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September 15, 2021

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Wheelchair users in good health at Disney disdain norms

FANCY you are drawn by the glamor of sharing your Disney moments on WeChat, but find the epic size of the park intimi­dating. Many feel the long walks from one amusement to another are not their idea of fun, particularly while sweltering in the sun.

Well, you can sit in a wheelchair, hired at the resort’s entrance for 90 yuan (US$14) a day, to be pushed by, say, your boyfriend. But such an arrangement could be eas­ily worked out with any pusher on the understanding of sharing the use of the wheelchair by turns.

Such tips have been shared online by those who have tried this, and found it fun.

At first I found it tempting to denounce these young people — hopelessly hedo­nistic weaklings unwilling to exercise a basic physical function — as unworthy de­scendants from a people known for their culture of hard work, and a heightened sense of responsibility.

I conducted a survey among some ac­quaintances. A gentleman in his 90s was indignant. “There is simply no justifying this — this is clearly informed by a warped mindset of extracting fun at the expense of the handicapped. Imagine someone won­dering aloud: It was not bad at all for a handicapped person to be pushed around in a wheelchair.”

One male colleague was more permis­sive. “Personally, if their behaviors do not go against relevant regulations, it would be simply an issue of personal whim. But it would be a management issue if Disney Resort is thus rendered incapable of provid­ing wheelchairs for those truly in need.”

One female colleague commented curtly, “It is fadia, period.” Fadia refers to a woman acting in a spoiled manner to show off how charming she is to her partner. The col­league added cynically: “There are all kinds of handicaps.”

I basically agree with the latter assess­ment, believing whatever satisfaction the feigning invalid might have, this cannot but be informed by a callousness, a lack of empathy for those with disabilities, or a disdain for social norms.

My wife also dismissed this as exhibition­ist, with the punchline that a public display of such intimacies can be self-defeating.

There is no denying that some young people are evincing a lack of ambition, with some choosing to opt out, or lie flat.

In addressing this there is the challenge of how to incentivize young people to be so­cially more engaged, to exert themselves, to bear hardship, and to take responsibility.

In this aspect, the recent government initiatives to achieve greater equality in income distribution and the effort to reinvigorate upward social mobility are cer­tainly sending an encouraging message.


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