Khew Ee Hung, Rakuno Gakuen University, Japan/ Malaysia
*-Organization name: Rakuno Gakuen University (RGU)
*-Organization street address 582, Bunkyodai-Midorimachi, Ebetsu, Hokkaido 069-8501, Japan
*-Work phone +8111-3861111
*-Work fax +8111-3884129
*-Scholar Email: email@example.com
*-Organization Web site : http://en.rakuno.ac.jp/
*-ORGANIZATION’S WORK: RGU was established in 1960 with only one department known as Department of Dairy Science. With the concept of “tri-love” from Christianity which means “love God, love people and love soil” and “healthy soil, healthy people” as the pillar of education, the school has since strived to nurture more individuals not only academically excellent but also leaders who show the quality of humanity. RGU today is divided into College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Sciences which includes Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Human Wellness, Department of Environmental and Symbiotic Science, and School of Veterinary Medicine which includes Department of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Veterinary Science. RGU also works academically with more than 33 institutions around the globe academically. (Photo Right: Khew in 2014 at Penang National Park, study site for her masters degree)
As I am from Environmental GIS Laboratory under the Department of Environmental and Symbiotic Science, we uses advance technologies including GIS, drones and remote sensing in agricultural, environmental and environmental education field. For examples, we use drones to capture pictures of the agricultural field, study the changes using NDVI and other formulation; we use GPS collars to be attach to the Sika deer to identify their movements; we use satellite images to analyze the location affected by the overgrazing sika deer population; we compare the changes of the environment today with the old days; we carrying out the environmental education with huge size maps at local schools; we share our technologies with the developing countries through programs and cooperation and etc. *.
*-ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION: I am currently an assistant GIS analyst and a part time lecturer after I completed my Master Degree in March 2017. When I was a Master Degree student, I did not only study and carrying out study for my Master Dissertation but I also acted as a Teaching Assistant in assisting the Undergraduate students on basic GIS and GIS application learning. Also, as a foreign student who can speak English in RGU, I assisted and are still assisting the foreigner participants who come here for "Remote Sensing of Forest Resources" and the foreign students from countries such as Malaysia and Thailand who come here under student exchange programs or internship especially during basic GIS lectures whenever possible. (Photo Above, Khew helping teach JICA's Remote Sensing of Forest Resources trainees in 2015)
History of your personal work in conservation and GIS: Involving myself in conservation and GIS today should be traced back to the years in junior high school and high school. In Malaysia, geography was a compulsory subject during junior high school years and I found myself enjoyed learning it. However, geography was no longer a compulsory subject during high school years. A few friends and I tried to request that our high school started a geography class but we were rejected as we were not able to gather a group of 10 people. Soon, I found myself started to love the subject of biology which lead me to study Conservation Biology at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS). (Photo right: Khew with Interns from University of Malaysia at the Int'l Wildlife Management Congress in 2015)
With the rich nature of Sabah, I explored many amazingly beautiful natural places and my fond of nature started to grow within myself. At the same time, I feel sad for the issues of environmental degradation and destruction that we learned. Then, from some chats with friends from business and finance students who do not have any idea about the environment, I realized the important of integrating environmental education into eco-tourism to raise awareness among the people in conserving and preserving the nature while they are enjoying the precious nature. I also chose eco-tourism for the elective courses. Unfortunately, the professor expertise in eco-tourism was not around during my years at UMS’s Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC). Thus, I chose to study ethnobotany at a local protected area with the hope to enumerate the number of useful plants to the indigenous people for my graduation thesis. The result shows that even in a small parcel of land (a quarter hectare) has lots of useful plants which can be used for food, construction, medicine and etc. And this is important to give the value to the nature when we try to convince non-conservationists about the importance to conserve the nature. (Photo Right, Khew with her supervisor at radio interview on the work of the RGU Environmental GIS Laboratory in 2016)
As for GIS, I started to like it only during my internship at Rakuno Gakuen University (RGU) in 2013. Though I used to learn a little about it in UMS, I did not had any interest because I did not know how useful it is in various fields. This is also the reason why I worked my way here and is studying Environmental GIS in RGU. And I still have to work part time to cover the expensive living cost here in Japan. While filling up this application form, I am expecting to graduate in March 2017. For this Master Degree Dissertation, I am writing about the accessibility of national parks to people who use wheelchairs. This is because I think that a national park which is a popular location for eco-tourism, should be accessible for all and that everyone has the right to be healthy and learn more about the nature so that everyone can understand the importance of the nature, and willing to conserve and preserve the nature. Also, I am assisting undergraduate GIS classes by being a teaching assistant and whenever possible, I also assisted the JICA’s “Remote Sensing of Forest Resources”.
*-Title of the paper you will present: Can the People who Use Wheelchairs enjoy the National Parks?
*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present: National parks are important not only to conserve and preserve the environment but also a good place for recreation and eco-tourism. As conservation and preservation need money, recreation and eco-tourism can be a good source of income as many are willing to pay for the service. With the expanding population of people with disabilities (PwDs), including the elderly due to better awareness of human right, advancement of healthcare, and the increasing aged population and traffic accidents in the world, the accessibility of national parks towards the people who use wheelchairs has become more significant. Besides, I believe that everyone, including the disabled do have the rights to enjoy the nature and they may want to involve in conservation and preservation activities as well.
Penang National Park (PNP), Taman Negara National Park (TMNP), and Kinabalu Park (KP) are chosen in this study because of their short distance to a city or they are popular or both. This study utilize descriptive research method to examine the current accessibility of people who use wheelchairs to the selected national park based on collected data. The collected data are free/open GIS data to identify the location of the parks, the accessible area, the location of facilities, services and/or experiences accessible by the people who use wheelchairs using GIS. Verification of the accessibility was done by collecting the primary data via on-site observation and telephone interview as well as secondary data from the online survey. Slope percent calculated from DEM data is used to identify the accessibility and difficulty of the road and trails to people who use wheelchairs by comparing to the accessible scales.
The least accessible distance and least accessible elevation range in the park is PNP, followed by TNNP, and KP. In Malaysia, people who use wheelchairs mostly cannot access to the parks or access with difficulties and much inconveniences as the accessible facilities such as toilets are either not provided or provided without complying with Malaysian Standard. The paved path may have numbers of obstacles that stop the use of people who use wheelchairs or threaten their safety.