Erenlai - Focus: Challenged but not disabled
Focus: Challenged but not disabled

Focus: Challenged but not disabled



In memory




Bob Ronald, SJ


1932 - 2009


Thursday, 23 December 2010

The anatomy of an event - how you can help me survive

Our lives are nothing but a series of events, one after another, that mold us into the persons we become. Actually, it is not the events that define us, but how we react to whatever happens.

Every event follows a pattern of stages as follows:

1. First there is a triggering event. Something happens or is experienced that starts off the reaction: such as the advent of a disability or some consequence of it, the person meets with an accident, experiences something pleasant or unpleasant, learns some bad news, etc.

2. The event is interpreted. The person responds to the event only according to what he/she thinks happened. An event does not become a personal event until it is invested with personal significance. Such events are seldom viewed objectively or dispassionately.  They are first understood in terms of what the person thinks about them.

First, the event is identified in terms of what it seems to be ("I am dying", "I’ve become a cripple", "I am lost"), which may or may not be true, and according to how it is experienced ("painful", "cold", "pleasant").

Then it is understood in terms of the person's previous factual or erroneous knowledge and former experiences and attitudes (what the person thinks the disability is going to be like or what kind of attitudes he/she has already about persons with disabilities), which may or may not be factual or realistic. For instance, if the only disabled person the person has encountered before is a crippled beggar on the street, that’s the way the person views himself/herself now. If, on the other hand, the model of disability is President Roosevelt in the White House in a wheelchair or some successful artist or musician then the interpretation will be quite different.

Finally, it is evaluated in terms of standards of reference ("it is good or bad", "it is expensive or cheap") or its supposed import for the individual ("it means I will never walk again"). The judgment can be    simply informative ("this is like what happened to Uncle Harry") or imperative ("this is dangerous and should be avoided"). The evaluation may or may not be objective or realistic.

3. At once there are spontaneous responses: The subjectively interpreted event spontaneously arouses physiological reactions       like changes in heart-beat, the release of enzymes, etc. and emotional reactions like anger, fear, revulsion, desire, love, hate, revulsion, joy or contentment or just apathy, depending on how the event is perceived and understood.

Emotions are important components of behavior. They add energy and intensity to one's behavior and spur on coping activities. But they may also hinder and disrupt, like fear that paralyses or grief that debilitates. The more intense and attention-consuming emotions are, the less easy it is for a person to face problems objectively or move on to other concerns.

4. The next element is tension. The interpreted event infused with emotion impels the person to do something about it. It might be necessary to wait, to ponder the situation, come to a decision first and choose the means before beginning to execute the plan. The strength of the tension depends upon the urgency of the judgments and feelings.

5. Then comes the action response. In response to the tension, the person initiates action of some sort, to either ignore the problem, flee away, destroy it, or face and deal with it.

6. Finally, there is resolution. As the counter action takes place, the tension relaxes or not, depending on the outcome. If the activity produces its intended effect or seems on the way to do so, the tension is relieved and satisfaction, pleasure experienced. If the activity is unsuccessful or produces unwanted results, the tension is prolonged or increased. In this case it is like a new triggering event that can bring on a whole new series of reactions.

At every point in the above process there is the possibility of          mistaken judgments, inappropriate or uncontrolled emotions, faulty decisions or foiled unsuccessful actions. The nature of the disability or problem adds an element of difficulty, because it may disrupt or limit the ways a person can behave by interfering with functional abilities, e.g. blindness, paralysis and mental retardation all interfere with one's ability to interact with the environment and to achieve one's goals. The problems these cause can stir up additional emotional and psychological reactions that may further hinder adjustment.

There is the possibility that you misinterpreted what happened, you misjudged someone’s intention, jumped to wrong conclusions about what or why it happened, are mistaken about what you think is the seriousness or significance of what has happened. This influences how you feel and determines how much urgency you experience driving you to react. Then there is the means you choose to meet the challenge. If you botch the way you react or go down a path that is not effective, perhaps even harmful, then you don’t end up with a solution to your efforts but a new and worse event that needs crisis management.

I suppose in an ideal situation, one could just calmly sit back and analyze dispassionately what is happening:

Something has happened:

What is it: is it dangerous, important, insignificant?

Should it be ignored, monitored, investigated?

Should I run away, attack, do something, or ignore it?

Who is it: stranger, acquaintance, friend or enemy?

