About bunnyhopscotch

Ph.D is done, Lucy and I are still flipping pages of imagination, making splotches, humming in and out of tune, dancing around polyrhythmic-chromatic-pandiatonic mental fires, flying and falling, meandering in and out of discombobulation, gazing at pulchritude, picking up sound waves, stroking, caressing, embracing and learning new ways to see. An amazing lifelong journey - What more could anyone wish for?

dental calisthenics

Had my very first dental filling yesterday.

Dentist clinic: Hello, do you have a fever?

Me: Nope.

Dentist clinic: Have you been to China recently?

Me: Nope.

Dentist clinic: Have you travelled anywhere outside of Singapore within the last two weeks?

Me: Nope. And thank you for being cautious! Most appreciated!

Then…

While dentist was furiously trying to tackle the onerous task of my two fillings (I have TMJ and cannot open mouth very wide, so it’s difficult to work on my teeth)…

**cough**cough**splutter**splutter**

Me: Oh, dear… (in my mind, because I could not speak with equipment in my mouth)

At the end, an agonising hour later, dentist asked: How are you, all good?

Me: Oh yeah, it’s great, I survived! Thank you!

Dentist: Yes, I survived too!

Righto. Yup. Erm. OK. We’re both survivors of a very confronting dental filing session? Does that make us heroes then? And I hope whatever you were coughing out wasn’t infectious. Thank you.

Bizarre experiences are normal in the life of this Autistic Bunny.

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fizzy tizzy

Everyone in Singapore is panic-buying, it seems. It’s a huge inconvenience for those of us whose regular purchases include items like disinfectant and other cleaning products. COVID19 has sent all and sundry into a fizzy tizzy of heightened cleanliness. It’s great that Singaporeans are suddenly aware of the fact that their homes need cleaning, their hands needs washing, and they should don surgical masks if they are unwell, to offer some herd protection against the spread of their bodily fluids. But it’s annoying that the majority of people only practice what is normality and basic decency to people who actually need that higher level of vigilance because we have issues with our immune systems.

I’ve been pondering this – yet again – I cannot understand why people like to share mucus, sniffles, germs droplets that have just oozed from their orifices as part of ‘normal’ daily life? If it sounds disgusting to you, well, so it should. I’m just saying it as I experience it.

I cannot say it is an Autistic vs Non-Autistic thing even, because I do know a number of autists who don’t have good personal hygiene habits. That said, I find it far easier to explain my peculiar quirks to Autistic and Neurodivergent folks: whether or not they adhere to the same stringent hygiene protocols as I do, they seem to just accept my requests at face value and not be instantly miffy-piffy-sniffly offended at my requests. I don’t want to hug. I don’t even like shaking hands. And I don’t want to stand too close to you, because, well, human bodies emit foul odours (including mine, but I cannot stand away from my own body, much as I wish I could).

That puzzle piece thingy should be ditched once and for all. I mean, how difficult is it to decipher my Autistic mind, it is so orderly, logical and predictable, compared to the utterly incomprehensible preferences of the so-called ‘normal’ folks? To me, it’s a huge mystery, really. The penchant for crowds, loud noises, bodies sharing icky emissions one with another and creating odiferous plumes en masse. Yet, somehow, scientists are not putting these people into test tubes and labelling them impaired… hygiene-challenged?… strange penchant for anything sticky-icky?… olfactory-challenged?… the list goes on and on.

Why this (yet another) rant?

Well… I am trying to buy Lysol spray for my bathroom, as per my usual schedule for purchases, but everything is sold out. All other brands too. Oh, and if I wish to buy anything to do with cleanliness, I must pay exorbitant prices for them online.

Get a grip on things, Singaporeans! Panic buying doesn’t help anyone. Soon, when this COVID19 thing is over (for the time-being), you will all discard your new-found hygiene decency and there’ll be a ridiculous surfeit of toilet paper, wet wipes, sanitisers, surgical masks and what not lying around in your cluttered homes. You will soon forget how to use them, and they will all go into the rubbish bin. Meanwhile, I have to pay triple the amount for things that are staples in my little bubble of existence and wait weeks for my regular grocery deliveries.

