appurtenances

I used to be Geek Gal. Now, I am just a middle-aged Autistic Bunny trundling into “Aunty-Hood”. But I still thrill to the touch, smell, look and whirring, clicking sounds of those little things called “tools”.

Here it is, my wonderful supportive friend, Minh, sent me this beauty, all the way from the USA. He refers to it as my new “tool”. And so it is indeed, how I love the various little things that help me do what I love to do. My autistic elemental connectivity creates channels with animate and inanimate that bind, blend and fuse in intricate ways with my Being. My “tools” become parts of me, inextricably bound, once there is an affinity established. This baby came nicely packed, with a bunch of accessories, including a Peak Design strap and a set of meticulously detailed instructions – such a help to me, because I am an ignoramus in this area. My friend has created a simple set up from which I can launch my own learning. I notice that he notices details and I cannot say how much I appreciate someone who understand my mind, and whose mind runs along similar trajectories.

And, because I love the process and unfolding of sequences through time and space, lining up toys and putting things into multidimensional categories, here is a tiny documentation of the unboxing of what my friend calls my new “tool”. It was much more richly faceted an experience than the dull photographs convey, but you’ll ‘get’ it if you do, and if you don’t, it’s ok, skip… skip… skip… over to the last bit.

I am now undergoing some online ‘training’ on how to use this “tool” better. I’ve procrastinated on this for too long, since my 2015 series of Lucy in Sonorous Repose, embedded in Sonata in Z, all shot using a Canon G11, which was also a gift from Minh. It was sadly chewed up by the late Misty Greyhound, and although I had it repaired, it never was quite the same again. I’ve started the uphill climb already, experimenting with Lucy and the other two furries, Mini-B and Tiny. Not too happy yet, it’s power-packed with myriad features that will require some concerted effort to learn, but it’s a challenge that I am relishing. I shall keep soldiering on!

Talking about tools, I did get myself a few other peripherals too, just not in quite the same league as this gem. Like this humble Zoom H1N, the cheapest simplest in the Zoom range. It does its job, and with that tiny weeny grant, it will do fine.

So, here we are, all set for a new presentation of Scheherazade’s Sea 2010 – version 2020, the tenth anniversary, fully digitalised, updated iteration!

voicing the silent roaring

I’ve been doing a sort of big-ish battle with my autoimmune condition in the past three days. The complete works in quite a bit of horrific glory – if you have any kind of vasculitis you’d know what I’m talking about, but if you don’t never mind. This post is not about my wonderful physical pain. Ironically, it’s about my ‘voice’ – in a multidimensional way – just as I am riddled with so many aphthous ulcers that I am running a fever and unable to eat or speak, let alone sing.

I posted up this song of mine today on my Facebook. About my journey to Beingness. Of all my songs recorded during that period (1999-2000), this one always brings me to tears, and the narrative grows and grows every single day. I want it only to end when I am no more on earth. Being Me is a lifelong process. And the reason I am in tears each time is because I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards all those – in an almost mystical and magical serendipitous way – who have contributed to my Becoming. Continue reading

limitations – yours or mine?

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook, and I’ve reposted it on a few of my pages. My friend, a Professor in an Australian university, has worked extensively with people with intellectual disability, and she is currently my personal mentor for an inclusive research project I am undertaking together with a talented artist with Down Syndrome. In fact, it was my friend who opened my mind and heart to the wonderful realm of inclusive research, that serendipitous day, in my first month in UNSW Sydney, when I walked into her workshop on the topic. I was literally in awe, and this experience contributed significantly to the course that I would take along my professional and personal journey henceforth.

The video my friend posted expresses my own thoughts and experiences very succinctly.

We, the disabled, are constantly under-estimated, stigmatised and marginalised by society, and that includes so many supposed ‘experts’ in the wide field of disability support. Narrowing it down to neurodivergence, I am finding it increasingly uncomfortable speaking vehemently about ‘inclusion’ and ‘equity’, even when I am among fellow disabled persons, because one segment of our ‘disabled community’ is consistently missing: people with intellectual disability. Where are their voices? Do they not also have the same rights as all other disabled people who are rising up and advocating for fair access and inclusion? Continue reading

COVID19: isolating beauty

I admit I am a stereotypical autist. You know, the kind that people make jokes about, the hermits who prefer their own company, the ones that people like Bryna Siegel (now probably made famous by my repeated quotation) said are stubbornly inside our own worlds and refuse to emerge when ordered to.

I actually mean it when I say, “What is it in your world that is so attractive to make me want to be in it?” Nothing that I can cite.