What should I do: ignore, run away, defend myself, attack

go on with my life as though nothing happened,

adjust to the new circumstances,

surrender helplessly and suffer the consequences?

What or how do I feel: fear, pain, anxiety, overwhelmed, challenged,

determined, resigned, disturbed, bewildered, joyful, content, at peace?

That is all very nice and easy to say, but if you are like me, you are not going to sit down and analyze what happened or chart your reactions. You will simply react as you usually do to what you believe is happening to you. That is perfectly normal, but a little reflection from time to time might help to handle better what happens next. Is it possible that I might have misinterpreted what occurred or the motives behind it? Is it possible that I could have reacted better or more effectively than I did? What can I learn from this?

That is my problem. I am the principal one involved in my event and I am the one who must respond to it. But if you are my friend, there is much you can do to help me. In the first place, you are in a position to see more objectively than I the nature and the ramifications of my problem, to correct misconceptions and to suggest solutions and offer aid.

Your helpful intervention in the first place would consist of doing something to stop or modify the triggering event, or distract my attention.  It may be necessary to correct my mistaken information or faulty judgments, or counter the prejudices or expectations of relatives and friends that may be unduly influencing me. First try to understand what precisely I am actually thinking. Are my perceptions, understanding and judgments accurate and realistic?  It is sometimes necessary to deal first with my feelings or reactive behavior before receptivity can be created for any change of ideas or attitudes.

Your intervention at this point should also depend upon the kind and the intensity of my emotions. Do they support coping constructively or moving on to other concerns or do they stand in the way? Apart from showing empathy, warmth, and understanding, negative and unruly feelings are best handled indirectly by modifying their cause such as by providing accurate information to relieve fears, introducing new experiences to produce a different emotions or arranging for less disruptive behavioral outlets through conditioning, counseling, or other methods.

Your intervention might be needed if I am reacting too precipitously or am not doing enough, or I am doing something inappropriate or harmful, etc. You must offer me advice about what to do or how to do it, pointing out mistakes or inappropriate decisions, etc.

Finally, when I am on the right track and doing what I can to get back on my feet, your presence, friendship, support, encouragement, warmth, praise, recognition and approval will support and help me over the rough times ahead.

Thank you for making my rehabilitation and adjustment possible.

Painting by Bendu

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The anatomy of my catastrophic event

In 1958, just a few days before by 26th birthday, I became suddenly severely paralyzed for life by an attack of polio. This was my catastrophic event. It launched me into a cycle of reactions that most people seem to experience one way or another in times of serious trouble. Even if you are not physically disabled, you have probably felt the same way in times of difficulty or failure.

A disability is truly a lifetime inconvenience. It makes you different from others. It prevents you from doing many things that others can do. It is a stigma in a society that cherishes beauty, strength and perfection. It is an obstacle in a society that treasures speed and productivity. It is truly a devastating thing.

The first reaction to the realization that you have become disabled is  “OH NO! NOT ME! This can’t be happening. There’s been a mistake.       The doctor is wrong. It’s not as bad as it seems. I will certainly recover.”

The next reaction is “WHY ME? What did I ever do to deserve this?”

This is followed by “WOE IS ME! I’m helpless and worthless. I’m no longer human. I can’t go on. Life is not worth living any more. I hate myself.”

Then comes “DAMN YOU, GOD! Why did you let this happen to me?   Do you even exist? Where were you when I needed you? I hate you.”

The last straw is “DAMN EVERYBODY! Stay away from me. I hate you and your pity and your sympathy. Can’t you see that this shows how helpless and miserable you think I am and it makes me feel even worse?”

These are common feelings experienced before a person learns to adjust to the new reality and begins the long road to rehabilitation. The above reactions are normal and reasonable. After all, you are experiencing real pain and loss. In the beginning this is all you are aware of.

Fortunately, that is only the beginning. Eventually you come to your senses, look around and realize “I’M STILL ALIVE! I still have life ahead of me. There are still things I can do.” At last, the road to adjustment can finally begin.

Now you can say instead “WHY NOT ME? What makes me so special that I alone should be free of the troubles that regularly befall all other people good or bad?”

Then you begin to think “IT’S UP TO ME. I’ve got to give it all I’ve got. If I give up all is lost.”

And then the truth hits you: “I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET.  I realize I cannot do it alone and must not be ashamed to accept it.”

And you finally see: “GOD IS STILL WITH ME, AFTER ALL. He didn’t abandon me, but was there waiting to help me get back up and is here to help me go on.”

