On Money and the Filipino Deaf

philippine peso

Yesterday, three elderly deaf people trooped to MCCID College in San Mateo, Rizal from their home in Manila, roughly two-hour’s trip by local jeepney. Since our school is closed for summer, all of our students are on vacation.  No one was minding the campus main gate so they simply entered the premises as if they are familiar with it.

My uncle who was going out at that time saw them entering the campus. Once they saw him, they immediately “ranted” in sign language as if they were looking for trouble. My uncle looked surprised and panicked so he hastily escorted them to the dorm house where the faculty lives and called my attention.

I am not that familiar with their faces but they knew me as an interpreter in a Baptist church. They introduced themselves, this time calmly, and explained their reason for sudden visit. They were looking for one deaf lady who is currently studying at MCCID. It was “extremely” important, based on their actions, that they need to meet her. I told them that the deaf lady already went home a week ago. She stayed in one of the rented houses outside the school. But her parents want her to stop schooling temporarily so she packed all her things and went home to their province in Central Luzon.

They all looked very frustrated when I informed them about it. One of them was so angry that she started ranting that they wasted precious time and money coming here but got distressed because they did not see the deaf lady. To pacify her, I gently asked in sign language the reason why it’s necessary for them to meet her. One of her companion, a more elderly man, explained that they need to get the money she owes him.

“Awww… really?”, was my reply. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that since they came all the way here and spent “precious time and money” just to personally meet her, she must have owned them big money! So I again followed up, “How much does she owe you?”

200 pesos! (roughly 4 US dollars)” “Say what? Did I hear it right?” So I again clarified. “200 pesos!” I nearly fell off from where I stand. If we sum up all the expenses they incurred in traveling here, it would amount to more than three times that money!

Again I inquired, “Was that all? Is that the total amount?” The other elderly deaf guy affirmed. He explained that he was very generous in helping other deaf who are needy so he proudly signs that they can freely loan money from him. I did not make any further questions about it because I might offend him although I was having difficulty hiding my giggle as to their purpose of coming here. So I just dismissed them by referring to my other deaf faculty Ervin and let him talk to them. They all ended up going home utterly disappointed.

How Filipino Deaf value their money

This situation reminded me of what I have experienced many times in the past. I’m not concluding that this is the norm in deaf culture nor just the Filipino deaf in particular. However, what I am saying is that this is not an isolated case.

Many years ago, the manager of a local fast food restaurant called the school and requested me to go there because two deaf are violently arguing inside the place. I found out that the deaf lady owes the deaf guy money. The guy was courting the lady and he always pay for their “date”. But when she told him the shocking truth that she does not love him, the guy got so pissed off that he took his wallet, showed her ALL his restaurant bills from their past dates and forced her to pay for all of it. A couple more similar situations happened to other deaf which I need to mediate.

When a deaf person owed money from another deaf, that amount is “carved in stone”, no matter how oddly small it is. One deaf who lacked money to pay for his fare asked his companion if he can borrow money. He promised to pay him next time. The deaf loaned him. But he kept on mentioning that over and over again to his face until he pays. The amount? Eight pesos (roughly 25 cents). I tell you, this situation is not uncommon.

Why is this happening?

We can probably trace this into how they acquire their money. Since a sizable number of Filipino deaf have no work, they often rely on financial support from their family. However, Filipino families having a member who is a Person With Disability don’t usually allot a budget for them. So earning members of the family can only spare a small amount to support their deaf relative. Thus, the deaf tend to hold on tightly to whatever small amount they receive.

As for the employed deaf, majority of them land in lower level positions like factory workers, clerks and rank and file government officers. Although quite a handful are in middle level positions, still most of them don’t have much money to use.

Deaf senior citizens are no exception. Most of them rely on support from their adult children. The government also don’t offer much of a relief for them.

Since deaf people are very mobile and communal by nature, they use up most of their finances from trips going to their deaf friends no matter how far they are.

Education is the key

In our school, I often explain to them the value of money and how they should strive to earn for themselves. The main reason why they study is for them to be independent financially. They also need to control their use of a very limited money that they have.

