Caya Consunji_Rizal Descendant: Proud to be a Deaf Kababayan

February 7, 2012

I have been corresponding with Caya [Narcisa Rizal branch direct descendant] for months now[since before June 2011] because she has showed interest in ULTIMO ADIOS [Filipino Sign Language version] that I was then about to have previewed in time for the Sesquicentennial anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal’s birthday. In fact, I did not know that she is Deaf. It was only much later that I came to know about it. I also  had no idea how she looks like until I stumbled upon the online news of SDEAS today [caya-consunji-proud-to-be-deaf.html. [I wasn’t able to attend the special screening because I had a shoot on that day]. In a email that she sent me today, she said: “Thank you for making the video in fsl or I wont bother who Jose rizal is. “ I find those lines significant coming directly from a Rizal descendant who is Deaf. So I am addressing this to DepEd authorities: Can’t you see the power of using Deaf’s natural and national sign language???? Use FSL in schools please! I am not saying that you totally relegate Signing Exact English to the background but give priority to FSL!!!

Deaf e-news reports:

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies invited the Benildean community to another special screening of the First-ever Interpretation in Filipino Sign Language of Mi Ultimo Adios by Dr. Jose P Rizal last Jan. 13 at the SDA Cinema. Mirana Medina’s film was recently launched at the Rizal Shrine last Dec 29 on the occasion of the 115th death commemoration for our National hero, Jose Rizal. It has also been accepted to the 2nd Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival this February. Ms Caya Consunji, a Deaf descendant of Rizal, was the guest of honor and warmly shared her insights about her family.

Consunji shares, “I didn’t grow up in the Philippines. That means I did not grow up with the other Filipinos who respect my Lolo Jose Rizal. I was not able to participate in the events of Rizal that happen each year at his birthday on June 19th and his death on December 30th. Growing up in the US has allowed me to witness how admired Dr. Jose Rizal is even in other countries. I have seen plaques dedicated to him in San Francisco, in Chicago, in Paris, France and in Mexico City. I hope to see more plaques to Rizal in other countries because like Rizal who loves to travel, I love to travel too. I am a sixth generation Rizal. I am a direct descendant of Narcisa Rizal, the sister who got the lamp from Jose Rizal with the poem “Mi Ultimo Adios”. It is a great honor and privilege to be part of Rizal family as it taught us to carry a lot of responsibility. My parents and lola always reminded us of this responsibility.

Rizal taught us many things. One of these things was to stand up for the oppressed. Remember his quote, I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen” He died fighting for freedom and equality for the Filipino. He also taught us to fight for what is right and never be afraid as long as what we are doing was right. Rizal made decisions that were sometimes bad for him and his family, but good for the country. Those are very difficult decisions. Luckily we do not face those decisions anymore because of a foreign power.
But now we still have to make our own decisions in this country between doing something wrong that will benefit us but will be bad for the country or doing the right thing that will help improve the lives of our people. If we apply the values and teachings of Rizal to these decisions, we will always know what is the right thing to do. Let us remember Rizal always in our hearts and minds and also actions. He loved the Filipino and the Philippines.”

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