An Interview with Alan Soh – Part 1

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November 26, 2014 by alansoh79

This is the prior interview done whereby the production house used my voice as a voice-over accompanying the video snippet produced.

Note: The replies given below may differ slightly from what I had given in late July 2014 when the interview was conducted.

Participation in National Day Parade

Imagine a Parade with no little sounds. Mr Alan Soh marched in the Parade with just that. Being hearing challenged did not deter him to march in this year’s Parade. He overcame odds and difficulties to be on the parade, which is a feat itself definitely, representing the People’s Association Youth Movement (PAYM).

Qn: What motivates you into joining the NDP 2014 despite your hearing disability?

I have attended National Day Parade as a spectator for about 4 times, the last one being 2011. Was one of the performers with PA (People’s Association) at NDP 2006 which was held at the old National Stadium.

Sometime in April, I received an email from YM office about the recruitment of PAYM Marching Contingent Members for this year’s Parade. I would like to try something different – marching. It has been a good 12 years or so since I last did military marching during my National Service (NS) between 2000 and 2002. I am exempted from NS liabilities upon ORD. Being older now  and given my current hearing conditions, I just want to see whether I am still capable of marching well. Most importantly, I joined NDP 2014 to satisfy my own curiosity as in whether I can hear the Parade commander on stage and execute the marching commands without any hiccup.

In addition, I am currently serving my very last Youth Executive Committee (YEC) term which ends officially in July or August 2015. This could be my very last involvement in a big-scale event in the capacity of a YEC member; therefore I decided to grab this opportunity to take part.

Qn: Who inspired you to join the NDP?

No one. Just myself. I just want to do it.

Ms Karen Foo, Assistant Director of PAYM told me that I am free to opt out if I can’t do it after the first 3 training sessions. There is nothing to lose. So why don’t I give it a try?

It is a matter of now or never…so jump in first, talk later. Hee.

Qn: What are the difficulties you face when rehearsing or during the NDP?

It has been so far so good. Fortunately, no hiccups.

Whenever I embark on a new project or joining a new workgroup, I always make it a habit to be upfront honest about my hearing problem, working out solutions on how we (together as a team) can overcome this problem and minimize any possible misunderstandings that might occur.

My concern is always about effective communication with people around me.

So I make this issue known to everyone including the MINDEF trainers and YM officials when I joined the marching contingent on Day 1.

Difficulties? I was more concerned about deciphering the marching commands and doing it right. It was like doing a refresher course on NS marching.

Many of us especially the younger ones are clueless about NS marching. Nevertheless, our 5 trainers were very patient in teaching everyone the basic marching commands, and how to hold the banner flag pole correctly.

But I do admit that it is quite tough physically to undergo training under the hot sun during the component trainings as well as the combined rehearsals.

Fyi, we rehearsed twice per training session.

Qn: How did the people around you react when they realize that you are hearing impaired?            

No big reactions.

We are all youths. I still look like a normal person and talk normally just like anyone of you.
I tell myself I should be a friendly approachable person who is a co-operative team-player!

Qn: How long have you been doing this for the NDP?

About 5 months. Since Saturday 26 April 2014.

Qn: Will you be doing this again for the following years?

I don’t really know if I have another opportunity like this next year or in future. I hope so.

Maybe something different if I have another chance again? Such as an NDP singer? Hahaha…

To be continued..on my hearing impairment aspect.

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