One Size Fits All

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“Trying to follow a conversation in a group through the use of lip-reading is like watching a ping pong ball be swatted back and forth across the table while trying to read something written on it.”

~ J. Parrish Lewis

 

This may be perfectly put but it is divisive because the exact same principle could be applied to any form of communication, trying to follow regardless of what mode or language it is in…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Somewhere Over The Rainbow…

Somewhere over the rainbow...
Somewhere over the rainbow…

Hold your horses!

‘Tis not the Wizard of Oz version but this one from an awesome movie called “Face Off”. I still remember the very first time I laid eyes on this film, a particular scene has stayed with me since then because….

In my experience, being deaf in a hearing world can be such a cacophony of experiences, which can make it a most chaotic place to mingle, so much so that I tend to find myself wanting to tune out, recoiling into a world of my own. Some may say for one’s own sanity and protection, a chance to cease what mental fight there may be. A moment’s retreat is I suspect, what aids me in retaining a calm composure thus enabling me to think with more clarity whilst observing such a discordance of unrest and triviality.

Deaf people are oftentimes overwhelmed with what I term visual “white noise” the very moment we leave the protection of our homes, such as strangers’ faces distorting in order to express and enunciate. In going about their hasty routines, people appear to be clamouring. The meaningless bass sounds of congestion produced by the ongoing traffic. The wayward sounds of any tempestuous weather is lost and therefore, in vain. All of which, are seen and felt but not heard.

Meanwhile there are those of us who may be able to associate sounds with said actions, perhaps from memory or facilitated by hearing aids but silence otherwise, is at times golden, by giving us some respite from the full extent and purposes of sounds.

Yet being able to hear and appreciate music is quite something else to cherish hence, another reason why, I love this scene so albeit from differing perspectives.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Written to conclude my “Silence is Golden” article. 🙂

Surfers Paradise

I would like to seize the day and contemplate out-loud whether there is a justified fairness in the eligibility rules for a freedom pass, regarding those with varying degrees of hearing loss.

Except, what I am about to say regarding Cochlear Implant users may offend them and if that turns out to be the case, I sincerely apologise in advance, for being honest.

Those with a profound or severe hearing loss (like myself) cannot hear very well at all, with or without any hearing aids, are eligible for what Londoners call a “Freedom Pass”; this is a travel permit scheme which allows the named holder to “surf” London using the public transport system.

However, there are those who are categorized as having a mild form of hearing loss and if their range of loss does not meet, the minimum required – they are deemed ineligible for a freedom pass. One can work out the reasoning behind that since they may have enough residual hearing to, sort of, ‘get by’ without any hearing aids yet whilst supported by hearing aids they could be, almost, on a par to a hearing person. Nevertheless, the stress of travelling remains albeit for almost all of us since whatever announcements are broadcasted, not even hearing people can comprehend.

Moving onto (successful) cochlear implants users – A CI is considered the most superior hearing aid of all; this will enable the user to hear extremely well and ever so clearly, once again, more or less being on a par to a hearing person.

Why then, do those who are not eligible, have to miss out on the benefits of a freedom pass when there are CI users who can potentially hear better than them, remain eligible for a freedom pass? Go figure…

Inevitably, there will be those who throw their arms up into the air in protest, demanding the same level of benefits since they feel, they too should not have to pay to use the public transport system.

Above all, an unfortunate fact remains. That almost each (if not all) Travel Concessionary Department(s) has not acquired the necessary experience or relevant qualifications, in order to assist them adequately with reading audiograms or differentiating between the pros and cons. This inexperience does not help them or us, at all, so how can they truly appreciate the injustice that exits, in their rules of eligibility.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Rant Over 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

There’s No Place Like Home…

Oftentimes, I wonder where one’s home is because I have questioned myself if somewhere can really be ‘home’? As I was sent away to boarding school, ten going onto eleven years old, I lost that vital ‘homely’ and ‘family’ sense. Moreover, I do not really like to complain because…

Some people or children I dread to think do not even have a home. People here in the UK and elsewhere can be so ungrateful and inexplicably arrogant; they have a roof over their heads and free medical care. They concern themselves with having the best garment or the latest gadget when an older child overseas could be going without food for days at a time so their younger sibling does not – Their parents having passed away. It is children like them who you need to pay your respects to and be mindful of, not some sociopath looking to gain popularity to feed their ego and vanity.

