circles

Featured

“Till We Meet Again” – image description: A little brown poodle dog lies curled up facing right, on a blue-green flannel blanket laid over a bed of lilies, seen in blue-green hues due to the lighting.

Vultures are circling
Flesh freshly dead
Swooping and hovering
Muscles flexed

Baby is crying
Doesn’t know yet
Doesn’t know why
Beloved has left

Blood games begin
Evil stirring
Menacing smiles
Cauldron bubbling

“Don’t cry, little Baby,”
The Broken Heart says,
“They shall never know your memories
of such Beautiful Days.”

dedication

Featured

This blog is dedicated to:

My canine angel, Lucy Like-a-Charm.

My baby sister Althea, her wonderful hubby Robin,

and her two furry boys Bizcuit & Tiny,

and now also Mini-B, the prettiest sweetest little girl.

My loyal friends YS, Rick and Minh.

Without you, there would be no adventure, no narrative, no amazing tales to tell.

Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing journey, 2021

Today, 3 December, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Here is my latest production, a personal celebration, please view it on Youtube, my thanks to people who have supported me in my journey without manipulation or condition that I must obey their dictates and live according to their worldview, and worst yet, serve them as paid companion. In other words, loyal and true friends and kin who really care about me being Me, my autonomy and my right to exist as a whole person. Thank you!

This work is also an ode to Lucy Like-a-Charm, who has served me, supported me, and even saved my life more than once, without complaint. I am now her assistance human, but more than that we have a bond that only a few can truly understand, because to understand more deeply is to acquire Elemental Empathy. Not impossible, not magic, but merely a determined Endeavour of Empathy.

Presenting Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing journey, 2021.

Welcome to Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing journey, 2021.

This digital presentation was premiered online to invited guests last night, 30th November 2021, at 7pm SGT. It is now uploaded onto YouTube.

The following was my opening speech at the private preview:

Good evening, or good morning, depending on where you are in the world right now. Thank you all for making the time to attend this private preview.

I have changed the title of the show at the last minute, using the word, “journey”, instead of “odyssey” to make it more easily accessible and inclusive to everyone from the outset. I’d like to thank the entire team for braving the challenges of finding cohesion despite our disparate embodiments and following through despite the uncertainty that Covid19 brought upon us all – bearing in mind that our cast members and I have different disabilities that make us especially vulnerable, including being immunocompromised.

This show was originally planned and designed as a blending of digital and live performance. However, when the situation became more and more unpredictable and volatile, I made the difficult decision to move the entire show into the digital realm. This meant that the final realisation of the work would rest mostly on my shoulders, and I had to deliver it within a short span of just ten weeks, while battling a plethora of obstacles, the two greatest being a lack of expertise and proper equipment for the monumental task at hand, and my poor physical condition. Thankfully, I had great help. Thank you to Peter Sau, who directed the live components, for your steadfast trust, despite my garbled way of communicating, and Karen Low, my sound engineer who also became my personal assistant, working with me seamlessly according to my eccentric autistic rhythms and patterns without complaint. The other person I want to thank is Esther Huang, my NAC officer – Thank you, Esther, for being so supportive throughout, riding the choppy sea of changes with such patience and fortitude.

Scheherazade’s Sea is my story, the story of an Autistic girl, woman, friend and quite unexceptional human, struggling to find a way through the battlefield of social systems not built for my natural way of Being, fleeing from torment, learning life lessons, finding goodness and hope, and yes, even finding Love in an unconventional but absolutely organic way.

Yet, Scheherazade’s Sea is also a universal story, a story that I hope every person can relate to in one way or another, whether through the senses, intellect, emotions, physical body or any other channel and dimension unique to you, inside your own Clement Space.

I must also thank the National Arts Council for the Creation Grant, a precious opportunity to create this work, which is not meant to be a finished polished one but rather a prototype for fuller and richer things to come, a springboard and a hothouse where lessons could be learned, experiments made and where hopes and dreams may flourish.

I ask of you in the audience to view this work as critically as you want to, with the aim to look for potential and suggest ways to expand, grow and maybe even inspire us to travel on new journeys along myriad trajectories. And, of course, if you can see such potential, I’d really be very deeply grateful for offers of supports-in-kind and help with finding adequate funding to realise this shared vision for better work to come.