Then, when you are finally back on your feet: “WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP OTHERS LIKE ME? So we can move on together encouraging and supporting each other.”

It isn’t only disability that disrupts and changes our lives. It doesn’t matter, so long as we can manage to go beyond the pain and disappointment to take up again our commitment to living as fully and positively and beneficially as we can.


Photo from Ronald's archives

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Forgive and forget

Justice is one of the good things that good people are supposed to practice. People are expected to justly demand from each other what is justly due and justly fulfill their just obligations to one another.

Forgiveness is also one of the “good things” “good people” are expected to do for each other. People are expected sometimes out of generosity, benevolence, kindness or some other benefit not to demand what is justly due them. Or they are asked to overlook some personal injury and not hold it against the perpetrator.

Good Christians are asked to forgive “seventy times seven” times” (Matthew, 18:22). They are told that God will not forgive them their trespasses if they don’t forgive others.

Good Buddhists are asked to allow loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity to overrule feelings of hatred, resentment or revenge because dwelling on these things causes pain. Buddha said “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."

The Dalai Lama is more specific: “Forgiveness means you shouldn’t develop feelings of revenge. Because revenge harms the other person, therefore it is a form of violence. With violence, there is usually counterviolence. This generates even more violence—the problem never goes away.” And again: “Forgiveness means you should try not to develop feelings of anger toward your enemy. Anger doesn’t solve the problem. Anger only brings uncomfortable feelings to yourself. Anger destroys your own peace of mind. … An agitated mind spoils our health, very harmful for body. This is my feeling.”

The Islamic Qur'an does condon defensive violence to protect one’s faith, life or property, but it also states that forgiveness is better: “They (Muslims) avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive.” (Qur'an 42:37) and “Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust.” (Qur'an 42:40).

The Hindu Vidura speaking to Dhritarashtra said “Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand? Fire falling on the grassless ground is extinguished of itself. And unforgiving individual defiles himself with many enormities. Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole happiness." (From the Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva Section XXXIII, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli).[7]

So, what does it mean to say “I forgive you”? Well, it means that I acknowledge that you have harmed or hurt me in some way, that somehow what you did cries out for vengeance or punishment or retribution, that it made me angry or sad or depressed or caused me some loss, but nevertheless I am putting aside my anger and resentment, I am going to accept your apology of saying how sorry you are, or at least I am not going to avenge what you did, and I am going to overlook what happened between us and restore normal relations.

Forgiveness is what we hope for whenever we know we have been guilty of some transgression and want to avoid punishment. But to receive forgiveness in such circumstances requires several conditions. There must usually be some admission of guilt, some show of repentance and some explicit or implicit promise not to repeat the offense. This admittance of guilt, promise of amendment must in many circumstances be accompanied by some act of restitution or compensation or the acceptance of some punishment. Then, most important of all, the offended party must agree to actually grant the forgiveness.

To hope for forgiveness is easy, to ask for it often not so easy, unless it is for something that was inadvertent or unintended. Pride often stands in the way of lowering oneself to asking forgiveness. It is hardest of all, perhaps, to ask for forgiveness when no one knows that we are the guilty party. When our guilt is known and punishment or restitution is immanent, that is the time that we need forgiveness either in the form of pardon, the dropping of charges or mercy or a lessening of what we owe.

The hardest part of forgiveness is granting it. Anger at the insult, pain from the injury, lasting emptiness from the loss remain long after the incident perhaps for a life time. How can one ever forget?

We cannot forget. The popular saying “Forgive and forget” is misleading. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. It means that at the very least, I won’t do to you what you did to me, it means that after you have paid whatever restitution is required or accepted whatever punishment your misdeed demands then I will let the matter drop. Forgiveness is a one time act that needs to carry with it a lifetime guarantee that whenever the offense is remembered, so is the forgiveness. Is this hard to do? Yes, but necessary if we want forgiveness ourselves.

It is said that “To err is human, to forgive divine.” What this means is that it is human-like to need forgiveness and it is God-like to grant forgiveness, which should include forgiving ourselves for our shortcoming and sins as well as remitting the offenses of others.

Painting by Bendu

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Bob Ronald has left us.

Robert J. Ronald, S.J. died January 2, 2009 at Cardinal Tien Medical Center in Taipei, at the age of 76. He was a Jesuit for 58 years and a priest for 43 years. The readers of eRenlai who have been reading his fables and essays knew him as "Bob."

