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.

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Filipino Deaf Candidate asked to resign from Beauty Contest

This is again another act of discrimination against the deaf! Binibining Pilipinas is a national organization which holds the annual search for Filipina beauties who will represent the country in international contests such as Ms. Universe, Ms. International, Ms. Tourism and Ms. Supranational. According to their website’s FAQ, here are their requirements:

  • A single lady, 17 to 25 years old
  • A Filipino citizen, minimum 5’6” in height with pleasing personality
  • At least a high school graduate and of good moral character

Now, let us check the requirements of Christine Balaguer:

  • A single lady, 17 to 25 years old – Check!
  • A Filipino citizen, minimum 5’6” in height with pleasing personality – Check!
  • At least a high school graduate and of good moral character – Check!

I don’t see any requirement saying, Can hear and speak. Then why the hell was she asked to resign? She is already among the finalist and passed the batteries of test before landing into the top 34. Why? Why? Why?

Here is Rappler.com’s news article about this glaring discrimination published last month:

Deaf candidate Christine Balaguer removed from Bb Pilipinas 2015

Christine says being asked to resign by the organizers has left her ‘depressed’ because it was her big dream to be the first deaf candidate to compete.

CHRISTINE BALAGUER. File photo by Melvin Sia

CHRISTINE BALAGUER. File photo by Melvin Sia

MANILA, Philippines – Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated (BCPI) has replaced Christine Balaguer in the official list of candidates for this year’s pageant.

Christine was announced as one of the 34 candidates last January 10 and was photographed in some of the girls’ activities. (IN PHOTOS: The 34 Bb Pilipinas 2015 candidates)

On her Facebook page, Christine said that she was asked by BCPI to resign, which made her “depressed.” She added that it was her big dream to be the first deaf candidate to compete.

Christine was replaced by Cannielle Faith Santos from Marilao, Bulacan. Christine previously joined Miss World Philippines 2014, where she placed in the Top 10. (READ: The Binibining Pilipinas 2015 returning hopefuls)

She is the second candidate to be replaced in this year’s list. Candidate #9 Kimberle Mae Penchon dropped the competition and was replaced by Maolin Yalung. – Rappler.com

Paging BCPI!!! Count this blogger as one of those protesting against this discrimination!

College student crowned first deaf beauty queen in PH

First Filipina Deaf Beauty Queen
First Filipina Deaf Beauty Queen (Photo courtesy of ANC and Yahoo News)

A college student makes history as the country’s first deaf beauty queen.

17-year-old Princess Pura was crowned among the top three winners in the ‘Queen of the Philippines’ in Subic, Zambales.

Being deaf since birth, the Hotel and Restaurant Management student says winning a beauty pageant is a dream come true.

Princess will represent the country in the ‘Face of Beauty International’ competition in China this September.

She says she wants to be an inspiration to other disabled women to pursue their ambitions. Full video article below:

Congratulations, Princess Pura!! Your achievement is the first of its kind in the Philippine Deaf community. This blogger salutes your success!!! You are truly blessed.  🙂

 

Colorful Silence, Filipino Deaf Photographer

Screenshot of Colorful Silence - Manila Bulletin Article about Emil Zion Punzalan's Photography Works
Colorful Silence – Manila Bulletin Article about Emil Zion Punzalan’s Photography Works

Guys, may I interest you again with another successful Filipino deaf entrepreneur, Emil Zion Punzalan. As one of the proud products of MCCID, he has ventured into a field where communication is a non-issue and the entire world is his portrait. He was recently featured in Manila Bulletin. I reposted the article below.

Colorful Silence
By Jojie Alcantara
Published: May 7, 2013

In history, many hearing-impaired people have worked professionally as photographers for decades. Several of them have stood out with their eye for details and visual impact while living in a silent world.

Emil Zion Punzalan from Sampaloc, Manila accepted his diploma in Business Technology at the Manila Christian Computer Institute of the Deaf back in 2003.

“When I graduated college with a computer course, my grandparents were a little worried about what job I would get since I am deaf,” he explains. “They pushed me to photography, encouraged me to attend seminars. With the course I finished, plus photography which complemented it, I ended up as a photographer. I found pleasure in it and made a career out of it.”

He has no particular favorite subject or theme. “Ideas are everywhere. I love to capture still life, animals, food, landscape, aerial, people, travel, seascapes, and more. The possibilities are endless and I do a little bit of everything to keep myself shooting.”

For Zion, an effective photography is when the photographer transforms lifeless shots to amazing images.

“The photographer’s mood is important in coming out with good pictures. It sets the atmosphere of the piece, evokes happiness or sadness, creating an emotion. The moods of my shots are varied.”

He has joined several photo contests and won: gold medal in NCR Abilympics Skills Competition in 2005; bronze medal in the 12th National Skills Competition in 2005; and Pixoto hailed him as one of the Best Photographers of the Year 2012.

“My goal as a visual artist is to be able to create an image that is even better and beautiful than the actual subject I am shooting,” he says.

“Creativity is the best thing about being a photographer. How you compose a shot will tell the whole story – showing faces, expressions, movements, moods, situations, and experiences. For me, the most basic and most important factors are good lighting and exposure. I create the mood with lighting.”

He continues, “Exposure is the amount of light entering my camera. It describes how light or how dark the photographs are. Underexposure is when photos come out too dark, overexposure is when photos come out too light or washed out. However, slightly underexposed and overexposed images can be great for artistic or stylistic reasons. They may be visually appealing.”

Appealing may be more than one way to describe Zion’s images. Adjusting above auditory disabilities, he creates and composes images as though they were paintings infused with vivid hues that jump out from a canvas. In a silent but colorful world, he soars beyond his limits.

“For me, photography is beyond capturing family memories or documenting an event. It offers a chance to be creative. It is an expression using lighting, color, depth, content, and composition to make photographs into more than snapshots,” he says.

Now at 30, Zion looks forward to his coming inspiration with eager anticipation, the birth of his first born baby this June.

The original article appears Picture Perfect Special Lifestyle Section and the Mania Bulletin website.

For those who are in need of professional photography and other related services, I highly recommend his services. Go to his Official Facebook page to know more about how to get in touch with Zion. 🙂

Deaf Teacher-Painter Meets his Modern day Good Samaritan

This is a repost from National Council on Disability Affairs Website. Enjoy! 🙂

A local businessman-artist birthday gifted himself as a sudden inspiration, by inviting deaf teacher-artist and 2-time International Abilympics gold medallist Jose dela Cruz, to sketch friends and show his works in his party. As his wish, Jose’s genius easily got noticed, but in a big way, by one man in particular, This standout corporate young Good Samaritan (GM), from a super affluent family in the country, humbly told the interpreter after buying 2 paintings, “Please tell Lolo Jose not to forget me when he is already famous.”

Jose with Mr. Good Samaritan
Jose and Mr. Good Samaritan

His words so touched Jose and there was no stopping a mutual admiration society, sort of, between the two. Parting with his 2 most intricate and “cherished” works, Lolo Jose knew Mr. GM had the nose for masterpieces. Still reeling from the compliments, Jose was given yet another message. “Tell him I will hang his works next to my Juan Luna and other famed masterpieces, please.” This he did, when he invited Jose and the interpreter to his house weeks after.
The Interpreter, like Lolo Jose, was just as moved by the young man’s show of nobility and respect. Once more, there was proof, that disability is no barrier to excellence, and ingenuity.

Mr. GM was so moved by Lolo Jose and vows to help introduce his works to his friends.
Note: To keep Mr. GM’s identity, we are showing his blurred image beside Lolo Jose, until he decides it is time to come forward.

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