Film Review: Sound of Metal

The Projector, Singapore’s iconic cinema which focuses on screening arthouse films, had kindly invited SADeaf to the press preview screening of the film “Sound of Metal” on 16 March 2021. The film, which is exclusively screened by The Projector, has been nominated for the 2021 Oscars in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and Best Original Screenplay.

Two SADeaf staff attended the preview and penned their impressions here. Enjoy!

By James Ong

The “Sound of Metal” is a story about a hearing man whose life was affected after being exposed to excessive noise. Eventually, he lost his hearing and decided to seek help. He decided to have a cochlear implant operation, but faced new struggles in the hearing world.

The highlights and themes of the movies for me were:

Subtitles and captions: It provides accessibility for the Deaf community who enjoys watching movies. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people can read the English subtitles. For sounds, we can also read the description of the sounds in square brackets.

Being deaf is not a handicap: That is not something to be fixed. At school, Deaf children enjoyed communicating with their peers. They found joy in using sign language. Sign language can be conveyed, thought, manipulated, and so on. The Deaf don’t need their deafness to be repaired or fixed.

Two different worlds: This man experienced two worlds – hearing and deaf. He once enjoyed music and had a hearing girlfriend. Suddenly the world of silence came in. He felt very frustrated at the loss of hearing. He was brought to the Deaf world. He again felt lost when he was asked to sit with the Deaf friends at the table. They were signing all the way. After getting the cochlear implant, he was in a dilemma as to whether to identify himself as a Deaf or hearing person. At the end of the story, he was given a choice between the hearing and Deaf worlds.

Concluding thoughts: The movie is a good exposure for the hearing in general and for them to understand how the hearing person who, having lost his hearing gradually, faces different issues in the hearing society. Which choice did the man make in the end? Watch the movie to find out!

By Neo Hock Sik

“Sound of Metal” is a truly touching movie. It is about the challenges Ruben, a drummer, faced when he started to lose his hearing. It reflected the deaf ways of living and communication.

One memorable scene was when Ruben was first introduced to a group of deaf people in a church shelter who used American sign language. Ruben’s eyes were focused on the hand movements, but he could not grasp what they were talking about.

Another touching scene was when Ruben learnt how to fingerspell his name. And of course the incident when he joined a finger-spelling game in the church shelter, lost a few games and tried again until he beat someone, and we could see and feel that sense of achievement he felt. Ruben’s experience with his cochlear implants, which he sacrificed much to afford, was also an eye-opener.

To me, the movie shows that deafness is not a handicap and is accepted as part of the Deaf Culture. Sign language can be used as a communication language. Those who lose their hearing have to learn to accept themselves as part of the Deaf world. It gives valuable insights into life challenges associated with hearing loss. Hearing people will learn how to help deaf people to cope better with the hearing world. It shows that cochlear implants have both pros and cons.

I feel this movie will appeal to all, hearing and deaf, especially parents of deaf children and those who are interested to work with the Deaf.

SADeaf wishes to thank The Projector for the preview invite as well as sponsoring ten tickets to our clients to catch the film. 

Just Follow The Law

SADeaf organised our first-ever Talk on Criminal Law on 20 November 2020, Friday, in collaboration with the NUS Law Pro Bono Office.

The session was held via Zoom and was an illuminating one for participants to acquire basic knowledge about criminal law and related topics, including the process of investigation and trial, one’s rights and obligations during the processes, and on finding help and resources.

The interesting and informative talk was presented by NUS Law students – Mr Kyle Chong, Ms Brenda Mak, Ms Tapasya Singh and Ms Afifa Shafana. Mr Jaryl Lim, a practising lawyer, supervised them and was on hand to answer any questions from the participants through the SADeaf staff interpreter, Hanna.

SADeaf wishes to thank all the speakers for giving their time and effort to conduct this session for our community. We hope this is just the beginning of many more to come!