Thank you also to Very Special Arts Singapore for crucial creative collaboration, without which this experimental work-in-progress would not have come this far.

Find out more about this production here in the Scheherazade’s Sea webpage.

nicks & bruises

Overwhelmed by the work load, I tried to designate. Someone tried to be helpful and offered to make. But the universe knew and I should’ve listened to its promptings. This is a task, more like a mission, that only I can and should undertake.

I speak about fashioning the miniatures of Lucy and me, for the Grand Finale in Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing odyssey, 2021, my upcoming digital fantasia.

So, I purposefully carved out some time amidst my intensely frenetic 18 hour day schedule (video editing and video creation is no easy walk in the park, believe me) to just DO IT. Myself. Nobody knows us better than we do. And since this task is too lowly for Miss Lucy the Celestial Terrestrial, I did it, while she snoozed and watched from her comfy bed, nestled amidst snuggly blankies. Took two afternoons. Still needs a few embellishments, but it’s almost good to go!

It was pure Autistic Joy, taking a break from the glare of the computer screen and the frustration of running non-native AE on an M1chip MacMini, to just work with my ‘rough hands‘ and shaky fingers again. I love this part of art making – the senses are engaged on multiple levels while the mindscape opens up a busy realm of inner conversations and outer connections with materiality and the grand universe. No, I am not exaggerating, though to some who haven’t yet tasted the resonance of elemental empathy may think it, my description of ‘making’ according to my organic autistic realm falls far short of the actual rich, luxurious experience.

No matter the little nicks and bruises along the way. It was, for me, an almost sacred ritual that I am so very glad I reclaimed. Rough work by rough hands, still not even nearly as fine as I would like it to be, but I am now reasonably happy with the way Lucy has been represented. For now. Given my time limits. I’m inspired to practice and refine my skills after the production is out of the way. There’s plenty of polymer clay left!

But for now, it’s back to Adobe and a different kind of making.

Here’s a sneak peek.

igloo

A storm is raging inside an igloo,
Thrashing in the howling,
Blankets, rugs and slippers,
Twisting, knotting, tearing.
Underneath the covers,
Little eskimo rocking,
To and fro, to and fro,
Shaking, crying, sobbing.

Toohoo, toohoo,
An owl flies by.
Phoo, phoo, phoo,
An angel sighs.

A dog is listening,
As the universe sings,
Unperturbed
By the small,
Inconsequential,
Unheard,
Minuscule
Epic.

motherless child

I was a motherless child for all my life – condemned as useless and, like so many autistics, preyed upon by bullies and owned as a ‘slave’ for years and years by a very ‘special’ kind of neurodivergent whose talent, aside from making money, is manipulation and control over vulnerable others. I didn’t need ABA, I had another kind of twisted compliance training.

It wasn’t only till the final two years of my mother’s life that we could speak truthfully without fighting bitterly. For two years, I finally had a mother, at last. We could watch The Sound of Music together thirteen times over, she would listen to music on Spotify with me and we chatted about the tragedies in the lives of Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Beethoven, and we played both our favourites over and over again, from 80s Cantopop to Vera Lynn to Liberace and Chopin. We still had our hiccups and bumps along the way, but Truth set us both free to just Be, her eyes were open after years of lies, subterfuge and misunderstanding – and that was all I needed and wanted in my relationship with mother.

Then she was gone. All of a sudden. Left me bereft. Sad. Brokenhearted. Motherless all over again.

Before her body could be returned to dust and ashes, the vultures swooped, as vultures do over dead flesh. But that is another story to be told in a different time and place.

One year has passed since mum left.

I think about you every single day, mum. Strange, isn’t it? Your least favoured child. I never would’ve thought we’d achieve this monumental feat. Two years of a genuine, truthful mother-and-daughter relationship! We did it. You and I. Aided and abetted by the one child who loved you the most, of course. Nobody could or would have cared for you the way she did. And nobody else wanted to, anyway. You just didn’t mean all that much to them. I have my baby sister to thank for this. And Lucy too, who quietly and meekly bore the brunt of your initial resentment at my unwanted, uninvited presence.

We achieved two precious years, set free by the Truth.

