Thursday, 29 September 2011

About the rally....

......that took place two days ago. I got to the venue about 3 minutes past the scheduled time and what did I see? Practically everyone was already there and ready to go! Impressive, I must say because Africans in general are known to be late for everything. Hence what is called the 'African time'. Anyway, it was easy for me to know who was part of the rally because of the bright yellow (bright green for executive members) t-shirts a lot of people were wearing. The message emblazoned on the t-shirt was 'Deaf people can do anything except hear'. Simple and straight to the point.

Here's one interesting 'individual' t-shirt: the wearer/owner very kindly permitted me to take a photo

The national news channel which was supposed to cover the event did not turn up. What does one expect? The government is doing NADA for the deaf whom they are supposed to support. So there is absolutely no positive image laundering for the national news channel reporter and cameraman to do. Duh! And another major news channel was invited and maybe because no money was exchanged, these people did not turn up either! Duh! Duh!! A couple of small independent news channel were around but they were only present for the press conference.  I had a good friend and colleague who fortunately was on annual leave but was kind enough to lend his support.

The press conference was quite brief and somewhat organised. I was able to look around (from my seat) and take stock. Almost everyone was in good spirits (a good sign of the solid solidarity amongst the people). Although I had some curious looks (partly because I wore hearing-aids on both ears and didn't do a lot of signtalk), people were very friendly. I could count on my one hand the number of people who wore a hearing-aid. I did a couple of interviews and learnt a LOT! And next was the rally,! Wheew!! Another impressive thing was the quick cooperation of everyone to fall into organised groups. Hearing World, take note!  The trek started off well with the Road Safety officials helping to manage traffic; a lot of people handed out pamphlets to both pedestrians and vehicle occupants. Although I had some interesting conversations with a couple of people, I took the advantage to know my surroundings better. I find it easier to know a particular neighborhood on foot rather than driving around. My people-watching antenna was of course attuned. It was a trek indeed and if I could get there at 5.30am in the morning in the near future, I would re-do the trek. We finally ended up at the National Assembly (with a little 'help' of a lift on the way). I must admit that my primary reason of joining the rally was to get into the NA .....  Well unfortunately, the exco members never received any response from the office of the senate president regarding the rally. Security reasons; whatever?!!!! As we were stretching out, relaxing and refueling ourselves with some snacks after the long trek, who did we see passing by us in all his 'glory'? The senate president. And he scores no cookie point for failing to stop or even to slow down when he saw the group. Come on, a group wearing bright yellow t-shirts and  hanging out right outside the NA gates and you don't get bitten by the curiosity bug? I see.... I am going to 'comment my reserve' now....

Today went well; someone graciously gave me the opportunity to interview him. People ARE interesting!

In two days time, the country would be marking its independence anniversary. One is supposed to get excited about turning another year, right? But with so many unrealised dreams in young people today especially the deaf, this is a real cause of sadness and frustration. But holding on hope against ALL hope is another thing....

So thanks again for reading!

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