Kenny Johar - Part 2
Be aware of what you think about yourself, your success outside depends upon your success inside.
(This is the second part of a two-part Story)
In addition to the positive impact computers had on Kenny's life, there were two other things that brought him out of the depths he initially experienced when his sight began to deteriorate: Zen and yoga, which he finds energizing. He has a strong penchant for both and considers himself to be a "nature junkie". Kenny feels a strong pull towards nature, and at some point in the future would like to move to the countryside.
Ten years ago while Kenny was still living in New Zealand he met a young woman by the name of Tina. One and a half years after he moved to Australia she followed. In 2006 Kenny and Tina were married. They are in the process of building a house in Melbourne.
Some of the questions and answers from my interview with Kenny shed additional light on the inner workings of this talented young man.
- Q: Did you have a role model or a number of role models as you were growing up and as you took on the challenge of reaching your goals in spite of your deteriorating vision?
A: I have had several inspiring role models over the years including my own father. My father is one of the most magnificent examples of resilience in the face of adversity. Maryanne Diamond, our International and Stakeholders Relations Manager happens to be my most powerful and inspiring role model right now.
- Q: What inspired you to or made you consider VA as a potential employer?
A: Vision Australia's passion and commitment to enabling people with vision loss to live a full and equitable life.
- Q: When you are not deep in IT development or texting messages around the world, what do you like to do? - sports? - reading (fiction, nonfiction)? - chess? Do you read DAISY formatted books and what other formats do you use on a regular basis (and for what purposes)?
A: I have a deep interest in Yoga, Tao and Zen. When I am not engrossed in IT, I am either reading books related to these subjects, or experimenting with techniques and methods described in these disciplines. I have a passion for books in general, and read a range of other books i.e. novels, non-fiction ... in DAISY format from Vision Australia, or the audible format from audible.com.
- Q: What do you and your wife Tina do for fun?
A: Tina and I watch movies, visit restaurants (food happens to be a penchant of mine) and travel. Both Tina and I are very interested in other languages, and are taking Spanish lessons currently.
- Q: What interests you other than IT, and do you foresee a change in career direction at some point in your life?
A: I am very interested in philosophy and psychology, and would love to pursue my passions in these subjects, when the time is right.
- Q: Where do you think your drive will take you both in terms of career and personal life?
A: Both Tina and I have a strong desire to travel around the world, and might decide to fulfill our aspirations in a few years by taking a working holiday around the globe.
- Q: How has the DAISY Online meeting gone this week? Is the deadline of September realistic for getting the specification ready to submit to the DAISY Board for approval?
A: The meeting went really well. We very strongly believe that the DAISY Online Standard will be ready as a draft standard for test use in September. (Editor's note: Kenny went to law school with Clive Lansink who was the project lead for the DAISY Online Project. Kenny's first serious involvement with the work of the DAISY Consortium was with this project. He joined the Online WG before he knew that Clive was the lead. Clive Lansink has since moved on to a career outside of the DAISY community and Kenny co-leads this project with Markus Gylling. Kenny is also involved in the DAISY 4 Standard revision working group).
- Q: Have you been following the Kindle issue? If so, what are your thoughts on it and is it relevant to folks in Australia?
A: I am very interested in the progress that we are making with WIPO and the global library project. Timely information access still remains a significant barrier to the vision impaired community, and I believe DAISY Online will have a lot to say about this over the next few years. Using DAISY Online, reading system vendors will now be able to reproduce the capabilities of the Kindle in the DAISY ecosystem. Copyright issues pose a significant challenge to information access for the vision impaired community, but I am positive that through the collaborative effort of organisations dedicated to changing the lives of people with vision loss around the world, we will very soon find an amicable solution to the problem, if not a conclusive one.
I asked Kenny what he considers the most important role for DAISY beyond use by people who are unable to read print because of a disability. Kenny replied: "1. DAISY is the future of information access around the world; 2. it is a fundamental way to access information. DAISY brings text and audio and other media together and also synchronizes what happens with physical media in the electronic dimension. It has to be a winner. There is no other format that expresses structure the way DAISY does. I see it being used in all sorts of contexts: books, magazines, medical info, university compendiums. DAISY has the semantics inside it. As an interactive reading system DAISY holds great promise.
In Vision Australia, Our Stories Kenny is quoted as follows: "A barrier is just a perception of the mind. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Make a wish, believe it, and watch your dreams come true." I asked him "If you could send a message to the world, would this be the message?" Kenny said he would like to change it a bit: "Be aware of what you think about yourself, your success outside depends upon your success inside. Success is success in relationships. Success with siblings and peers. A state of being. Success starts inside you, if you see yourself as successful, the world will too."