While enjoying my simple Aspie-repeat breakfast of egg, cheese and Kaya toast this morning, I was at the same time checking on Facebook and surfing the internet. I came across this new blog, The Awesome Blog, by a young Aspie from Singapore. I have never met Tim in person, but we recently became Facebook friends. It’s a new effort by Tim, and there are to date only two posts, but thus far, I find his depth of reasoning and clarity of expression very refreshing. I am highlighting it here because I think it is worth looking at – not many Asian Aspies are able to articulate their thoughts and experiences this well in the English language, and it provides good insights into the world of autism in Asia, especially in the context of Chinese migrants who have established a hybrid culture after having settled for several generation in Singapore.
I was born and grew up in Singapore. Things were a lot tougher for my generation of Aspies. I dread to think of how many of us ended up hidden and oppressed within close knit families, wrapped tightly inside the thick smog of Asian shame, or worse still, cast into the eternal fires of mental institutions and forgotten by the world. For the few of us who made it through the NT system, ours would inevitably have been an arduous road. I personally do not know any fellow Singaporean Aspie who has emerged from the system. My own Aspie friends from my generation all hail from different countries, outside of Singapore. Every one of them have interesting stories to tell. And every one of them have taught me valuable lessons from the pages of their books of life.
I welcome and encourage the change happening in my own homeland. The lack of disability support is still dismal, a self-styled “first world” country with no disability support, where society is largely ignorant and prejudiced against people who are different, where a Guide Dog for the Blind is viewed with suspicion and elicits reactions of utter idiocy, and where there is no legislation to protect persons with special needs. However, things are slowly changing. People like Tim, who are brave and willing, and well able, to air their thoughts and fears and hopes, must be encouraged. We cannot muzzle our young, we must listen, and support them, in the hope that tomorrow’s world will be a better one than the one we knew.