FSL Should Be the National Sign Language!!!

November 2, 2012

Excerpts from the article of Michael Tan, under the column Pinoy Kasi about Filipino Sign Language. Posted yesterday, November 1, this was forwarded to me by a friend today.

“….Two of my former students, Rej Cruz and Perpi Tiongson, asked if I could publicize the advocacy efforts of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf and the Philippine Deaf Resource Center for the passage of House Bill No. 6079, which declares Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language. Specifically, Rej texted to say there would be a march to Congress on Monday, Nov. 5 (meeting point: Philcoa 8:30 a.m.), to rally support.

Sure, I texted back, I’ll make an announcement in my column. But something else happened that convinced me to do an entire column on FSL, which, it turns out, has two meanings in the Philippines.

Sign language

Let’s deal first with FSL as Filipino Sign Language. It seems commonsensical that FSL should be the national sign language, right? But no, the proposed bill is  facing strong opposition from an ASL (American Sign Language) camp arguing for the retention of the status quo, which privileges ASL over FSL.  This includes the Department of Education requiring the teaching of Signing Exact English (SEE) in schools for the deaf.

It’s amazing how our debates and intramurals over language in the hearing world find parallels in “bingi culture” (the thesis topic of Rej Cruz). As with the “English-only” proposals of some of our schools, the ASL lobby says our deaf need to know ASL to survive in the world. But that presumes the rest of the world uses English and ASL, which just isn’t true. …

[To read the full article, click: FSL]

Yes, there will be a rally come Monday, November 5. Do join us!!! I’ll just join the SDEAS group in Philcoa as it’s too early for me to go to CSB at 7am.


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