On 25 April 2015, the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) held an Accessibility Sharing Session II at OnePeople.sg for the Deaf community in Singapore to share their thoughts about Deaf rights, particularly the right on access to information. A total of 32 people joined the session, including DPA staff members, The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) members, sign language interpreters and other hearing members of public.
The session commenced with a brief introduction/welcome speech by Jorain Ng, DPA’s Advocacy Executive. Yeo Chi Jin Alfred then educated the audience about Deaf rights, particularly their right on access to information by referring to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, specifically Article Nine on access to information, which Singapore ratified in 2013. Alfred then spoke about the Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016 and some of the Government provisions for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing such as the induction loop system in selected buildings and the Emergency Short Messaging Service (SMS). Following that, Alfred highlighted some of the issues faced by the Deaf community and also went through basic factors that guarantee Deaf rights: sign language, captioning services, visual information and service providers.
The second session was presented by Clerc Communications, Wang Li-Sa and Low Jarn May, who taught the audience about the differences between translating and transliterating, and what it means to interpret language. They also gave pointers on how to work with an interpreter and note-taker. The dialogue then ended with a Question and Answer session.
DPA thanks the speakers for their time and effort, and also thanks all participants for joining the Accessibility Sharing Session. DPA is glad to see such great interest in Deaf rights. It was especially significant to hear the speakers calling on the audience to advocate for their rights, rather than relying on the Government alone to anticipate the needs of the people and do things for them. DPA has always stressed that persons with disabilities should speak up for themselves and get involved in policy consultation and formation process so that any Government initiative that seeks to better their situation have a chance of being truly effective.
This is the second sharing session organised by DPA and presented by Alfred Yeo, and it will not be the last. The great response has encouraged DPA to hold another Accessibility Sharing Session. DPA will keep you posted on the date and time of the next session in the near future. Keep a lookout for updates about the event on DPA’s website and Facebook.