Posts Tagged ‘Markku Jokinen’


Rendezvous with Deaf Students

February 5, 2017

February 3, Friday, Noon Time. CSB Bldg., Rm. M510. “Silent Odyssey” [2008], a documentary on Deaf Culture, History, and Filipino Sign Language [FSL] origin was finally ana shown to Fourth Year students of Ms. Ana Arce upon her request. An arrangement since last year was made to have it shown during this semester. Ana is now a faculty member of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS]. I used to see her when she was still a student of SDEAS. That was a decade ago. I was making Silent O while at the same time studying FSL intended for hearing people under SDEAS’ FSL Learning Program. In fact, she was captured in one of the forums that I shot during that time for Silent O.


Ms. Ana Arce with her students

Anyway, some of her students who viewed the film are members of the Silent Steps, the school’s playgroup. I have worked with them in my documentaries on Mabini. After the screening, I have asked them: “What’s the most important thing that you have learned from the film?” “FSL!”, they retorted in unison. [Oh yes! I managed to communicate with them without an interpreter. Sounds unbelievable but my little knowledge of FSL signs helped a lot. I am not daily exposed to sign language so without practice, my receptive skill is honestly poor. Nevertheless, I survived the day].

I was happy of course because one of the main objectives of the film — to make Deaf appreciate their language, and know its origin has been met. Hoping too that with that understanding they would fight and advocate for its use and recognition. Moreover, I have seen again the timelessness and value of the content. It is as important as when I first showed it to the public nine years ago. I am sure the interest and significance won’t diminish for as long as FSL is not recognized here, and Deaf continues to experience discrimination. For sure, the interview with the World Federation of the Deaf President Markku Jokinen by Raphy Domingo greatly helped in making the students understand better the importance of sign language in their life, culture and identity as Deaf individuals.


Watching the interview with World Federation of the Deaf Markku Jokinen


As for me, the fight to advocate for the use of Filipino Sign Language and highlighting PWD’s abilities through my films has not yet ended. Currently, I am preparing for the showing of PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon. It is participated in by the Silent Steps, and music scored by a Person with Autism [PWA]. It is intended for hearing people so that they would get exposed to FSL, and hopefully get to appreciate and have an interest to learn it; in addition, to be able to listen to the first music scoring work of a PWA. Primarily meant for Deaf audience to give them full access to information about our hero, Apolinario Mabini, it was largely interpreted in FSL and fully captioned in English. DLS-CSB SDEAS and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts collaborated in its making. The latter must have been convinced by my rationale that Deaf’s culture and language should be respected as much as the Indigenous Peoples’ culture and language. After all, like the IPs, Deaf should be considered as a cultural-linguistic minority group.


May you all succeed!!!


Moments with the World Federation of the Deaf President

April 13, 2014


You should see Brother Dennis signing in FSL!!! AMAZING!

From the time I entered the world of the Deaf in 2006 by studying Filipino Sign Language [FSL] at DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] right after finishing my docu film on autism, there has been no turning back. Studying sign language was part of my immersion and research for the feature-length documentary “Silent Odyssey” [2008], a film that focuses on Deaf Filipino life and culture. “Silent O” featured Deaf Filipino achievers and then president of the World Federation of the Deaf [WFD] Markku Jokinen who clearly explained the value and importance of sign language to the Deaf. [Click above to see the trailer]

Since then, my interaction with the Deaf continued. In fact, some of them worked with me as production crew members, consultants and participants in the films that I made to help advocate for the use of FSL. I also joined Deaf seminars and has not stopped to get involved in their activities. A couple of months back, I helped initiate, rather, mediate in the holding of a Deaf seminar in Castillejos, Zambales. SDEAS in cooperation with the PWD group and the local government of Castillejos successfully held the seminar which focused on the Rights of Persons with Disability especially the Deaf. It was well attended. A Deaf camp to be held this summer is also being arranged as a follow-up activity.

Last Friday, April 11, I went back to SDEAS again, as panel member of the group that critiqued the graduating Deaf student’s thesis presented in video format. In place of the usual word “thesis” however, the word “capstone” is now being used we were informed. The difference? What I know is that a thesis project is usually done individually and takes longer time or term to do. Those who presented their capstone project largely worked as a team. A couple of students however worked solely on their projects. But no matter how one calls it — a thesis or capstone, students are suppose to present their mastery in whatever they have studied and learned from the school. A few proved to be promising because of their diligence and talent.

