Education – College Beat

Photo of Selina Ooi
Selina Ooi

Selina Ooi works as a Multimedia Engineer in the Information System (IS) Department, KDU College. She shares her story with Challenges readers here.two years ago.

It is always challenging for a deaf or hearing impaired person to communicate with other people. But it made my day when my employer and colleagues showed interest in learning sign language so that they could communicate with me.

When I joined office, my immediate boss prepared a sign language class for my colleagues so that I could share my experiences and teach them sign language. After a few months, they could spell ABC or use simple sign and sometimes even joke with me using sign language.

As a female working in a predominantly male office, I am also glad that my colleagues treat me well. We always support one another to work as a team.  Now, with more female employees joining office, it makes me happy. Luckily, they are very understanding of my situation, especially when I attend meetings or am involved with a team designer.

My colleagues always discuss any problem at work, especially in preparing for the meetings every Friday. I do not feel left out because most of my colleagues always go out for lunch with me or invite me for parties.

The lecturers and staff  from the different departments in KDU College can also seek my help in attending to their multimedia, graphic, media, or web needs, because I design a lot of graphics, such as flash, multimedia, advertisement,  manage the KDU websites and blogs, design the layout of websites (if needed for events, course programmes, etc), and many other things.

My senior, Ann Teoh and I always work as a team in getting important jobs done such as publishing the monthly KDU campus newsletter, managing big projects or designing brochures/layout website, and so on. She always helps interpret for me when my team and I are in the meeting with our big boss and senior members from other departments. My boss and colleagues also help to interpret for me when we go out for lunch every day.

How can deaf people make sure they are accepted and included as part of the campus community?
Before me, KDU College Damansara Jaya had three deaf Information Technology (IT) graduates, Anthony Chong, Kimberly and Foo Ruishan. Currently, two deaf students are  doing their Diploma in Design at KDU College in Penang.  Another two deaf students just graduated with a Degree in Information Technology (IT) and Diploma in Design at KDU College Penang and are currently working in hearing companies.

I also hope that more deaf students will study IT at the KDU campus in Damansara Jaya. The good news is that this college will offer an IT Diploma course for 20 deaf and hard of hearing students for the 2010 intake.

User-Friendly Environment of KDU College for the Disabled People

People with disabilities face many challenges in life. But the fact that they have come so far shows that they can achieve the same success as anyone else. They just need the opportunity to advance and be independent.

Some individuals with special needs had their dreams realised at KDU College.
Initially, KDU accepted the first hearing impaired student, Anthony Chong Vee Yee into the Faculty of Information and Multimedia Technologies. Staff members from academic and non-academic units went through more than 10 hours of lessons in sign language to facilitate communication with him.

The sign language course can help to bridge the gap between the lecturer and deaf students as well as avoid communication breakdown. Later, two more deaf students, Kimberly Ngo and Foo Ruishan joined KDU College to study Computer Studies in the Faculty of Information & Multimedia Technologies as they were inspired by Anthony Chong’s achievements. The use of an e-learning platform to facilitate its teaching and learning in a superior learning environment in this college proves further success in assisting students like Anthony, Kim and Ruishan in their learning.

After their graduation, the deaf students were employed and are enjoying work in their respective companies now.
Students who were wheelchair-users have studied in KDU College too. There are ramps for wheel-chair students to move about, in the college, to attend classes and labs.

Alexander Danker was given fresh hope with a scholarship for a Computer Science course as well as part-time employment. Another former KDU law student, Albert Wong is an eloquent speaker, who likes to share his views about the points of law in various  cases.

A wheelchair- user, Wong lives with a debilitating illness. He attended class with the aid of an attendant who carried his books and helped him to sit up straight in class. Sometimes, Wong found it difficult to breathe during class but he pressed on.

When I was told the story about Zhariff from my colleague, it really amazed me. Muhammad Zhariff Afandi was born without both arms but showed great compassion and is ever willing to help others. He can do anything using his feet, such as write on paper and draw. He wrote the best article “Giving a Hand with a Foot: My Story” and won the MTV Staying Alive/ OneWorld, World AIDS Day Video Public Service Announcement competition in 2004.

Staff members and students were really touched by it and always remember this story eventhough Wong has since graduated.

For me, as a person with hearing impairment, I am very happy to work as a  Multimedia Engineer in the Information System Department at KDU College. My boss and colleagues are very understanding and treat me very well.  I have no problems in  communicating with my boss, colleagues and other staff from another department as it can be done via pen and paper and e-mails.

Challenges Vol3Issue2, 2010 (Challenges Magazine is a journalism skills training project for persons with disabilities started in 2007)