torment

Unable to sleep. Haunted by images I should not have looked at on social media, of humans taunting and laughing, mocking the suffering of the very animals they are supposed to be caring for. I am thrown into an ominous swirl by conversations (or should I say slugging matches) between two divided camps, all of which I ought never to have read. I can sense my blood vessels dilating, pounding, and my empathic resonance with the poor animals caught in the midst of the twisted farce is causing an aching pain in my abdomen. I am literally sick to the core.

I do not have the energy to enter into the kind of energetic ‘debate’ that is now raging: people defending and condemning humans being humans in an age where the world is encapsulated and dissected inside a glowing screen.

Humans are humans. This is what humans do. They squabble, they gobble, they screech and they bleat in chaotic cacophony. And when humans behave badly – regardless of explanation and excuse – it is always the voiceless animals who suffer the most.

I know. (Because I am human too, although many in the normative world do not consider Autistics human enough – but that is a different topic altogether.) I still, to this day, berate myself for all that happened to my beloved Lucy in that horrible nightmare where she lost part of her beautiful tail. It all happened within a matter of hours – I left her in the care of someone I thought I could trust – and I found out how foolish I was in the hardest way possible. Lucy paid the price of my indiscretion. You see, the animals that come near us, those beautiful innocent creatures who inhabit our sphere, always pay the highest price that way.

Humans tell me nice things, that I am not to blame etc etc blah blah blahditty blah, to the point where I am afraid or embarrassed to give voice to my utter devastation and lingering trauma. Us humans are like that. We stir things up, we fight, we sling mud, we wallow, we gyrate around our own flickering campfires. Everything is about us. Our consciousness is all we really care about. Meanwhile, sentient beings around us – some we claim to love, and others we are oblivious to – are put through excruciating torture by the systems we have created, the mess we’ve made (and we really have no idea how to unravel it all). We are appallingly incognisant of our own callous human insensitivity to the Beings who do not or cannot enunciate according to our worded deliration, you know, that thing we call “language”.

Lucy sleeps next to me. I am listening to her breathing, the rhythm, pattern, tonality and harmonics – my mind is struggling to keep up, I want to remember it all, as vividly as possible, while my heart feels as if it is disintegrating, imploding, melting.

While humans rage against humans, and humans make excuses for one another and themselves, the silent ones are roaring in the universe. I cannot even begin to transcribe what I hear. It is too  painful, too horrifying, to put into limited human vocabulary. We humans just do not have enough language for suffering.

And the to-ing and fro-ing continues… I really shouldn’t look at or read any more of this rot. My soul is writhing in the mire of my humanity, and Lucy has just woken from her sleep, she looks at me with such luscious, rich meaning in her gaze, my heart wants to burst because it is unable to contain this wondrous honour she has bestowed upon me.

If there is one miserable, paltry human lesson to learn from this particular cruel and bizarre circus, it is this: never ever let your animal out of your sight when you bring them to the veterinarian for any procedure whatsoever. The only one time I did this was when I left Lucy with that person, and as the tragedy unfolded, my soul was almost sucked out of me as a consequence. If your vet doesn’t allow you to watch over every little procedure, go to another one who will. All arguments thereafter are mere puffs of smoke, vapid and feeble.

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crush & crash

Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 1.20.57 PM

I posted this a few minutes ago.

Where do we draw the line between being pushed beyond endurance and reasonable resilience when the Autistic person must navigate and survive in the normative dominated world system? How many ‘normal’ things does an autistic person have to force the Self to do at the expense of mental and physical health? Survival?

It is a question I have been asking for a long time now, on behalf of myself and other autistics who are labelled “high functioning” by the neuronormative world of autism observers, and thus expected to operate just like the neuronormative, or even better (because we are so ‘brilliant’, right?).

The more we are able to ‘perform’ in the Grand Autism Circus, the nearer we get to the “nirvana of neuronormativity” (a quote from my APAC19 plenary speech), the ‘higher’ we are labelled by the narcissistic systems of the normative majority. After all, if one does not ‘appear’ or ‘look’ autistic, it is must be a compliment, because identifying as autistic is the opposite of gaining approval. This attitude weighs heavily on every autistic person’s shoulders, though reactions may vary widely.

