Deaf laughter festival in Johor a first of its kind

The participants having fun at the event.

JOHOR: How many deaf friends do you have? Many of us may not be aware of the need to befriend and interact with the deaf.

However, this does not mean that they do not deserve equal treatment and respect from us.

We should put a stop to this and support inclusion of special needs people such as the deaf into mainstream society.

Recently, Miri Deaf Association (MDA) organised an inaugural two-day Deaf Laughter Festival in Johor.

One of the objectives of the event was to create an opportunity for the hearing individuals to experience the deaf community’s world of silence.

Doris Goh Pei Sia, the MDA president said it was important for the hearing community to accept them.

She wants gifted individuals like her to be treated fairly by the others in society.

The deaf participants were from Johor, Sarawak and Singapore.

The event also involved a group of 13 Laughter Yoga teacher trainees and a master trainer, Michi Morioka.

They were from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan.

The participants at the inaugural two-day Deaf Laughter Festival in Johor.
The participants at the inaugural two-day Deaf Laughter Festival in Johor.

They were given an invaluable lifetime experience to facilitate laughter yoga sessions with the 25 gifted individuals.

The event began with laughter yoga sessions by certified Deaf Laughter Yoga leaders Ravisangar Kannan, Tang Ya Mei , Dayang Rauyah Awang Mohammad, Teo Ah Huey, Mah Chee Hong, Wong Han Heong, Mohd Zamri B Rosli and Soo Meng Tong.

It is wonderful how laughter can engage and bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing individuals.

It has again been proven that the deaf can perform as good as the hearing individuals if given the chance to do so.

The event ended its first day with a gala dinner.

Michi from Japan gave an amazing opening performance singing a Japanese song. After the buffet dinner, there were dances and games in total silence which connected everyone together. The music and the rhythm were from the hearts.

The second day sessions were conducted by certified laughter yoga teachers Kay Wararuk Sunonethong from Thailand, Kitty Yuen Kit Ying from Hong Kong and laughter yoga teacher trainee Annie Yap Chen Chen from Singapore.

Dr Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga, said everyone could gain the physical, mental and emotional health benefits if the laughter is unconditional and heartily for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Recently, a certified laughter yoga teacher, See Yee Chen, shared her experience on the event.

A senior lecturer at a private university, she enjoys conducting laughter yoga sessions which can benefit herself and the others since 2011.

The next event will be held at Chiang Rai, Thailand in 2020. The organiser hopes to get more participants from all over the world.

The event is the brainchild of the event’s adviser Lim Tuan Cheat.

He aims to pave the way for the special needs, such as the deaf, to participate in international laughter yoga conferences and events.

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