Friday, November 12, 2010


Last week my uncle suggested taking his elder sister (that's my mom) for an outing to KLCC. My mom is 85 years old. Walking long distances tires her out, but she enjoys outings. So my uncle came up with the idea of bringing along the wheelchair. He parked the car in Ampang Park and we took the LRT to KLCC. My uncle's reasoning: too expensive to park at KLCC, too difficult to locate the car later, and too confusing to know which of the many exits to take.

So off we went. Pushing my mom around the mall in the wheelchair proved to be quite challenging. At the end of the outing, I can say that KLCC isn't exactly wheelchair-friendly. The lift from the LRT platform to the upper level was out of order. My mom had to get up and use the escalator. The LRT exit gate was barely wide enough to push the wheelchair through. To operate the special wheelchair lift (see below), you had to look for the attendant who was nowhere to be found. Not that we bothered - the lift looked like it hadn't been in use for some time.

All in all, my mom had to get off the wheelchair at least a dozen times during our two-hour visit to KLCC. There were shops we had to by-pass because there wasn't enough space inside to manoeuvre the wheelchair around. The same story with the food court where we had lunch, and the toilets. The only place with lots of room to spare was the art gallery. Pushing the wheelchair down the winding ramp to the fountain level proved to be an exercise in strength and stamina.

Passing by Kinokuniya, I took the opportunity to pick up a copy of the November issue of Personal Money. I wanted to show my uncle and my mom the interview with me on page 62 about "Retiring Happily". My uncle insisted I posed for a photo with it. I can't say 'no' to my uncle, right?

The outing has shown that the city needs to be much more people-friendly, and that includes providing easy access to public places and facilities for the elderly and the handicapped in wheelchairs.

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