meds & bets

Growing up, I always had doctors come to the house – we called them ‘Uncle’ because they were dad’s close friends. Nowadays, each time I go to see my favourite GP, I miss those days when doctors did house visits. It’s a literal nightmare at the clinic, teeming with germy humans (well, ok, why else would they be there, right?), many have no idea how to keep their juices to themselves. There was one lady today coughing and hacking and making all the noises appropriate for whatever she was suffering from. Horrifying, even without a global pandemic hovering above, but in the context of COVID19, I shuddered. Thank goodness our government has made wearing masks mandatory, with strict penalties for non-compliance. One occasion where I am glad compliance was enforced without exceptions, even though I am not keen on compliance much, this is imperative. Throughout my adult life – as soon as the ‘Uncle’ doctors retired and no longer came to our house with their little black leather bag of mysterious potions and sharp needles – I have dreaded going to the GP’s clinic. I cringe and agonise about what horrible stuff I could catch there, even if I didn’t present with that particular kind of ‘sick’ at the beginning. It is almost without exception a chaotic mess of humans in various states of un-wellness with human droplets and other infection carrying fluids being happily and sometimes lavishly shared, like a twisted, eerie unholy communion.

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COVID19: family blessings

We celebrated Nula’s birthday recently. Just us five in the family. We had takeaway from our favourite Thai restaurant, Diandin Leluk. Eating at home is so much better anyway, comfy and relaxed, no sensory overwhelm. Nula is from a state in the far north of Myanmar. She’s been my mum’s helper and part of our family for five years now.

On the subject of ‘family’… It’s been a rough familial ride, but I am happy at last, with my ‘real’ family now, and so glad to be spending time getting to know mum in a new way, unobstructed by other people’s hand-me-down bitterness influencing my gullible socially-clueless Autistic mind and all the gaslighting that contributed to a rocky one for mum and me in the past. We’ve had our huge fights, we struggled in the beginning when I first returned home, while the evil elements tried their best to stir the already murky waters with added poison, but we’ve both emerged stronger and our vision is clear now. Mum and I have arrived at our special Clement Space – truthfulness and honesty is our way forward. Indeed, truth sets free. Only then can we learn love. Lockdown – being cooped up with mum 24 x 7 for months – has been surprisingly pleasant too. Well done, gals!

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COVID19: neighbourly blessing

I have lovely neighbours. They like to cook, and the smells wafting over are always pleasing, which is really a blessing (and a relief) for me. I’ve lived in apartments in Hong Kong where the cooking smells were pretty horrid, especially when the Chinese old aunties were frying up pork lard! My neighbour here is Indonesian Chinese, so there’s tangy, spicy stuff wafting over. She does the kueh kueh (cakes and pastries) really well. Since the lockdown, she’s been cooking up many storms, and sharing the goodies most generously with us. It is another privilege to have good neighbours, one among many other luxuries that I am most grateful for.

bento, sushi & little appoggiatura

One of my typical Autistic traits is that I can eat the same food that I like over and over and over again. They also go on a kind of rotation, according to category. In the last two months of my stay home adventure, the family have been having a lot of Japanese fare. We want to be safe, so we’ve not had much raw sushi lately. I also like to go to the same food places – I am risk averse in that way – so our favourite is the Ichiban Sushi / Boshi / Bento, and Kuriya food market, all part of the large RE&S group. I am a happy Autie Foodie Bunny. And always, always, I never take food for granted, so each photo capture is a gesture of gratitude.

There’s only one thing missing from all my recent amazing foodie-ness: my friend Rick. I wish I could share all this with him, and inundate him with my non-stop waffling too.

art of eating

Eating is a fine art. I don’t mean gastronomy or whatever kinds of skillsets needed to be a gourmet or food critique. I mean, the art of eating when your autoimmune condition is the type that brings forth deep, large and excruciating aphthous ulcers in every nook and cranny of your mouth and throat.

