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October 2, 2003

A special bash

From: The Star, Malaysia - Oct 2, 2003

A MAJOR weekend event to help mem- bers of the public get to know more about deaf people,their needs and their aspirations was held on the 13th and 14th of last month at the International Medical University in Bukit Jalil,Selangor. The occasion “Deaf Festival II ”was attend- ed by close to a thousand people and is a follow-up to the 1988 Deaf Festival I which was held at the KL YMCA.

The first event,held in conjunction with the YMCA Deaf Club ’s 25th anniversary,was also a huge success but only drew about 500 people.

The club is now 30 and has a membership of over 200 deaf individuals all over Malaysia.It is part of the Pusat Majudiri Y ’s (PMY)work with the deaf which put together Deaf Festival II.

Says a beaming deaf electrician Chin Nyuk Hing,34:“I do part-time jobs for the deaf such as small-scale repairs and servicing of air-conditioners and I was thrilled when the PMY invited me to put up an exhibition at the event.

”Boy,was I pleased that I did because the SMS messages have not stopped coming from the hearing world requesting for my expertise in electrical work and plumbing.

Like me,I feel Deaf Fest II has helped many other deaf people too as they had the chance to show-case their talents and skills to highlight their abilities instead of being seen as charity cases.”

The event ’s theme was “Bridging the Gap ” which was endorsed by the Health Ministry and supported by IMU.

The Festival was officiated by the Ministry's deputy general secretary Haji Arif Abu Bakar,on behalf of Datuk Siti Zaharah Sulaiman.

Various performances by the highly-talented deaf included dances with sign language coordination,a batik fashion show, skits,mimes and games.

Workshops to help the public know more about deaf persons ’ concerns and rights were also held and included speakers from the deaf community.

Other topics included parenting skills relating to the deaf,deaf entrepreneurship,challenges for Sign Language interpreters, hearing-aid care and services for the deaf.

Exhibition booths included those set up by government agencies,non-governmental organisations serving the deaf and private companies.

The Malaysian Aids Council and National (Organ)Transplant Resource Centre also participated in the event.

A major highlight for participants was the special simulated environment exercise created by the PMY called “Journey Into The Deaf World ”.Hearing participants got to experience what it feels like to be deaf when all sounds were shut off for a while to create a silent world.

Staff from the Welfare and Labour Departments also assisted the deaf and oth- ers with handicaps to register themselves with the departments for services and employment.

Here is a sampling of a few more voices from the Deaf Fest:

Colin Pinto,36,volunteer:“As a hearing ‘graduate ’ of Level One of a Basic Sign Language course,the Fest has opened my eyes and heart to the world of the deaf.” Yee,a parent of a deaf child:“I received a lot of priceless input on how to raise my child more effectively.”

Chua,28,YMCA Deaf Club chairperson: “We strived to ‘bridge the gap ’ between the deaf and the hearing world – I think we truly got somewhere in our efforts.”

Support the PMY

There will be a charity movie preview of the new romantic comedy Down With Love starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor in support of Pusat Majudiri Y ’s work on Oct 7,at 9pm at Mid Valley Megamall ’s Golden Screen Cinemas. Contact PMY for tickets.Please call 03- 2274 1439/012-213 1861/e-mail:

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