"2009, the year of Deaflympics," Taipei City Mayor Hau announced it to the public while giving his speech at the Countdown to Year 2009 Celebration. Mayor Hau expressed Taipei's pride of being the first city in Asia chosen to host the Deaflympics, and being aspired to make the best out of this extraordinary opportunity to raise Taipei residents’ awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing. More ambitiously, we hope to make a profound and long lasting impact from Taipei to Pingtung, the southernmost city of Taiwan. Responding to the goal of the program, commercial films featuring Chinese Taipei Deaflympics stars had been playing on TV to showcase deaf athletes’ persistence and courage to challenge the odds (these CFs are also available on the Taipei Deaflympics official website.) In addition, a pamphlet has been published and distributed to every household. It briefly introduces the history of Deaflympics, the Taipei Deaflympics logo and mascot, Chinese Taipei Deaflympics athletes, and most importantly, promotes road safety during the Games.
The New Year was also marked by a press conference announcing the generous contributions made by local and international businesses. These sponsors and partners, through supporting the Games in different ways, demonstrate that Taiwan is an island of giving and caring. Their humanitarian acts not only significantly assist the preparation of Taipei Deaflympics, but also touched the hearts of many and brought hopes to the rather frustrating global economy.
The most thoughtful Deaflympics ever have always been one the goals the TDOC strives to achieve. In the past few months, you might have noticed that many programs have been set up to assist your preparation for the Games and make your participation more pleasant. One of them is “Live Webcam from Taipei Stadium.” Since last winter, the construction progress of the Stadium has been made available online through the Webcam on our official site. If you have the chance to check the progress online lately, you must have seen that the construction is coming to an end. The first security rehearsal will be held at the Stadium soon to ensure flawless emergency response service during the opening/closing ceremony.
The Taipei Deaflympics Entry Program is another thoughtful offer to our participants. It is a program under which TDOC collaborates with the central government offices to simplify your visa application process and reduce your financial burden while traveling to Taipei. It allows delegation members, referee, VIP, and international volunteers etc. to enter Taiwan without the rather pricy and bothersome visa application. Approximate 1100 delegates of 30 participating federations/associations have already submitted the required documents to take advantage of this Program.
For those who participated in the Invitational Games for the Deaf Taipei 2009 in last October might remember the smiles and enthusiasm of the young cheering teams assigned to each delegation. This applauded Program will be even more delightful as the branches of the International Rotary Club in Taiwan have teamed up with the public schools to host culture exchange events for the delegation they will be cheering for. Several of your consular or representative offices in Taiwan also voluntarily give talks at schools to help students learn more about people, geography and culture of the countries.
The most exciting of all is perhaps the International Deaf Culture Fair. It will be held during the Games at and around the Taipei Arena and aims to present Taiwanese and international deaf talent and achievements. The Fair, along with the 2009 Deaflympics Social Centre, will be organized and run by the National Association for the Deaf in Taiwan. This fantastic event unites all the deaf communities in Taiwan such as schools for the deaf, deaf related associations and foundations, and business of devices and services for the deaf, and etc. Athletes, guests, spectators, sponsors and all participants will enjoy an assortment of entertainment, art work exhibition, and performances over the course of the event.
In order to provide efficient emergency service for the deaf and hard of hearing during the Games, the Police and Fire Departments of Taipei City Government have set up emergency text message/fax hotlines as follows: Police Dept. emergency text message hotline: 0912995110, fax hotlines: 0223318898, 0223319413; Fire Dept. emergency text message hotline: 0932299702, fax hotline: 0227587865. Reporting and requesting help during emergencies will be easier than ever for the deaf and hard of hearing at this year’s Deaflympics! This service is not just for the Games, but will become a regular one afterwards to benefit the local deaf communities.
It is no surprise that you will be amazed at the end of this update about the many things that TDOC has done in the past few months. Every effort and program launched is there to keep the promise we made to you, a Deaflympics experience like no other. Not only TDOC staff, the City of Taipei also awaits excitedly for your arrival in August/September. So, book your hotel and flight ASAP, if you have not done so, to guarantee your part in this history making celebration (hotel discount will end on 30 June). We look forward to officially opening the 21st Summer Deaflympics in the evening of 5 September with you in Taipei.