City Harvest Community Services Association reaches out to the deaf community with Talking Hands.
Contributed By Lau Ber Nard
The phrase “Silence is golden” rings loud, especially for the group that participated in Table Mania, an event organized by City Harvest Community Services Association on Aug. 15. The event saw 21 members of the deaf community gather at CHCSA’s POD Youth Centre in Tampines Street 33 where a day of fun and laughter followed.
In its second year running, Table Mania is helmed by Talking Hands, a service of CHCSA provided for the hearing-impaired under their charge.
Consisting of a series of board games, including Blokus, Pictureka, No Thanks!, Ugly Doll, Jurassic Jumble and Halli Galli, as well as lunch and snacks, it was an opportunity for the participants and the 14 Talking Hands volunteers to spend time interacting with one another, by way of signing, no doubt.
Motivation came in the form of S$60 worth of Xin Wang Hong Kong Café cash vouchers—the grand prize that the participants stood to win. With much excitement, teams got down to strategizing their game plans without wasting precious time.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHCSA|
Instead of the usual rowdiness, shouts and screams often associated with board games and multiple players, Table Mania was special in that participants communicated their joy, excitement, frustration and triumph with sign language, facial expressions, hand gesticulations and huge smiles on their faces.
The last game, which was a mass group event and a highlight for the participants, was Jenga, a game of physical and mental skill where players take turns to remove a block from a tower and balance it on top, creating a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses.
Remarkably, the players were able to build the tower up to 32 levels before it eventually collapsed.
Much to the joy of everyone, there was a lucky draw for the participants where they got to bring home the games they played.
Tony Loh, who has been a volunteer with Talking Hands for over a year, felt that this was a good avenue through which one can make an impact in the community.
He added that serving the deaf community is rather special as volunteers and the hearing-impaired share a close connection with one another since there is always constant eye contact; and communication with them requires expressiveness.
Eden Sim, a program executive of CHCSA, hopes to grow the service of Talking Hands through events such as these, catering to the hearing-impaired community of Singapore.
Sim envisions Talking Hands volunteers reaching beyond the four walls of the service to touch those who suffer with self-esteem and self-confidence issues as a result of their condition.