Fr. Bob was born in Martinez, Calif., on October 1, 1932. He attended the Jesuit school, Bellarmine College Prep, in San Jose, California graduating in 1950. Influenced by one of his freshmen teachers, Mr. Albert Klaeser, S.J., soon to be assigned to China. Bob applied to the Jesuits and was accepted into the novitiate on August 14, 1950. He had a strong desire to do missionary work and petitioned the Provincial to be sent on several occasions: “Even before I went to Bellarmine I felt attracted to the missions and that desire has remained with me in varying degrees since then.” His wish was granted and at the completion of his philosophy course at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington in 1957, he followed in the footsteps of his former teacher to Asia. Fr. Klaeser was later to become Bob’s Jesuit Superior in Taiwan.

While studying Mandarin in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Bob was stricken with polio in September 1958. He received a further setback when, while being prepped for orthopedic surgery in the U.S., he suffered cardiac arrest and had to be cut open for doctors to resuscitate his heart. He made a slow and painful recovery, receiving therapy at Warm Springs, Georgia. After two periods of strenuous therapy, he made a remarkable recovery and was assigned to Bellarmine Prep to teach public speaking and debate for a semester. All remarked on his constant good cheer and indomitable spirit. His attitude was reflected in his statement: “I am healthy. More healthy than before polio even, just limited in local motion, that’s all.” He was determined to go back to China and was able to resume his languages studies in Taiwan in 1961. He studied Theology in Baguio City, Philippines, 1962-66, and was ordained a priest on May 9, 1965.

Fr. Bob returned to the States in 1968 and worked on a M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Arizona. He interned at hospitals in Phoenix and was able to get around in a van specially equipped with hand controls and a lift gate. He returned to Taiwan in December 1971 and took up a post as a consultant at the Veteran’s Hospital in Taipei, a position he held until he retired in January 2002. At the same time, he organized and led his own organization, Operation De-Handicap, to provide follow-up vocational counseling and referral services for the disabled. In addition to working with individuals, Bob produced manuals for those working with the handicapped and their families, taught classes and workshops, and gave presentations at international conferences on rehabilitation throughout the world. The organization’s philosophy stressed helping persons to help themselves and assume the ultimate responsibility for their own rehabilitation. The role of the family in the rehabilitation program was also stressed.

In 1974, Bob suffered major injuries in a head-on collision and remained in critical condition for some time. He was able to resume his work, but a year later, an infection set in and his left leg was amputated above the knee. Still, Bob remained undaunted, continued his work and was able to visit foundations and benefactors to support his organization, including a 13,000 mile van trip around the U.S. lecturing and raising money. He continued his writing, counseling, and teaching. His books went through many revisions and printings and were distributed gratis. Over the years the focus of Operation De-Handicap has shifted from those recovering from polio to those coping with other disabilities, especially muscular dystrophy. Bob also devised a computerized pictorial vocational interest inventory test for use with the retarded and those with limited literacy.

Over the years Bob has been recognized as a national authority on rehabilitation in Taiwan and has received government and private awards for his work. His work has been instrumental in bringing those with handicaps into the mainstream of society throughout Asia and will continue to do so in the future through the capable hands of Bob’s associates. He was well aware of the apostolic dimensions of his work. “Though I seldom have the occasion…to explicitly introduce God or the Church, my identity as a priest and as a Jesuit is nearly universally known and my motives respected.”

After retiring from more than 30 years of service at Taiwan’s Veterans’ Hospital, Fr. Bob volunteered to work at Jesuit-run Kuangchi Program Service in Taipei. There, he wrote and corrected English scripts for KPS productions. During his final years, he became a prolific writer of editorials, poems, and fables for the Jesuit monthly Renlai. Many of his writings can be found on the publication’s electronic website Renlai plans to collect, edit and publish Fr. Bob’s writings in book form.

Fr. Bob will be remembered for his deep spirituality and persistence in adversity; he saw his physical setbacks as opportunities for service to others. He often amazed people by claiming that the two greatest gifts he had received from God were his polio affliction and his car accident, because these sufferings taught him so much and enabled him to help so many people with similar afflictions.

Fr. Bob’s kind and joyful disposition, his positive outlook, and deeply human spirituality made him an excellent spiritual director for Jesuits and lay people alike. Bob’s care provider of the last seven years claims that Fr. Bob changed his life through his kindness and patient companionship, always reaffirming and encouraging, never scolding, criticizing or complaining.

