Talking Hands brings the hearing-impaired and volunteers together with the new Jolly Food Club.
Contributed By Jonathan Teo
On Mar. 6, a group of Talking Hands clients and volunteers gathered to launch a new initiative known as the Jolly Food Club, the first out of five sessions this year. The aim of JFC is to allow greater interaction between the hearing-impaired and Talking Hands volunteers through a truly Singaporean “sport”: the hunt for good food.
To chronicle their culinary adventures, the members of JFC have started a blog to share their experiences, ratings, as well as photographs and video clips taken during their food hunts. This way, the club meets its desired objectives of strengthening bonds of friendship, and helping the hearing-impaired to develop life skills such as writing, photography, and video editing.
Jolly Food Club is just one activity under Talking Hands, a service of City Harvest Community Services Association that organizes events to engage the hearing-impaired community. Past events include The Race of Spring, where participants had to traipse all over Chinatown to complete a quiz challenge before enjoying a Chinese New Year meal; Table Mania, a board game competition held in August last year; and SMS Challenge, which had participants pitching their texting skills against one another.
The idea of Jolly Food Club was mooted during a brainstorm session for 2011 events. Food is a popular aggregator for Singaporeans, and the idea soon evolved to an island-wide food hunt and a blog. The members were so excited that they began promoting the club through Facebook a week before it launched. A video trailer of the food hunt was even uploaded on Youtube to explain the activities of the club.
EATING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE STREETS
The Sunday of the launch, members of Jolly Food Club gathered at Aljunied MRT station, where they were introduced to one another and briefed about safety and the itinerary of the day. The first stop was Giant Bao at Aljunied Road, where they tried the signature enormous pork-filled bun. The bun, impressively, had to be held with both hands, but taste-wise it was given just an average rating by the members as they felt it tasted like any other bao.
From Aljunied Road, members traveled a few lanes down to Yong He Dou Jiang at Geylang Lorong 27A. Here, they tucked into a variety of dishes including sweet beancurd with peanut, rice roll with you tiao (fried dough sticks) and pork floss, as well as carrot cake. The club agreed the dishes were pleasant.
But it was a classic case of saving the best for last. The group made its final stop at Geylang Lorong 9’s famous Beef Hor Fun stall. Along with the rice noodles fried with a peppery beef sauce, the members ate their fill of Or Luak (oyster omelette) and Fried Prawn Noodles. The spicy Beef Hor Fun was a clear crowd favorite—the plates emptied almost as quickly as they arrived.
With the success of its first session, the Jolly Food Club is confident of having more hearing-impaired individuals join in the next four food hunts this year. JFC also hopes to widen its search to include famous food stalls that have moved and are now “lost.”
Talking Hands volunteer Tony Loh, 42, who runs his own business, felt that the club has given the hearing-impaired a chance to tour the streets of Singapore, as well as build stronger bonds of friendship with volunteers.
Volunteer Lau Ber Nard, a 21-year-old student added that for many of the hearing-impaired, it was their first visit to Geylang. Because many of them do not eat out much, JFC gives them a great opportunity to dine on the best cuisine Singapore has to offer.
For more information on Talking Hands, please log on to www.chcsa.org.sg. To read the Jolly Food Club blog, log on to http://jollyfoodclub.blogspot.com/.