For some autistic people – like one self-styled autistic ‘leader’ that I know – the burden of normativity has become an achievement to aspire towards, and being or appearing ‘normal’ is to them a positive trait to attain. This same ‘autistic leader’ holds the view that autistic people should not receive any concessions or accommodations, that we ought to tough it out with everyone else to prove our mettle. Our disability (to function as neurotypical) is thus not respected as a disability according to the social model of disability but rather considered an intrinsic flaw to be eliminated under the medical model. Ask the said autistic ‘leader’ about those of us deemed “low functioning” and there is deep, dark silence. It is an awkward fraction of a second, before the person just blanks it out entirely. As if those of us with complex needs do not exist in their mind, or should not, for the sake of preserving their warped rhetoric. In fact, each time I speak ‘autistic’ frankness, each time I stand for and upon my moral ground on issues important to me, this person will churn out a well-rehearsed and deeply ingrained opinion: “this will not go down well” (with the XYZ of normativity)! A sad situation, really, and I don’t blame those autistics who cling to ableist frameworks forced upon them by the neurotypical powers that be. It is a grievous thing when one is continually looking over the shoulder, fearful of how things will “go down” here or there, sacrificing not only Selfhood, but also warping and bending ethical and moral constructs which contribute to and uphold personhood and identity.

Some autistics, as a consequence, hold on to the approval of the fickle-minded normative world, trying their best to negotiate with its unstable morality, just for the remuneration of a loftier ranking in ableist functioning labels. They are proud to claim superiority over those of us with complex needs, or who dare to show our natural autistic differences. I, however, abhor functioning labels. As an autistic person labelled “high functioning” by normative forces that be (well, I have a PhD and I topped my cohort, didn’t I? I can’t be all that severely autistic, right????), I am constantly flabbergasted, befuddled, perturbed and oppressed by these labels, because they bring with them stigma and often horrifying expectations blended with ignorance, which is sometimes blatant and conveniently deliberate. This is prevalent even among the community that call themselves disability advocates, who often fail to grasp and convey the kind of crystal clear communication that the autistic person needs (in order not to fly off the precipice in a state of panicked anxiety).

For example, I have been (or at least I am led to think) supposedly working with a few others on a project about disability, access and inclusion. However, nothing has happened for months – not that I know about anyway – and yet I hear snippets of this or that connected to this project. When I ask, I get vague responses that amount to no answer at all, and I am tossing and bobbing around with the flotsam and jetsam in a sea of ambiguity. What is happening? Am I in or out? And why this or that? Yes, to the neuronormative, rejection is embarrassing to convey, so they take forever and ever to inform the autistic person, and too often it is a case of never ever. What they fail to understand is that the state of suspension, not knowing, is a kind of purgatory, a cruel condemning punishment, to the autistic person waiting to find cadential resolution for any social transaction – and work with non-autistics is a social transaction, in fact, more time is spent on social interaction than on the actual work itself. Fine. I am not so ignorant as not to know that nobody likes rejection, but to my autistic mind, the few seconds of discomfort upon being rejected (for a job, in a relationship, in answer to a query etc, whatever the case may be) is by far better than the eternal or protracted torment of never being clearly informed. Clarity is resolution. To me, it is utterly heinous and rude not to provide this in any communication. Yet, to the normative world, the opposite is true.

There lies the distinct difficulty being autistic in a neuronormative dominated world – where our disability is invisible and has to do with a different paradigm of communication, sensing and responding to stimuli, rather than a visible physiological disability. Everyone now talks a great deal about access and inclusion, especially us disability advocates, yet, from my own experience in the field, working alongside other disabled people in the advocacy arena, there is very little in the way of access and inclusion accorded to me, to my being autistic. Mostly simply because I am so “high functioning” to them. Yes. I still feel the pressure to ‘perform’ social normativity – that is, to quote an old favourite phrase of mine, “performing the unnatural as naturally as possible” – in order to not cause friction, or be crucified. Many of us do such an exquisitely great job at this elaborate impersonation that we become burned out and overwhelmed, and then, when the meltdown point occurs, everyone reacts with shock and admonishment. It is as if the normative world is challenging us – in a jealous way perhaps? – and pushing us ever to the brink, and waiting to see us crash into the abyss, just so they can say, “There! I told you! Autistic people are incapable of social communication!”

I liken it (though it is a poor analogy) to making a wheelchair user crawl around while everyone else is merrily walking along, even advocating for disabled rights, never noticing that the wheelchair user actually needs a wheelchair, and then being aghast and surprised when the wheelchair user has had enough of scraping the floor and pleading for respectful accommodations, and thus suffers a mental and emotional breakdown as a result.