Although Fr. Bob has now left this world and his beloved Taiwan, his love of life, his strong and determined spirit, and his compassionate heart will continue to inspire and give hope to all who knew him for years to come. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, 07 January 2009

A Tribute to Bob Ronald

You were smiling a lot, Bob, not speaking very much.
But, during these last years, you wrote down streams of words,recollections, essays, editorials...And, above all: fables. Around 250 of them.
You loved fables, you loved these short stories with malicious endings

- "There are lessons hidden here" -,

stories with dogs who bark and dogs who do not bark,
stories with trees, kings and farmers,
stories full of the wisdom taught by the Earth and by Heavens,
stories as flavory as the cookies that your mother was keeping in a jar.
We loved your fables, Bob, and we will share them with many,
with all people ready to open up their ears and to listen.

But do you know Bob?

You were a fable by yourself, the best, the most majestic of all the ones you wrote.
You were for us the parable of God.
Seeing you as you were, we learnt to know better the God who takes patience,
the God who has lovingly entrusted the world to his sons and daughters,
the God who transforms us just by doing nothing, just by staying with us.
And we were also witnessing in your silent, constant and formidable fight
the God who works as a gardener so that life may flourish,
the God who cherishes all forms of life,
the God who constantly works in the rocks, in the flesh and in the spirit.
Yes, you were for us the living story of the God who inhabits your body, our bodies,
and who makes them the seed of His Kingdom,
provided we freely accept to fall into the earth and to die there for bearing fruit
as you did, day after day, with few words and good smiles.

So, Bob, thanks for having been the seed and the story hidden in our midst,
and help us to make sense of our own story, keeping gratefully in mind
the fable that has been your life,
now that it has become one with the wondrous story of Christ

- "For there are lessons hidden here."

Bob was born in Martinez, California on Oct. 1, 1932. He entered the Jesuits in 1950 and was ordained a priest in 1965. He arrived in Taiwan in 1957 and was diagnosed with polio in 1958. After getting a M.A. as a professional rehabilitation counselor he founded the Operation De-Handicap in 1973 and worked at the Veteran General Hospital till his retirement. During the last five years he worked as English editor for Renlai and eRenlai and wrote around 250 fables as well as more than 200 editorials and essays.


We will miss him dearly. At the same time, we remember him as a living story of the God, a parable of God in our midst, showing us the patience and serenity of the Creator who has entrusted the world to his sons and daughters as well as His tireless labor for making life grow and triumph. Bob was a patient but formidable fighter, and will help us to receive as a gift the resources of strength, and inner peace that we continuously need.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

My Shanghai Experience


I just came back from 10 days in Shanghai where I gave several talks to various groups of handicapped people and to the students in a large private high school. I was amazed at Shanghai’s size. Every day we would drive for about an hour in different directions and never leave the city. The networks of elevated highways were most impressive. What a lot of planning must have been involved and what a lot of sacrifice and turmoil must have also occurred upsetting people’s lives and uprooting families to clear the highway right of ways for their construction, to say nothing of the countless dwellers dispossessed of their homes to make way for the mountains of high rise structures erupting everywhere. One hopes that there was adequate compensation and the people who had to move are better off than before. Such changes are inevitable and necessary, but so much easier when they happen to others rather than to oneself.

To a superficial eye perhaps, at least to the eye of a foreigner like myself, it might look like the city is turning itself into a clone of some American, European or other “developed” region of the world, but hopefully that will never happen. A culture is not defined by the structures it builds but by the lives and values of those who live in them. Shanghai for all its rush into the 21st century is a Chinese city and may it always remain so. The rest of the world should put aside their pride thinking “how much they are beginning to look like us” and humbly try to help the Chinese to avoid the mistakes they themselves made when they expanded and developed. And the Chinese should never toss away or sacrifice their cultural diversity for the sake of progress or assimilation. The only way Shanghai can become a great Chinese city is to keep its Chinese identity and character. And that is why I was so pleased to find that the heart of the city still seemed so Chinese in spirit and aspiration.

During my stay in Shanghai I had many occasions to meet disabled and handicapped persons. Their concerns are basically the same as those all around the world. All they want is to be accepted by others and treated with respect and, of course, to be given sufficient opportunities to develop their potentials and lead normal lives. Nearly all of them had experienced from time to time rejection, discrimination and denial of assistance. But at the same time, they are still holding on to hope, trying not to give up, but to find opportunities that will allow them to live in peace with self-respect and independence.