By Elizabeth Khoo, SADeaf

Sign Language Interpreters Appreciation Day 2021

On 21 February, 2021, SADeaf held its annual Community Interpreters (CI) Appreciation Day event. This was a way for SADeaf to show our gratitude to the CIs for contributing their services to SADeaf and the community. 

Due to Covid-19, the organising team conducted its first CI Appreciation Day event online and it was a tremendous success! We also engaged a vendor for a one-hour online terrarium-making workshop. Our Community Interpreters joined and partook in the activities. 

The event kicked off with Tay Lay Hong, Chairman of DAS Committee, and Alvan Yap, Deputy Director of SADeaf, giving their opening speeches. Ricky Lim, a co-founder of The Green Capsule then guided participants in the virtual terrarium workshop with materials delivered to them prior to the event. He explained that a terrarium is a small enclosure or closed container in which selected living plants and, sometimes, animals are kept and observed. The interpreters had the opportunity to be creative and customised their terrariums to their liking. 

The programme wrapped up with closing remarks by Yeo Wei Yong, Senior Manager (Communication Access) of DAS.

Finally, DAS would like to express its appreciation to all our interpreters for their hard work and contribution in providing access and link-ups of the Deaf Community with various institutions.  

We hope to continue working with the interpreters for future projects.

Special mention to the organising team: Wei Yong, Hanna, Azzam, Shimei, Rashidah and Khairiyah who showed great teamwork, zest, and enthusiasm in organising a fantastic event. 

By DAS (Communication Access) and Elizabeth Khoo, SADeaf 

Deaf Dialogue 2021

On Saturday 20 March 2021, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, a Deaf Dialogue session was held by SADeaf.

Organised by the Advocacy Committee, the event saw Deaf and hard-of-hearing people as well as hearing allies from the community participating.

Zoom group photo of the participants and committee members

The session opened with a welcome speech from committee chairperson Lily Goh, followed by a presentation on past dialogue feedback and progress reports, and then the dialogue proper.

The one-hour-long discussion covered these perennially important topics: education, employment and accessibility. Participants took turns to raise issues affecting the Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, as well as give their feedback, suggestions and ideas to improving the lives of the community.

Our appreciation goes to all participants who took time and effort to share, our committee members and staff for planning and facilitating this event, as well as our interpreters and notetakers on duty.

Update: You can find the report of the dialogue here.

Reaching For The Skies, Recording A Feat

For the past months, volunteers had descended upon SADeaf, online or in person, for the Song Signing Remotely project. Through song-signing, we aimed to showcase the beauty and versatility of sign language and generate interest among the public to learn more about Deaf Culture and raise of our very own local Deaf community and its unique language.

Led by dedicated volunteers Pet Tan and Leon Woo, together with SADeaf staff James Ong, Gophi Nathan and Neo Hock Sik, weekly online and physical practice sessions were conducted in which volunteers signers learnt how to sign the song ‘Reach for the Skies’. All practice sessions were conducted in compliance with safe distancing guidelines. 

The association has adapted quickly to the challenging times and continues to bring people together (albeit virtually) to spread deaf awareness. It’s been a fun and exciting experience learning more about the deaf culture and sign language through song signing, meeting new people along the way, and breaking the Singapore Book of Records at the same time!

– Lim Zhi Chiaw, volunteer signer

On 16 Jan 2021, 101 participants signed the song ‘Reach for the Skies’ via Zoom. What’s more, this performance clinched the award of Largest Mass Online Song Signing ever organised in the Singapore Book of Records. 

James Ong, Chairperson of the project, commented: “It was a difficult feat to have 101 signers on Zoom all at the same time. We managed it at the end of the day through everyone’s hard work. We would like to thank all participants involved in this project for their time and effort.”

Special Thanks to all volunteers who participated in the mass song signing!