As more and more Filipino deaf earn for themselves, they are slowly moving away from being a “money miser”. In time, they will be able to share their blessings to others without overly thinking about anything in return.

 

 

 

 

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How can we improve the English reading and writing comprehension of deaf people?

I subscribed at Quora.com and am so fond of reading answers from question asked by readers. I am amazed at how people respond to questions in a more comprehensive, unbiased and sometimes personal way. And since I am into deaf and deaf education, I tried asking my title question. What I got was a very good response from Dr. Don Grushkin, a Deaf Professor! Talk about credibility!

One of the problems I experienced using Quora is that I cannot keep track of my questions. There is nowhere in my Quora dashboard where I can access my previous questions. It’s a good thing I shared it in my Facebook wall so I can remember the link. I also want to put it in my blog so that I can easily access it every time I need it. So here it is! Thank you very much Dr. Grushkin, my newfound idol! 😉

You want to know how we can improve the English reading and writing comprehension of Deaf people? I’ll tell you. It’s very simple.

From the minute you find out a child’s Deaf (and you can find out right in the hospital after they’re born), start speaking ASL (not signed Englishcued speech, or any other pseudoscientific “methodology” — ASL: AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE with them. And no futzing around with oralism or cochlear implants or whatever to see if it “works” first, and no wailing and gnashing your teeth and rending your clothes at the fact the child is Deaf. Being Deaf is not the same as dead. We’re fine as we are, and we have perfectly good lives as Deaf people and can survive to a ripe old age as Deaf people. But the point here is that you tend to focus on “methodologies”, when you should be focusing on LANGUAGE. LANGUAGE is never an “option” for any child, and ASL is a language where signed English, cued speech, cochlear implants, oralism are emphatically not languages.

Great! You get it! You’ve started taking ASL courses, so you can communicate with your child in a true language. Now start talking to your child — in ASL. Talk about everything, just as you would with a Hearing child — the birds, the sky, what you see, what you are doing, what you want to do, what you don’t want your child doing — EVERYTHING.

Now that you’ve gotten started on the right track in giving your child a complete linguistic and cognitive foundation with a complete, accessible language (ASL), start reading to your child. Every day. In ASL. Use the reading strategies that Deaf adults have long used with their Deaf (and hearing) children that have consistently promoted literacy development in their children.

Also, don’t be afraid to fingerspell naturally — I’m not saying go all Rochester Method, but fingerspell titles (books, movies, names) and words that there may not be a sign for. Use lexicalized fingerspelling for common words like rice and bus. Fingerspelling is part of ASL’s bridging between English and ASL.

When your kid’s old enough, send your child to a school program that utilizes a true ASL-English bilingual philosophy. You have to be a bit careful here. There are plenty of programs that claim to be bilingual, but really are not. If the program uses signed English or cued speech, that’s a sign it’s not truly bilingual. If the program involves teachers simcomming, that’s a sign it’s not truly bilingual. If there are only a few (or none) Deaf teachers (and they should be TEACHERS, not aides), that’s a sign it’s not truly bilingual. A good bilingual program should have at least a 50/50 Deaf-Hearing ratio of faculty and staff. If the school uses auditory-based methodologies and systems like “visual phonics”, that’s a sign it’s not truly bilingual.

Now that your kid is school-age, encourage your child to read. Really, you should have been encouraging this long ago by providing books at the kid’s reading and interest level. Talk about what they and you are reading. Not only should you encourage your kid to read, be involved with your kid’s education. Help with homework. Ask and talk about their day.

In other words:

Yes, ASL IS the answer!

I couldn’t agree more!

Can we compare a hard-of-hearing from a deaf?

Or if I may rephrase my title, is it better to be a hard-of-hearing than to be a deaf person?

Erasmus, a famous Latin scholar during the Reformation once said,

in regione caecorum rex est luscus, or in English

in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

Is the proverb also applicable to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing people?

