White Canes and the Blind in Thailand

Wow…I knew that blind people in Thailand have a difficult time, but this story from The Nation describes how many visually impaired people struggle to make it through life. The worldview in Thailand has shaped the thinking to say that if something bad happens to someone it is deserved. It is your bad karma that brings the hardship to you. This means that the blind and other disabled people are often pushed off to the side and marginalized in society.

In recent years, the queen of Thailand has created a campaign to help the blind which has brought more opportunities. The Thai government is now aiming to give the blind and visually impaired more skills and ways to enter society. The first step will be to pass out white canes and train people how to navigate around by themselves.

When I walk around Thailand, few people know what my white cane means. For instance, when I go to the airport, the workers get confused as to why I have a weapon in my hand, or a golf club or something unusual. They almost always want me to check it under the plane when I check in as they don’t recognize it as a necessary item for me. Maybe now, my stick will be more recognizable…

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