1.       Amanda Wong

2.       Amelia Lim

3.       Aqilah binte Abdul Rahim

4.       Bee See

5.       Bernard Lim

6.       Bertilla Ang Eng Sim

7.       Camellia Binte Abd Gani

8.       Caryl Ong

9.       Casilda Kwok

10.   Celine Goh Si Li

11.   Chan Junheng

12.   Chan Yin King

13.   Chen Lee Zee Jerlyn

14.   Cheong Hui Jun

15.   Cheyenne Huiping Allenspach

16.   Chia Kim Tat

17.   Chia Ming Li, Claire

18.   Chia Qi En Joy

19.   Chiu Yan Yu

20.   Diana Eng

21.   Edna Lee Poh Hui

22.   Eileen Teo Yi Lin

23.   Fabrizio Righi

24.   Faith Ang Shi Huan

25.   Gabriel Chin Jing Zhe

26.   Gelene Toh Qiao Wen

27.   Glenn Lee Sheng En

28.   Goo Li Keng

29.   Ho Lian Qi

30.   Ho Zhi Ruo

31.   Iffah Iesa

32.   Janson Lim Tai Kearn

33.   Jessica Lim Jiaying

34.   Jessica Tan Jia Zhen

35.   Jo-Ann Enriquez

36.   Joanna Chua

37.   Judy Ang Kin Lin

38.   Justine Khoo

39.   Kelly Ng Sze Yin

40.   Khloe Lim Mei Hui

41.   Koh Zi Ling

42.   Kwek Fu Xuan

43.   Kwek Si Tong

44.   Lau Lip Siong Abraham

45.   Lee Li Xuan

46.   Lee Su Ann

47.   Lim Chae Yun

48.   Lim Yong Ping

49.   Lim Yun Ling Hazel

50.   Lim Zhi Chiaw

51.   Lina Ong

52.   Lok Xin Yu

53.   Loong Ying Qi Sheryl

54.   Mae Teo Kah Bee

55.   Mak Mei Hing

56.   Maureen Aquino

57.   Monica Tan

58.   Muhammad Danial Adam Bin Sudirman

59.   Neo Yin Jie

60.   Ng Mei Yee

61.   Noreen Taha

62.   Nur Afni Binte Abdullah

63.   Nurarina Awang

64.   Ojaswini Mishra

65.   Ong Sing May

66.   Pamela WZ Lee

67.   Pang Jia Yan Germaine

68.   Patricia Monkman

69.   Paulyn Soong

70.   Peh Tian Xin Natasha

71.   Peter Im Wai Hoe

72.   Poh Gek Hiang

73.   Qin Ping

74.   Sandeep Krishna

75.   Seow Jie Yong

76.   Serena Soh Hui Xin

77.   Sharmaine Pook

78.   Sherry Lim

79.   Sim Jia Rong

80.   Sim Jinrong

81.   Soong Wen Lin, Kaylin

82.   Sophie Tay

83.   Tan Jessie

84.   Tan Zhi Cong

85.   Tang Xin Ying

86.   Tay Le Yi, Latricia

87.   Teh Hui Yi

88.   Teo Hooi Pheng

89.   Teoh Yu Ting

90.   Verena Lee

91.   Xie Yi Ming

92.   Yaney Yusup

93.   Shalini Gidwani

94.   Neoh Yew Kim

95.   Jazmine Chua Perng Perng

Working Committee

96.   Pet Tan

97.   Leon

98.   Judy

99.   James Ong

100. Gohpi

101. Hock sik


Go Big or Go Home? DAS Did Both!

A screenshot of our online interpretation and notetaking service, together with live feed from news broadcast – all at the same time!

“Do we need to wear masks”?

“Will there be a lockdown?”

“How do we keep safe?”

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the many uncertainties it brings, people are naturally more eager for news and updates. Likewise for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Knowing this, the Deaf Access Service (DAS) department went all out to fulfil a core task amid this challenging period: To provide timely and accessible information to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Along the way, we managed to achieve many firsts as well!

Among them is access to live announcements, public speeches, and press conferences – via live notetaking and interpretation services. These were broadcasted alongside the official video feeds (from Medicorp, CNA, etc) on our SADeaf Facebook page.

