9th International Deaf Academics & Researchers Conference (11-13 May 2019)

THEME: “Deaf academics across disciplines and generations”

This event took place in Iceland. It is supported by Supported by Málvísindastofnun Center for Sign Language Research, University of Iceland. You can check it out at www.dac2019.com.

Since I was unable to attend it this year (because of my school exams), I would like to keep the list of presentations that I wish to look out in the future. I obtained it from my subscription:

  • Pre-conference workshop: International Sign (Ramon Wolfe)
  • Session theme: Deaf academics – who we are and how do we contribute?
    • Opening Lecture: Waves of interdisciplinary science can make global change (Barbara Spiecker, Camille Ollier, Caroline Solomon, Linda M. Campbell)
    • Workshop 1: Can critical disability studies benefit research into deaf people’s everyday experience? (Mette Sommer, Octavian Robinson, Hilde Haualand)
    • Workshop 2: Researchers as mixologists: Selecting suitable ethnographic research methods (Erin Moriarty Harrelson, Steve Emery, Annelies Kusters)
  • Session theme: Reading & writing skilla
    • Presentation: Deaf academic knowledge production: The role of reading groups (Annelies Kusters, Erin Moriarty Harrelson, Steve Emery, Sanchayeeta Iyer)
    • Workshop 3: Writing tactics, tips and hacks – smart strategies for academic writing (Maartje De Meulder, Annelies Kuster, Joseph Murray)
  • Session theme: Careers and strategies
    • Presentation: Deaf academics across disciplines and generations (Cathy Chovaz, Kristin Snoddon, Linda Campbell, Veronique Leduc, Kathryn Woodcock)
    • Workshop 6: Reaching the top of the mountain: navigating the tenure track process as a deaf faculty member (Christopher Kurz and Jordan T. Eickman)
    • Workshop 7: Mapping deaf academics’ places and spaces in academia (Dai O’Brien)

This earlier format is more of reporting here. Anyway, I understand that there are a very few deaf researchers in Asia. This road to become the researchers is really tough because of lack of financial support, accessibility and other unforeseen circumstances. In my personal opinion, it is very challenging for me this time because of my present/current situation. Maybe, I try opening doors for the future generations. No guarantee here…

Alright, I have been following DAC2019’s tweets. Also, I could see the efforts from deaf researchers to stay connected with one another around the world to improve empowerment and representation in deaf academia. Some websites, such as www.deafacademics.org are not updated, perhaps because of lack of support or resources. 

Now, I understand that these conferences are held every two years since 2002:

11th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Vienna, Austria ● 2023

10th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Montreal, Canada ● 2021

9th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Reykjavík, Iceland ● 2019

8th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Copenhagen, Denmark ● 2017

7th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Leuven, Belgium ● 2015

6th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Lisbon, Portugal ● 2013

5th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Florianópolis, Brazil ● 2010

4th International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Dublin, Ireland ● 2008

3rd International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Stockholm, Sweden ● 2006

2nd International Deaf Academics and Researchers Conference
Washington, DC, USA ● 2004

Deaf in Academia Workshop
Austin, Texas, USA ● 2002

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.

Volunteering with Deaf (2019)

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A wefie; around me are Donny, Grace, Jiahui, Janika and Xueting (from left to right) posing together on the school stage.

We’re grateful to Raffles Community Advocates for putting in efforts to create awareness about Deafness in different ways, and to experience working with Deaf. Some students were assigned to learn basic Sign Language (obviously SEE2) from TOUCH Silent Club, in order to communicate, especially with Donny and me. There was another group of students who learnt to song-sign for the SPARK Concert that happened last two weeks. I was to play the duet with Janika for the first time; this gave her another experience.

You might be wondering how you could volunteer with Deaf. It may be slightly different from volunteering FOR Deaf. This time, it looks more at interacting with Deaf.

After contacting the network of volunteers on my side, most of them couldn’t help us because of their studies, work and family commitments. However, I managed to get Grace and Jiahui to help us out, especially Donny. He needs visual cues to support his solo dance, and his part in our duet performance.

Grace had no knowledge about deafness and Sign Language. But sign language videos were sent to her two weeks before the concert. She had to learn numbers in Sign Language, that were needed for his dance solo. It was actually easy to learn numbers on the spot. On his last dance practice, Grace, Donny and I met for the first time. Donny and Grace worked together with each other for some time. This was to help them become familiar with the dance routine, as well as his challenges.