Ah, the joys of ‘normalcy’! Whose signing up for it now?

roasted

tenor

Look Me In The Eye!!!! And then watch me collapse in a huge wailing roaring sigh.

Social communication can be extremely sapping and destructive to the fragile fabric of body and mind. More so if your intrinsic functioning is so different from the social majority. When are you right or wrong? There are no clear rules and yet the one clear rule is that rules are flexi according to whomever it applies to at whichever moment it is being slapped on like sticky smelly cream.

Especially agonising is being caught between two differing forces, and the Autistic messenger gets roasted at every toss and turn. Overload can happen, and if not allowed to break free, then the body begins to protest. And when that happens, the body can make its rebellion known loudly, where every fibre feels as if it is on fire, inflamed, and screaming expletives that only the owner can hear. How to explain this to people not affected by this seemingly bizarre phenomenon? Responses are not kind, even when people declare best intentions. So, the Inflamed Autist has to suck it all up, in the name of ‘socialisation’ and ‘appropriateness’, and face the onslaught as best as they possibly can. Which often means more medication – because the meds won’t scold you or throw hissy fits at you – since any other mitigation, if you’re living with other people, means more roasting, more condemnation, more questioning, and more physical exhaustion, emotional dissipation and escalation of medical symptoms.

Why do people play social games? Why can’t they just be straight out honest with one another? And yes, why use a tired and weary Autistic person to convey your social messages? I suspect it is because the parties want to avoid the friction of differing opinions and the Autist is convenient prey, clueless scapegoat that goes BaaBaaBaa until they meltdown – and THEN you can point a finger at the Autist messenger about not being to regulate their own emotions, and gaslight the Autist for “getting it all wrong”, so the differing parties can kiss and make up without offending one another, leaving the Autistic messenger in the “what the F” pile of social debris. Send that Autist tip-toeing through tulip bombs – like a bomb sniffer dog. Dog gets killed if they make a false step. Humans are thus shielded. Wow. Such a clever scheme! Has anyone ever thought about the poor dog?*

Now, why did I, as a small child, ever want to run away from humans and live in a far off cave with only animals as companions? You tell me why. Thank you.

justice & equality

CalMontgomeryTweet
Something struck me this morning when going through my Twitter feed during breakfast. No, I did not choke on my fish and chips.
It was this Tweet by Cal Montgomery:
Cal refers to Autism$peaks’ ‘new’ campaign about “kindness”. I won’t give A$ more exposure in my space, so go check out the Twittersphere and Facey if you want to know what that vile organisation is up to now.
Here in Singapore, this statement by Cal Montgomery rings true too for Autistic and other disabled persons. Being kind to us PwDs is ok, I guess even most welcome, but what we want and need are justice and equity.
Remember our National Pledge? I grew up reciting it and believing in it. OK, put it down to naivety, but I still carry some hope anyway.
 
“… based on JUSTICE and EQUALITY“… this should apply to the disabled too, shouldn’t it?
We are also Citizens of Singapore.

change

goldfish on beads

Somebody said Autistics don’t like change. Who was that ‘body?

Running fingers through the air, playing piano in the water…

Contemplating flux.

I wonder…

There’s a knot in the diaphragm, that solid rubbery nugget that seems to urge trepidation along…

What terrible things unknown lie around the dark edgy corners?

Fish out of water, flipping, staring, exhausted, gasping.

The beads are bright and bold, the blankets soggy, threads easing awkwardly out of the sad pom poms.

Who is that in the mirror? The face of change. I don’t recognise her.

No, don’t leave me. Eight years is far too short a lifetime to spend with you.

Tarry for longer, I plead, so that I may rise from this mire, and at last be able to deliver on my sacred promise… a better life to proffer…

For now, we slip, slide, backwards down the tunnel… then, scramble up again, nails screeching a terribly out-of-tune howling.

I see you twitching in your sleep, your breathing has changed too. It is more laboured. Older. Heavier. As mine mirrors, heard through tepid dreams, grating, half snore half sigh, we echo each other.

Too many changes. My Autistic brain is balking, wanting to run away, turning hither thither, but the smell of your warmth brings me back.