Another important step DAS took was to cover live events of national importance such as the Budget speeches, prime minister’s addresses to the public on the COVID-19 situation, May Day speech, Singapore GE2020 live debates, and voting results (comprising a marathon seven-hour session!), and National Day Parade.

Many of these marked the first time sign language interpretation and notetaking were provided. And for many deaf and hard of hearing people, it was, too, their first experience of instant access to such live events. 

Oh, We Also Go Remote

Circuit breaker measures also prompted the team of interpreters and notetakers to deliver services over digital platforms.

Just like most other workers affected by the circuit breaker measures, the DAS team had to adapt suddenly and rapidly, and we did. We converted our homes to makeshift workstations and studios on short notice. We battled poor internet connections, bad lighting, garbled audio, privacy woes, and other novel issues (“How does this Zoom thingy work ah?”). We learned to be flexible and innovative to find workaround solutions to still be able to provide access to clients.

It was a tough learning journey indeed.

And we could not have done it without the understanding, patience, and support of all of you – our clients, partners, and organisations that engage our services. The DAS communication access team is grateful for the feedback from the community on making our services even better.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you – again!

By DAS (Communication Access), SADeaf

Serving On Amidst A Pandemic

Our Community Service (CS) team has been hands on – literally! – during the current COVID-19 crisis, manning our frontline counter and hearing care center on every weekday. We have also had an action-packed schedule, organising activities and events for clients while following safety measures.

Enjoy the highlights! 

Live on Radio!

On 9 March 2020, senior audiological manager Lai Siu Fai was on a radio talk show to share about age-related hearing loss together with Ng Teng Fong Hospital’s audiology head.

Hear together!

Our Hearing Care Centre collaborated with NUS student group “Hear Together” to do a hearing screening for the elderly at Heartbeat@Bedok on 7 & 10 March 2019. We managed to screen 109 elderly folks!

Hear Me Out

On 30 May 2020, students from Hwa Chong Institution “Project Hear Me Out” organised an online games session with five Deaf participants. 

Mask But Not Least!

Client says thank you!

Client says thank you!

In June, office operations resumed during Phase 1 and our frontline team helped to distribute masks to our staff. Masks, both fabric and clear types, were also distributed to our clients.

Learning More About Hari Raya Haji

In July, we collaborated with a religious teacher to create a three-part video series to educate the community on Hari Raya Haji. Watch the series here!

SGD Happenings

The Social Group for the Deaf (SGD) organised an online game on 26 June via Facebook to celebrate Dragonboat Festival. 26 people took part and three winners walked away with prizes from the Famous Kim Choo Dumplings!
1 October 2020, we saw SGD celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. 22 participants took part in a Facebook game with six winning mooncakes prizes – which were delivered to them by our committed SGD members!
On 7 August 2020, SGD organised an online game on Facebook for National Day. A total of 41 participants took part and the three won prizes.

By Community Services, SADeaf

Celebrating Our Beatty Students!

23 Oct 2020 marked the last day of school for our Beatty students.

We celebrated our annual Recognition Day to recognise the achievements and accolades of our students here in Beatty. This year, our Deaf students did us proud. In all, they notched upfive academic awards and one non-IP award!

Academic Awards

Tim Leow Yan Kai
Class 1T1
Top Three Level Positions in Secondary One (Normal Technical)

Teo Zhi Feng Javier
Class 1T1
Best in Science

Jonathan Miles Chua Zheng Yu
Class 2T1
Best in Mathematics

Ng Xing Wen Avlynn
Class 3T1
Best in Smart Electrical Technology

Toh Chun Hong
Class 3T1
Best in Art

Non-IP Awards

Muhammad Nur Syahir
Class 3T1
2020 Animation and Game Making Competition (Game Category)
Ministry of Education Bronze Award

Heartfelt thanks and credit go to Mr Lim Chin Heng (Mathematics RT for Class 2T1), Mdm Nafisah (Smart Electrical Technology RT for Class 3T1), Mdm Yong May May (Art RT for Class 3T1) as well as the rest of our RT Team – Mr Bernard Lee, Ms Susanne Patrick, Mr Syed Muhammad and Mdm Tan Seok Ting, for their patience, unwavering support and dedication for our Deaf students.