Jiahui is currently learning Sign Language from Deaf and interacting with deaf people for some time. Her signing skills are at the beginner’s level, and she is learning basic sign linguistics from ExtraOrdinary Horizons. Donny chose the True Colours song, based on how much he hears at his comfortable level. I’m very familiar with the song arrangement in Deaf way. I recorded videos for Donny and Jiahui to practice at their own pace.

I have asked Grace and Jiahui to share their experiences here. Grace sent me in her artistic style via WhatsApp and this said,
“You with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize, it’s hard to take courage, in a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all, the darkness inside you can make you feel so small.
To the deaf community: I pray you will one day hear clearly the music all around you – till then, I will listen to your stories;
When you speak with your inner strength and dance to a different beat from the world. You guys are so beautiful. You music flows from your heart. Thank you for that <3″

Next, Jiahui sent me the WhatsApp message, and it said, “Lily and Donny’s performances were beautiful and heartfelt, and it was a pleasure to work with them and witness their dedication and passion. Off stage, they were also fun partners to hang out with, and patient teachers – refining the cues with us and explaining signs we did not understand. Would love join them again!”

Based on my experiences when working with volunteers, I still feel that you should get to know and understand Deafness, its Community, Culture and Language better. You will realise that it is different from what you usually think about it. It will be better for you to learn at least Sign Language to communicate with Deaf.

We have our workshops and courses that are conducted by Deaf. Let’s check us out at http://www.eohorizons.com! Thank you for reading my entry.

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.

SG Professionals With Disabilities LAUNCH

Congratulations to Adrian & Marcus for launching this initiative, SINGAPORE PROFESSIONALS WITH DISABILITIES (SGPWD, in a short form) yesterday at the LinkedIn office.

These two photos are obtained from the group whatsapp for you to get better impressions about this network.

Let me share my experiences about the networking events that I had attended before, as a Deaf person. I attended these events because of my business, ExtraOrdinary Horizons. From there, I learnt many things, such as event collaborations.

If you are aspiring for a new career, or a change of jobs, this SGPWD platform is good for you to learn and share with one another. With the LinkedIn platform, you can demonstrate your skillset, as well as your previous working experiences. Also, you can get advices from experienced professionals who are willing to consult you as in #plusonepledge to make the world a better place for everyone to work more healthy and happier. In the other round, you can share your challenges and resolutions with recruiters and allies.

Two Sign Language interpreters and one notetaker were engaged for d/Deaf to be part of the launch. However, I feel that the launch was not inclusive enough as there were different types of d/Deaf people. The d/Deaf people have their different capabilities. Now, I look at Deaf signers and I am one of them who rely on interpreters heavily. I am different from them, and I could speak well. But I could not catch any conversation.

UPDATED: Just now, I was asked by Marcus on LinkedIn to share my networking experience at the launch yesterday. With the interpreter in present, I managed to achieve my goals, which were to obtain the complimentary corporate photo for my current job search, to give support to Marcus & Adrian, and to learn new things from people. I was somehow satisfied.

I met four new people at the two different times, with the help of the interpreter, after the panel discussion. I happened to pop by when two persons from the T-Systems approached the deaf lady, and the interpreter was there. They shared their company profile with us, and they hoped to obtain information on how they could help d/Deaf in communication issues. Then, we had our chit-chat, and we exchanged our contact details. Next, I asked the interpreter to follow me, and to “eavesdrop” any group conversation. But she had to abide by the professional code of ethics, and I respected her. I caught the eyes of a lady, and she was one of the LinkedIn Enabled volunteer-facilitator. Both of us discussed on improving networking for the group of d/Deaf participants. Another volunteer-facilitator joined us. Then, we added one another on LinkedIn, thanks to the mobile technology. When I walked around, I was unable to join any group conversation (without having the interpreter around with me). I merely said hello to my friends whom I am familiar with.

Today, I had my online chat with Jade, who was the moderator of the panel discussion. This happened, all thanks to the SGPWD network launch event. I made efforts to find out from my peers. True enough about us that we are deaf, and we are different from other people with disabilities, we fall behind a lot as there seems to be no other way for us to communicate with recruiters and allies who are not deaf. Again, we do not know what they are actually looking for. If we are on our own (when the interpreters are not available, or there might be limited number of interpreters), how shall we network with them?