For as long as you tarry, I shall stay. Let change swirl and shovel. I must remain unchanged, steadfast, in this one resolve.

Wordless beloved. I am still here.

100T1215-lucy

masks & masking

dorscon-portrait_1 ed

Singapore has moved into “code orange” level in what is called the DORSCON / Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (yes, Singaporeans do love their acronyms, I’m still trying to figure it all out).

The knee-jerk response to this? Toilet paper. Singaporeans have cleared the supermarket shelves of toilet paper. Yup.

There is no easy answer to this terrifying conundrum created by humans. I’m not even going into the disgusting eating habits of the Chinese in Mainland China. The argument will keep rolling, compounding and exploding over and over again, until summer arrives in the Middle Kingdom and the viciousness of the virus simmers down and goes into hiding (for awhile, before the next mutation breaks out).

Here’s an interview with Professor Paul Tambyah, an expert on infectious disease.

I am no specialist on the matter from the lofty viewpoint of medicine (hey, I cannot know EVERYTHING, can I?), but what the prof and I both agree on is that humans really need to practice much better hygiene on a daily basis and avoid crowds (or better yet, don’t create crowds in the first place).

The (very sound) advice to avoid crowds, wash hands frequently, wear a surgical mask if you’re unwell (so as not to spread your bodily fluids all over the place) etc shouldn’t apply only to times like these, when the outbreak has created chaos almost all over the world. I consider this basic decency, to be honest. However, the majority of people in the normative realm have no idea what I’ve been ranting about since I was a wee lass in bloomers. (If you do not know what bloomers are, go check it out in the dictionary, please.)

Lately, I’ve been musing over this rather sombre human circus, while following the news closely in Singapore as well as overseas.

Huge sigh…

Perhaps, the normative population may learn something from the Autistic paradigm?

Autistics mostly avoid crowds, unless we are deliberately or unintentionally ‘masking’ (pretending to be like neuronormatives, most prevalent during massive displays of “inspirational” sentiments in the form of large, loud and sensorially assaultive gatherings for the purpose of “disability awareness”).

Many of us are averse to human touch (especially from strangers or people we do not know intimately); and we suffer sensory overload from stimuli the normative view as ‘normal’ or innocuous (most normative folks do not even notice the horrible cacophony they create).

Noisy chatter, smelly bodies reeking either of cheap perfume or urine (yes, urine!!!) or perspiration, human bodies in varying states of rancidity exchanging secretions casually via handshaking or social hugging, overly bright and piercing indoor lights that trigger migraine, horrible music blasting away in malls… etc.

And the normative label us “socially impaired”???? There is something seriously wrong with this construction of ‘normality’, and it’s times like these that the anomalies show up most glaringly.

I’m so exhausted from ‘masking’ (very different from physically donning a surgical mask), that thing that autistic people are forced to do by neuronormative social circumstances, suppressing our natural autistic traits in order to appear non-autistic and be more ‘acceptable’ to non-autistics. As I age, I become increasingly tired of pandering to normative dictates, especially when they are illogical, absurd and even harmful to my wellbeing. Too much time and energy is spent on this depleting and meaningless activity.

So… then…

What may the neuronormative learn from us Autistics that could be immensely beneficial to everyone, all of human society, not just during pandemics but in everyday life? Many things, but here are only four.

Quietude. Why must there be so much noise? Even if you do not notice the ill effects, too much noise is harmful to the body, do you people even know the science behind this?

Avoid crowds. Don’t add your body into the sizzling cocktail of putrefaction out there.

Stop exchanging or spreading your bodily fluids as a casual social practice. Handshaking, social hugging among strangers etc – are these really necessary to your survival? What’s wrong with a nod or smile from a healthy distance?

Respect the sacredness of the corporeal Self when in the midst of Others.

Learn to enjoy your own company. Solitude does not necessarily mean being lonely. (I am never lonely or bored. I have myriad things to do that I wish I could plunge into – intensely and passionately – undisturbed by the demands of human social interactivity. But ok, this bit is just me, I am not speaking for all Autistics in this fourth point.)