Anyhow, friend Giselle Montero, SDEAS Partnership and Development Director invites me to join SDEAS activities from time to time, — the latest being the “silent reception” given to the World Federation of the Deaf President Colin Allen when he came to Manila as speaker in the Deaf Leadership summit held last month. When I arrived at the venue, I wasn’t aware that no one was suppose to speak during the reception. But gestures did tell me that hearing individuals should zip their mouth. Little knowledge of FSL and VGC helped. It was in fact, just like my first day in FSL class at SDEAS, maybe better. During our first day in the sign language class, we were not allowed to speak the whole day, or for 8 hours!!! Panis talaga ang laway!

WFD Prez takes foto

World Federation of the Deaf President COLIN ALLEN takes photo of the Welcome Banner prepared for him by SDEAS

I was so happy for my Deaf friends as I witnessed how inspired they were being with the WFD President, who in turn was so impressed by our empowered Deaf leaders, and the preparations made by SDEAS for him and his group. For a few hours, I shared the joy they felt being with an esteemed and very important guest.


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On the second day of the summit, I managed to catch the last part of the program; everybody “sang,” danced and cheered; WFD President Allen himself led the group.  Very memorable and uplifting moments indeed for ALL the participants — whether Deaf or hearing.

Finale 2 Finale 5 The event held last month on March 21-22 “featured a lecture on inclusive education and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities delivered by World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) president Colin Allen on the first day. The second day was the Summit proper, with presentations on Deaf achievers, and the state of education, leadership, and employment for Deaf people, as well as the situation of Deaf women, children, and LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders)… Allen says that this can be accomplished by fulfilling the five concepts needed in inclusive education. These five concepts are: Accessibility, Universal Design, Non-discriminatory, Meeting Students’ Needs, and Reasonable Accommodation” [For the complete report of Ronald Lim on the event, please click to read his article:  “HEAR THEM OUT”.


Sign Language Users are Linguistic Minorities too

January 4, 2010

In his contribution to the discussions of the UN Forum on Minority Issues on 15-16 December 2009, World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) President Mr. Markku Jokinen stressed that linguistic minorities include also sign language users. Quality education for sign language users means the right to receive education in sign language. Lack of quality education on the contrary limits the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including rights to employment, health, housing and an adequate standard of living. Mr Jokinen expressed in his contribution that deaf children have the right to become bi- or multilingual citizens through quality education using bi- or multilingual and multicultural approach

Students of Bible Institute for the Deaf Perform using Sign Language in celebration of BID's President Elena Castillo's Birthday

For the complete speech of Mr. Jokinen, click below or visit their website [click the WFD website as found in the VILinks after the Blogroll]:

World Federation of the Deaf President Markku Jokinen in UN Forum on Minority Issues


SO’s Last Quarter Trail

November 30, 2009

Deaf Awareness Week is usually celebrated annually every November but this year it wasn’t that much felt because we were informed that the Department of Education has not issued a memo regarding the holding of celebrations. The reason probably why CSB Auditorium was fully packed especially on the last day of their week-long 15th year celebration. With or without a directive from DepEd, DAW has become an annual occasion most awaited for by the Deaf community. It must be noted however that DAW is an event being prepared by the hearing organizers. SDEAS DAW celebrations is something being initiated, manned, and organized by Deaf leaders themselves.

Nevertheless, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) led by its president Rack Corpuz managed to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week by holding a showing of Silent O in Baguio City last November 19. Julius Andrada, first PFD president assisted Rack in facilitating the event.

(Below)  Q & A after the screening. PFD President Rack Corpuz answered many questions mostly relating to sign language issues affecting the sector

As always, reactions were raised because of the real issues tackled in the film: Filipino Sign Language, oralism and importance of sign language to Deaf people as explained by World Federation of the Deaf President Markku Jokinen, and the fact that sign language is an index to their identity as a cultural linguistic minority group.

