Wonders without words

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Silence is golden; it's also a good way to have fun, approximately 300 attendees at the Silent Party, held on October 22, recently learned.

The party, held by the Ho Chi Minh City's Deaf Culture Club and group of volunteers, allowed attendees aged from 2.5 to 67 years old, to express their ideas without words. The party also featured draught beer, team games, a self-service buffet "” all for VND 250,000.

This was the second time the party was held in Ho Chi Minh City, after the first successful show in Hanoi.

Thuy Van, a sale executive for a foreign company, said she considers herself a talkative person but found the party to be an amazing experience.

"It was a little bit hard to understand the other's opinions without talking to them. But the party's rules do not allow people to talk. For the first time, I try to look into my friends' eyes and listen to them. Interesting!" Van said.

Van said instead of using words, people used body language, such as manual gestures, and eye contact, to "talk" to each other.

Attendees used simple sign language to say "hello," "how are you," "Thanks, I'm very happy" or "Oh, you are beautiful." Using a cell phone also seemed to be a favorite, simple and final method of communicating when the dialogues reached an impasse.

Some attendees learned that conversing with people who have hearing and speaking impairments is not as difficult task as they originally thought. After only an hour of being prevented from speaking, a participant said that she forgot that some of her new friends are deaf, because everyone just used the same way to communicate.

"The party recalls my experience in a travel to Singapore, where I got lost at midnight and had to strenuously use my body language to ask for directions. I am not in that desperation anymore, at least [not] at this party. The most beautiful thing here is people's attempt to listen to each other, different from some daily, silly conversations" said Huy, a young architect.

Do Thien Huong, head of the party's organizers who are architect, engineer, translator and event executive, said that she and her offline partners have few things in common. Foremost, they want to turn their silent parties into social, entertainment events.

Some entertainment was present. The small pavilion called "Sale for fun" led by HienPoohSFF, a hot blogger on Facebook, featured an online flea market with the same name. Hien Pooh and four of her friends sold second-hand books and CDs at a discount of up to 50 percent to 70 percent. Afterward, "Sale for Fun" donated VND1 million to the urban Deaf Culture Club, although the group only earned VND 800,000 from sales at the party.

"It was so happy to share. Sale for fun and buy for fun" Hien wrote on Facebook.

After the one-hour silent party ended, most of the attendees still kept their voices quiet and found a real interest in talking to each other without words.

"There must be more events like this that give people a chance to understand the disadvantages of people with not only impaired hearing but [also impaired] speaking and vision," said Quy Ai, a freelancer. 

Do Duc, the party's eldest participant, said that he has come to Bordeaux three times to attend cultural exchanges with people with disabilities and depression.

"I do not know foreign languages, but with gestures, pen and papers, we did get along well with each other, laughed and had fun. I hope this kind of event, with its high social and cultural value, will be expanded in the future, not only to one or two nights" Duc said.

Despite the success of the event, some attendees said they didn't think only one or two such events could make enough of an impact on raising the community's care for the more than 2.5 million local people who are struggling with hearing impairments and deafness.

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