The “better” the “high functioning” autistic appears, the more the normative-minded world expects that ridiculously impossible feat of denying intrinsic autistic modalities while pandering to the magnificent exercise of taking on neuronormativity.

“OK, honey, we know you are autistic. Just keep it to yourself and don’t keep telling us about it, because we are unable and unwilling to grasp invisible concepts that rub against the fabric of our established ways of being. And heaven forbid, please, don’t have a meltdown in front of us, ok? You’re tough, you’re resilient, you have a PhD, you must stop acting like a spoilt brat demanding for this and that, least of all for actual honest conveyance of meaning (!!) and just get down to business as usual, like everyone else, like every normal human being. Nobody really needs to know truth, or clarity, or even details – it is just not a mature thing, nor is it a polite way to operate. OK?????”

This is why focusing solely on behaviour is rubbish at best and torture at worst. This is why hacking at outward mannerisms has driven and continues to push autistic people to ‘achieve’ the highest suicide rates among all sectors and sub-segments of humanity.

Mind you, I do have the good fortune of knowing people who have sincere and good intentions. I don’t directly blame them for not knowing how to interact with the autistic mind. But I want them all – yes, even the ‘good guys’ – to know that having to constantly, repeatedly, incessantly educate, elucidate, enunciate, illustrate and whatever else is terrifyingly exhausting. Gyrating stark naked and screaming the tiny little lungs out in front of the campfire of normativity is not exactly the autistic preferred way of being noticed or heard.

Is this an impasse, then? I honestly do not know. I speak for myself, of course, but I have said often that my autistic brain, my innate embodiment, just wants to withdraw from the normative world and go and live with dogs. Or animals. Or trees. Or anything that has nothing to do with human (mis)communication, expectation and demand to put forth an ostentatious, vigorous theatre show that they can applaud and praise you for.

Maybe I am “more autistic” than people realise?

How neuronormative are you? What flavour? A mild curry or taste bud exploding spicy?

Only Lucy knows the answer. And she is not telling me. Or perhaps the tables are turned, and I am the one not able to grasp her unworded wisdom?

IMG_2768-lucy

transformation

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Lucy does not tolerate other dogs in her face, pressing onto her, stepping on her or touching her. She politely backs away, and if the other dog advances, she will issue a soft growl as warning.

Yesterday, however, something unusual happened in the car on the way home. Lucy allowed Mini-B to step on her, push her face, wriggle over her and there was not a single growl or backing away. In fact, on the contrary, Lucy remained resolutely in position, wearing a determined Greyhound look on her decidedly sleepy face. Continue reading

empathy

Autistic people do not lack empathy any more or less than non-autistic people. Humans in general just lack empathy for anyone or anything that isn’t operating within their specific realm of ‘knowingness’. Most autistics, however, do tend to try much harder to empathise with the non-autistic than vice versa, hence, some may claim that we posses more empathy. Yet, from my personal experience, humanity is just a churning, swirling, heaving, frothing, chaotic mess.

Lucy, however, grasps my Beingness in such an elegant, encompassing, empathic way that I wonder how we humans can even claim to be ‘higher-order’ sentient entities?

She knows when I am tired, she even tells me when I am on the brink of crashing, and with such gentleness, such poise, that if I am not mindful, I fail to notice her indications. Lucy is never gruff, rough, loud or crass. She never encroaches upon my personal space in the way humans do that is suffocating and pushy – autistic or not. Even when she wants something, she is always polite, and because she expresses herself so harmoniously with my state of mind at the moment, she usually gets what she wants (unless it is harmful, of course).

Humans, humans, humans! Teaching empathy? Talking about understanding? We are at best clumsy though well intentioned, and at worst we just plough our way through and claim victory. Continue reading

every time we say goodbye

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I hate leaving her. Each and every time. This is her face, when I say goodbye. I always promise her I will be back, but the truth is, I can only do my best. My prayer for safety is only for Lucy, that I make it back to her, to fulfil my promise. No, it is not ridiculous at all to love a dog far far more than I love any human, including myself. This is a kind of empathic resonance that is pure pulchritude. I am honoured to have found it – or rather, to have grace visit upon me in this way. Autistic or not, this is pure unadulterated Joy.

Every time we say goodbye, I die a little. Always. Every single time.

renascence

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It arrived yesterday morning. The largest piece of furniture I now own. I have a piano!

