Reaching out to the deaf

  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 31 Aug 2019

Participants of the workshop learning basic sign language.

THE ability to converse in sign language can be an advantage, according to Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.

It allows one to understand and interact with those who are deaf, which is particularly useful for those in frontline jobs.

“We’ve noticed that sometimes the deaf have a hard time asking for help or directions from others.

“What if there’s an emergency and no one can understand them?” Soon pointed out during a Basic Malaysian Sign Language Course held by the Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC).

The course was held over two recent weekends at PYDC at Whiteaways Arcade in George Town.

It attracted around 20 participants who each paid a subsidised fee of only RM50.

The four two-hour classes were conducted by instructors from the Penang Deaf Association.

Participants took an exam at the end and received certificates.

If there is sufficient interest, another module might be held in the coming weeks.

Soon urged companies and organisations to sign up their staff for such courses.

He said it would be useful for office, hotel or factory receptionists as well as staff manning information counters at malls and tourist attractions.

“Anyone who takes it should be able to have basic communication skills in sign language by the end.”

He also encouraged young people to take the course.

“Having sign language in one’s arsenal can give one a leg up when seeking employment.”

PYDC general manager Thoy Siew Ping said while their main focus is empowering youth, the disabled must not be left out either.

“We will continue to run more training programmes like this.

“Those who attend and graduate can in turn take the lead in running their own activities and training others at their organisations, ” she pointed out.

Coming up next is an ‘Emotional Intelligence Training: Leadership and Performance’ workshop at the same venue from 8.30am to 5pm on Sept 28.

It will be conducted by Dr Yeoh Kar Kheng, an expert on mindfulness and a senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Thoy said the emotional intelligence workshop was aimed at developing participants’ personal skills and stress management.

Sign up for the emotional intelligence workshop by visiting before Sept 15.

Fees are RM80 per person inclusive of lunch and tea break.

For more information, call PYDC (012-401 0186) or email

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