My First-time Experiences with the SSO National Day Concert (2019)


Grateful to the SSO for giving this opportunity to d/Deaf to enjoy the National Day celebrations at Esplanade Concert Hall, especially when the interpretation in Singapore Sign Language was provided for us last Saturday.

I decided to write this blog about my experiences attending this concert for the first time this year. My opinions are different from those of my Deaf peers who attended it.

The first half of the concert was complex for me to listen, partly because of my profound deafness. I know that Jeremy Monterio is renowned for his jazz piano music. It’s really hard for me to follow this kind of tempo and rhythm. Even if I play this kind of song, it is really very challenging for me. Well, many see me as the Deaf musician in Singapore. Sometimes, they mention that I remind them of Evelyn Glennie, who is a famous world-class percussionist. I actually do not like to be the subject of comparison, based on musicality. Yes, I am different from other deaf musicians, like Dr. Azariah Tan, and Ron Tan. Although I had obtained the certificates in ABRSM Percussion (Grade 6 & 8 with Merit), I may not play great as you think.

When I watched Jeremy Monteiro Jazz Trio (namely, Jeremy Monteiro (piano), Tamagoh (drums) & Christy Smith (bass)) perform with the orchestra, it was really intriguing or fascinating to look at them. However, it was tough to listen (even if the sign language interpreter tried her best interpreting their music).

During their music playing, I then remembered about my ReSound multi-mic. I quickly connected it to my hearing aids, and the sounds became clearer (with less noise, which is cut off from the (open) environment). But still, there was no difference.

The second half was more enjoyable for my peers and me. We shared their feedback with one another. The interpretation quality of this year was better than the previous one as she tried her best to allow us to resonate our deaf, visual minds (based on musicality) to the music & songs, such as Kampong Overture, the Awakening, March On, Our Singapore Dream and Home, with her interpretation. It would be better and more powerful to have conceptual interpretation and representation by Deaf.

Not only having the interpretation for Deaf, but also feeling music (through air-filled balloons) is another alternative for music appreciation. There are many other ways for us to enjoy arts and music, and it could be the efforts of promoting inclusion.

Now, I remember why I started learning percussion music. Again, thanks to the SYNC SINGAPORE programme (that was conducted by Jo & Sarah, and organised by VSA Singapore), I am able to make my ideas happen, and I am working very hard on them. My ultimate goal is to let Deaf know more about music, and let them be more included in music. Lastly, I hope to see more of their Deaf music where they can express themselves, whether playing, or telling stories in the form of song-signing or writing.

DISCLAIMER: The author of the above article is the director and founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons. All opinions expressed herein are thus the personal views of contributing individual authors. They are not indicative of any endorsement, political or otherwise, or lack thereof, either on the part of the organisation.

Selling Percussion Instruments

Managing this account @bizhearthotz on Carousell

After we have decided that YDGEN is officially disbanded, we couldn’t find a place where we could store these percussion instruments. So we made up our mind to sell them to help sustain ExtraOrdinary Horizons financially in a longer run.

I could say based on my subjective opinions; Singapore is different from other countries. It is not easy for Deaf to run a business. Not easy to manage or lead the band, especially when arts and music scene is small. Hmmm, it is strange to see that more emerging or accomplished (mainstreamed) artistes work closely with artistes with disabilities. This aligns well with the vision of inclusion in the arts. However, are the artistes with disabilities empowered enough to develop their practice on their own?

Looking back to the point when I joined the Singapore Idol Season 1 (2004), I still remember why I joined there. I had three intentions namely; to fulfil my childhood dream (to be the singer), to show the public about Deaf capabilities (meanwhile, dispelling misconceptions about Deaf people in Singapore), and to see where I was actually embarking on my music journey. From there, I continued with grit to obtain ABRSM Grades 6 & 8 in Percussion with Merit (within 10 months). With my earnings from four part-time jobs. Now, I am the member of the Purple Symphony. I really thank MP Denise Phua with my sincere heart for giving me this opportunity to experience playing with different musicians with or without disabilities.

Now, I worked with different people – Peter, Zihao, many… I have learnt many things from them. Good for my exploration though… This time, I do not think I can become one of the international Deaf performing artistes, like Ramesh Meyyappan. I do not mean to make such comparisons… Many years ago (before Singapore Idol Season 1), I tried applying for financial aid for the undergraduate program in music studies that I managed to get a place in UK, but to no avail. I had to give it up.

