As someone who has a deaf relative, the recent hawker centre issue in Singapore involving a deaf worker is obviously of interest to me. Before I raise my points, it is worth noting that this story has gone viral worldwide because it has involved a deaf person. Interestingly, it is not the issue itself that is causing concern, but the reporting of the matter by the ST in Singapore in which the deaf person was referred to as deaf and mute.
Many deaf people do speak and speak well enough to be understood by their hearing friends and workplace colleagues. The deaf person in this story may be able to speak. Did the reporter ascertain that he cannot speak or make the simple assumption that because he is deaf he is also a mute?
This is what the deaf have been fighting against all over the world and even in Singapore. They have raised the matter in letters to the ST but their pleas have been ignored. The deaf point of view is this: We may not be able to hear, but we are not dumb or mute; we can speak. I think it is time we who have the gift of hearing paid heed to them.
Thank you. We hear you, and vitally, those with disabilities, which is why we ascertained that Mr Png Lye Heng was, in fact, deaf and mute before publishing his disability. We are as well puzzled by your rush to judgement about the story's inaccuracy, especially when you offer no reliable substantiation apart from your personal observation.
Yap Koon Hong
ST Readers' editor