Thanks to my parents, both my brother and I, together with our sister of course, were made to participate in the deaf-related activities the moment we knew we had a deaf sister. We went for day-trip outings, charity events, sports events, family support group trips & others. Hence, brother and I learned sign language by interacting with the other deaf teenagers. And with other deafs like Jessica, Kevin, Jimmy, Esther, Mian Wai & others, we grew up & learned together, by participating in these activities. And these wonderful memories are still certified fresh in my mind till today.
When I graduated, I got enrolled into sign language classes in YMCA Brickfields while looking for a job. Got a Level 2 certificate & had many opportunities to be a volunteer interpreter in many events. OK, some of it are actually paid assignments & most of the time, being an unofficial interpreter for my sister too in activities such as family events etc. When I said being an interpreter for the deaf, this means me being a listener to a hearing speaker & translate it thru sign language to the deaf. It is thru these assignments too that I was exposed to the deaf culture & also to see for myself the level of awareness of the general public towards the deaf, which sadly still lacking today. Today post will be starting of those posts which I will provide some information of the deaf-related issues to all.
|With other hearing interpreters in Deaf Moolah, a financial event catered for the deaf|
It is this one event which touched me till today on being passionate of being a volunteer. I was assigned to be a volunteer interpreter for this deaf child participating in a Girl Scout gathering held in Brickfields some 10 years ago. I was prepared then, thinking it was a simple task interpreting for a 12 years old deaf child, which I don't need to scratch my head too much to sign those complicated words/phrases. Little that I realized later that this girl, Sharmila was diagnosed with a rare disease which caused her to be deaf & had a deteriorating visibility (which will cause her to go blind eventually). One look at a deaf/half blind 12 years old child, wearing 2 hearing aids & a thick high powered glasses (almost a microscopic powered), my heart just sank there & then. It was a real challenging time, not able to concentrate thinking about her condition, asking myself why she's made to suffer like this at such a young age while dealing with her 2 disabilities at the same time. To sign, I need to hold her hands & did the signing using her hands. To imagine this in a simple way, it's like playing with a giant Barbie doll. Despite of her disabilities, Sharmila seems to be able to accept her disabilities, judging from her behavior of being active & wanting to run & join the activities with other kids.
This serves as an eye-opener for me really, for we should be very grateful for everything that God has given us especially with a healthy mental & physical body. With this, it is our moral responsibilities to show gratitude for what we had by giving back to the society. And it is also explained why it pissed me off whenever I see children/youths today complaining of everything else under the sun but themselves & yet not doing anything about it. Worse still, nowadays you see parents who should be providing the correct education to the children, doing inhumane things like dumping the babies. There's also minor ones like complaining for their children not being clever enough than other people & other ridiculous reasons.