By CASSANDRA YEOH and HEMALA KANAGARETHINAM
IT’S always nice when we meet someone at one of our assignments and find out that he or she is also a member of the BRATs family.
But when that person happens to be doing something good for the community, and goes by the name of Altimet, it makes us feel even more proud.
We caught up with the popular local rapper at a very special project he initiated to help bridge the gap between the hearing-impaired community and the rest of us.
To accomplish that, he came up with the very novel idea of teaching hearing-impaired students how to rap using sign language during a full-day school outing at Dewan SME Corp, Kuala Lumpur, with the help of volunteers from 1Malaysia For Youth (iM4U).
Altimet and the iM4U volunteers came up with a sign language version of his latest single, Aku Tahu, and taught it to the students, who were mostly aged 11 to 17.
“I want to do this because the deaf are often ignored by people in my line of work. Also, as a lyricist, I want to be able to share my words with everyone,” said Altimet.
He added that those who are hearing-impaired should never look down on themselves, because the very thing that makes them different can also be a huge advantage in other ways.
“For example, I’m dyslexic, but because of that I’ve learnt to perform without having to look at any lyrics (sheets),” he said.
“Everyone has their special abilities. Hearing-impaired kids are gifted in many other ways that we are not. They are certainly not handicapped.”
The day was made even more special for the students when Altimet invited them to perform with him towards the end of the event as SME Corp CEO Datuk Hafsah Hashim arrived to show his support.
And although he could have probably launched Aku Tahu with more fanfare with a dedicated launch event, Altimet chose to do it on the same day, sharing the experience with his new friends from the hearing-impaired community.
It was a truly special event, filled with joyful laughter from the participants. The volunteers from iM4U certainly played their part, organising fun games and putting together a film screening for the students.
We certainly felt proud that a member of the BRATs family was behind such a great event, and thankfully, Altimet said the feeling was mutual. “I love being a BRAT!” he said.
Altimet’s new album, Kotarayaku, will be launched on April 12 at Bukit Bintang Boys’ Secondary School, his former school.