Deaf American won 5th place at the Japanese Speech Contest in San Francisco

The Japanese Speech Contest for the Americans was held in San Francisco on November 2, 2008. This contest was an event that continued for 35 years, and a person with hearing loss participated this year for the first time.

The person is Matthew Fido (27), a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has studied Japanese since six years ago.

He lose hearing when he was 15 months old because of meningitis. He had cochlea implanted when he was two years old, and his hearing ability much improved. However, the ability of discriminating sounds and speech are not the same as the hearing person.

At the speech contest, Fido said "Long before when people around me laughed at jokes I pretended to hear and laugh with them."

"One time I realized that I would be deaf forever. Ever since I determined to accept myself as a deaf person and live by this."

Fido said he wanted to get a job that helps the Deaf around the world, and appealed, "I want this speech contest will be the first step for me." He accomplished the fifth place winning a prize.

While other contestants fluently spoke Japanese, Fido was the one whom the audience gave thunderous applause.


Source: Tokyo Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2008
Japanese edition:
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/world/worldtown/CK2008120202000230.html

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