Monday, October 16, 2006

1988 DPN's Letter

The DPN leaders from 1988 were mostly silent during the 2 week long protests. Bridgetta Bourne-Firl flew to DC last May. Greg Hlibok lives nearby and was seen around, but he did not publicly speak out. Jerry Covell was also mum somewhere in the Midwest as well as Tim Rarus up at CSD. These were my government classmates. In January 1988, at beginning of spring semester, our teacher, Mary Malzkuhn, who taught our Public Policy class, discussed the presidential selection process, the BoT, etc. She predicted that they would appoint yet another hearing individual with no background in deafness, but with administrative and financial background. We all discussed on how we can do to change that. January slipped in February, and the topic became more serious. It reached a near-boiling point in early March when I had to leave Gallaudet due to health issues. By then, Tim, Bridgetta, Jerry, and Greg were handpicked to lead/represent the student body. Greg and Tim just won the Student Body Government campaign as President and Vice President, Jerry for his great knowledge in Public Policy and research, and Bridgetta for her people skills, and possibly to draw the female body. I left wondering if these 4 would accomplish what they spoke of doing. Two weeks later, they announced Dr Elizabeth Zinser's appointment and things boiled over. DPN was born.

To think I missed all that! I witnessed the beginning and missed the ending. The rest is history. However, I was bewildered that the foursome were silent. Until Tim Rarus showed up last Friday, now termed as "Black Friday." I went, "Whew! Finally." These students needed inspiration and support, and these 4 were in position to give them! If they did it, so could they! I realize DPN of '88 could not compared to this new protest in its magnitude, but our original 4 leaders stood up and demanded to be HEARD! And led a campus into a protest. That is the inspiration. The current students needed them.

Tim's arrest completed a cycle. He was instrumental in getting IKJ appointed as president and also instrumental in him losing his legacy. How appropriate. IKJ got his just dessert. Tim lost nothing but IKJ lost a lot. Talk about "poetic justice." His arrest also brought forth the 3 others. They came back into the limelight. They wrote an open letter to IKJ and signed together.

I get the impression that IKJ would be a happier man if he is not reminded of these 4 leaders' roles in his becoming Gallaudet's president. They are 4 thorns in his side. IKJ insisted that the protest from 1988 was about civil rights and this protest is all about disliking Jane which does not justify the protest. He tries to justify his role and decisions in relation to current protests by making the 1988 protest a different circumstance/atmosphere and unrelated to the current protest. Good try, but no cigar. They are not so different. They are many parallels. Both protests are about students being not heard. The 1988 protest was about civil rights, indeed, but this protest is about paternalism. Both protests are about BoT who failed to hear and to acknowledge. BoT continue to display attitudes of planationism, paternalism and egocentricism. These were true in 1988 and still true now. Simply put, Both BoT and IKJ have one-track mentality and tunnel vision.

To quote Tim Rarus, "IKJ is not the same man from 20 years ago." He spoke true. He has become corrupt with power and ego. Over the past 18 years, we witnessed a man change from a "for people" person to "for me" person. He handpicked Jane Fernandes and handpicked BoT to shepherd them like a cattle dog to appoint Jane Fernandes. That much is quite clear.

The problem? We can't prove it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


What's your take on Deafhood??

I shared with a friend in CA that I found the term awkward. The core word, "hood", to me, refers to a certain time in a lifetime, a phase. Motherhood is the time in a woman's life when she is raising her children, but when her children leave home, the motherhood chapter of her life ends, and her life transits. Empty Nest Syndrome? Grandmotherhood? Career? Back to school? Among few instances. My friend listened to my take of the word and shared with people in her town in CA....and brought back some feedback. One person said it can apply in the same way as in a "brotherhood," as in a fraternity. I replied to my friend I accepted the concept when given in that context.

However, now I had time to ponder upon this...even with a fraternity, the time phase applies. A fraternity brotherhood is active during college years, however, often as is the reality, the brotherhood diminishes or becomes insignificant when the members graduate or leave college. The "hood" is gone. They reunite every few years and do some kind of ceremony or whatever, but go their separate ways afterwards. So...Deafhood remains an awkward, inappropiate word. I wonder how the heck Paddy came up with the idea to use "hood"??

It is not really a process as he describes if he insists on using the "hood" word. It would mean more like a "fraternity", a group of people sharing same views, ideas, values, goals and such. In that context, I would be comfortable about using the "hood". Otherwise, somebody will need to come up with another word if the key concept remains " a life process towards identity as a deaf person and reaching out to others towards unity."

