Building A Better Asia: Deaf Dialogue

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Laura Lesmana Wijaya (Indonesia)

December 21st, 2009

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My name is Laura Lesmana Wijaya, and I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. I was born Deaf, because my parents are  also Deaf. I used to study in a Deaf school until grade 1, but I then started to study in a Hearing School. It was hard for me because I needed to adapt to being with hearing people; they said I was useless and that I was sick because I can’t hear. Studying there made me feel dizzy and stressful. But, I had to be patient and try to not care what they said about me.

Luckily, I have my Deaf parents and a hard of hearing elder sister. They have taught me a lot, so I am not alone. I also have many Deaf friends. After I got an excellent result in mathematics, my hearing friends didn’t bother me again; they stopped their bad behaviour. I was very happy, and I kept studying hard in order to be the best. I succeeded, and slowly I got many friends. But, it made me separate from the Deaf world. I did not like being Deaf and signing. When I was signing, people laughed at me. At the same time, I thought that signing was embarrassing.

When I met Prof. James Woodward, I felt like he awakened my interest in the Deaf world. My mother supported me to go to Hong Kong to study in the APSL programme, to have more experiences, and of course, to show me that there are Deaf communities with their own CULTURE and their own LANGUAGE.

I became very interested in Sign Language Phonology. But, just because I am interested in phonology doesn’t mean I am not interested other research areas; I love many kinds of research.

Finally, my involvement in the Deaf community includes helping the Deaf association in Indonesia and gathering with young Deaf people. My personal interests are meeting Deaf people in Indonesia, researching Sign languages, and reading novels.

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