The last time I had a piano was ten years ago. I didn’t miss it at first, I am not a good pianist anyway, but as the years unfolded, my longing for a piano grew, especially during periods of specific complexity, and something from within the churning and heaving kept reaching out for the kind of centred-ness that I always found in the physicality of playing the piano. There is something about the whole-body engagement, the demand for nuanced precision, the measured emotionality, the sensorial embrace of sonic comfort, and losing yet finding Self inside this colossal entity called ‘music’.

This piano is a gift from mum. Actually, it was mum who kept prodding and pushing and nagging at me to get a piano. Mum had been listening to many of her old CDs lately. Nothing ‘high art’ about her taste, some who pride themselves as aficionados would call it pedestrian, but I have been listening along with her as I work at my various written tasks in the living room. Occasionally, I would offer snippets of trivia, bits of historical information, about the pieces of music emanating from her little portable player by her side on her chaise lounge. It was mid-way through Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no.1 when mum suddenly declared in a loud, assertive voice:

When are you getting a piano so you can play for me?

I was surprised. Mum is claustrophobic, she hates clutter in the home, and ours is now a rather compact one. In fact, she has been grumbling endlessly about how much she misses our old family home, the rambling garden with the many tropical fruit trees, orchids and lots of grass for the dogs to play and run around on. Where would I put a piano in our current apartment? I reasoned with mum. But she was undeterred.

After a few weeks, I relented. I wanted a piano too. I’d been wanting one for a few years now, and the desire has been growing like a slow crescendo.

So, here it is. The tuner came immediately after, and did a basic tuning. It hasn’t been played for many years, the former owner told me, and now the strings are stiff and unwieldy. I’ll have to request for another tuning soon, there are some keys that sound wobbly. But I am loving it anyway, my perfect pitch doesn’t seem too perturbed by the awkwardly shaky tonality. It’ll probably begin to bother me later, when the novelty of finally having a piano in my home again wears off. I’ll leave it till then to address. One day at a time, Bunny.

And Lucy? What does she make of it? Well, she remained unmoved from her lounge bed, taking it all within her elegant stoic Greyhound stride, until today when I played and sang a song that she knows well, because it was one of the lullabies I sang to her every night when we lived in Sydney: Gershwin’s “They can’t take that away”. Lucy got up, came to the piano, sniffed the air, and then placed her head on my lap. OK, I’d like to think she recognised the song and liked my playing and singing, but it could’ve also been her signalling me to shut up because she disapproved of my terrible playing?

Dogliness prevails nevertheless. For now. Mum is happy too. Tomorrow, I shall begin reviving my favourite J.S.Bach preludes and fugues.

falling in love

Lucy Like-a-Charm - falling in love 2019 05 25

My senses always fall in love: they spin, swoon;

they lose themselves in one another’s arms.

Your senses live alone like bachelors,

like bi er, slanted rhymes whose marriage is a sham.

They greet the world the way accountants greet their books.

(D.J. Savarese – “Swoon”)

Sensory idiosyncrasy is common in Autism. Simply put, autistic people experience the world in different ways from the normative. Those of us with hyper senses (not exclusive to Autism, but prevalent) smell, taste, see, touch, hear and connect with the world in ways that can be excruciatingly painful, yet also exquisitely pleasurable at the same time. D.J. Savarese‘s poem, “Swoon“, describes autistic perception beautifully. For me, my senses always fall in love, over and over again, with Lucy Like-a-Charm. The evil brands on her ears, burnt cruelly into her skin, are permanent reminders of the suffering she has had to endure in her past as a slave to the disgusting Greyhound racing industry. Yet, she has emerged with so much grace, poise and such strength to trust in her own assessment of humanity. That Lucy has decided to place this trust in me – she adopted and saved me, much more than I her – is an honour that surpasses all others ever conferred upon me. She is not just a dog, or a cute pet to me, she is the embodiment of wordless cogent pulchritude, balm to my frayed senses, and my oasis of goodness. My Clement Space. To this magnificent yet humble being, I owe my very life.

 

deliciate

Deliciate: to delight oneself; to indulge (in feasting or other revels)

Old words fascinate me. And this one is a timely balm to a fractured, frayed and frazzled soul. (Yes, I also love alliteration. Part of my sensory ‘stimming’ – calming, even if just for the rhythmic enunciative physical qualities.)

This is one old word that I’m longing to luxuriate in.

