Thursday, April 21, 2005

They understand

Some people have wondered why I seem to assimilate to easily to communicate with the deaf. Perhaps I have more in common with them than most people realise. They probably understand better than anyone else what it is like to be always on the outside looking in. To always be one step behind a conversation. To see an animated conversation and an exciting story being told, only to receive a 10-word summary at the end.

I am not demanding that all change their communication simply to accommodate me. I am only saying that my deaf friends will understand.

What is it like to be deaf
People have asked me
Deaf? Oh, hmmm, how do I explain that?
Simply, I can't hear

Nooo, it is much more than that
It is similar to a goldfish in a bowl
Always observing things going on
People talking all the times
It is like a man on his own island
Among foreigners

Isolation is no stranger to me
Relatives say hi and bye
But I sit for 5 hours among them
Taking great pleasure at amusing babies
Reading books, resting, helping out with food

Natural curiousity perks up
Upon seeing great laughter, crying, upsetness,
Inquiring only to meet with a "Never Mind" or
"Oh, it is not important,"
Getting a summarized statement
of the whole day

I'm supposed to smile to show my happiness
Little do they know how truly miserable I am
People are in control of language usage,
I am at loss and really uncomfortable!

Always feeling like an outsider
Among the hearing people
Even though it was not their intention

Always assuming that I am part of them
By my physical, not understanding
Their importance of communication

Facing the choice between Deaf Camping
Weekend or a Family Reunion
Facing the choice between the Family commitment
And Deaf Friends
I must make the choice constantly
Any wonder why I choose Deaf Friends???

I get such great pleasure at the Deaf clubs,
Before I realize it, it is already 2AM,
Whereas I anxiously look at the clock
Every few minutes at the Family Reunion

With Deaf People, I feel so normal
Our Communication flows back and forth
Catching up with little trivials, our daily life,
Our frustration in the bigger world,
Seeking the mutual understanding,
Contented smiles, and laughter are muscial
So magical to me
So attunded to each other's feelings
True happiness is so important

I feel more at home with Deaf people
Of various color, religion, short or tall
Than I do among my own hearing relatives
And you wonder why?
Our language is common
We understand each other

Being at loss of control
Of the environment that is communication
People panic and retreat to avoidance
Deaf people are like the plauge

But Deaf people are still human beings
With dreams, desires and needs
To belong, just like everyone else



  1. cheer up sis,

    dont worry... you'll adapt sooner or later. just a matter of time. mom should know.
    all in all, you're always welcome to speak in english in the Lee family... its all good!

  2. teach you some hainanese words...
    eat rice= jia bui
    im not a hainanese= gua bo di ai nam nang
    are you good= du oh boh
    thank you= arigato
    more to come... i go and learn some more... hehe

  3. I know how you feel - i was ostracised in my early days in sabah for not able to speak chinese 9 hakka) too. People are narrow minded - well, birds of a feather and the kind of things you know. But I have survived, stronger - more perceptive 9 i like to think) and more tolerant. God still loves you

  4. Thanks for the encouragement. I feel the comfort already like a big warm group hug.
    Sam, "Arigato" doesn't sound right... are you trying to trick me again?


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