I had made several suggestions to Jade about improving networking among Deaf signers. It will be good to have recruiters and allies to make their brief introduction so that we will be able to know them and make our better approaches. Speed-networking can be another good alternative, however we still need to consider other factors how to include Deaf signers in group conversations.

How to network effectively as being the Deaf person when you have no interpreter with you?

  • Leverage social media, such as LinkedIn (QR Code).
  • Exchange name cards (if you have).
  • Use mobile applications, such as Microsoft Translator, Google Live Transcribe, to listen; do not let yourself do all the talking. Google Live Transcribe is the best recommendation.
  • Meet new people through other people (and social media channels).
  • Present your story, mostly success stories that have your workable solutions that you have thought of.
  • Find a reason to follow up, by messaging on social media, and looking for possible collaborations.
  • Always remember to say Thank You.

If you wish to meet a Deaf signer, you should have papers so that you can communicate with him/her through writing. Otherwise, mobile applications could be good alternatives. You need to have more patience when communicating with them. Speak your intentions clearly to them after you have made your introduction. Please bear in your mind that the Deaf signers are proficient in their first language, which is Singapore Sign Language. We do our best to express ourselves in English Language that is internationally spoken by the mainstreamed people. So, use simple English. If you do not understand them clearly, you can ask them to repeat. In any worst case, adjust your communication skills with your creativity. Or get the interpreter when they are available (in sight).

Ok, I now look forward to the next networking session by SGPWD.

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 http://www.eohorizons.com.

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.

Alternatives to meet Deaf needs in Singapore

Microsoft Translator
Google Live Transcribe

Attached here are two YouTube videos embedded here in this blog entry as I have explored these two mobile applications in some situations where the sign language interpreters were not available to interpret for groups of 3 deaf consumers (including myself). They could be possible alternatives to meeting the deaf needs in Singapore.

You need to understand why we encourage you to consider these alternatives to enable d/Deaf people to know what’s going on every day. Look, we have only 6 full-time sign language interpreters in Singapore; they work for the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf). They could not meet every request from approximately 5,600 deaf clients who are registered with the SADeaf. They are human; they need break for themselves. They have their lives to lead. We cannot expect them to make sacrifices for the d/Deaf people. If you wish to join the team of sign language interpreters or other access support, you need to understand and immerse in our Deaf world.

Alright, let’s explore these two mobile applications that I have tried so far. As I have my iPhone with me, I have the Microsoft Translator application downloaded in my phone. This supports Android, iOS and Windows. With this application, my two deaf acquaintances were able to participate in discussions with people with other disabilities. However, transcription is not very accurate; I could say 80%.

Next, the Google Live Transcribe application is better alternative. It supports Android only. It does not have the presenter mode that the Microsoft Translator application has. It acts as the microphone that captures group discussion into the written form. But I hope this application can support more platforms.

When you need a sign language interpreter or notetaker for your event (let it be educational, institutional or social), please plan ahead at least 3-4 weeks’ time, in order to avoid any disappointment. If the interpreter and/or other access support is not available, you have to consider other technology accessibility. We have to keep on exploring new things as nothing is perfect for everyone. If you have any suggestions for helping d/Deaf with accessibility, you are welcome to drop us an email at contact@eohorizons.com. Or you can leave your comment below.

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.

#IDPD2018 Close-Up Interview with Dawn-Joy Leong & James Chan

SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/c/eohdeafsingapore
SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/c/eohdeafsingapore

#throwback
Finally, these videos are out for your pleasant viewing.

For the first time, we interviewed our Autistic friends, Dawn-Joy and James for IDPD2018. That was last November 2018. It was not published on time because of challenges that we faced while editing the videos. After having the auto-captions on the videos, we assumed that we could edit the captions. But we couldn’t caption the videos because partly of deafness, so we decided to engage Caption Cube for their services.

Anyway, we are pleased to inform you that we added more links to our Resources & Network page. This shall be anchored at deafness and disability in Singapore. If you have any other information, you can drop an email at contact@eohorizons.com.

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.

YDGEN Officially Disbanded

We made this announcement here that the YMCA Deaf Generation (YDGEN) is officially disbanded of today.

We no longer enjoy the free studio usage provided by YMCA this year because of their budget cuts. For the past years since 2007, we had performed at various YMCA events for this exchange.

However, this does not stop me from practising the #deafmusic in mallet percussion & song-signing, and #deaftalent in theatrical arts, poetry & storytelling.

We will find ways out to continue the practice. If you have any suggestion, you can contact us by email.

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.