The person who embraced the power of silence
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The person who embraced the power of silence

Photo: TEDxYouth@TKA

I am sharing an interview published at “Another Day” Telegram channel:

Source: TEDxYouth@TKA

When I first heard Bobobek Halilov speaking at TEDxYouth@TKA in a video, I thought I encountered a technical glitch, because I have never heard a person who learned lip reading.

I remember changing earphones, leveling the volume up and down, pushing the refresh button, but nothing would change. It took a little to understand that Bobobek pushed his own limits and learned English language. Moreover, he found courage to speak at the TEDx conference that took place in Bukhara.

After that, I felt curious what drives him and sent a couple of questions to respond. He was very diligent in inking thoughts on his hearing ability, whether he sees it as a gift and his mission as a deaf person.

Q. Why do you think the universe took away your hearing ability?

A. No one has asked to be born. We just were and then later realized that we have been given this life to live. As such, life is similar to a test that we have all been given, without being asked for from our part. So, our test papers are not the same as well as our abilities and disabilities. Our job here is to complete and pass the test.

Regarding your question, I believe, that my hearing ability was taken away for specific reasons. There is a saying, “the purpose of life is to know why you were born”. For me, I think this life wants me to be the “Voices of the Silent”, change and proof that great things and worthwhile goals still can be achieved just by sacrificing something you hold dear most and embracing the shortages, sudden changes, disability and despite the lack of accessibilities.

Why? Because, most people, especially “disabled” people in Uzbekistan have less faith in the possibility to accomplish dreams and beyond goals because of their “disability” and “silence”, and usually as the result they end up dropping off their school, be ditched by family and friends, live life they loathe and etc.

Q. How long did it take to master lip reading?

A. I think, nobody is a master, even a master makes some mistakes. Similarly, I am not a master at lip-reading. Sometimes I fail to catch some words while lip-reading. It takes some time for me to get adjusted to the way a person speaks, meaning, I have to observe and get used to the way that person moves their lips and everything within their mouth. It becomes much easier once I am familiar with it, but on the other hand, it requires a lot of effort and commitment to lipread.

Q. Statement: being deaf is a gift. What makes it a gift?

A. There are some situations in which deaf people are especially thankful they can’t hear.

You can tune out background noises and save your brain from having migraines. Hearing people hear all sorts of background noises in their day-to-day lives and sometimes they also wish to be deaf.

You can stay out of drama. Some people have no desire to talk about gossip and other drama that creeps into everyday conversation, yet these can happen at any time or any place. Many deaf people are often grateful that they cannot hear these things. Similarly, as a deaf person you get to “miss out” on listening to politicians’ go on and on, you don’t have to partake in mundane conversations and you have an excuse to stay out of debates. Yes, you can take part in these things if you like, but there is an advantage to being able to ignore a long-winded talker.

You can sit back and watch everything. The funny fact about me is that I can understand what people are saying to each other from distance.

You can be a better listener, observer and thinker. It seems a bit odd to say that deaf people can listen. Actually, they do. If you think about listening as a communication tool rather than an auditory experience, you can see their point. Hearing people can take listening for granted, deaf people tend to listen with more intent out of necessity. Lip-reading, sign language, body language, or having to concentrate harder to pick up sounds can make you more attentive. This, in return, can help you comprehend what is being said and respond with more thought.

Q. What does silence sound like?

A. I define silence with two meanings:

  1. “Silence is full of answers” – people who talk less know more than people who talk a lot.
  2. “Silence is dangerous” – Your dreams are stolen unless you break the silence.

Q. If you were given a chance to revive your hearing abilities, would you take it?

A. This is the question I ask myself sometimes and it is really the toughest question for me. It depends on the situation. For example, if I had enough accessibilities to communicate with people easily over a phone, video chat, or conversations of a group of people or people’s commitment to ensure that I understand what they say, I’d not take it.

Otherwise, I would. But in reality, most people are lazy to repeat and explain what they have said during conversations as they have gotten used to not repeating and explaining to people like me because of their surroundings – meaning, having more hearing people and one deaf friend or not at all.

Bobobek Khalilov delivering a speech at TEDxYouth@TKA (Please, turn on CC while watching the talk)

“Boats are safe on the harbor, but that is not what they are made for”. This quote changed my whole life thoroughly. 


Russian version of the conversation is available here:—projti-ispytanie–beseda-s-chelovekom-raskryvshij-silu-tishiny-06-09


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