PETALING JAYA - The deaf community in Malaysia have slammed the fake sign language interpreter at the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, calling his actions disappointing and disrespectful.
The sign language interpreter at Tuesday's memorial service, who was later identified as Thamsanqa Jantjie, caused an uproar after he was exposed as a fake.
Student Farhan Kamarzaman, 23, who is hearing impaired, learnt of the incident via social media, said he was shocked that Jantjie was even hired.
"When I looked at the video, it was so obvious it wasn't sign language. It was like monkey language," he told The Star Online.
He explained that all countries have their own version of sign language but Jantjie's gestures were obviously fake to those who could sign.
"It's easy to spot. I didn't see any facial expressions, body language and movement," he said.
Adrienne Goh, am interpreter attached to the Malaysian Federation of the Deaf (MFD) said Jantjie's actions were disrespectful to the profession.
"The profession has been downgraded and has become a laughing stock for many," he said.
Advocate for the deaf Anthony Chong said it was disgusting to see the fake interpreter make a mockery of himself by pretending to know how to sign.
He said with speech, mocking tones can be identified, but the incident would not be obvious to those who did not know sign language.