Five days later, on the 24th of November, Silent O was shown for the benefit of Support and Empower Abused Deaf Children (SEADC). Its showing at UP Manila in the fully-packed viewing room elicited good reactions from the hearing UP-Camp students, despite the fact that they may

Q & A after SO showing, UP Manila

not handle any Deaf in their career. At least they must have realized how important sign language is to Deaf people and that forcing them to speak may not really help them to fully realize their capacities. It can never be doubted that sign language is the “language of the Deaf” and forcing them to speak and listen may hinder their full growth as Deaf persons should they try to adapt themselves to the hearing world. One student says she found the film enlightening. As pathologists, learning the cultural viewpoint of deafness might have given them a better understanding of Deaf’s unique world with its own language and culture. As they are being taught to correct, improve, probably address speech problems and defects, acceptance of the equality of sign language with spoken language must have been something they found very new, if not, surprising.

What I am happy about was the presence in the showing of sign linguist Dr. Liza Martinez, the most revered and respected hearing person by the Deaf community and considered to be the strongest voice and advocate on the use and recognition of Filipino Sign Language (FSL) in the country. Her positive reaction to the film was encouraging, and to me akin to an “imprimatur” as she pronounced before the UP Speech Pathology students her “verdict” on SO which she finally saw for the first time:

The film is a very significant contribution to information and to advocacy…I never thought I would see in my lifetime an interest in documentary by filmmakers who actually worked with the Deaf…I think when you walk out of here, you will remember this film and you will remember all the sentiments, the attitudes which were presented in it. Take home a sense of history, I think it is very strong in the film; a sense of diversity of the Deaf community; and continuing vision on things which are still to be done…I hope that you enjoyed, and learned, and most of all—you have taken it into your hearts what you have seen tonight.

(Front row) Dr. Liza Martinez in long sleeved-blue, printed blouse before the Q&A portion

I actually wanted Dr. Martinez being a sign language expert to be among the first to watch and comment on the film before any public viewing but because of her poor health then, she was unable to do so. I also wanted her to be in the film, either as a primary source of information or a consultant, unfortunately she declined for some personal reasons. It must have been a blessing afterall because with Dr. Liza in SO, people still advocating for ASL or SEE may prejudge SO as Dr. Liza’s vehicle to advocate for FSL. The fact that whatever you see in SO were all part of my real odyssey, products of my own research and own experiences largely earned while learning FSL and direct mingling with the Deaf and hearing persons who worked and continue to work for the welfare of the Deaf, others can say anything—good or bad—about it. So far, good and encouraging remarks, more than bad reactions came from Deaf and hearing audience. But SO should simply be taken as a hearing person’s journey into Deaf Filipinos’ world anyway. SO was just my means, my own vehicle to share what I saw on my way to the innerworld of the Deaf. SO is—as I have trying to aim at—a bridge that would connect us, hearing people to the Deaf. Later, I will post my treatise on the issue of “exclusion” or being “left behind” in my films as I walk my way to whatever destination I am led to.

Going a little more back in time, SO’s showing in Taguig City last October during the Cinemanila International Film Festival maybe considered a failure somewhat, but not completely so, if the measure would be based alone on the number of dozen people who came to watch it. It is because the 100% positive and favorite reactions that the film got from them quite offset it. An American viewer commended it to such an extent that he even offered to pay for its fee, if I would be willing, to enter it in a California fest in the US. The success was also due to the presence and full support of Deaf leaders, comprising the newly-formed fellowship organization of 7 Deaf groups called Deaf Pinoy Kaleidescope, and Ana Arce, first Deaf magna cum laude from CSB-SDEAS who also joined us to give a short and inspiring talk before the show. According to those who came, their friends could not come for the following reasons: due to schedule [sked was after 7 pm and held during a weekday]; accessibility or distance [Taguig is not in the city center; many Deaf live in Manila or Quezon City]; many have already seen SO in the many showings held at College of St. Benilde; documentary genre is not as preferred as narrative film feature, and, unfortunately, hearing audience, other than those in the family with Deaf are not ready to enter an “unknown territory.”

Nonetheless, the CineManila showing was a success and a big triumph for the Deaf community, considering the fact that finally, and for the first time in Philippine Cinema history, a Deaf Cinema program has been put up by an international film festival here to highlight Deaf presence in cinema.  For once, Deaf as lead characters or subjects in films got attention. Kudos to Dinig, Puntod and River of Dreams! I heard recently that more films with Deaf characters are on the grind…or about to grind. To those who will follow our trail: present Deaf people as real, not cardboard characters or laughing stock. Truly enter their world, and you’ll find many wonderful people.