Two years is better than none, but two years is hardly enough for a motherless child with no home to call her own. This human world is wearying. And I am so very tired of humanity. In a way, I envy you, you’re in a better place. Please take care of Bizkit and your little Tiny. Wait for us, it won’t be long. I’ll be home soon. Till we meet again, I’ll continue to miss you.

blackbird

Blackbird, fly!

In normative human society, it seems to me that money spent giving someone the opportunity to achieve success using their natural talent to make even more money, is markedly different from money used for keeping an autistic person ‘safe’ inside a Golden Cage of subjugation, subtly making use of the autist’s talents to serve the captor’s ends, never truly nurturing the autist’s pronounced abilities (at least never for the autist), and suppressing the autist’s inexorable desire to Become. The former is seen as ‘worthy’ while the latter is viewed as ‘wastage’ yet at the same time ‘charity’. The autistic grows up constantly being mocked and scolded for being a money waster, a ‘bum’, a non-achiever, etc, while the person who has made heaps of money from the opportunities provided to them (with crucial contribution from the captive autist too) gets to drive the Bulldozer of Vengeance that relentlessly pursues the autist who has dared to break free. Worse yet, the autist has the audacity to speak the truth out loud. Hell and damnation!

Of course, slaves are part of the grand oppressive economy helping colonial masters make yet more and more money for themselves. Isn’t it obvious why they want to have slaves? And would any rich colonial master praise their runaway slave? Of course not. They will pursue the escapee with vengeance bitter and seething. How dare the slave leave, after all the master has ‘lavished’ upon that ungrateful slave? But… A cage is a cage. No matter what it is made of. A slave is a slave, a person with no rights to Selfhood, no matter how luxurious their bedding, clothes, food and lodgings. Treating your slave ‘well’ does not make it right to own a slave at all. Especially not in the false name of ‘love’, in the name of the Lord God Almighty. Beware. The very God whose name you’ve used to manipulate, oppress and subjugate hears and knows. Everything is recorded in the universe.

Even some dogs know the meaning of “Leave It!” Why don’t you? Let go, live your life with happiness, fulfilled by the vast sum of money you have made, it’s all yours, that slave did not take anything from you, really, not even their good name that you used to make your first pot of gold but now you spit at with scorching hatred. You have everything that money can buy. Life will be over in a blink. Why spend time and energy hunting down your former slave?

Just leave it.

God Bless You. May you find True Love. Then you will cease to hate.

Let the blackbird fly. It won’t cost you a penny from your shimmering overflowing pot. Really, it won’t.

extant

We are here, still alive, still surviving, still thriving, still blessed, still grateful and still singing – against all the odds.

How much did you place on our backs, and what did you expect to win?

When you took away everything that was precious, what were your bets for our survival?

Have you found a holy answer to your relentless vengeance yet? Has God spoken to you?

Does your hatred comfort you in the dark of night with angels singing, strumming on harps of gold?

Do your lies bring forth for you sweet fruits that satisfy and comfort?

Has it all been worthwhile?

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de St. Exupery

But what is your heart made of, if you have one at all?

You will surely reap the fruits of your labour. If not now, someday. Cast your bread upon the water…

As for us, our vision is clear. Live simply, live honourably, live by the Truth and live Free.

Slaves to no master, owned by none.

Inextricably intertwined.

We have nothing, yet we have everything.

And from out of our abundance, we wish you Love for every curse and untruth you have uttered about us, for each and every plot you have devised to harm us, for every dollar you have made from our backs in your twisted games of greed.

May you find Love. Bless your heart.

unexpected grace

Posterised image in shades of blue and purple of two pigeons perched on a rooftop, about two metres apart.

The autistic brain takes longer to process things, probably because we notice the tiniest details so sharply and there is so much more that our brains ‘take in’. It has been a week now, after that traumatic experience of having my safety thrown under the bulldozer of meaningless self-serving social ‘feels’, and the after effects are still rumbling, shaking and rattling in my mind.

A friend I’ve not seen for over a year contacted me yesterday about having dinner today. She planned to buy dinner and we would eat here at my place, instead of eating out. I felt that was already very kind of her, not to ask me to meet her at some eatery outside, knowing that I wasn’t keen on venturing out not just because of the pandemic situation but also because of sensory overload.

