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What’s in a Dream?

Shot on Canon by Koh

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When we were asking the students about their dreams, most of them had no concept of the word, “dream” – they either do not know the word or they have never given such a far-fetched idea a thought. They could however relate to, “What do want to do when you are older?” And the standard answers were: I want to work at McDonald’s, I want to work on the computer in the office, etc. We realised these are the job opportunities that are usually offered to the hearing impaired in the society. These are the skills they learn in school. Therefore these are what they are going to be doing when they grow up.

“I was very upset when Jingying told me that she has no dreams. I was very upset when I realised what they want to do could only go as far as a standard set of job opportunities offered to the hearing impaired. Didn’t anyone tell them that they are so much more?” – Tay

Later, we found out that most of the students were simply being practical because their families are not well-to-do; therefore, when they finish school, they need to contribute to the family’s income. They, too, want to contribute and share the load with their families.

We also realised that the school outing to Luo Papa’s restaurant was not only catered for the students. Half of the students had their mums accompany them on the trip. And when we asked if we can film the children, the mothers were so proud and excited that their children were going to be on an international website. We then saw that these children are growing up in a well-supported and encouraging environment where they can be who they are, without feeling any lesser.

“Watching the happiness on the children’s faces as they play by the sea, I realised how arrogant I was to find it sad that they could not dream bigger, greater because of their disabilities. The truth is, to these children, they are not living with a disability; they are living to their fullest with whatever abilities they have. And a life lived like that – who am I to say it’s sad?” – Val