Of course, it depends on whether you are a foodie or not. Fortunately for my survival, I’ve been an avid foodie since childhood, which was when this condition decided to rear its ugly head and I’ve actually never had a real, natural remission since. Fifty years of pain is a wearily long time, and believe me, one never does “get used to it”. Have autistic hypersensitivity doesn’t help the pain at all, it amplifies its effects to other parts of the body in a palpable and engulfing way. But there is a flip side, as life usually is multidimensional in all its glory. My ‘seeking senses’ are also heightened, which makes me a determined, driven and almost indefatigable foodie. Almost. There have been times when I surrendered to the pain and just didn’t have the strength to foodie on. Continue reading

COVID19: sonata of comfort

musicscores

What shall I play today?

Conundrum. On the one hand, I am loving this stay-home directive so very much, there aren’t enough hours in the day for me, in fact. Working from home is peaceful, and I am much more productive.

But here’s the rub. The painful dichotomy. My anxiety levels are rising and bouncing off the walls and roof. Why? Simply this: so many of my friends around the world – autistic ones too – are just not coping well with this enforced isolation. No, I am not talking about those who are grumbling incessantly about their deprivation of haircuts, spas, manicures, pedicures, massages or ‘bubble tea’. I am talking about those people with mental health struggles who are in various states of panic, despair, incapacitating depression, feeling suicidal and self-harming. I feel my friends’ pain, but I am helpless to alleviate or ameliorate. I am at a loss for words, I don’t know what to say and am afraid to say anything for fear of sounding too glib or worse still, in case my own personal joy becomes offensive to them. Continue reading

COVID19: dine in

If there was one place I’d miss going to during this entire isolation period, it would be Ichiban Boshi & Sushi, especially the one at Novena Square where people are the most friendly of all their outlets. I like the security of familiar places, I love food but I am not superbly adventurous, if I find a restaurant I like, I am happy to just continue to return to it.

But now they have takeaway and delivery, yay! I’m so chuffed!

Here in Singapore, all dine-in at restaurants, cafes and food centres is banned for a month. We are in semi-lockdown. Everyone who can work from home have been ordered to stay at home. Singaporeans love our food, so quite a few people have disregarded this order, abandoned all good sense (not to mention towing the line where the new regulations are concerned) and made the news today. This is serious stuff, not “play-play”.

Stay home, Singapore, and order in!

gaseous emissions

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The yellow stuff in the photo above is durian. A tropical fruit that is either loved or hated for its pungent smell and strong after-taste. I love durian, though I am sensitive to olfactory stimuli, that is one kind of gas that I am strangely attracted to (but only if I am eating the fruit, and not after the leftovers are discarded in the trash heap.)

To be brutally honest, most of what constitutes interaction with humans is to me gaseous emissions – some pleasant, like that of the durian, but mostly fatuous and then some ominously foul.

(I apologise for the awkward sentence construction, though I guess being in a state of high Anxiety, near meltdown and whatnot else is not really an excuse for poor writing, or is it? I don’t really know. There’s too much gas around me.)

This morning, while engaging in some “reading-stimming” (where I read, read, read all kinds of articles online to try and relieve the intense pressure that is building in mind and body due to some trigger or other) I stumbled upon and re-read this blog post by Riah Person, “Gaslighting: what it is and what it does to you.”

It is a simple, straightforward, non-academic piece, expressing thoughts about a crucially important subject. 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

moonlight

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Mid-Autumn Festival is special to the Chinese. ‘Mooncakes’ 月餅 and lanterns are de rigeur at gatherings with family and close friends. We celebrated on Friday evening with a meal at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village. I usually detest crowds and food smells all jammed into one space, but this place is out in the open, the smells are somehow freshened and the noise is carried away by the sea breeze. Dogs are tolerated here too, if we sit at the outer edge and keep them leashed.

I am happy with this exemplification of ‘family’ – mum, my baby sister, her husband, her husband’s youngest sister and hubby, and we were joined by the latter’s daughter and boyfriend too, which was a bonus. They are foodies, so we always have great food, and I don’t have to even think about what to order because that is always well taken care of. Oh yes, and I get to eat delicious crab claws all shelled and presented neatly with minimum fingers-to-crab-shell contact too! My brother-in-law always shells it for us. No sensory assault, no mess, just great taste! Continue reading