Then, an hour before she was supposed to arrive, I received two photos from her on WhatsApp – they were her Covid19 swab test results. She had gone the extra mile to do a swab test before coming into my home.

I’ve known this friend since we were 9, way back in primary school. She is bold, almost brash, easy going and generous. A bright and funny person who doesn’t engage in deep intellectual conversation, she is by no means what people in the USA call ‘woke’ regarding disability, yet my friend displayed today a level of awareness and care for my disability and access needs that nobody else has shown me throughout this terrible pandemic. In fact, what she did for me today shone a very penetrating light onto the hypocrisy of so many around me who claim to be ‘disability aware’ and ‘allies’ of disabled people – even some disabled people who fancy themselves advocates too. My invisible disability – not Autism but my medical disability – that is ignored even in disability circles was sharply present and foremost in her mind, and she acted upon it in her signature no-fuss way. She didn’t even announce her intention beforehand, she just did it and sent me the photos, with a short note, “My covid test just in case – negative.” And she didn’t talk about it thereafter. It was just done. That was that. A matter of fact.

We had a happy reunion, tucking into sushi and catching up on each other’s news. I was one very much humbled and grateful immunocompromised human. This act of simple, unembellished grace is healing balm to a wearied mind and soul. I had not even told her about what transpired last week.

My friend has shown me, without need for long ponderous discussion, the true heart of the matter. Too much talk about access and inclusion can become desolately vain after awhile, one can become so numb from the droning and not even recognise hypocrisy and betrayal until it hits right between the eyes. We need to get off our miniature pedestals and just do it. That is all. Just do it. In fact, my friend, who knows nothing about disability at all and has never experienced any disability in her healthy robust life, has just set the bar even higher than I was holding it. I have learned an important lesson today: first, that I am worthy of this respect, and second, that I too must learn by example and I must henceforth do the same for those I know who are immunocompromised like myself.

My friend’s name happens also to be Grace.

persona non gratia

The numbers continue to rise, as COVID19’s Delta variant wreaks havoc in Singapore – and it isn’t all the fault of the virus. I say this a lot, “Viruses do not listen to PAP / the government.” But humans are intrinsically foolish, selfish, socially-obsessed creatures, they put their feel-good-feels above consideration for the weak and vulnerable, above the safety of others, and above science. And most humans have disgustingly filthy habits, which they are very happy with and will not change, until they are struck, and it is too late. The sad irony is that we have achieved 80% + herd immunity, yet the numbers are exploding around us. Well, firstly, the current vaccines were not made for this aggressive variant. And humans don’t seem to understand what vaccines are and what they really do, in any case. I despair, humans are just inexplicably pathetic… I say this bearing in mind that I count as human too, yes, so I own this trait together with all the other humans… but that is for another rant in another post.

Yes, I am still processing the entire traumatic experience, my autistic brain will not let me sleep without this nightmare playing on repeat, on a loop even in my subconscious. Awake and conscious, my brain throbs with pain at the pugnacious audacity of that person who shoved aside my politely worded instructions to self isolate and went behind my back to cry cry cry cute little feelingly-feelings of hurt and offense, and caused someone I trusted to make a terrible judgement call (in a moment of mental fatigue and weariness, no doubt, a decision that was unlike their usual good sense), throwing me to a horrifying game of chance at an unevenly weighted roulette table.

This horrifying worldwide pandemic has brought out the best and worst in humans. Unfortunately, I am seeing more folly in my immediate vicinity than wisdom, more callousness than care and more selfishness than consideration.

Perhaps this is because my fragility is ‘invisible’ to the social bulldozers? My disability is gaslighted even by other disabled people – the medically healthy ones.

This dreadful human, now persona non gratia, was actually privy to meticulous details of my vulnerability, but I realised I was merely throwing the proverbial pearls to swine. Again, I apologise to the pigs – I know for a fact that pigs are extremely intelligent animals, and in the light of all that I am discovering about humans, pigs are actually superior beings to us humans. Yes. I said it. You can make me a social outcast for preferring all other animals to the human one, I really don’t care for your social addictions that do nothing but harm to me anyway. And, to make it even more preposterous, this was not a social occasion, by the way, it was work, and still the social-feeling-feeling-emo-shits over rode my request for respect, consideration and simply erring on the side of safety and caution.