Sometimes, the cosmos interferes vigorously, even sharply, for my own good, especially when I have been self-destructively obtuse, obstinate and obscurant – inwardly – denying what ought to be glaringly obvious, covering my ears to the roaring whispers of ratiocination. A knock on the head was needed to wake me from my self-induced somnambulism. This thunder-clap on my thick skull came from a remark made by an autistic man, expressing an utterly selfish viewpoint with foot-stomping petulance and digging in of the heels with so much defensiveness that it was almost bizarre. The age-old “What’s in it for me?” agenda reared its ugly head. I was shocked and disappointed at first, but I realise now that, inside a deeper consciousness, I already and always knew this side of him. I had merely been blinded by my very own enthusiastic hope that the person would change, daring to even think that I could make a difference in this person’s attitude and learning journey within such a short span of time as three years. Continue reading

what the spoon?

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Photo by Dawn-joy Leong. Please do not reuse without prior permission, thank you!

I’ve said many times I am a reluctant advocate. I wish there was no need for vigorous advocacy – because this would mean that society has progressed to a place where people (at least the majority) are not only aware of differences in embodiments, but actually actively embrace and practice the effort of empathic reciprocity across divides. Peace. That is. Empathic resonance inside a Clement Space of Peace.

Autism Advocacy is one of the fiercest, most contentious arenas in the disability field. I cannot think of any other disability that is so copiously mired in greed, personal ambition, powerful corporate agenda and human pride and prejudice. And I do not mean only the vested interests of the Neuronormative World. Autistic persons also take advantage of this platform to further their own ambitions. And why not? Since the arena is a free-for-all dominated thus far by non-autistics, why can’t Autistics now use their own platform to further their aspirations for whatever it is they yearn? Money? Fame? Employment? etc.

I’m the last person wanting to set a moral tone. My protest has always just been that of tiredness and utter disappointment in humanity – regardless of neurological identification.

The one thing I am learning from all of the churning, heaving and tumultuous goings-on is this: everyone – myself included – has an Agenda. But not many – neurotypical, neurodivergent or autistic – can truly understand when an agenda departs too far from their ‘norm’ – their sphere of thinking. Who’d believe that I have done all these rather radical things, exposed myself in such grandiose and sometimes even bizarre ways, pushed myself to the very edge of my perimeters, just for a naive and simple agenda?

Singapore.

People repeatedly ask me if I have gained higher professional standing, garnered more paid employment, and generally benefited in positive ways, as a result of my many public appearances on television, in the news, etc. My honest answer is no. All my professional achievements have been built upon the foundation that I had painstakingly laid years before I returned to Singapore. A decent portfolio of solid work. Relationships built upon straight forward decent hard work and trust, humility to learn from those who dared and bothered to teach me, and a lot of patience. Nothing to do with the superficial ‘stardom’ that people see. That – the media presence, the pomp and ceremony somewhat crass even – was all for the sake of Autism Advocacy, and if anything, I have suffered personal loss as a result.

Dealing with neurotypicals in the autism platform, I am met with suspicion and the usual jaundiced eye, not to mention patronising condescension and tokenism. My ‘unfiltered’ communication style has earned me a reputation – not necessarily a welcome style especially not at all in Asia. This is my so-called “social impairment”. Yes it is a serious impediment here. Don’t forget also the dodgy snake-oil peddlers and ‘cure’ brigade whose toes I have trodden on in my fight to inform and educate. On the other hand, while dealing with autistics, I have met with petulance, inflexibility and a puzzling determined absurdity, almost echoing of the stereotypes slathered upon us autistics by neurotypicals that I have been trying hard to debunk. Holding open heavy doors to learning opportunities, I am met with autistics grumbling about their $2 spoons, and various other permutations and combinations of such. Oh, and the competitive jealousy and envy too. From both sides of the Grand Neurological Divide. The catch phrase shared by all – neuronormative or autistic – when called out (and even when not called out, they actively and vehemently volunteer this snippet of wisdom):

“I’m only human.”

I despair. Too much – too often. What about my humanity? What about my spoons? I do not know what to feel or think, to be honest. All I do know is, more and more, I am driven back to hankering for my childhood dream. My Original Agenda, if you like.