This year’s award ceremony was featured online to the various classes, wrapping up a memorable and meaningful 2020 journey at Beatty!

By Deaf Education, SADeaf

Coping with COVID, The Beatty Way

Before the announcement of Home-Based Learning (HBL) due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, teachers in schools all over Singapore, including us resource teachers at Beatty Secondary, had been planning lessons for the weeks to come. We worked with the mainstream teachers on the video setup such that we could simultaneously sign the lessons. Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp video calls and OBS Studio – you name it, we used it.

Home-Based Learning (HBL)

Students having HBL at Beatty Secondary

We worked closely with our mainstream counterparts to sync with their lessons, especially the written work given and the live lessons. For the live lessons, we would either sign or note take, depending on the lesson dynamics. We also crafted our own lessons for students to work on during supplementary lessons. The resource teachers also interpreted for the form teachers during the check-in sessions to ensure the well-being of the students during this period. 

Though the initial period was both overwhelming and frustrating for both teachers and students, everyone was eventually able to adapt seamlessly in time. Our students with hearing loss also proved their resilience during this time, completing their tasks on time and garnering the teachers’ praises. 

𝗕𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 & w𝗶𝗽𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗿𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹!

From 2 June 2020, the students were back in school following an alternative week model.  The resource teachers wore masks with clear plastic areas for the mouth area so that the students could see our facial expressions clearly and to enable students to lip-read us. It took time for both students and teachers to get used to wearing masks and the discomfort, but we managed it!

Smoothie-making workshop!

Beatty Secondary School also got creative in engaging our students during these trying times. Two of our Secondary 3 students with hearing loss, who had to return to school during the HBL weeks, were provided learning devices to complete their HBL assignments. Special activities and customised programmes such as “Smoothie Making Workshop” and “Games @ Cabin” were provided to students to be continually engaged in their learning.

The school leaders in Beatty Secondary have been very supportive of our students with hearing loss during this time, ensuring they are well-supported at home and in school. We wish to express our thanks to them and colleagues, as well as students, who have journeyed with us along the way. 

By Susanne Patrick and Mas Elfie Jaar Bin, Resource Teachers, Deaf Education Dept, SADeaf 

Experiencing SgSL Week from the comfort of home

Singapore’s inaugural digital International Week of the Deaf (IWD) 2020 was launched on 21st September 2020. Together with the global Deaf community, we celebrated and showcased Deaf cultures and languages to the larger public. The event was held on our official Facebook page of The Singapore Association for the Deaf.

The IWD 2020 celebration in Singapore adopted the theme for the International Day of Sign Languages 2020 “Sign Languages are for Everyone!” In accordance with the theme, the program included members of the Deaf community using Singapore Sign Language through Stories in Sign and featuring in the #DeafAtWork segment. Sharing sessions on the Deaf community, identity, and language were also presented through Facebook Live every evening.

𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦, 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘧𝘧 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵.

Watch the videos!
An upside to holding the event online is that the content is still available on our Facebook page. For those who missed the talks or wish to view them again, just browse over for the full list of online videos.

Below are selected talks, presentations, and #StoriesInSign series in Singapore Sign Language.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Lighthouse School

The Little Red Hen by David Lee

My Wobbly Experience by April Chia

Haunted Roads by Dennis Tan

The daily live events during the IWD 2020 included the sharing by researchers and members of the Deaf community, and the #DeafAtWork series showcases some outstanding members of the community. Check ’em out!

The Importance of Early Access to Sign Language; #DeafAtWork David Lee; #DeafAtWork Tan Wei Ling

Moving along the Signing Continuum: An Exploration of the Factors Influencing Code Choice; Encoding of Emotions in Singapore Sign Language; #DeafAtWork Ken Tan

By Deaf Access Dept (Deaf Studies), SADeaf