'My life is anything but muted'

ALOR SETAR: Even though her husband is hearing impaired, Suriati Mohd Shukor counts her blessings. Despite his shortcomings, Madatul Akma Jusoh, 43, has never shirked his responsibilities and their three children see him as someone very special.

The sign language interpreter, 45, said she fell in love with a Person With Disabilities (PWD) 14 years ago. Their love story caught the attention of netizens on TikTok when she put up a video about how she met him.

Suriati said that she met Madatul, who is a former national hearing impaired football player when she was an interpreter for the team who at the time were taking part in the Asia Pacific Hearing Impaired Football Championship.

She was studying for a diploma course in sign interpretation at a university under government scholarship. "It never occured to me that I would end up falling in love with hearing impaired man. He is hearing impaired but not dumb, he is unable to speak but can utter a few words.

"I still remember when were courting about 13 years ago, how we communicated by video calls through the internet. At that time it was rather costly for us, not like how it is now. But those are sweet, fond memories for the us," she said when contacted here yesterday by Harian Metro (Jan 24).

She said see them as a unique couple because they are of the impression that those who are hearing impaired will only marry a hearing impaired person.

"We are all the same. For me if someone chooses to be with 'someone special' then that is nothing out of the ordinary. Madatul completes me and I cannot imagine my life without him. My husband is very patient, tolerant and understanding where my job, my career is concerned. My life is anything but muted,"

Suriati said when she was 13, she wanted to learn sign language because she wanted to communicate better with her friends who are also hearing impaired.

At the time, she only knew the basics of sign language and initially she struggled when trying to communicate using sign language.

"Friends would teach and show me sign language so that I could understand it better. Later, became a volunteer with the Kedah Association Of The Deaf in 2002 and this is when I really improved and managed to master sign language.

"For me, sign language is similar as other languages, if we use it a lot and really learn then it becomes easy even though initially it was difficult to understand," said Suriati who served as a volunteer sign interpreter during the 2003 Malaysian Deaf Sports Championship in Langkawi, Kedah.

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