff just ignored her.

Perhaps these shops are small, and staff are afraid a wheelchair might topple goods; that might account for their unfriendly behaviour.

One way to be more inclusive could be to make it mandatory for shop spaces to be designed such that there is manoeuvring space for wheelchairs.

This will go a long way to make sure that people using wheelchairs can enjoy going into shops, just as mainstream people do.

Tan Chay Kheng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2016, with the headline 'Shops should allow for better wheelchair access'. Print Edition | Subscribe