Every day for seven days I met a different group of handicapped persons. In each instance, some private individuals concerned with their welfare had organized some activities for them, to discuss their problems and give them some assistance for finding training and work. This is precisely the way that rehabilitation has begun all over the world: some of those who have sharing with those who have not. With its growing economy there are more and more of those in China who have, a very hopeful sign for those who have not.

To those concerned about the needs of all the millions of disabled and handicapped persons in China, the task seems formidable and totally beyond anything they can do as individuals. That is true. What every Chinese who has should be asking himself or herself is not “what can I do to help all the disabled in China?”, but “what can I do right now together with my other concerned neighbors to help those few handicapped right here in my own neighborhood?” This is precisely what those who invited me to speak were doing: extending a helpful hand to their neighbors in distress. If everywhere others would do the same, not only would more and more disabled persons be helped, but also the present rather discouraging attitude of the general public toward handicapped persons would improve dramatically.

We need to change the way we look at persons with disabilities and handicaps. They are not just pitiful people who cannot do things, but only people who cannot do some things the regular way. I cannot walk from here to there, but with a good wheelchair I can still go from here to there. A blind person cannot see the words in a book, but with braille can still read the book.

We disabled persons hope that when you see us you will not say to yourself, "How sad that this person cannot do the things I like to do or go to the places I like to go or work where I work." We hope you will think instead, "Here is someone just like myself. We have the same kind of hopes and needs. Too bad about the limitations, but no matter. What kind of training or special equipment or ramps are needed, so that he or she can also do the things I like to do or go to the places I like to go or work where I work?" What we hope for from you is that you will point out to us all the things we can still do. Help us find a goal for our lives that seems valuable to us and which we can attain even with the disabilities. Then as my friend show me that I am making progress toward that goal and accept me as your neighbor.



Wednesday, 11 April 2007

My chance encounters with chance

An "alternative" biography...

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Handicaps and Rehabilitation

"Handicaps" are generally considered conditions that prevent a person from performing some normal activity in the normal way. Sometimes handicaps have the added disadvantage of separating “handicapped” people from “normal” people. Sometimes they are like stigmas that mark the handicapped persons and label them as different, unacceptable, persons to be avoided or isolated.

“Rehabilitation” is a term associated with “handicapped” persons. It is the process that seeks to repair or remove the conditions that cause the handicaps or at least to eliminate or compensate for the handicaps. “Rehabilitation” helps a “disabled” person to live with the disability by heightening his/her positive qualities and eliminating or minimizing his/her limitations.

Given the prevalence of  “impairments”, “disabilities” and “handicaps” at every level of society, provisions for “rehabilitation” are very important and necessary.

Usually when we think of “handicapped” persons we are thinking of persons with “physical or mental disabilities”.

The truth is that in every society there are great numbers of  “handicapped” people, not necessarily those afflicted with “physical or mental disabilities”, but also all those who are the victims of “financial, educational, environmental or cultural impairments” which prevent them from entering into the mainstreams of society and separate them from admission to the ranks of those entitled to enjoy the full benefits of belonging to “proper” society.

Therefore this article  explores both kinds of  “handicaps” with a section on  “physical and mental impairments, disabilities and handicaps”  and their  “rehabilitation” and another section on “cultural and social impairments, disabilities and handicaps” and their “rehabilitation”.

“Rehabilitation” also has two focuses. One is on the person, the other is on the impairments, disabilities and handicaps themselves. With regard to the  “impaired, disabled or handicapped person”, the providers of “rehabilitation” ask:

1. What is the nature of this individual’s impairments? Can they be cured or treated?

2. What disabilities does this individual have? Can they be eliminated or compensated for?

3. What handicaps does this individual face in society because of thedisabilities?  What can be done about them?

In response the providers of  “rehabilitation” look for and provide  whatever services are required.

With regard to the “impairments, disabilities and handicaps” the providers of “rehabilitation” ask


1. What impairments are prevalent in society? Can they be eliminated or prevented?

2. What disabilities are experienced in society” What can be done to compensate for them?

3. What conditions in society make life difficult  for those with disabilities? How can we remedy these conditions?

In response the providers of “rehabilitation” engage in research and then initiate legislation or establish facilities or agencies to make the services available, provide the funds, resources and personnel necessary for the operation of these services and take steps to assure that all those who can benefit from these services actually receive them.