When I was a child, at the teeny itty bitty age of six, I had already identified this sense of hapless hopelessness in my own reaction to the human species and human constructs. My dream at the time was to create a Utopia – just me and my animals, living in a cave deep inside nature, far from human intervention. Of course, that was ridiculously naive of me, and as soon as I became aware of the necessity (to me) of running water and flushing toilets, I abandoned that dream. (Yes, I even studied how to make my own toilet but it proved too daunting due to my hyper olfactory senses.) But the spirit of this yearning has stayed with me throughout my life, a longing for an impossible Clemency of Space.

Three years on since my return to my beloved homeland, I am truly happy that I did what I did, with the help of many key mentors and supporters within Singapore and overseas. And I am eternally grateful for the friends – loyal people and wise – whom I have undeservedly gained. But what I have been unwilling to admit – until now – is that the personal price was a heavy one. Apart from being variously mistaken for someone who is seeking attention and vain-glorying, or a militant ‘Autistic Threat’ out to take over the world, I realise that in my thankless quest for this nebulous “peace” agenda, I have neglected other things I hold much dearer to my heart. I have neglected good friends, and the one Being most precious to me – Lucy. And I have faltered in my own pleasurable and soul enhancing pursuits of art, music and research – my own Autistic Joy that nourishes me and builds me up from inside out. I guess my throwing all my Spoons on this advocacy mission, vision or whatever else one wishes to call it, has been my own downfall. This was my Grand Agenda for three years. An impractical one, I know. Impractical and impracticable it seems. But the dichotomy is this:  I am an artist, a musician and an academic at heart. So dreaming isn’t really something I can just will myself to stop doing. It is inexorable as the process – a life of its own. As for those damned Spoons, ah well, c’est ma vie. Win some and lose some – spoons will be spoons, humans will be humans, and I shall always prefer dogs.

Regardless. It is time for me to refocus on what really matters: ‘world peace’, ‘the greater good’, bridging the Neurological Divide, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, and all that stuff sounds amazing and lovely, even seriously valuable, but I must not forget that I owe a monumental cosmic debt to Lucy. And it is one that if I do not start trying to repay now, I will lose this Divine Opportunity for Grace forever. Lucy grows ever older as I run around lavishly spending our spoons helter-skelter – yes, you read correctly, these spoons belong to Lucy too and I am spending them on everything other than her. Humans are intrinsically selfish. Aren’t we? I am blessed to have such a patient teacher and mentor as Lucy Like-a-Charm. So, all the more, I must not betray her faith and trust in me. I owe to this unassuming, wordless creature my very life. Again, something very few humans are able to come close to grasping.

Onward Spoons then, Tally Ho! The Spoons are marching ever forward – but now with a Renewed Agenda, and rightfully so. Woof! Spoons for Love! Spoons for my Canine Angel. Yay to Spoons! Our spoons! To spend on Us!

clement Saturday

Too hot for walks, mumma!

Today, I woke up somewhat off-kilter. Lucy was unfortunately in sync with me and didn’t even want to go out walking in the early morning. The heat this month has been really depressing. Too much to-ing and fro-ing in the last few days, methinks. Sensory overload happens even when I am enjoying myself. I have a headache, sore throat, and there’s something not quite right along my nasal passages. I just want to be with my Lucy. The family have gone out for lunch and grocery shopping: the two little fluffies in their bright green buggy and mum in her super Wheelie (we call mum’s wheelchair the Wheelie), my sister, brother-in-law and their helper.

I’m now waiting for my FoodPanda lunch delivery – Hainanese Chicken Rice set from a restaurant nearby. Lucy and I could’ve walked there, of course, but this is Singapore and if you’ve never been here, you have no idea how assaultive the weather can be at this time of the day. Well, at any time of the day, actually.

While waiting, I played the “waiting game” with Lucy – I place a treat near her nose, and tell her to “wait”. She must not touch the treat until I say, “Okay!” She is a good girl, even when it’s her favourite cheesy biscuit! Now, Lucy has moved to the day bed and she is chewing on her Venison ear. I am listening to the rhythmic crunching, munching and gnawing sounds she is making. It’s all music to my ears, even the squeaky juicy sounds emanating from the air-conditioning sounds pleasant. All is good and clement. Just Lucy and me here. Clement Space for Two.

Oh, is that the FoodPanda guy now? I hear his motorbike downstairs in the carpark.

Hainanese Chicken Rice set with KaiLan and soy sauce egg.

This one is for you, Rick. In memory of our Saturday noshments! Have a dogly weekend down under and say hello to Paddo from us.