Forum: Tripartite set-up will better help disabled community

The tragedy of a depressed mother who killed her autistic son before taking her own life shows that we can do better with our efforts at inclusion and support (Mum in murder-suicide had been depressed, Oct 20).

I call upon the Government to apply tripartism to the disability community by inviting caregivers, disabled people and service providers to sit on statutory boards and participate directly in policymaking.

When given social visibility and political representation, they not only can raise strategic concerns missed by others due to different life experiences, but are also empowered to use negotiation, conciliation and arbitration instead of adversarial activism to create solutions, bridge inter-organisational silos and assist vulnerable peers.

For instance, disabled leaders can build sanctuaries for peers escaping from dysfunctional families, providing them with peer-led support and training to become future leaders.

Caregivers can create a nationwide network to pair new caregivers with experienced peers for support. Service providers can establish industry watchdogs to uphold best practices and ethical standards. Civil servants can be seconded to run satellite outreach centres within the heartland, such as at community centres, libraries and schools, to assist the disability community.

It is time to celebrate diversity by respectfully listening to opinions, especially those that we disagree with. It is time to promote inclusion by accepting our responsibility for healing the divisions within our communities.

It is time to engage in a deeper level of advocacy where we become the change that we seek. It is time for us to come together as one united people to ensure that Madam Nami Ogata's tragedy never happens again.

Eric Chen Yixiong

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