Ex-jockey not letting disability take the reins

Mr Bakri's accident at the racetrack in 1985 left him paralysed from the waist down. The former jockey fought to rebuild his life and found his first job five years later with the help of Bizlink. He is featured in the organisation's book Brave Heart
Mr Bakri's accident at the racetrack in 1985 left him paralysed from the waist down. The former jockey fought to rebuild his life and found his first job five years later with the help of Bizlink. He is featured in the organisation's book Brave Hearts: Stories Of Hope, Resilience, Perseverance And Love.PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

In 1985, budding jockey Bakri Tubin was involved in a nasty three-horse pile-up at a racetrack in Ipoh which left him paralysed from the waist down and having to use a wheelchair for life.

Intensive physical therapy proved futile but the former Malayan Racing Association jockey fought to rebuild his life, finding his first job about five years later via Bizlink, a non-profit organisation that offers employment assistance and training for people with disabilities.

"As long as I'm healthy, I will work," he said.

Mr Bakri, now 56, a data entry operator, is one of 30 people with disabilities who feature in a new book by Bizlink.

Brave Hearts: Stories Of Hope, Resilience, Perseverance And Love was launched yesterday at the organisation's 30th anniversary fund-raising dinner at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

BIZLINK'S HELPING HAND

He came to terms with his handicap after the incident and bravely went on living life with a purpose. Thanks to Bizlink's helping hand, he showed strong resilience and determination to move forward and to rebuild his life.

MR TEO CHEE HEAN, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security,on Mr Bakri's spirit.

In his speech, guest-of-honour Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, who had penned the foreword, praised Mr Bakri's spirit.

Mr Teo said: "He came to terms with his handicap after the incident and bravely went on living life with a purpose. Thanks to Bizlink's helping hand, he showed strong resilience and determination to move forward and to rebuild his life."

Mr Bakri said Bizlink, which recommended him five jobs over the years, has been invaluable. "Their placement officers go to potential companies and check the facilities to ensure the physical space and job scope are suitable. They are very helpful and I'm grateful to them."

Mr Teo added that Bizlink has "achieved much in these three decades to enable employment for people in need, particularly individuals with disabilities".

He said meaningful work provides a sense of purpose, and added that the Government would continue to support organisations such as Bizlink to provide training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and integrate them into society.

He also encouraged employers, partners and supporters to continue doing their part to help the needy and those with disabilities.

Bizlink chairman Wong King Yoong said that going forward, the organisation aims to double the number of disadvantaged people it helps from the 240 today.

It also plans to grow its pool of volunteers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-jockey not letting disability take the reins'. Print Edition | Subscribe