Not that I am against the "Deafhood" concept. I absolutely agree with the part where the medical perspective of deafness needs to be removed, and to instill deafess as a life process, acceptance, and self-identity. It is only the word chosen to describe the process that is awkward to me.

Maybe I am just picky.

What do you say?

WHAT freakish species is THAT??

HELP! Can anyone identify the sharks my son caught in the surf at Doheny Beach 2 weeks ago?? The first one is a pup. Most fishermen on the beach said it was a Sand shark, and I thought it was a Bull because there is an estruary down the beach at San Juan creek where Bull shark pup nursery is...After Googling up an image of Bull shark pup, it is definitely NOT a Bull...So what species is it??

As for the weird looking one above...It looked like a cross breed of a skate (sting ray type of fish) and a shark...Not far-fetched considering that skates belong to the shark family. After some research, it seems to be a Sandskate Shark. The physical description seems to fit...Top half resembles that of a skate...Eyes on top, wings on side, the bottom has a tail with double dorsal fins (back) and caudal fins (side) and characteristic shark tail fin. Sort of like a centaur type species - half and half, but within the same species family, while a centaur sure is not!

My husband and I have been debating on the species of these fish. Help us settle our difference of opinions!

My son also caught a 4 foot Leopard shark - beautiful shark, but too big and unsafe for him to handle, so the line was cut off. Did not dare to unhook it...We Deafies value our hands! The tide took it back to the sea. Darn too bad I and my camera were not on the beach when my son caught it.

FYI - we are strong advocates of our precarious ecosystem...We did not keep these sharks - they were safely released back to the sea. Sharks provide essential role in the ocean ecosystem. They are the top predators and keep the ocean clean and healthy! On the sportfishing boat, they did catch some reef fish such as perch, sea basses among others and they did keep those and ate them for lunch.

Joey Baer's comments about deaf clubs

If you haven't viewed Joey Baer's ASL blog on the dying culture of Deaf Clubs, log on at and click on the one with blue shirt, and "5 minutes" caption underneath. Interesting narrative on diminishing numbers of deaf clubs across the country. He resolves to resurrect these old days of deaf clubs, for us to toss aside the modern technology that took us away from personal socialization/interactions, and is the cause of changing landscape of the deaf community. He is right - technology HAS changed the landscape even though it brought us closer to the mainstream society and enable us to communicate with the public at large without language barrier which is great. The question is DO we want to resurrect the deaf clubs or accept it as part of a life cycle of a community? A beginning is a means of an end. Is it just time for the deaf club to die out? Or should we hold on to it Or just create a different kind? For me, the third is the logical option.

During my parents' time, it was a NECESSITY. These deaf clubs provided a support system. Deafies flocked to the clubs to rant and rave, to ask questions, to listen to advice on how to solve problems at work, with families, with children, with bosses, etc. It was a bloodline for the Deafies. They attended deaf clubs religiously. My time, as a young child, it was more social. Workshops. Celebration. Holidays. Sports. You get the idea. Within 20-30 years, it evolved. We had interpreters, relay service and increased awareness of the deaf. We had IDEA. We had Civil Rights laws. Now, it evolved again. What does a deaf club serve for us now? Seems to be uncertain. What is the "job description" of a deaf club? Sports remains a mainstay part of the club in most places. Referrals is another part in places where there is no state agency for the deaf. We have one here in Arizona, so our PAD (Phoenix Association of the Deaf) does not provide a referral service. Ah, yes, KODAs organization. A relatively new organization for increasing number of parents experiencing parental difficulties with hearing children and a support system for the KODAs. Deaf parents nowadays are more articulate with issues with raising hearing children, the issues they face as CODAs, thus needing an organization.

So, creating a new kind of deaf clubs may be unnecessary since it apparently already has evolved, but for the social aspect, it seems to become an irrevelant part of the deaf club culture. As for myself, I dislike going to deaf clubs solely for social functions due to the fact deaf people are notorious gossipers. I have had my fill of that in my youth and had experienced the destruction of idle gossip, so I avoid that like the plague. I believe many other Deafies feel the same and avoid deaf clubs for similar reasons. It is simply that there is more to life than gossip. I'd rather do other things. An organization is supposed to serve a shared goal by their members for the betterment or enhancement of their lives, not to gossip about others and to destroy others' reputations. That is my view of a deaf club.

So, Joey, you have a genuine passion to preserve the deaf culture which is commendable, but time has an annoying way of evolving, of changing, so the reality is not always accommodating. We STILL have deaf culture, but different from our parents' time. That is part of life. We need to re-define what a deaf club constitutes of and how it should serve the deaf.

Any comment, anyone?