In the soft morning light, a diverse group of individuals gathered at Kerinchi LRT station on August 29, 2023, ready to embark on an intriguing expedition. Their destination? PETROSAINS, the Science Discovery Centre at Suria KLCC. While the sun had only just begun its ascent, the anticipation in the air was palpable. The participants included both abled and disabled individuals, all eager to partake in a day filled with science, technology, and, above all, inclusivity.
As they boarded the train, the reality of rush hour set in. The crowded LRT train during those early hours tested their determination, but they stood tall, determined to embrace the day just like any other commuter.
Upon arrival at PETROSAINS, the building’s imposing yet inviting façade welcomed them. The initial language barrier was an unexpected hurdle. Selina, one of the spirited participants, shared, “The challenging part for me was that everyone was speaking Malay, which I found a bit difficult.” Language differences added an extra layer to their adventure, but it was a challenge they were willing to overcome.
Stepping into PETROSAINS was akin to entering a realm of science fiction. The dimmed lights and intriguing sounds beckoned, promising an immersive experience. Selina’s excitement couldn’t be contained as she remarked, “Inside, we saw captivating lights, perfect for capturing TikTok videos and photos. The highlight was crafting paper airplanes that soared astonishingly far!”
Their journey unfolded, guiding them through Earth’s history, from the depths of the ocean to outer space. Oil platforms, Formula 1 cars, and even a foray into a 3D world expanded their horizons. Yet, as with any adventure, challenges lay ahead.
Lunchtime found them at Mesra Cafe, but the bustling crowd left them with limited food options. Azrul, a participant who moved with crutches, pointed out, “Food options are scarce, and the demand exceeds supply, leading to higher prices.” It was a stark reminder that accessibility encompassed more than just ramps and elevators; it encompassed basic necessities as well.
Zaiton, another participant using a wheelchair, faced her own set of challenges. Several lifts designed for wheelchair users were out of service, limiting her access to certain parts of the exhibition. Many science demonstrations were positioned on platforms or tables that were too high for her to interact with comfortably. These obstacles underscored the pressing need for improved accessibility throughout the center.
In addition to these challenges, there was a severe lack of support for vision-impaired individuals. Selina and Amirul, who were visually impaired, faced a daunting task of navigating the exhibits without adequate accommodation. Recognizing this gap, an ENOKU representative stepped in as a guide and companion, verbally explaining each exhibit to them. This act of inclusivity highlighted the importance of addressing the needs of all participants, regardless of their abilities.
As they continued their exploration, accessibility concerns surfaced. Elevators, although present, sometimes proved too snug for wheelchairs and their users, underscoring the need for more accommodating facilities. Gnana raised a crucial point, “Employing volunteers and staff who know sign languages would be an asset in assisting deaf visitors.”
In conclusion, their trip to PETROSAINS was a day filled with unforgettable moments. They delved into the wonders of science, forged new friendships, and gained insights. Amid laughter, learning, and growth, they discovered that inclusivity wasn’t solely about physical accessibility; it extended to ensuring everyone’s basic needs were met.
Amidst the challenges they encountered, what truly shone through was the unwavering unity within the group. Didie, one of the participants, took it upon herself to accompany Zaiton throughout the exhibition, ensuring she could fully participate in the experience. This act of companionship embodied the spirit of inclusivity that ENOKU stood for. Their support for one another extended beyond the exhibition halls. After the exhibits, they made sure that everyone, especially the visually impaired, had a fulfilling meal at the food court. Together, they navigated the bustling streets of KLCC and boarded the train, ensuring no one was left behind. Some even opted to carpool, further reinforcing the bond that had been forged during their day of discovery. This unity, both during and after the exhibition, showcased the genuine care and camaraderie that defined their journey to PETROSAINS.
As they bid farewell to PETROSAINS, they carried with them not only knowledge but also a shared sense of unity. Their journey was a testament to the power of inclusivity, a reminder that every individual had a unique story to tell and a valuable contribution to make.