Short Messaging Service has become one of the most common modes of communication today. Tapping onto this, Talking Hands launched SMS Passion 2010.
Contributed By Sally Ng
|CN PHOTO: Lim Chai Seng
SMS Passion is an initiative by Talking Hands, an arm of City Harvest Community Services Association. Going beyond words, Talking Hands provides practical assistance by forming a social support network for the Deaf community in Singapore, to aid them in adapting to mainstream society. An increasing number of volunteers are also being trained in sign language annually to better the quality of services provided. Since its establishment in March 1996, CHCSA has extended its arms to assist the less fortunate of the society, regardless of their race, language and religion.
Some 50 volunteers and members of the Deaf community gathered for the event at The Riverwalk on Sunday, June 13. The afternoon kicked off with the all-time favorite game, Bingo. Spirits were high as participants were determined to win, and very quickly, the ice was melted.
Following that was an SMS challenge preluding the main event. A relatively simple task of typing a short message was made challenging when the participants had to do so in German and Italian. The attitude and determination of the participants were admirable as they willed themselves to complete what seemed like a daunting task.
Winners of both teams progressed on to the final SMS showdown. A strong camaraderie could be seen among all the members of Talking Hands, regardless of ability. Encouragement was doled out in the form of numerous hands gesticulating in the air. The winner emerged from the team representing the Deaf community.
SMS Passion met many objectives. Firstly, social networks were built, providing a means of social support for the hearing impaired. Secondly, volunteers were able to engage the Deaf and provide assistance to meet their needs. Last but not least, the event reminded everyone of their intrinsic value as unique individuals, able to pursue and achieve success and happiness in life.
Pearly Sim who enjoyed the event thoroughly said that “the SMS Passion 2010 was a good platform to engage the Deaf on a whole new different level. I really enjoyed myself and hope that the organizers could arrange for more activities like this.”
Another participant, Valerie Lim, felt that “it was an enriching experience to see everyone mingling together. Communication knows no barrier when individuals are willing to take the time and effort to bridge the gap.” She added, “It was also inspiring to see their determination to do their best, be it for the fringe activities or the SMS challenge itself.”
Organizer Eden Sim remarked that “an event like this facilitates interaction, giving the volunteers more confidence when it comes to engaging the hearing impaired.” Affirmed a volunteer, “Through this, I managed to widen my sign language vocabulary.”
Before the event was over, members of Talking Hands were already expectant and talking about future SMS Passion events. Said Kazay Chua, a volunteer, “I’m looking forward to seeing the group grow and include more of the Deaf community in Singapore.”