Tag Archives: José Feliciano

Turning Four!

Not everyone is still willing to give persons with disabilities a chance four years after The PWD Forum came about.

In Indonesia for instance, disability is still regarded as a punishment from God. PWDs must be exorcised, tied up at the back of the house (dipasung), confined to a small hut in the backyard, or tied at the wrists and ankles to a tree or heavy log. Disability is also seen as a matter of fate so there is little empathy for PWDs for whom ‘nothing can be done’.

As such, PWDs are excluded from most governments’ planning and support. In Bhutan in particular, its educational policy lack inclusive policy guidelines resulting in unequal opportunities.  Taiwan, on the other hand, has only programs for PWDs with “mild” conditions and the curricula just followed what is being taught in preschool classes.

In South Africa, teachers lack skills and knowledge. In South Korea, teachers know no culturally relevant curricula. In Malaysia, teachers are unprepared in terms of emotional acceptance and technical skills.

It is no wonder then that PWDs are still berated when seeking employment or at work; employers would definitely incur costs from hiring PWDs. Educating them alongside non-PWDs  would not be an easy feat especially that the term ‘inclusion’ itself has no fixed definition even in the western countries from which this concept was realized.

There are also parents who do not understand the meaning of inclusive education till now. Thus, the parents are still anxious with their children attending mainstream schools. Even governments are not sure what the concept really means and how it could be relevant within the local context.

If PWDs and non-PWDs study together, though, there would be no need to build exclusive educational institutions. Adjustment may also come naturally. Maricel Apatan had not been a burden anyway when she was studying a two-year course in Hotel and Restaurant Management in Cagayan de Oro City. She was even hired as a pastry chef at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Manila.

A polio victim, Marc Joseph Escora, had managed his training at the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) in Bacolod City. Blind, Safiya Mundus had graduated from the Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School.

The PWD Forum could just imagine what else could have happened had Arnel Navales Aba, Godfrey Esperanzate Taberna, Emilia Malinowska, Jose Feliciano, and Mohamed Dalo finish school. Townsely Roberts had at The College of the Bahamas with an associate degree in Accounting and Computer Data Processing in 1995. Gary Russell had, too, at the same college with an associate degree in Law and Criminal Justice then at the University of Buckingham for his bachelor’s and master’s.

It was from his blind father that former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo learned discipline. Protecting the integrity and honor of one’s family is of highest importance, his father had said, and children are expected to contribute their share in doing that. So Jesse launched the “Fully Abled Nation,” a program seeking to increase the participation of PWDs in the coming 2013 Philippine midterm elections, roughly three months before he died in a plane crash.

“Hopefully, one day, the notion behind “persons with disability” be somehow erased from the world’s vocabulary and usher-in a day when technology, private & public organizations, and the law work together to give each person equal rights and opportunities, regardless of the person’s impediment.” ~ Atty. Mike Gerald C. David

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jozelle Tech

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José Feliciano: the blind guitarist

As important as his recognition for being the first Latin artist to cross over into the English music market is José Feliciano’s inability to see.

José Montserrate Feliciano García, his full name, was born blind. Despite of this, he was able to play the concertina when he turned six. He was also able to perform at The Puerto Rican Theater in the Bronx when he was just nine and he was around 17 when a music critic from the New York Times saw him play at a coffee house in Gerde’s Folk City. He was described as a “10-fingered wizard who romps, runs, rolls, picks and reverberates his six strings in an incomparable fashion” then.

By the time he was 23, José Feliciano already earned five Grammy nominations, won two Grammy Awards, performed over much of the world, and recorded songs in four languages. Three of these celebrated songs are “Light My Fire,” “Che Sara,” and “Feliz Navidad.” He eventually became known the world over as “the greatest living guitarist”.

José Feliciano has been also referred to as “the Picasso of his Realm.” He has been recognized as the “Best Pop Guitarist” in the Guitar Player Magazine and has been voted the “Best Jazz and Best Rock Guitarist” in the Playboy Magazine. The Billboard Magazine has selected him to receive a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The New York City has renamed the Public School 155 in East Harlem to be “The Jose Feliciano Performing Arts School” in his honor. The Catholic Church has knighted him at the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut has accorded him a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his musical and humanitarian contributions to the world.

Today, José Feliciano is also known for being the “Ambassador of Good Will” throughout the world. Apart from performing with the London Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, among others, he also often supports charities “that he believes are important.”

“I used to be a dreamer in school. I never, in all my wildest days, would ever think I’d become kind of a Latin idol to the women in Latin countries or a hero to young kids. I never thought of that. My main interest really was playing music. I was always fascinated by the sound I could get out of things. I’m just, a very lucky person, that God gave me the chance to do what I’m doing.” ~ José Feliciano

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of ognet