I am a part-time disabled person now. I use crutches whenever I go. Let me report my two weeks of experience as a disabled in Shanghai.
Wheel Chair? No. Thanks
I did get a 300 RMB nice wheel chair but I only used it outside my home for once. It turned out that Shanghai is not a good place to use wheel chair. There are slops at the pedestrian at cross road, but it seems no one ever tested it. The gap (about half cm) is just too big for a wheelchair to pass. Wendy pushes the wheelchair to get me up to the pedestrian, but got stuck there. If she pushes harder, I will fall out from the front since it is stuck anyway. The only solution is for me to leave the wheelchair, jump aside, helped me to pull the wheelchair up, and get to the pedestrian, and then sit down. After several places like this, I gave up wheelchair.
There are many places with lots of stairs, especially in restaurants. Once when I was shown of 20+ straight stairs to the second floor, my jaw dropped – just like the Panda in Kungfu Panda saw the stairs to the temple. I said: Thanks but no.
Crossing the Street
Crossing the street is so exciting! With cars horn and other people running as fast as rabbit, you quickly found out you are the only person left on the pedestrian, and the green light is almost over. The cars are like the race cars at the starting point – the engine is ready, and just wait for a green light! Well. I admit that I feel this type of tension only in Hollywood movie. Poor Jian Shuo!
Few Disabled on the Street!
I know the real reason why there are very few disabled in public space in Shanghai (and in China). The city is not designed for disabled (at least not for people losing a leg, no to mention people who cannot see). The only disabled people you see are very likely to be beggar – although some uses a crutch just to pretend to be disabled.