Dialogue In The Dark
Learning To See In The Dark
By Richard Liaw
Most of us are blessed with fully-functioning senses to perceive the world around us. Our eyes see the colours of the world, our ears hear music, our nose catches scents, our mouth tastes incredible delicacies and our bodies feel warmth. Well, for most of us at least. Some live life differently. And just recently, we, the Primal Team, had a little glimpse of how it would be like to live without sight, thanks to ‘Dialogue In The Dark’ (DID).
In the beginning, we did not know what to expect. We knew it was going to be a 45 minutes experience but that was it. After leaving our valuables in a locker, we were given a walking stick each and were briefed on the function of tactile warning tiles. Before we knew it, we were led into a dark room by our visually impaired guide. Her voice rang loud and clear in the dark room but she was courteous and patient. She led us through what felt like a series of corridors and then into a room. There was a time we felt like we were manoeuvring through a busy market and a time when we were trying to cross a bridge.
Just before the end of the experience, we were brought to a café where we had to place our order and make payment in the dark. We stumbled through the entire process. Heck, even taking a sip of our Teh Tarik and opening the wrapper for our biscuit proved to be a challenge. Fortunately, our guide’s assistance was just a call away. It was at that moment we learned to use our other senses more effectively and come to think twice about abilities and disabilities. In the dark, we are the ones who are impaired and we learn from the very people we perceived to be disabled.
After the entire experience, we were brought to a dimly lit room to adjust our eyes and talk about our thoughts. It was then that we learn that our guide is blind from birth. She has never seen the world with her eyes, but she has seen it with her heart. She was also a Paralympian and has been making the most out of her life, despite her circumstances. We thought to ourselves, if she can achieve so much despite her disability, what more can the rest of us do with the abilities that we are given.
Thanks to DID, we had that experience and walked away with a life-changing thought. The way we perceive ourselves and the people with impairment will never be the same again. We were in the dark, but we have never learned and seen things more clearly. If you have never heard about DID, you need to check them out. They also offer 3 – 3.5 hours corporate workshops. They have had big name clients like Nike, Maxis, Maybank and Sunway Group attend their workshops and have been receiving very positive comments. It certainly is not an ordinary business workshop, rather, a platform for communication and a close exchange between different cultures, provoking a change in perspectives.