Hard of Hearing (HoH) refers to someone who doesn’t hear well. This may be because they were born with a hearing loss or they may have lost some or all of their hearing later in life. Many hard of hearing people don’t know that they have a hearing loss.

ndpr2
Deaf audience

A few weeks ago during our yearly National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPR) celebration, our deaf students were invited to attend the “Persons With Disabilities Networking with Employers Talkshop” hosted by the Persons With Disabilities Affairs Office of Quezon City. Resource speakers from various sectors of disabilities gave their “from rags to riches” stories and how they overcame their barriers to attain their success. As always, a great majority of those who attended were deaf people.

ndprtarpaulin
NDPR Tarpaulin

I should say, it was truly a very inspiring activity. However, when it came to the “hearing impaired” sector, the organizers chose a “speaker”. I consciously quoted the word speaker because he really can speak! His story started when in childhood, he emphasized that he can hear. His sense of sound eventually diminished as he grows older due to a disease. He is what the deaf studies call, “post-lingual deaf”.  He then mentioned about how he was bullied and discriminated during his elementary up until his college days. But then, he succeeded and completed his education.

Again, he experienced discrimination while applying for a job. Luckily, his passion for photography earned him a work in an online news site. Eventually he became a regular government employee. His is truly an “against all odds” testimony. Oh by the way, he only communicates through lipreading and writing. He confessed that he knows little sign language and he chose not to learn it.

Some deaf from the audience cannot hide their feeling of a tinge of envy from this successful guy. They signed, “good for him” because he can talk! “Good for him” because he has work! “Good for him” because he passed the Career Civil Service Examination (CSC) that is why he is now a regular government employee! Upon comparing their current situation, the deaf attendees started questioning themselves. “What would become of us?”

Let me state it clearly here. I AM NOT PREJUDICIAL AGAINST THE HARD-OF-HEARING PEOPLE. God blessed them with this residual ability to hear. They are what we call in graphics animation, the in-betweeners in the deaf world. They are neither here nor there. And since they can hear a little, then they are at an advantage compared to those who are profoundly deaf because probably once in their lifetime, they were able to appreciate sounds and speech clearly.

When one of the deaf participant asked a direct question to him, “you can hear that is why you found a nice job, now what about us who cannot hear?” Still another one asked him, “you passed the CSC Exam because you know Tagalog, now how about us who have a language barrier since we don’t know the language?”

 

reverse interpret
Me reverse interpreting MCCID’s Sir Ervin as he questions the speaker.

For these questions, he simply replied, “you must be more patient and strive harder.” Now this is such a tall order, an advice that is too difficult to fulfill. But then again, saying this would make us sound so pitiful and hopeless.

So I am more inclined to side with him and agrees with his reply. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “if someone wants you to go one mile, go with him two miles”. We must double our effort in achieving our goals. As another saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.”

* – I deliberately did not mention the guy’s name because I don’t want to put him in a bad light. He is a good friend and I truly admire his tenacity and advocacy for his group. I may put his name here if he allows me to do so.

1st Deaf Festival in Baguio City

To all the Deaf Community and their family, Deaf Schools, Deaf Organizations and its members, other NGOs, NGAs, LGUs; the New Media Services Cares (NMS-Cares) invites everyone to come join them. It will be held in Baguio City from May 19-21, 2017.

The 1st NMS-Cares Deaf Festival will kick-off with a grand parade by festival participants from all over the country starting from Session Road to Melvin Jones Grandstand, succeeding a motorcade
blast following Harrison Road towards Camp John Hay.

NMS Cares 1st Deaf Festival Logo May 19-21, 2017
NMS Cares 1st Deaf Festival Logo

The 1st NMS-Cares Deaf Festival with the theme “A community that DEAFinitely Cares” intends to provide a venue for the Deaf community to showcase their skills; gain knowledge, employment opportunity and personal development; at the same time promoting Deaf Awareness. This 3 day event will feature performance highlighting Deaf talent, art exhibit and trade fair, seminar, job fair, sports contest and film screenings all to foster and gain deeper understanding of the Deaf Culture.