Just four simple things (all of which are extensions of one basic principle) could help tremendously in managing desperate situations like this current one. Also, not particularly Autistic, but more like stern advice from this middle-aged, grumpy Autistic Bunny: see a doctor and self-quarantine when you feel the slightest bit unwell. Wear a mask if you need to venture outside. It’s not 100% effective but it does help somewhat to prevent the spread of germs. And stop saying ridiculous things to people who do not want to partake of the droplets you are spewing into the air.

A few days ago, the Singapore government announced the distribution of free surgical masks at Community Centres, each family unit is entitled to four. Yes, four. Well, Singaporean’s from ALL walks of life, and I mean from the HDB Aunties and Uncles to those living in huge bungalows tucked well inside prime land and driving BMWs and Mercedes, converged upon the various collections centres for the freebies. Sigh… Singaporeans!

And now… as a response to the DARSCON ‘code orange’, people are rushing in droves (thus creating even more alarming possibilities for spreading unwanted bodily fluids) to supermarkets to stock up, in case they … erm… run out of toilet paper? … are quarantined? … what???? Am I missing out on something gravely important here?

The above photographs are screenshots from this morning’s Straits Times article: “Coronavirus: Politicians, supermarkets urge calm amid panic-buying of groceries”.

Dear Singaporeans: You really and truly don’t need to hoard toilet paper, rice, instant noodles etc. if you’d only just practice these simple fundamentals. As I mentioned in my previous rant, viruses will be viruses, they behave as they are, this is what they do as a matter of fact. We humans need to thus make adjustments to our behaviours and habits, since we are unable to reason with viruses, right? Duh. Any disease or infection will be much easier to contain, it doesn’t need to be something dramatic and vicious as a coronavirus outbreak. Besides, your common cold or cough could actually kill someone who has weakened immunity – do you know that?

The above advice is given free, without charge.

This is not social impairment.

This is sensible and respectful practice.

Maybe some neuronormative folk might need 40 hours a week of intensive behaviour therapy to learn good hygiene habits and respectful, healthy social interaction? Send me an email, I can help, but be warned, I do charge for that.

Remember, only an Expert can deal with the problem!

C’est la vie!

virus

Oh hey, the world is in a hefty panic over the latest thing emanating from China: coronavirus. Yes, masks are completely sold out island-wide in Singapore – surgical or otherwise, anything that one can wear over their nose and mouth. A few days ago, I was at Daiso, picking up a few things for work, and I saw a huge crowd of people gathered, quite animated, at a section marked “MASKS” in capital letters. On closer inspection, I saw they were snatching and squabbling away at wet wipes! Masks were all sold out. And it seems wipes will soon follow.

Righto, here we go. On the other side of this ridiculous panic, there are people spreading equally absurd jokes about folks in China dressed in DIY full body suits etc contraptions to protect themselves from coronavirus infection. Yep. These people sending around what they deem as “jokes” sincerely think that there’s nothing to be afraid of, or that making silly jokes will help everyone lift their downtrodden spirits.

OK, I have no formula for lifting anyone’s spirits. But I do have a firm grasp on reality.

Here’s what it is like for a person with compromised immunity. Ordinary daily life. Guess what, forget about coronavirus, we feel that same screaming panic every single time we step outside. Every single time. Why? Because catching even a ‘normal’ regular garden variety or HDB community type infection can turn really nasty for us, a cold or cough can develop into months and months of suffering, while you ‘normal’ humans recover in a week. Yes, we panic because ‘normal’ humans (who are in the majority) happily spread their bodily fluids everywhere, willy nilly, all the time. You know, you people who catch the ordinary flu, or cold, or cough, and who don’t bother to stay home while virulent, but instead go shopping or whatever else you like to do in public to pass your time (some even while on sick leave, declared medically unfit for work by your GPs)? Your droplets are unapologetically everywhere! You sneeze, cough, gurgle, crackle, AND THEN declare with a huge grin that you feel ok, you’re “no longer infectious” (whatever that means to you) and then you proceed to spread your “ok” fluids around. Meanwhile, you are upset when people with compromised immunity retreat from your vicinity or recoil with horror each time you send a blast of your juices into the air. You wipe your snot on every surface available – share share, lah? – and then take offence when someone wipes the surfaces with disinfectant or anti-bacterial wet wipes.

