Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Deaf-initely Boleh!" - Being 'Deaf' doesn't mean 'Less'

[UPDATE 31 Dec 06: I've since learned that "Hearing Impaired" is not a preferred term. I should use "Deaf" or "Hard of Hearing". Thanks.]

Received an email from Alvan Yap. He reads my ramblings from time to time. Alvan decided to email me because he discovered about sgLEAD (an advocacy blog some colleagues and I started) and sent me some words of encouragement. Thanks Alvan, for the kind words.

Incidentally, Alvan was a High Browse Online winner for his review of Kazuo Ishiguro's 'The Remains of the Day'. He also has a blog (, where he says he's "Deaf/ hearing-impaired; who is both oral and signing".

Deaf-initely Boleh!He's in the organising committee with the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), with NLB, for an upcoming carnival in December 2006. Details at the Deaf-initely Boleh! website (

I'll be inviting Alvan to join the sgLEAD mailing list.

I remembering reading an article that says deafness is something that will afflict almost all of us, as we get older. For a brief period, I experienced what it was like to lose one's hearing, if only partially.

For almost three months, I couldn't hear very well with my left ear. The doctor diagnosed it to be blocked by mucus, as a result of my cold (the mouth-ear-throat are all connected). I recovered from my cold but my left ear continued to be blocked.

I vaguely remember the strange feeling of only hearing things from one side properly. My body coordination went a little out of whack. I also vaguely remember asking people to repeat themselves more than once. Some people got very irritated with that. Such as impatient hawkers with very good business during lunch time.

Eventually it cleared. I've since forgotten what it felt like not to be able to hear fully. For some people though, deafness is something they have to live with. And they've learnt to live with it well.

I'd love to discuss with Alvan and other like-minded Singaporeans how to make libraries more relevant to the hearing-impaired Deaf. Insights to some basic questions would be needed, e.g. Do People with Hearing Impairment who are Hard of Hearing/ Deaf encounter difficulties in accessing the library's collection? What's their level of awareness in terms of library services? Do they use libraries at all?

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  1. Anonymous9:45 am

    I totally agree. Being deaf does not mean being less. I am deaf in one ear but that has certainly not stopped me from doing stuff like anyone else.I remember one hearing aids salesperson who said "Don't you want to be normal like everyone else?" And my retort was.."I am normal and perhaps a lot more civil than someone like you." V-pot of the 3 pots.

  2. Anonymous10:42 am

    I always inspired by you, your thoughts and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

    - Murk

  3. @murk - you mean that the real inspiration are people like Alvan :)


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