He’s deaf but that doesn’t stop him from achieving his goals


Dr Anthony Chong, 40, was born deaf, but he’s by no means let it stop him from pursuing his desires.

Chong, the third of 4 kids, says he’s grateful to his dad Chong Kek Kong, a bus driver and mum Lai Yook Chin, a hawker, for supporting him in his research.

“My parents encouraged me to master Bahasa Malaysia because they believed this would help me succeed in the future.

“They were very supportive of my education,” says Chong who’s Universiti Malaya’s first deaf PhD recipient.

His mother and father additionally taught him about duty. From the younger age of seven, Chong began serving to his mom with home chores.

“I did the laundry for the whole family, washed and ironed the clothes, and did the dishes too, as well as other household chores,” he says.

He additionally watched a variety of dramas on tv and skim subtitles to enhance his command of BM.

Navigating college

Anthony Chong uses BIM (Malaysian Sign Language) to communicate. This means 'applause'.Anthony Chong makes use of BIM (Malaysian Sign Language) to speak. This means ‘applause’.

Chong didn’t have the prospect to attend kindergarten as a result of there weren’t any that might accommodate a deaf pupil again then.

He began his formal training in main college in a particular class. Because of the particular training system, he needed to spend eight years in main college. But Chong discovered that he might simply ace his exams and he scored straight As.

When he went to secondary college, he was as soon as once more positioned in a category for particular college students.

“I wasn’t learning much and wrote to the teachers, requesting that they teach us more and give us more homework.

“That made my classmates unhappy as they couldn’t cope with the extra work,” he says.

The trainer then requested Chong if he needed to switch to a mainstream class. With his mother and father’ consent, he went to a Form One class with 40 listening to college students.

Chong shocked everybody when he scored first place at school, though he admits it wasn’t straightforward.

“I couldn’t really understand the lessons taught by the teachers, regardless of how much I paid attention in class.

“I tried my best to understand what was going on, relying on information written on the blackboard, my classmates’ notebooks, but it was very difficult,” he says, including that he didn’t take any tuition after college but self-studied.

He scored 8As within the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, incomes him a scholarship to review at KDU College the place he accomplished his A-levels and Bachelor of Science diploma.

Communication challenges

Anthony Chong (first from left) says 'smile' in BIM. Anthony Chong (first from left) says ‘smile’ in BIM.

Chong notes that there may be usually confusion on the phrases used to explain deafness.

“Those like myself who have never experienced hearing are considered deaf. We don’t have hearing loss because we’ve never heard anything from birth. It’s important to use the correct terminology because both would have very different experiences.

“Those who have hearing loss would be able to speak since they acquired this skill earlier. Those who have deafness might find this difficult,” he explains.

He provides that the deaf neighborhood truly desire to be known as “deaf” relatively than “hearing impaired” which signifies an absence or one thing destructive.

One of the challenges Chong has confronted is communication.

“Hearing aids can’t help me. On many occasions, I would be the last to know whatever was going on in the family or with friends and I usually don’t get all the details,” he shares.

“For example, I would be with two hearing friends and they would be talking for two hours, but I only had three sentences to explain what they talked about in the two hours. It doesn’t seem fair but this is what I’ve faced.”

For this purpose, many deaf folks desire spending time with deaf buddies, or not less than those that know Malaysian Sign Language (BIM), he says.

Communication was additionally a problem when he enrolled for his Master’s diploma at UM.

“I asked the university to provide BIM interpreting services for all my classes or else I was going to seek permission for waivers, so I didn’t have to attend classes.

“I would not be able to follow the teachers’ and students’ discussions and would rather stay home to study on my own,” he says.

So the college supplied BIM decoding companies.

After submitting his thesis at UM, Chong flew to Washington DC within the United States to do (one other) Master’s diploma at Gallaudet University (a college for the deaf) on a scholarship.

“I felt overwhelmed! In classrooms with both deaf and hearing students, everyone signed fluently. It felt fantastic!” he enthused, regardless that he needed to be taught American Sign Language.

Chong is at present working as an administrative officer for a corporation the place his foremost duties are researching, creating and advising on IT-based options. He additionally consults half time for a non-public college on deaf accessibility to healthcare.

He spends a variety of his time advocating for the deaf neighborhood. In 2014, Chong co-founded the Malaysian Sign Language and Deaf Studies Association (MyBIM), to additional develop the utilization of BIM by each the deaf and listening to public.

Struggles of the deaf

Chong says that the deaf face many challenges in communicating with hearing people.Chong says that the deaf face many challenges in speaking with listening to folks.

The challenges in speaking with listening to folks could be very laborious to bear at instances, he admits.

“At a restaurant with friends, waiters tend to ignore me and go straight to hearing people. It can be very insulting. Nobody bothers to understand how the deaf person feels. It’s as if the deaf are not seen as equals with those who are able to hear,” he says.

The deaf additionally face challenges within the attitudes and mindsets of listening to folks.

In 2016, when Chong went to a financial institution to use for a bank card, he was turned down regardless of assembly all the necessities. When he requested for an evidence, they replied that it was as a result of he’s a deaf particular person.

“It was an obvious act of discrimination and I posted about the incident on my social media. Finally, they approved my application,” he says.

“Unless the mindsets and attitudes of hearing people change and they become more aware, the deaf will always face such issues,” concludes Chong.

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