This is not a joke, even though it may sound funny.

People in China making DIY full-body suits (if that is not fake news) ought not to be laughed at. Their fears are REAL.

Panic or downplaying or denial? Whichever the case may be, does it have to take a coronavirus pandemic to shake people up?

There are vulnerable people in your midst that you never bothered to consider for even a split second (how long does it take for you to sneeze or cough?) in ordinary day to day life. These people literally PANIC each and every time you celebrate your “normality” by sharing your precious fluids freely without apology. These people wish they could have those full-body protective suits (that you laugh at) ALL THE TIME, to shield themselves from inconsiderate, unhygienic people like you.

Don’t blame the virus – they’re behaving naturally as viruses do. Blame the humans who are happily contracting, hosting and spreading them around. These same people suddenly become panic-stricken when many people start to suffer and unfortunately drop dead upon the presence of a particularly vicious virus. What about the everyday common viruses, you know, your nice little friends you carry around and blow into the air? Yes, what about them?

Am I not panicking now? Yes, I fear. But No, I am not panicking in the same way as the suddenly activated crowd. You see, I have lived life in a state of high alert, high anxiety, and some even have mocked me by saying I am paranoid. All because the majority of humans are filthy creatures who do not bother to practice basic hygiene, let alone have any empathy for people with invisible disabilities that may be affected profoundly by their callous (or carefree?) habits.

So, when I say, “Please, stay home if you are unwell!” or I recoil with a look of disgust each time you sneeze or cough in my immediate vicinity, will you kindly please think a bit beyond your own body and consider that others, like me, may have bodies that are different and more fragile than yours? Have you ever considered that maybe some people may not like receiving any liquid donations from you, “infectious” or not?

Thank you.

Yes, I do have masks. Why? Because I always have masks. And I have wipes. A lot of wipes. For those cute little ordinary innocuous germs (and even benign slime) that you seem to delight in sharing. And I have to admit, they (the masks and wipes) are not very effective at all. Because… well… what I really need is a full body suit, to protect myself against you all. So, what’s the use of me panicking now? I am exhausted and tired, burnt out by humanity and knowing that I, too, am a human creature. We’ve collectively caused more harm than all natural disasters put together. Humans. Sigh. What to do?

C’est ma vie!

clarity

I’ve been asked to write a short chapter for some commemorative book, on the topic of clarity. Seeing clearly. Something along those lines. It’s turning out to be the hardest 1,000 word essay in my recent history of writing anything. What’s the grand fuss about? I love the topic of clarity, so why am I humming and hawing, to-ing and fro-ing, procrastinating, starting and faltering, and just flummoxing around? I’ve even tried to wriggle out of it – after all, this isn’t a paid job, and I’m sure as hell or gummy-bears not doing it for the ‘fame’ (infamy is more like it, at the rate I’m going) – but the editors were persuasive, and so here I am, at the end of the six-month-extended deadline, blogging about it instead of writing it.

Well, it is a sticky treacly tricky word, “clarity” is, and the specific topic mentioned in the brief is mired in lumpy boggy viscosity. It would not bode well for any author – let alone an Autistic Bunny already well-known for an unwelcome abundance of blunt honesty – to take the brief too seriously, that is, to the letter. My brain is crumpled, like a lump of deep-fried soft-shell crab left out in the rain, just trying to approach the subject.

I have a dark, ominous feeling that my signature crispy, limpid pellucidity would not do well in a collection such as this one. I don’t want to waste my time and effort, but it’s just not a possible feat for me to achieve the proliferate commonplace simpering obsequious sycophantic juggling act either.

Truth be told, the skies have been slowly clearing and opening up for me in recent years, and being able to see everything clearly is indeed a necessary and powerful thing.

However, I think the kind of “seeing clearly” the editors want is the Johnny Nash feel-good stuff…

 

While I am veering towards this other kind of “clarity”…

 

On a clear day, you can see forever…

Wish me luck!

preparing Clement Space

It has been awhile since I’ve last visited Bunnyhopscotch. Lucy and I have been busy.