Someone suggested to me that this person is an important part of the team. Well, that reasoning really blows my mind, I cannot comprehend how this statement can be considered logical at all. How essential or integral to the work is someone who tosses aside the very valid and reasonable request of the leader, goes behind the leader’s back to whine and simper at the co-leader about feeling-feeling-feeling-offended at being told to please kindly self isolate and do not turn up for work, someone who pays no heed to science, and lacks important, fundamental consideration for the safety of all others in the team? Especially when the most vulnerable member of the team – the leader – had already spoken? In the end, this pathetic human arrived late and everyone had already pitched in, rolled up their sleeves, to do this person’s work anyway.

What did they achieve from all this fuss and careless hissy-fit dramatics? Was it worth it? Sure, I am fine, physically, nothing bad happened (no thanks to this person, mind you), but I am not at all ok – the trauma of this experience is deep and probably indelible, as with autistic brains and trauma.

Yes, the person apologised to the co-leader afterwards, but I heard nothing directly from them. No apology for putting me in this position – zippo, zilch, zero, diddly squat and whatnaughtnought! Does it matter? Yes and No. An apology would make the person seem more decent, that is all. But saying a mere verbal “sorry” to me would not change my esteem of the person and the decision I am making, anyway.

In a way, I am glad it happened. I am sure as hell glad I am ok, of course, but I am also very grateful to this person for revealing to me so absolutely clearly, without any room for even a smidgeon of doubt, that I must henceforth have no more dealings with them. Already twice bitten (longer story, wait for the memoirs?), it will be sheer senseless abandon were I to allow them to come anywhere near me a third time. Professionally of course, because they were never in my social circle anyway, and never would’ve been under any circumstances at all. I have only a handful of close friends. That is enough for me. I don’t need any more friends, thank you.

Persona non gratia.

Yup, I have a list, and it is growing, thanks to COVID19. And I really don’t care what people say about me. I don’t need any social-addiction-feels or social validation to feed my self esteem or whatever.

Nobody is indispensable – apart from Lucy Like-a-Charm.

“When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” C.S. Lewis

ophiomorous

princess & snake, 2010 – ©Dawn-joy Leong

Ophiomorous. Lizard / snake-like.

This little babble will be quite surreal, so brace yourself for it…

I am thinking now of the way one person in my midst has managed to create subtle chaos for everyone, and which nearly derailed a very precious relationship.

Human language is unfair to actual lizards and snakes, of course. It’s not the fault of the reptile that it is a reptile, is it? That’s just how they are. And reptiles are actually very beautiful creatures. It is up to us humans to identify and avoid them if we don’t wish to be tangled up in an unpleasant encounter. They do not seek out humans. So the negative terminology is of course skewed and too human-centric.

But some human behaviours and motivations resemble the superficially perceived ugliness of animals (because we misunderstand animals anyway).

Slithery. Some are venomous when they bite. That’s about all sneaky humans who are labeled “snake-like” really have in common with actual snakes. The rest is just human-like nastiness.

Anyway, about this human… once again my autistic senses were ignored in favour of trying to be ‘fair’ according to a system that is not mine to own or practice in the first place. Mine is the autistic way. When I try to do things the non-autistic way, I almost always end up making mistakes – some small, others really costly ones. But after a lifetime of being told my instincts are wrong and being forced to learn how to exist as a ‘pretend’ non-autistic, I’ve lost the sharpness of my autistic senses, I’ve all but forgotten how to trust myself. And I am taking a hellishly long time to learn how to use this innate gift to my advantage.

Looking back at my first encounter with this person, I remember my senses recoiling and a taste of rotting fruits wafting into my consciousness at a very low decibel level, like a softly buzzing basso continuo of vomit. Our subsequent dealings didn’t go all that well either, they lacked the finesse of spirit and tenderness of touch that I wanted and needed to help me with my work. Strange things also happened with third parties once I left things in the hands of this person. But I blamed myself, as I usually do, just as I was trained like a circus animal to do, because it MUST be me being irrational, being snobbish or being unkind, it COULDN’T be the other person! It didn’t help when I tried to convey my sensory reactions, but was quickly shut down by simple disbelief. Nobody felt that way, not in the least, this person applied a meticulous aura of servitude, a veneer of humility from top to toe, always spoke softly, never dramatic (unlike me), always the bustling caring caricature, so my own senses were shoved aside by the non-autistic world as ‘wrong’ yet again. Socially impaired, I am supposed to be. So, I have learned to keep as silent as possible because it is almost impossible to convince anyone that I am not stark bonkers, wicked, bitchy, snobbish and unreasonably prejudiced. How do I explain the sweet taste of decay and the repulsion making my skin shiver and contract in spasms of white powdery repugnance?

