Dear old Lillian got it right first time. Unfortunately for the Cynic they are often shouted down as being kill joys. Indeed sometimes this is exactly what the cynic is. BUT someone has to do it so that people don’t just smell the roses but actually think a little more deeply about the issues and the motivation behind them. Being the resident Cynic I present you the CYNICS GUIDE TO DEAFNESS.
Deaf sport has taken a hammering hasn’t it. The Deaf Winter Olympics in some very cold spot in Europe were canceled. One of the organisers apparently ran off with all the money leaving everything in a shambles. The organiser was later caught fleeing to the border. Just how he managed to fool everyone that the Games were going ahead, even though he had stolen all this money, is anyone’s guess. Poor Deaf Sports Australia had sent not one but two reps to the Games and were likely to make a substantial loss, all for nothing. Just quite why an organisation that is not overly rich felt the need to send two reps is not quite clear. One would think that with all the technology at our disposal these days that meetings could be attended by Video Conferencing. Support could be offered by email. It is not like Deaf sport in Australia has money to throw away. Granted the circumstances were exceptional but a little prudence with vital funds would not go astray. The President felt the need to make a video for members explaining the situation, good on him for that, but lets hope a hard lesson has been learned.
Still on Deaf sport – Deaflympics left right and centre have been canceled right up until 2017. Athens has gone to pot because it can’t find Government funding. No surprise considering the whole of Greece is bankrupt. Apparently Vancouver Deafllympics (winter one assumes) has been canceled because they can’t find anyone who wants to organise it and there is no government funding forthcoming. Indeed Vancouver apparently bid and won the hosting rights without the backing of the Canadian Deaf Sports Association (or whatever they are called.) One wonders how they managed to slip this one under the radar of the World Deaf sporting body. It tends to suggest a lack of due diligence. While the World Deaf sports body scrambles to sort out the mess we all just look on in bewilderment. At a time when Deaf sport is struggling for credibility and the Paralympics is getting the vast bulk of funding it is not a good look.
Over in Italy the Italian Government wants to label Italian Sign Language as a language of mime and gesture, ignoring all research that points out that sign language is a LANGUAGE and processed in the language parts of our brains. The World Deaf Community is up in arms about this. As one they have united and protested outside Italian Embassies around the world. Videos have been placed on Facebook calling the World Deaf Community to arms. Fittingly they have responded as one. We gotta support our Deaf brethren around the world. In Iceland the Icelandic government has just recognised Icelandic Sign Language as one of its official languages. As one the World Deaf Community has applauded Iceland for its decision. Yet closer to home it is a different story!
If the campaign for recognition of Italian Sign Language is anything to go by the message is that solidarity rocks. Yet in Australia when Deafness Forum Australia released a discussion paper aimed at exploring Auslan as an Official Language cow poo hit the fan. Deaf Australia tried to censor Deafness Forum for releasing the discussion paper … Not because they disagreed but because Deaf Australia felt that Deafness Forum were encroaching on their turf. For world issues we unite as one, yet closer to home it turns into a turf war. So bitter did the dispute become that the then Parliamentary Secretary for Disability, Bill Shorten, ordered the two peak bodies into mediation. The mediation seems to have achieved nothing if the lack of a representative from Deafness Forum at the recent, and brilliant, Deaf Australia conference is anything to go by. Official line from Deafness Forum is that they had a scheduled Board meeting on at the same time. Just what they were doing scheduling a Board meeting at the same time as a major Australian Deaf conference is anyones guess. Sorry, but not good enough and a totally appalling look for the Deaf sector in Australia.
Are you deaf and subscribe to Foxtel or Austar? Are you satisfied with the level of captioning provided? Does it get up your nose that you must subscribe to crap when all you want is movies and sport and most of the crap is not captioned? Just yesterday I was looking at News and Documentaries for Austar and for a whole two hour period there were no captions on any of those channels. Does it bug you that Foxtel and Austar advertise a show as captioned and then when you turn it on in anticipation it is not? Or you turn on a show that is not advertised as captioned, just to have a look, and it is? Or a repeat of a show is not captioned when you know that previously it was? Or the reception is impacted by the weather. Or captions are double, meaning captions obscure the captions you want to read. Do you roll your eyes when Ai media promote Foxtel and Austar shows that THEY are paid to caption when all of this bad service is happening? Well we have had enough and as a result we are unsubscribing and we suggest you do too. Foxtel and Austar have treated us like mugs for too long. We pay and we expect access… If they provide only 25% access then we should only pay 25% subscription. Fat hope of that happening we can tell you. Unsubscribe now we say .. vote with your feet. Yes we have already complained to AHRC who did basically Eff all … next step the courts … Cant afford that so we will take our money elsewhere. If I was Ai Media I would take my business elsewhere too!
And on a positive note, before we go, we would like to thank Alex Jones for all his work for the Deafness Sector over the last five years or so. Alex did much to raise the profile of deafness issues and for that he should be congratulated. He is a controversial figure because many claimed he has conflicts of interest through his business and advocacy roles. He probably did at times but you don’t get something for nuth’n these days. Alex is soon to be a daddy for the second time …. Congratulations and we wish him well in his retirement as President of Deafness Forum.
Thats all folks – until the cynic in me rises again!!!