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The Sun was just beginning to touch its horizon and I looked at the clock. Okay, it’s time to head out of work and I made a little quick search into Google. “Seoul metro map.” Images of the metro map quickly appeared and I looked for ones that were the most readable. I clicked on a few images and then let my mind examine the Seoul metro map. There were 9 different lines and each line has a color of its own. Where do I get on? where do I get off? more lines to get on? Seoul station was the one that I wanted to go to. After reviewing a few times, I tried to hold a mental map in my mind and I’d try to depend on my ever reliable memory and I walked out of the office.

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Our visit to the orphanage

“Do you know how I got adopted” I asked my parents the other day.

“No, we don’t. All we knew was that you were found at the police station. That’s what adoption paper says.” said my parents.

“Oh I see.”

I’d read through adoption documents more than a few times. I was evaluated by a social worker 3 times during the period I stayed at the orphanage in Seoul and the reports said I was a healthy baby with a profound hearing loss and that I was ready for adoption.

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Notification

In this post, I’m going to talk about the importance of notification and as a deaf person myself, notifying deaf people is a little different than those who can hear. Obviously, hearing people set their ring tone to whatever they please to—be it a pop song or a game song like Super Mario Bros. But for us as deaf people? we rely on visual notifications.

Which mobile device has the best notification? it’s the Blackberry. It’d flash a dark red light at the corner of its form factor and is easily recognizable afar. That’s mainly why I’ve sticked with my blackberry to this day. It’s also got a strong vibration too. I have to admit that even the hot-selling iPhone doesn’t have a good notification; its vibration is rather weak at best. That’s why you’ll see many deaf people keep reaching into their pocket and try to feel the vibration or they’d just check for the sake of it and perhaps get lucky getting a new message. Changing scenes here a bit, which webmail has the best notification? it’s Gmail, bar none. It checks for new email every minute and effortlessly pops a message into your Gmail.

So, being notified visually is pretty critical to me and that’s why I’ve stayed with the Blackberry and Gmail, the best kind of notifications you can find on the market today.

Deaf-owned Tea and Coffee shop in Seoul, Korea

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I remember you.

“I remember you.” were the words my sister signed to me after we were finally reunited and as an adoptee who was “temporarily gone” from home for more than 18 years, ofc, I had questions to ask. “Do you remember me?” was one of those more immediate questions.

I remember when I was growing up, I’d often play sports with non-asian people, and during evenings with my parents, I watched TV. It was a good thing that TV had closed captioning and that it was always turned on. My parents were deaf too. My dad used to sell Zenith TVs, and had the big analog satellite in the backyard and installed a black box to access all channels like HBO. 4 pm to 5 pm was the reserved time for my mom to watch ‘Days of our Lives’ soap opera and she’s never missed an episode. If there was ever Jeopardy on the topic, she’d sweep the column.

I was their only child and as an only child, deep down inside, I’ve always felt that I couldn’t be an only child and felt strongly that I had siblings and by this, I often wondered about my birth family. It was quite like the movie, Star Wars, with Luke Skywalker sensing the Force with his sister, Princess Leia. That remained unknown till I received the news that my family had been discovered and that I indeed had a brother and sister. I was happy to know that. However, I still needed to confirm to make sure that they’re really my birth family (there were cases that required DNA testing to confirm, for example.) What’s more was that my sister is deaf, like me, so that vastly increased the odds that we’re family.

As I was visiting around in Korea, the mother took me to visit the orphanage where I stayed for about a year before I was adopted. The orphanage was one of those last memories I had in Korea and still could remember. I remember I played a lot with balloons—it made those loud sounds when you try to rub it. They had a high balcony with big windows and I would try to crawl up onto the balcony and see the world out there. Out in the world, there would be a white van coming up in front of the fence and then a man came around the van to the back and hauled something out of it and a white cloud of steam would come out. I had no idea what that was and I also remember that some of young faces would be missing, so I thought maybe the guy took them in and went somewhere.

The building still looked exactly the same as if it never changed except for the trees that had gotten bigger, like me. Built with red, auburn bricks, it had a small playground with swings inside the fence. I met up with Director who oversaw the orphanage. He was the same guy who took me in and one thing he said caught my attention was that I was the only deaf child they had and there hadn’t been another orphan after me who was also deaf. So, a further evidence that I was the same child that he had overseen. Then, I saw the white van coming up in front and a guy came around to get something out of the rear. It was food he was delivering to the orphanage. So much for kidnapping the children.

During one evening, I asked my sister if she remembered me. She said yes, and she was six years old when I had been taken away. She said she’d remember the orphanage, that place with red, auburn bricks. We actually had gone there a few times, as the parents debated whether to give me up and when that day came, my sister didn’t come with me. That information was never communicated by the parents but the absence of their youngest brother was obvious enough that he’s not going to be back anytime soon.