In this article we also look at “rehabilitation” from both these perspectives.

Read the entire article


Thursday, 25 January 2007

The Sun, the Moon and eRenlai

The sun radiates light, heat and energy. The moon receives light from the sun and radiates it on. As a living person like everyone else I am both a sun and a moon. As sun the light (or darkness) of my personality is visible to all. I radiate energy and purpose (or indifference and withdrawal). I create and share ideas and insights that are helpful or misleading. What I say and do (or what I hide and refuse to do) affects every situation in which I am a part.

Except when we are alone and completely out of contact with everyone else, we humans are inescapably men and women connected with others. We should also be men and women for others. As sun everything I say and do in the presence of others makes an impression for good or for bad, for better or for worse. I am not responsible for how others respond to my light, but I do have the responsibility to maintain the quality of my light.

The quality of my light depends in part on where the light comes from. I am not an isolated sun. I am moon as well. Much of what I reflect is passed on from what I receive from others. If I do not monitor and evaluate what I receive before I pass it on, then it is garbage in and garbage out.

Much also depends upon the quality of my reflecting surface. Even if I manage to filter out errors or emend them, but neglect to maintain the polish of the surface of my moon so it is pitted with imperfections, then no matter the quality of what I receive I am distorting it. What I radiate is colored by my temperament, modified by my beliefs, the information I have, my prejudices and judgments and my emotional state. Whenever the information upon which I act is erroneous or my beliefs or prejudices are off the mark or my judgments are clouded by emotions, then the light of my sun is corrupted and the moons who accept my messages receive flawed signals.

To maintain the quality of what I receive, I need reliable input. To maintain the accuracy of what I radiate I also need proper reflection, evaluation, self-control and guidance. If I align myself with the wrong guru or have no one to point out my mistakes then I remain a polluted and polluting transmitter.

This is where eRenlai Magazine comes in. As a source of meaningful, accurate, reliable information it purifies my input. Through its reflections, discussions and interchanges of ideas it rectifies my output. eRenlai will not tell me how to live or make any decisions for me, but it can increase my perception and understanding of reality and give me insights and options for making better judgments and taking more effective action.

Nets, Networks and eRenlai

A net is a contraption used by hunters to trap animals or fish. It is made of strands of rope intertwined and bound together at each junction. Laid flat it looks like a giant crossword puzzle waiting for the blanks to be filled in with letters. Set up where unsuspecting animals will run into it and get entangled in its meshes or dropped over hapless prey from above, nets are formidable weapons. Nets also have another function. When used as protection they keep what they cover from falling out or breaking apart.

Like chains, nets are only as strong as their weakest strands. If strands break down they create openings through which things may escape. The size of the mesh is also important.
The empty spaces must be smaller than what they must hold in.

Nets work because they are networks. They function as units. So long as every juncture stays firm and every strand holds strong, the network maintains its integrity and achieves its purpose.

Networks are models for human communication. Every one of us belongs to many networks, family networks, friendship networks, community networks, occupational networks, political networks, fields of interest networks, self-development networks, entertainment networks. Each individual is like the juncture in a net. As long as lines of contact are intact the network functions. Networks break down when would-be participants sever contact or the information passed is not reliable or deficient. Networks are tools that keep people together by being the conduits for the exchange of ideas. The value of a network can be measured in many ways: by the accuracy and significance of the information it passes and by the number of persons it reaches.

If someone wants to keep abreast of what is happening in the world or upgrade the quality of ideas exchanged or wishes to make substantial contributions to others or receive deeper insights and guidance for more effective interaction, then it is essential to have access to a high quality, well informed and reliable network.

eRenlai is such a network. Reliable experts, accurate information and analysis, meaningful reflections and opportunities for personal input make it a valuable tool for communication. Through eRenlai you too can make on impact.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Milloy

Friday, 10 November 2006

Operation De-Handicap, Taipei

Robert Ronald was twice struck by bad luck: suffering both polio and a tragic car accident. How can one turn his life around after such a change... Listen to Bob's advice on how to better understand and interact with handicapped people around you.

{rokbox size=|544 384|thumb=|images/stories/thumbnails_video/bob_de-handicap_old.jpg|}media/articles/de-Handicap.flv{/rokbox}



Page 2 of 2

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation


Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« June 2020 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          

We have 8548 guests and no members online