Learning to communicate with the hearing-impaired

Rokiah Mahmud

Brunei-USA Association (BUSA) President Salimah binti Haji Saim stressed on the importance to raise awareness and sensitivity towards the hearing-impaired community in Brunei Darussalam.

“Through this workshop, we hope to equip the community with the basic principles of sign language and the ‘how-to’ in communicating with hearing impaired individuals,” she said during the opening ceremony of the Brunei-American Sign Language workshop at Avenue 41 in Kampong Kiarong.

BUSA, in collaboration with BUSA-UBD, BUSA-UTB and BUSA-PB Chapters, hosted the two-day Brunei-American Sign Language workshop in conjunction with the International Day of Sign Languages on September 23.

Thirty-seven participants from local higher learning institutions and organisations attended the event. The Public Affairs team of the United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam and BUSA members were also present. The workshop was supported by the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.

Teacher of the hearing-impaired at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital Ong Siok Yan was the facilitator. Through her experience working with the hearing-impaired individuals, she provided hearing-impaired service to hearing-impaired family members and has been facilitating workshops related to sign language. “It has always been my biggest satisfaction,” she said.

Participants were exposed to the technique of palm positioning to form correct fingerspelling, a technique used for signing letters of written alphabets and numbers in sign language. They were also taught greetings and other sign languages.

Participants were also given the opportunity to practise basic sign language skills with invited National Association for the Hearing-Impaired (OKP) member Bahrul Amie bin Abu Bakar and Md Lutfi bin Hussin.

The second day of the workshop will be at Avenue 41 in Kiarong on September 25.

Participants at the Brunei-American Sign Language workshop. PHOTO: BUSA