So, when I signed to my sister and she signed back at me, that was enough of a confirmation to know we’re family after all.

Re-defining Deaf

Ryan Commerson and Wayne Betts Jr made a short movie – link here.

It’s a cool movie. Basically, they’re trying to change the misconception about deaf people being dumb because in the past, the word, deaf, was always associated with dumb and that hearing loss had to be fixed. They were tired of seeing how Hollywood movies would cast a deaf person to play a role of self-pity or some dumb person, so they used a good-looking deaf lady and made a sexy scene out of it in order to change the world’s perspective on deaf people.

I want to share something funny that’s happened at my work. Not a long ago, we hired a new co-worker and he sent out an intro email and I replied back to his email. Turned out that we have some similar interests and we chatted a bit. Then I went out on a vacation. When I got back, he IMed me that he had learned that I’m Deaf and he didn’t know that I was. So, we as deaf people have come a long way since then.

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Famous deaf people throughout history

link

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International Day of Sign Language

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on 43 things

6,366 people want to learn sign language.

link

Cool. :-)

My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language


Cool.

Deaf People’s Inner Voice

Link

“Do profoundly deaf people who learn to talk have a voice in their head?”
— Heather & Allen Exby

“My best answer to this,” Hauser wrote, “is that the brain has a special capacity to develop phonological representations, even when it does not have auditory input. The representations might be dramatically different from what hearing individuals hear. Nevertheless, they function in the mind as ‘sounds.'” Deaf schizophrenics, he continued, have auditory hallucinations, and blind schizophrenics have visual ones.

This is a good link. I think thoughts are just what they are, thoughts. They don’t really exist physically but from our minds and apparently, 99% of them express theirs phonologically while we express with our hands visually in Sign.

ASL history chart

Thanks to Don who posted a link to Google’s news archive. I decided to explore a little further and saw this great chart generated by Google. So I made this chart with a bit of ASL history.

ASL history chart.

1816 – Sign language from France was brought to the United States by Thomas Gallaudet, now known as American Sign Language.
1880 – ASL was banned in the 1880 Milan Conference.
1960 – Dr. William Stokoe Jr. published Sign Language Structure, showing that ASL is a complex natural language in its own right with an independent syntax and grammar.
1988 – Deaf President Now (DPN) began protest, selecting Dr. I King Jordan as Gallaudet’s first deaf president.
2000 to now – Another protest at Gallaudet University. Deaf blogsphere emerged. Videophone is invented.

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MTV network calling for a real life deaf cast

True Life: Im Deaf

Do you have severe or total deafness? Are you a deaf student, about to graduate and go out into the world on your own for the very first time? Or are you currently attending a school for the deaf but about to transition to a mainstream school? Perhaps youre trying to find a job but experiencing difficulty because you are deaf? Are you hoping to get a cochlear implant or to be fitted for a hearing aid to significantly improve your ability to hear? Are you a member of an advocacy group, fighting to gain more rights or assistance for deaf people?

If you fit any of these descriptions, MTV and Gigantic! Productions want to hear your story.

MTV’s True Life is a long-running, award-winning documentary series where young people share their stories in their own words. We hope that, by allowing people to tell their stories and communicate directly with their peers, we can impact the way people interact and engage with the world they live in.

If you appear to be between the ages of 16-28, and would like to share your story, please email us at casting@gigantic.tv and be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a photo.
Since 2001, Gigantic! Productions, a New York City-based production company, has been producing hard-hitting, award-winning documentary programming for networks such as MTV and CMT. Please visit our website: www.gigantic.tv

That’s cool they’re looking for a deaf person to be in their documentary. I know a few who would be a good fit for this.

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Deaf Porn Gives Viewers an Eye-Opener

Deaf Porn Gives Viewers an Eye-Opener

WN: You use deaf performers to create adult entertainment for an audience that includes deaf, hard of hearing (HH) and hearing people. What is unique about the performers’ interaction that viewers won’t find in mainstream porn?

Capone: Deaf Bunny uses deaf and HH actors and actresses primarily to connect with the majority of the viewers, who are deaf and HH. ASL is the common thread of the deaf community and the social behaviors — such as eye contact, body language, facial expressions and vocals (deaf people are loud!) — are unique to our culture. You won’t find that in mainstream adult movies.

Ha, I find it very funny. The guy sure knows how to give good answers to the questions she asked.

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Obama visits Iowa School for the Deaf!

Crowd turns out for late Obama rally

“Hope” and “Change” is how Democrat Barack Obama described his path to the White House, and he urged the estimated 1,050 people who saw him Tuesday night at Iowa School for the Deaf to join him and bring a friend to Thursday’s caucuses.

It’s important to do so, he added.

“We are in a defining moment in our history,” Obama said.

He has my vote and my endorsement. :-)

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