So, I resolutely ignored organic, natural ‘wisdom’. And trouble inserted itself into the fabric of my intricately woven tapestry. That work we did together, which I employed the person to do, was a huge honour, but it was one of my least loved works, one I am least proud of, to be honest. It was, to me, shoddy, sullied by this person – but I ultimately have to carry the responsibility for allowing this person to run roughshod all over the fragile silken threads, don’t I? So I silently bore the shame. I’ve not spoken about it till now. A nightmare I told myself never to repeat.

Yet, I unwisely allowed a rerun of this horror show.

To be fair, this person is not, as far as I am aware, an evil person. They seem very hardworking, albeit not very work-smart – but I use the word ‘seem’ because I cannot know for certain, being unable to pick up the complex cues of the non-autistic. It isn’t about mental capacity either, though some non-autistic people have tried to tell me I am prejudiced because they think I am looking down my PhD nose at people like this one. Far from the truth. To be blunt, I’ve worked with artists with intellectual disability and I’ve found so much sensory and intellectual harmony with them that it can be a topic for a great piece of research. I am thinking about the peaceful, tranquil sensory connection and deep understanding that I enjoyed with one particular artist. We didn’t need to talk much, words got in the way between us, so we just sensed and the work we produced made me beam with pride and joy. There was no sensory felicity with this ‘lizard’ person, though, not one sliver of delight. Every communication with this person was a dutiful effort at people-ing. But it would not have been loathsome at all – merely onerous – if this person had been upfront, honest and straight forward in their dealings with me.

A close and respected friend once said of me, “You do not suffer fools gladly.” He was right. But who are the ‘fools’ that I find really most difficult to ‘suffer’? Sneaky people. Slithery, sneaky, surreptitious humans who do not have the guts to speak truth openly to me, but who’d instead wriggle around the rear alleys to strike a sickly sweet blow to my back. And I am left nonplussed, discombobulated, wondering what it was, that foul odour of necrotised flesh permeating the perfectly arranged flowers in sparkling vase.

This time around, this person’s selfish, furtive, petulant skulking caused someone I trust and respect to make a terrible decision that put me and many others in harm’s way, a filthy deed done at a time when my trusted friend was at their lowest and therefore unable to think clearly – all just to satiate a need for attention and validation. Troublemakers are stereotyped as loud, brash and behaving like bulldozers, but my own experience has shown me that the truth is the very opposite of this clichéd caricature. The real troublemakers are far more subtle, they wheedle, twist, writhe and creep their way around, they work on other people’s mental and emotional frailty, they grab at sympathy with tears and claim to be ‘offended’ or ‘hurt’ by the truth, such that the people they are wanting to wrap around their fingers mistake the truth for unkindness. Poor little me. So misunderstood. I am offended. I feel ostracised. I feel … I feel … I … I … Me … Me … Poor little me. I’ve given so much and worked so hard, but now I am being singled out and persecuted. Blah blah blah blah. On a good day, my trusted friend would’ve been able to recognise this behaviour. On a good day, my friend would’ve nipped it in the bud. On a good day, my friend would never have been so easily bullied by crocodile tears to throw me and everyone else under the bus. But the days have not been good for my dear friend. Overworked and plagued by worry, this human worm (I apologise to all worms, but I am unable to think of any other word and I am very tired right now) almost detonated a disastrous explosion that would have been the ruin of my friendship with the person I trusted. Fortunately, the heavens aligned and got behind me, and saved me from reacting with impetuous haste.

Something made me hit the pause button. A fermata hung over me. And on deeper introspection, I realised there was more to this than I could see. I reverted to sensing instead, my Autistic Sensing, and the dark clouds rolled away.

Well, this shit-stirrer – 攪屎棍 in colloquial Cantonese – is no longer welcome in my midst. I will make sure of that. I must guard not only myself, but the relationships and the people that are precious to me.