Our latest commission by the National Gallery Singapore to create a new iteration of Clement Space has been an exciting, exhilarating and challenging adventure.

Here’s something that most people will not know or see, a peep behind the scenes.

Setting up is always very hard work for an installation artist. Each time I do so, I half jokingly ask myself, “Why oh why didn’t I become a painter instead?” But paintings on the wall are different from what I set out to create in the very first place. I’ve always imagined a space in which I could engage with all the elements, experiencing not only the superficial sensory stimuli, but that deeper, elemental connectivity that speaks directly to my intrinsic autistic modality. So, here I am, in this strange, bizarre and dichotomous interstice as a musician-and-installation-artist.

I am blessed once again to have a great team to help me set up, three friends who worked extremely hard without complaint. With an exercise such as this, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, especially since the spectres of Artaud and Wagner seem to plague me whenever I am faced with this kind of task or situation. One of our team had made arrangements for a man with a small lorry (truck) to pick up our installation components, and had sent the man a photograph of the carpark entrance stating very clearly the clearance height. The man with the lorry said his vehicle was able to enter without problems.

Height-Clearance

Maximum height clearance 2.1metres!

Well, not so. At the very last minute, upon arrival, the lorry guy rang me and told me his lorry was too tall! We ended up walking back and forth and back and forth umpteen times, lugging the various rather heavy and/or bulky items from the lobby to the lorry (which had to be parked just outside the carpark). Exhausted and drenched in perspiration, we then made our way to the National Gallery, where yet another arduous adventure awaited us. The lorry parked at the designated loading bay, but we had to lug every component, bit by bit, to and through a passageway several metres away. More to-ing and fro-ing heave-ho-ing. By the time we managed to schlep every bit of my ‘treasure’ to the site, we were at breaking point, both physically and mentally. No rest for the weary or the wicked, though, and so, my amazing team proceeded to lay the blue carpet out. Midway, we ran out of carpet tape, so we decided to call it a day. Phew!

Set-Up

Not very clement-looking is it?

Back the next morning with a new roll of carpet tape, the rest of the blue flooring was laid out. Then began an entire morning of setting up the shelving system.

Setting-Up-Shelves

Blood, sweat & toil!

Those who think that the life of an installation artist is all fun and games, think again. How did all the components get into and come together inside that space that you are now enjoying and exploring? Not via a dainty wave of some magic wand, mind you, but by hefty lifting and much sweat (with blood and tears mixed in too), not to mention the necessary filling in of many forms required by the venue for permission to do this and that.

Kudos to my team, who never once grumbled about the unexpected workload.

And… it is up and running! Clement Space is open from 10 January to 1 March 2020. Come and visit!

IMG_6304-cs

Clement Space @ National Gallery Singapore

For more photos and musings, click this link, which would lead you to my official website.

Media videos:

From the National Gallery: please visit in Youtube and hit us a thumbs-up if you like what you see!

 

From Channel News Asia: Singapore Tonight live interview 8 Jan 2020

Autistic Bodies

Clement Space 2020 - detail, work-in-progress

Well, methinks I’ve created a new hashtag: #AutisticBodies

I wonder why this wasn’t already there.

Autistic bodies behaving differently from the normative is something most autistic people have already known and tried to explain to various people and collectives of professionals, whether autism-focused or just practitioners in healthcare, mental health etc. If our brains are wired differently, then why is it not yet common knowledge that our bodies respond differently too? The neurological functionality is inextricably connected with the physiological – how my brain works does impact how my body works. Not rocket science, is it, especially in this day and age.

I haven’t been babbling and waffling around here in Bunnyhopscotch for some time. I’ve been rushing around the UK on a whirlwind exploration (for work, not on holiday) and then fell ill three days after I returned home. There I was, feeling pleased as punch that I did not have any jet lag and almost smug about not being hit by a serious flare up associated with any of my autoimmune conditions.