Perilous times we live in now. Staying home as much as possible is self-care and social responsibility, yes. But I have to admit it is something I absolutely enjoy, almost blissful, really. Though I am mindful that many others – neuronormative as well as autistic – do not like it at all. I have autistic and non-autistic friends who are feeling horribly unsettled, some dangerously so, and I almost feel guilty about loving isolation so much. I cannot get enough of it, there’s just not sufficient time in a day to do all the wonderful things that are tugging at me to attend to.

I want to sew, crochet, draw, paint, and make prototypes of the thoughts gyrating in my mind. I want to play the piano, to try and achieve my former proficiency. I want to write music and create soundscapes, take more photographs and videos. I want to learn how to handle a DSLR (ok I don’t even have one). I want to learn better video editing skills. I want to master Final Cut Pro and Photoshop. I want to start working seriously on Scheherazade’s Sea 2. And I want to spend time with Lucy. More, more, more, please! But there’s only that much in a day, and I do have pressing work to spend my hours on. I love the research work I am doing, don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly lucky to really adore my work. But I struggle with multitasking when detailed intensity of focus is equally required for each task – and I am juggling three at the moment.

Last night, I ‘stole’ some time and spent a bit of energy on ‘play’: just having some simple ¬†fun with a few low-resolution, inexpertly taken photos clogging up my iPhone memory. A bit of self-indulgent activity that didn’t take up many hours. Time now to get cracking on the work projects. I must find a better, more efficient way of juggling this.

If only I had more hours in a day for isolating beauty!

happy flappiness

Around an hour or so ago, I made a happy flappy discovery. I stumbled upon brilliance. My friend, Sumita, is incredibly talented. She’s not only one of the amazing autistic people behind Pablo, she is a talented singer and music composer. Seriously. I don’t toss out compliments willy nilly. I am gobsmacked.

And when one finds a gem like this, one’s spirits are lifted. For this Autistic Bunny, it was sheer joy. Autistic Joy!

Check this out: Goblin Brainsoup. I can’t stop flapping! Happy Flappiness!

spiky spots

I have just spent two full days in a hothouse setting trying to learn a skill that I feel quite hopelessly incapable of mastering because some key elements require a high level of social agility which my autistic embodiment just cannot muster, try as I might. Sitting in my chair and trying to look engaged with the subject matter while weaving in and out of lucidity was about all I could achieve. My brain felt broken while my body was hollering unhappy slogans. It’s the kind of scenario where people who don’t know me well would look at me, incredulous, and say, “But you have a PhD, how can you not understand such simple concepts?” Um… well… You see, it’s not the concepts that I don’t grasp, it’s the ‘knowing-feeling’ that I cannot execute or bring to life these fundamentals that cause my brain to short-circuit, and thus my Being rejects the entirety while in the process of imploding. Continue reading

first meeting

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Phad Thai, mango salad and Thai green milk tea.

Here it is again, that photo of my Thai set meal.

My first production meeting with a new friend who’s kindly consented to be my crafting/making assistant for an upcoming project. We had brunch at the Siamese Cat Thai cafe near my home.

This cafe has had quite a number of complaints about their unenthusiastic service, and I can understand why. We arrived at 10am, when the cafe is supposed to be open for service, but nobody bothered with us, until half an hour later. Never mind, we’re resourceful creatures, we found ourselves a suitable table, and we launched into our excited discussion straight away. Continue reading

Autism Explained Online Summit

 

I shall be chatting with Paul Micallef on 18 October about Autism-Friendly Learning Environment, how to encourage learning from within the autistic paradigm, rather than by correction and coercion to comply with neuronormative channels.

Here’s the preview video to my session:

Autism Explained Online Summit is a week-long online summit featuring autistic and non-autistic professionals in the field, providing insights and advice to parents on different themes. The line-up of speakers includes Temple Grandin, Peter Vermeulen, Yenn Purkis, Daniel Giles, Andrew Whitehouse, Shadia Hancock, Wenn Lawson, Tom Tutton, Chris Varney, Emma Goodall, Jac den Houting, Chris Bonnello and many more presenting eclectic viewpoints, all in the same space!

Don’t forget to register for free access!

making clemency

How does this Autistic Bunny deal with autistic burnout from too much to-ing and fro-ing in the Grand Autism Circus?

I cut, tear, rip, shake, turn, flip, shred and poke many many holes. Sounds violent? Actually the opposite. These are necessary actions in the process of making clemency.

Recycling and repurposing is an activity that has followed me since childhood – both my parents were creatives in their own fields, with fascinating hobbies. I owe a lot of my own artistic approaches to my parents.

This one took me a day. Its still amazing to me, even though I’ve been at it for five decades already, that an old pair of jeans, some old scraps of fabric, trimmings, buttons, yarn and silk flowers can give me so much comfort and joy. The best part of it all? I have Lucy by my side. I don’t want or need a circus. I have Clement Space and a Canine Angel.

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