Schedule of Activities for the Event are as follows:

  • May 19, 2017
    Morning – Assembly (8 AM), Parade (9 AM), Opening Program (11 AM – 12 NN)
    Afternoon – Caravan/Trade Fair (1-7 PM), Job Fair (1-5 PM)
    Evening – Breaking the Noise: Battle of the Bands Finals, Deaf Got Talent, Deaf Fashion Show (6 – 12 MN)
  • May 20, 2017
    Morning – Sports Festival (10 AM – 2 PM), Caravan/Trade Fair (10 AM – 7 PM), Cooking Competition (10 AM – 1 PM)
    Afternoon – Workshop 1 and 2 (2 – 5 PM), Dinner for a Cause (5 – 7:30 PM)
    Evening – Cocktail (7:30 – 8:15 PM), Red Carpet (8:30 PM), Gala Night (9 – 12 MN)
  • May 21, 2017
    Morning – Caravan/Trade Fair (10 AM – 3 PM), Workshop 3 and 4 (8 AM – 12 NN)
    Afternoon – Workshop 5 and 6 (1 – 5 PM), Closing Program (5 PM)

The NMS-Cares, Inc. is a local non-profit organization that aims to provide program and service in enhancing Deaf education, skills development, sign language training, scholarship grant and community support to Deaf children and their family; with the vision of Deaf children experiencing a full life in a barrier free society.

upcoming-activities-poster

For more information you can also check out their website at www.nms-cares.org and nmscares.deafestival.org and FB: NMS-Cares Deaf Festival. For further question and/or clarification, feel free to contact them through:
email: info@nms-cares.org;
Mr. Jerry Jericho L. Caballero at (074)620- 2730
Mr. George Lintag at (+63) 917 685 5518.

See you there!!!

Join us! Bring Filipino Sign Language to the public schools!

*PLEASE SHARE / FORWARD / POST as widely as possible. Thanks!

To: Videographers / Editors / Animators / Storytellers / Writers / Actors / Artists / Producers / Designers / TV / Mass Comm students, networks Fine Arts students, alumni & organizations / Teachers / education students / language or culture students / Web designers / administrators / Lawyers / law students (interested specially in copyright, IPR) or any dynamic, resourceful team players, volunteers who want to be a part of Deaf History! :o)

++
Greetings co-advocates / supporters / friends of the Deaf community!

After five years of having P100M in the Philippine budget authorized by law to be used for “Instructional Materials and Textbooks for the Handicapped“, the DepEd is FINALLY going to start to act and use this fund to develop materials together with civil society organizations!

This is based on two laws which require the use of Filipino Sign Language in the public school system:
Republic Act No. 10410 known as the “Early Years Act”: in Day Care Centers in all barangays
Republic Act No. 10533 known as the “K-12” law.

I, along with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), the DLS- CSB School of Deaf Education and Deaf Studies, (CSB-SDEAS) the Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (MCCID) and the CAP College – School for the Deaf (CAP-SFD), the major institutions who have advocated for the use of Filipino Sign Language, have come together to start this challenging task: to bring FSL to the public schools of the Philippines, and FSL materials to the eyes and minds of deaf children all over the country.

In order to be able to use FSL as the “Mother Tongue” (or first language) for deaf children, there need to be Learner Materials (in video):
– in FSL as a subject (from K-3, or Kinder to Gr. 3; plus in the Day Care Centers)
– of all other subjects (Math, Araling Panlipunan, etc.) in FSL.

Some aspects of FSL may be taught in the classroom using print. But as a visual / spatial language, video will be the best medium. Video Learner Materials may be disseminated using TV.

Because of this, we will need volunteers, supporters, technical experts, education graduates, teachers, etc. who can assist the 4 institutions above.

Whether you sign or not, if you are willing and able to contribute to this historical undertaking, we would be happy to have you!

For any questions, pls email this address.
Thank you and we hope to hear from you!
In service of the Filipino Deaf community ~
Liza B. Martinez, PhD
PDRC (2001-2013) / Deaf Resources Philippines

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