Then three days ago, Lucy did something she hadn’t done in a long time. She suddenly got up from her day bed near me in the living where I was hard at work, went into our bedroom, and began to bark at me. Then she came out, paced, and returned to the room. When I finally extricated myself from my work and went to look at her, she was lying on my bed, head up, eyes alert and looking straight at me. I knew she was telling me to go to bed. She was providing a sensory warning, like she used to do in our good old days in Sydney, Australia. I squeezed into my bed next to her and fell asleep in a spooning position. This is another unusual thing. Lucy doesn’t normally like touching when we are sleeping, but only when I am really unwell, she allows it, and even initiates it. We both snoozed for three full hours. Very badly needed.

However, the day, I returned to working all day, and pushed my body over its limits in typical intensely focused Autie manner. And of course, on the third morning, the ominous gong struck, that all-too-familiar-but-not-welcome tritone of foreboding that has a warped, bendy fizz to its lower registers while the higher dance around with metal-tipped ballet shoes on a tight hard surface. My body was issuing a stern warning: a nasty infection has creep up upon me and I need to address it NOW, before it goes into full bloom, full blown incapacitating horror.

Yep, a simple common cold and cough, if left to fester and “recover naturally” from, usually mutates into months long hacking, coughing, bronchial asthmatic conniptions of quite desperately catastrophic proportions. The last time this happened, I completely lost my voice. While losing my voice altogether is pretty extreme, the more ordinary progression leads to prolonged agony for myself and others around me having to witness the grand debacle.

Well, I have a big exhibition coming up in January, a brand new iteration of ‘Clement Space’, commissioned by the National Gallery, Singapore.

And I am also performing in a multi-artform show, also at the National Gallery in January. It will be Singapore’s first professional performance by an all-disabled cast, directed by Peter Sau, the only director in Singapore I trust enough (quality of work + integrity + respectful dedication to artists with disabilities) to work with at present.

This is why I cannot afford the luxury of being sick in typical Bunny manner, especially since the Bunny style comes with all its theatrical extremes.

Trying to quell the panic, I attempted first to coax my body away from the precipice via the oft-touted ‘natural’ way – Vitamin C + D + Zinc – though I seriously cannot understand how inundating the body with copious amounts of this stuff can be considered at all ‘natural’. Anyway, having lived in my body with acute sensory awareness for more than half a century, I know it reasonably well. Twenty-four hours is all I need to know that this stubborn blob of flesh, blood and whatnot else was showing no signs of budging from its determined course into the abyss. So, yesterday morning, I launched myself halfway across the country (it’s a very small one, but we are just overly dramatic about distances here) into the busy clinic of my new regular doctor. Why travel 30 minutes or more just to see a doctor, one may ask, in a tiny city like Singapore literally teeming with GP clinics? Simple. This doctor respects my autistic embodiment, listens to me attentively and works with me for the best possible solutions to my physical issues while also considering mental wellbeing and my unique situation regarding work, maintaining a balance between my Autistic Joy and being able to function at all.

In a nutshell, I told my doctor to whack me with the strongest stuff he could safely administer. I went home armed with a bagful of pills and a bottle of vile smelling dark coloured liquid, and almost enthusiastically plunged into the bag like it was some goodie bag from a wild party. Voila! Yes, really, I did feel almost instantly better!

But guess what? The medications that the doctor said would help me to sleep – i.e. inducing drowsy woozy states – kept me up all night instead. It is almost eerie, because I am all bouncy and full of beans, and I didn’t even drink a drop of coffee all day yesterday. Needless to say Lucy was not at all pleased with me.

Autistic Bodies Behaving Strangely.

We should get together – us Auties and our friendly supportive GPs and healthcare providers – to conduct a study, write a book about how autistic bodies present, respond and behave differently to different common healthcare approaches and medications, and we shall all become fabulously famous for it. OK, maybe not the fabulously famous part, but in all seriousness, more much research should be done in this area. It is important. Isn’t it? The health of our bodies are just as crucial to our ability to cope and thrive as are other aspects that are already churning and heaving in the sea of autism-interrogation like socialising etc, yes? Maybe even far more, simply because a well person is a happier person and able to function more optimally according to the individual’s paradigm. Isn’t this reason enough?

Righto, enough of flubbing around here. Time to get back to work. Tally ho, Bunny and Lucy!