Deaf Achievers Awards 2021

The annual SADeaf Deaf Achievers Awards recognise the achievements of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in various spheres such as sports, academics and other areas. The awards also acknowledge the contributions of the individuals, donors, organisations and ambassadors to our community.

The image shows 5 separate photos of the five award winners and their names.

Outstanding Deaf Student (Secondary Education): Ms Hannah Maria Gomez
Outstanding Deaf Student (Vocational Institute): Ms Gan Jun Huan
Outstanding Deaf Student (Tertiary Education): Mr Elliot Tang Z-Kai
Special Talent: Mr Muhammad Ammar Nasrulhaq
Teacher of the Year: Mr Wong Tuck Seng (ITE College West)

Watch the full video of the Deaf Achievers Awards 2021 ceremony here! (With SgSL interpretation and English captions.)

Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities: IWD 2021

The annual celebration of Deaf communities, the International Week of the Deaf People (IWDP) 2021, was observed from 20 to 24 September 2021. This is the second year running that SADeaf celebrated and organised our own IWDP events online – via official Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Graphic showing the text: Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities, International Week of the Deaf People 2021, International Day of Sign Languages 2021, Singapore Sign Language Awareness Week 2021

Aligned to the theme “Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities”, our programme lineup showcased the history of the Deaf in Singapore, local organisations working with the Deaf, as well as various D/deaf families and individuals sharing their experiences with hearing loss, as well as their interests and careers. We are proud to be able to publicise these stories of members of the Deaf community who are succeeding in life and contributing to our thriving community.

Screenshot of the live dialogue between families sharing their experiences as families with deaf members
Screenshot of the live dialogue between families sharing their experiences as families with deaf members
Escape Room participants posing for photos after completing the game
Escape Room participants posing for photos after completing the game

This year’s IWDP programme also included online games Escape Room and Murder Mystery to engage members of the D/deaf community and their friends. Many were excited and intrigued in the games and enjoyed themselves in solving the puzzles and mysteries.

If you missed the event or wish to revisit the content, head over to this playlist.

Below are some of the popular videos among viewers.

Deaf Lives – Elizabeth Khoo

History of the Deaf in Singapore 

Deaf Experience in WWII 

A screenshot of Neo Tick Tiong sharing his experience in world war 2.
Neo Tick Tiong sharing his experiences in WWII.

Dialogue: Sign as a Family

Workshop for Tertiary Students and Signifique

Screenshot of Zoom session showing the participants.
Screenshot of Zoom session showing the participants.

SADeaf organised our first-ever workshops on Deaf Culture, Community and Language and United Nations on the convention for Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) on 19 June 2021 and and 17 July 2021. The. 57 participants were from NTU WSC RSPDC, MediSign, NP Hi! Club, RP DEAFining, SP Sign Language Club and Signifique. 

The workshop, conducted via Zoom, provided the audience with an intensive knowledge of Deaf culture, community, history, language and what the UNCRPD was about. It was presented by James Ong from the SADeaf Deaf Studies Department and assisted by SADeaf community interpreter, Haizer. 

By James Ong, SADeaf

Amplified: Stories and voices of growing up with deafness

A collaborative creative writing project by SADeaf Itinerant Support Service (ISS), Amplified is a collection of short stories on the real-life experiences of growing up with hearing loss. 

As part of the preparatory process, a full-day writing workshop was held to guide the participants with their brainstorming. This was held online on 16 and 17 July 2021 for the primary and secondary students respectively.

The writing workshop helped participants get started on owning their voice as a hard-of-hearing child, their triumphs and struggles and experiences. 

Among the topics were: Understanding what a personal narrative is and the processes in writing one; using various techniques to enhance their writing and sustain the reader’s attention; and using graphic organisers to plan their story.

By the end of the workshop, participants successfully identified their topics and were able to confidently share their ideas with one another.. and had started on their story drafts!

By Joan Peh, Case Manager, ISS

Storytelling and Poetry Workshops for Sign Language Instructors 

Especially for our sign language instructors, the Deaf Studies Department organised a 2-day workshop. Held on 28 June and 30 June 2021, it was conducted by Mr Anthony Chew, a former Hi! Theatre actor who is well versed in storytelling and poetry in SgSL . 

Conducted on Zoom for nine participants, the workshop was an enjoyable and insightful one which covered topics such as: The elements of storytelling in SgSL and SgSL poetry, practical examples and more!

Screenshot of Zoom session showing the participants.
Zoom workshop for Storytelling and Poetry in SgSL conducted by Mr Anthony Chew (top row, third from left) 

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. 

Telling Tales, the SgSL Way!

During the March 2021 school holidays, excited children and parents were drawn into the world of storytelling in Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) at four public libraries – Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Bedok and Jurong West.

The well-known stories of The Sleeping Beauty and The Little MatchStick Girl were told in Singapore Sign Language. The children were curious to find out that the storyteller is deaf and used sign language to tell the stories, aided by a hearing interpreter. The kids also learnt vocabulary signs found in the stories and definitely took to it! One even asked for the sign of the word ‘handsome’ as she was curious to know this after learning the sign for ‘beauty’. 

Due to the pandemic and social distancing rules, the storyteller wore transparent face mask so that the audience could see his facial expression easily. Facial expression, as they discovered too, is part of sign language!

By James Ong, SADeaf

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.