Unlearning is a harder process than learning anew. Perhaps, instead of trying to dissemble and unlearn, I should approach this returning to Selfhood and autistic sensing instincts with a spirit of joyful newness after all? Indeed. And this, too, is finding Autistic Joy.

oblation

So, despite achieving over an 80% vaccination rate, the caseloads continue to explode with alarming force here. Here is just one of the latest articles in the news signalling escalating trepidation. But is anyone ‘getting’ it yet?

A recent shocking fiasco that I never thought would happen to me served as a stark revelation of the paucity of deeper understanding, care and concern inherent in the majority of humans – including those I have been in close contact with, those I thought I could trust to have my best interests in mind.

Here’s the rub: The virus doesn’t listen to the government, folks. You need to implement draconian measures yourselves!! DRACONIAN! But most people around me do not seem to understand this at all, well, except for a small handful of autistic women I know with whom I chat occasionally online. None of us have any desire to meet in person, we are socialising safely and we derive immense fulfilment this way. None of us would be the least bit offended if we had been exposed to potential danger and had to self isolate. We wouldn’t even wait for someone else to suggest it, let alone protest against it. Sigh… and the majority label us autistics “socially impaired”… oh, this is considered deficit to them?

Remember this guy? I do. He issued a serious warning, calling for draconian measures to be immediately implemented – that was more than a year ago – and nobody seemed to heed, until too late.

The brief version is in this link.

Almost two years later, things are getting worse, not better, with a more aggressive variant in the mix. What is happening? Here in Singapore, this is what I see around me: A deadly combination of complacency, irrational emotional attachment to social crowding that they call ‘morale’ and ‘camaraderie’, and thoughtless over reliance on governmental direction – this (and much more) is what I have been facing in my own personal struggle as an immunocompromised person among healthy people smack in the middle of this horrifying pandemic.

I learned this lesson: Even those you once thought you could trust, and who have indeed cared for you very well under different circumstances, will now throw you under the bus where it comes to choosing between ‘hurt’ / ‘offended’ feelings of healthy people at the merest request for them to isolate vs basic simple science-based evidence to show consideration for your already seriously compromised safety.

“But you’re already compromised anyway, so what’s a bit more?” they will ask you. “The risk is small, don’t panic!” they will say. Let’s not even bother to talk about friendship, ‘love’ or whatnot fluffy stuff people preach during good times. When things turn nasty like it has right now, and the warfare requires prolonged inconvenience to ‘normal’ human social constructs (what is normal to them is horrifyingly abnormal to me), scientific awareness and basic empathy for the vulnerable are sacrificed on the altar of some nebulous ideal of esprit de corps.

Kiss kiss kiss! Hug hug hug! Rah rah rah! Sniff sniff sniff! Spread your germs with forceful feel-good vim and vigour! Woohoo! Then… Kaboom!

OK. I could have put my foot down and insisted on my own safety being prioritised above the healthy majority’s emo-emo feelings of offence and whatnot, but I decided to acquiesce. It was true that the risk was small, and I just did not have the energy to fight this particular battle on my own. I’m already exhausted from all the people-ing I’ve had to do and managing tension and unspoken passive aggression from goodness knows what dissatisfaction or emotional mental dandruff that people bring in with them.

I am ok. I survived this ordeal physically unscathed. “But you’re fine, right? See, nothing bad happened!” Indeed. No thanks to you lot who knowingly subjected me to this traumatic experience. And what a pathetic reason to do so – because of your cute little social “feels”.

This is not about comparing autistic / neurodivergent / neurotypical etc paradigms. Just a fundamental observation about humanity. I am scarred by the callous and irrational addiction to effusive social emotionality that has revealed itself to me. This is what has injured the very core of my existence and broken my trust in humans around me.

Are you immunocompromised? If yes, I implore you to protect yourself as much as you can, because you cannot trust others to consider you. At all. And if they actually do, then take it as the added embellishment of icing on the cake. But it is a cake you yourself must bake and literally eat.

Oh yes, and don’t forget to embrace the ones who truly care for you. You will know them by their deeds at this time of direness. I am blessed with one I can always trust. And she is not human. Thank goodness too.