Stabroek News

Perception is a funny thing

- Dear Editor, Sincerely, Saaya Prasad

Well I’ve a story for the world. One which made me realise the seriousnes­s of perception. It happened in 2021, early July. I was at my previous workplace and a well-dressed woman in her late 50s approached my colleague. She looked at her and then searched the room for a seat. She then took out a small book from her purse and began to fan herself. My colleague said, ‘good morning’ to the woman but she did not make eye contact nor did she utter a word back. My colleague muttered to herself, “can’t even seh morning back bai, no manners.” She then tried to ask the woman nicely how we could have helped her. Once more, the woman paid us no mind. Upset, she turned to me and said “like she feel she too big fuh we.”

A few minutes later her relative came in and told us the woman was deaf and dumb, then asked us to kindly assist her. The woman hadn’t even noticed her relative was in the building until she was approached by them. I could see the look of frustratio­n metamorpho­se into realizatio­n on my co-worker’s face. We spoke to the relative who relayed the messages to the woman. Tears filled my eyes because I began to wonder if there was another incident in this woman’s life where someone would have judged her too quickly. I imagined how inconvenie­nced she probably felt and I had so much respect for her as well as her relative for learning sign language, commonly known as ASL (American Sign Language.)

I learnt to say thank you and goodbye with access to the internet within a few minutes. Then showed her excitedly before she left. She nodded her head, pleased at my efforts. Perception is a funny thing. I give permission for the use of this short story to be published in Government text books for school children. I feel it would be a great learning tool for the developmen­t of their minds. Additional­ly, I recommend the Ministry take into considerat­ion enabling ways that sign language can be an accessible subject for the continuous growth of diversity (both in the working environmen­t as well as educationa­l institutes.)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana