What Does it Take To Stand Out from the Crowd?
I first met Dr. Andreas Heinecke, the founder of the world renowned social enterprise, Dialogue in the Dark, back in July 2012. I recalled my first conversation with Andreas where I asked him why he set up Dialogue in the Dark? I had expected a benevolent answer like he wanted to help the blind. But Andreas gave me an answer that has resonated with me until now. He shared a personal story of how he has always been perplexed with the relationship between his parents. He could not understand how a Nazi German like his Father could fall in love with his Jewish Mother, who is from the very race the Nazis were attempting to wipe out from this World. It wasn’t until he was asked to serve his blind colleague by his superior that Andreas began to understand the relationship between his Father and Mother? Who was he to judge his parents’ sacrificial love for each other despite being from a different race. Who was he to judge his blind colleague just because he was considered as ‘disabled’?
I came back after this encounter ever more determined to start Dialogue in the Dark in Malaysia so as to encourage Empathy not only for others but also for ourselves. Are we always trapping ourselves with our own judgemental views of ourselves and of others? Are we preventing ourselves and others to Stand Out from the crowd due to our biases and prejudices that blinds us from who we truly are and capable of?
I was always guilty of these biases and prejudices untilI I became blind twelve years ago. By the Grace of GOD, I slowly but surely came out of my own Darkness and the one thing I wanted to do then was to create more awareness of this dreaded disorder, Glaucoma, the Silent Thief of Sight. Never in my mind could I believe that in my present condition that I am now a Social Worker, Activist and Entrepreneur! I constantly wondered how it would have turned out if I remained trap with thoughts of what I cannot do because I could not see? What about you?
This 23rd to 25th September, come and listen to the stories of seven acclaimed differently-abled artists and entrepreneurs. Listen to MasterChef’s first blind winner, Christine Ha from USA. And the ‘voice of the nation’, Patrick Teoh who refused to be trapped by what the world judged them to be. Come and hear their stories of how they achieved the impossible in spite of tremendous odds
Stevens Chan (CEO/Founder) Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia
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