After watching the CNA’s special series entitled, “This is What I Hear”, I realised that every deaf individual has different backgrounds and privileges. Same but different… I know I have failed to understand the quality of sound when playing mallet percussion. But I continue to develop my own niche – #deaftalent arts. Since I am set on becoming one of Deaf social media influencers in Singapore, I continue sharing my works-in-progress (music, percussion, poetry & storytelling) that might include the Singapore culture.

Back to the topic, I hope you can support me, as well as ExtraOrdinary Horizons, please check my website out at

DISCLAIMER: The author of the above article is the director and founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons. All opinions expressed herein are thus the personal views of contributing individual authors. They are not indicative of any endorsement, political or otherwise, or lack thereof, either on the part of the organisation.

Our Thoughts from Johnson, Rachel & Lily



Johnson, Rachel & Lily shared our thoughts on the HLP incident, with Linette Heng, the reporter from TNP yesterday.

They left after the Y-Stars started performing but returned later after another group of performers, the YMCA Youth Deaf Generation, took to the stage. 

Mr Johnson Chia, 22, co-leader of YMCA Youth Deaf Generation, said: “I felt so worried for our deaf performers and the actual performance as the protest was so loud that it affected our tempo and beat. (But) we continued as we needed to deliver our best performance in front of the audience. We all did our best working and playing together.”

Miss Rachel Koh, 23, the other co-leader, was angry at the “inconsideration and lack of manners” of the protesters.

She said: “There were people watching our performance and we could not allow other things to distract us for the sake of the audience to enjoy the music. Some rhythms were off because of the interruption.”

Ms Lily Goh, director and founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons (Deaf Singapore), was also concerned about the well-being of the performers. 

“Luckily, they were not badly affected as they have good teamwork,” she said. 

“However, think of other people with disabilities, including children with special needs. They were indeed shocked and they needed a longer time to recover.”

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#ReturnMyCPF Rally leaders defend actions



PHOTOS obtained from the AsiaOne Singapore website


I decided to write this blog to express my thoughts on the behalf of Deaf performers, after reading the article on Hong Lim fracas: Rally leaders defend actions. I am not pleased!

Last Saturday, I was busy with the International Week of the Deaf event that was organised by the Singapore Association for the Deaf. In the meantime, the Deaf performers were performing their item at the YMCA Proms @ the Park. I was informed by one of them about the unfortunate situation. I then checked with the group, especially Rachel and Johnson who led the coordination. As what I understood, it was the unexpected incident. I was told that they were fine and they assured me.

Yesterday, I saw the photos related to #ReturnMyCPF. I became more concerned and I asked my hearing friend who performed with them last Saturday. He filled me in on that incident. I then messaged the group with words of encouragement. They did their good job though.

If not for those noisy protesters, they would be able to present their good performance. Their music would not be off their rhythms.

“We didn’t know what was going on on the stage,” he said – See more at:
This made me feel angry. Obviously, it was their excuse!

You can see those protesters in the photos. They had their loudspeaker, whistles and mic… OMG! So noisy!! How can we present our good performance together?!

If this incident happens like this and I perform with them as the leader, we won’t be able to perform together and we will go away. We really cannot perform well in a very loud, noisy environment, especially when we are Deaf. We worked very hard for this event and we will do our very best for our performance with one common goal – to promote awareness that Deaf indeed appreciates music in our way.

I believe that the team did their very best, despite the fact that we played off their rhythms. We did play for people (including supporters) who appreciate us better for our abilities, not our disabilities.

“The marchers, several of whom waved Singapore flags, paused in front of the stage, chanting and continued chanting “Vote them out, PAP” and “Return our CPF” just as a group of special needs children was about to start a dance item. The visibily shocked performers from the group Y Stars stopped briefly.”

After the Y Stars, it was our turn. Even worse, the protesters marched around the park for about FOUR times. Their defence is FAKE! They are VERY INCONSIDERATE!!

Luckily, we were not badly affected as we have our good teamwork. However, think of other people with disabilities, including children with special needs. They were indeed shocked and they needed a longer time to recover. The protesters should do in their allocated space! They shouldn’t go over to the other side, just to get attention.

Also, please do not use us as another “anyhow” excuse for #ReturnMyCPF!

~ By Lily Goh