Unfortunately, there is a level of such hypocrisy and ignorance amongst us also. There was a Polish family in the Valley and so there happened to be an Afghanistan family too. I scanned around me to gauge people’s reactions as I sensed an interesting moment. Most were happy to respect one another’s personal space and continue as they were yet the Polish adults clearly from their body language, facial expressions and directional glances did not want this Afghanistan family sharing the same albeit very public playground as their children or their space. One of them even tried his luck to take a photo of the women as they were in their full gear. He pretended he was looking at the menu on his camera but then he felt braver and so the camera was lifted higher and higher until he felt confident enough to brazenly photograph them.

I felt fury seething away at me yet my husband held me back from standing in front of his camera to obscure any further potential frames and to prevent him from being so disrespectful – making a point of his/their attitudes. How dare they take photos of another family and be racist about them when they are immigrants themselves?! The bloody cheek of them.

Once, someone from the very same vicinity told my husband, my children and I to go back where we came from… If only they knew that, I came from down the road to them. There was no way my family and I was going to keep quiet about these bullies so we complained to the local councillor and several others who at their next residents meeting had their voices heard on our behalf. They were rather embarrassed and somewhat apologised.

Many also tend to have one rule for themselves and another. I knew someone who did not want anything to do with anyone who was in a negative state of mind yet he did not practise what he preached “Be kind always for you never know what that person is going through”… What another hypocrite.

One of the things about being deaf is being able to relate to how a foreigner is made to feel, since we are made to feel like outcasts also. Social cleansing happens much more than people realise.

The difference between the people of the North and the south of England is clearly diversity and tolerance. In London, anything goes – everyone is different and easily tolerated whereas in the North, most people are spoilt and do not like change.

Nevertheless, I have come to sense a certain emotion being ‘at home’ in the North East of Yorkshire. Being out in the wide open, the rolling moors, and the golden beaches of which is the surfers’ paradise. Up above are birds cherishing their flight and the wind beneath their wings. Bags of Cinder Toffee testing the strength of one’s delicate teeth. The mouth-watering aroma of the traditional fish and chips, especially in Whitby… Forget Parmesan! Discovering an abundance of fossils here and there. My childhood becoming my children’s’.

The glistening in the sunlight and the relative unique sounds of the seashore reminds me how it feels to be at peace, to be in awe of Mother Nature and its designs. Trivial issues be it political or personal and wealth turn ever more meaningless. The meaning of Life is clear.

However, Italy and North Africa is also in my blood so it is only natural that I feel a certain connection to these places and their cultures. Ever since I was a child growing up in the UK, I have never felt at home or accepted, not even, for who I am. How could I ever feel “at home” amongst all the conflicting angst being imposed upon myself?

As the delight in my children’s faces matches that in my heart, I know that as long as we have one another, I determine that I will be ‘home’… For ‘home’ is where my heart is.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Pitched Perfectly? If Only

Pitch Perfect was broadcasted on TV earlier this summer, it was only then my daughter and I discovered what an awesome film it was to watch. We enjoyed it tremendously and the subtitles were marvellous, I could follow every single word, the dialogue as well as the songs. I felt on a par to everyone else.

Recently I treated myself to a Pitch perfect DVD – I had debated with myself which DVD to buy, as the ‘sing-along’ version was available too. I could not make up my mind since I knew from experience that subtitles on DVDs were not as inclusive as on TV so my sister helped me to choose. We concluded the singalong version should allow me to watch the film’s dialogue as well as following the lyrics to the musicals however; this option of being able to toggle was not to be the case…

My daughter at present is home unwell from school due to a virus so I thought that by putting on the Pitch perfect DVD it would also cheer her up. I had very much been looking forwards to watching it once more in my own leisurely time. However, I have had to leave her side to let her watch and enjoy the rest of the movie since I could not follow/enjoy it.

The DVD menu gives you two options. First option is the “Play Movie” of which allows you to watch the movie without the karaoke style captions to the songs but upon selecting English subtitles for those like myself who happen to be hearing impaired, the subtitles omit the song lyrics. The second option “Play Movie with Sing-along” version only allows you to watch the movie with the karaoke style captions to the songs yet despite selecting English subtitles they do not show up at all for the dialogue remainder of the film. Examples of which are shown in the video below.

Why can’t people like myself who happen to be hearing impaired, watch a musical DVD (in general) at our own leisure with the subtitles reflecting the whole context of the movie? The dialogue and the lyrics…. Only then, it can and will be ‘pitched perfectly’…

Thank you, for your time and patience.

Nevertheless, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed the DVD…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)