Being someone with a hearing impairment, Anissa Jailani knows too well how it can affect different aspects of one’s life, including education, employment opportunities, and social and emotional wellbeing.
As such, the 24-year-old TikTok creator, better known as Cik Nis, has dedicated her platform – which has over 596,000 followers and 7.4 million likes to date – towards building a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination by educating viewers on how to sign and communicate with others using the Malaysian Sign Language, or Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM).
From Perak, Anissa wanted to break the communication barrier between the hearing and hearing impaired community.
“My dream has always been to be able to communicate freely with everyone despite my hearing impairment. I’m glad that TikTok has become an avenue for me to express myself through my content and enabled me to engage with various generations of users and share my knowledge on BIM,” said Anissa.
She first started by teaching them greetings, salutations and verbs that are commonly used in our daily lives such as “Hi”, “Good afternoon” and “Thank you”.
Once her TikTok community became accustomed to learning simple words, they started asking her to teach them more complex words and sentences based on their daily happenings.
“I hope that with more people being aware of BIM, the hearing-impaired community will be more understood and included in society and in turn have better job opportunities and a better future,” she said.
Darren Quek, strategy operations manager for TikTok Malaysia, said their goal is for TikTok to be a platform where “users can be their authentic selves while finding a community that embraces them for who they are”.
“Our cross-function teams work with our creator community, as well as disability organisations and advocates to help ensure TikTok is accessible to everyone,” he said.
Hashtags like #deaftiktok and #signlanguage are popular on TikTok and have garnered over 1.1 billion and 3.1 billion views respectively.