When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: sign language


Why Have Hong Kong's Hearing Impaired Been Left Behind?

Sign language services are relatively good in such Asian countries as Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Why do they lag in Hong Kong? An exploration of the island's particular circumstance

HONG KONG — In May 2020, Chung Chi Keung, a deaf man suffering from depression, committed suicide 16 hours after being discharged from Kwai Chung Hospital in Hong Kong.

In July 2023, the Coroner's Court held an inquest, revealing that the suicide risk assessment form had not been properly filled out, and that Chung hadn't had access to a sign language interpreter while in hospital, and was left to communicate there with only pen and paper.

The incident raised concern among Hong Kong's community of people with hearing impairments around the hospital's failure to provide timely sign language assistance, which had clearly created miscommunication.

The general public knows very little about sign language, as a language and a service. If they think that there is sufficient support for the deaf in this society, and that it is only negligence and individual failures that led to this tragic incident, this glosses over the real problem of insufficient service, and also oversimplifies the complex linguistic reality of sign language.

Singapore news media The Initium invited Shi Wanping, a sign language researcher at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Associate Director of the Center for Sign Language and Deaf Studies, to help share a basic understanding of sign language and some of the related issues.

Watch VideoShow less

A Silent Tale Of Love And Learning From Brazil

SÃO PAULO — Israel Afonso Lima, a janitor in this Brazilian city, suffers from Down syndrome. But that didn't stop him, at the age of 36, from deciding to go back to school to learn Brazilian sign language. And it's for a very good reason: to be able to communicate with his wife, 37-year-old Eliene de Brito, who is deaf and mute.

The couple has been together for six years. And despite their disabilities, they went through all the typical stages of flirtation and romance, until the day he finally asked her to marry him. And always in silence. "He used to gesture, but I could see that sometimes she just couldn't understand him," says Israel's mother.

Keep reading...Show less

Teaching Deaf Children To Read With Help From Seniors Who Know How They Feel

BUENOS AIRES – When she was young, Rita would browse through books in her house and not understand a thing. Why did Sleeping Beauty wake up? Why did Little Red Riding Hood open the door for the wolf?

Rita would stare at the illustrations but her mother and father didn’t know how to tell the stories: like 95% of deaf children, she was deaf but her parents were not, and they didn’t know sign language.

Keep reading...Show less

The Little Start-Up From Toulouse Giving A Voice To The Deaf

TOULOUSE – In France alone, there are 500,000 deaf people, and that doesn't even include those who are partially deaf or have hearing problems. About half of deaf people in France are unemployed.

Launched in 2001, French start-up Websourd is a cooperative that publishes videos in sign language on the Internet, which can also help integrate more into the world of work.

Keep reading...Show less