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

creeps & creepers

A cover version, quite lovely too. I was sent this song by a former boyfriend, some self-styled maverick quite talented musician person, and it turned out this was his one and only honest declaration ever – yes he really was a creep. No joke. Beware, you people with autistic children, we grow into adults and we’re still not very socially savvy! Creeps love creeping around us.

perfidy

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Frightening mephitic essence of blatant tyranny oozing from every pore. Maleficent, flagitious, mockery of the Sacred.

I am contacted by representative of arts company to re-create my Clement Space installation in one of their rooms, an immersive, interactive exhibition that will run for 12 months. Two overly long meetings. A deluge of talk, talk, talk. Bubbly enthusiasm. Then, one month of anxiety-laden delay. Broken trust. Agreements ignored. And finally, The Contract.

  1. The company demands to co-own (in perpetuity) my Clement Space – intellectual property that has existed for three years as an established signature concept and creative work belonging solely to me, the Artist.
  2. The company demands to literally take possession of the Artist – body, mind and soul – for a period of 12 months, during which the Artist is not allowed to engage in any other creative work, unless the Artist applies in writing for permission from the company.

The payment: $3,500. Read it again. $3,500. No, not even $3,500 per month, which is an insult enough for an artist with a PhD and international experience. It is $3,500 for the entire year. Yes. For $3,500 they want to commandeer a piece of valuable property that does not and will never rightfully belong to them; and they want to play colonial master to the Artist subaltern for an entire year.

An exclamation mark at the end of the sentence fails miserably to represent the shocking impudence and preposterously brazen, flagrant attempt to contriturate the artistic soul.

Hence, I did not put one in.

What manner of heinousness is this? What goes on inside the bowels of these persons’ consciousness? How could they even have conceived of such terms and demands, such high-handed, ludicrous and impudent expropriation? And what kind of arrogance propelled them to put these thoughts into words – an official, legally binding document, no less?

And no, I am not ‘overreacting’ – my lawyer has had a look at it. A serious travesty, no laughing matter.

Of course, I asked for the clauses to be removed. I asked most politely too. Their response was a casual WhatsApp message:

“Good morning, thank you for your feedback and thoughts on the contract- they’re definitely justified, will revert back to you once we’ve deliberated. You have a good day.”

That was Monday. It is now Saturday. Not a hint of an apology. No admission of solecism. And no redrawn, revised, respectful and mutually beneficial contract. Does it really take a whole week to “deliberate” on how to be respectful and fair in your dealings? As if decency and fairness even need to be deliberated on? And how long does it take to strike out two outrageous sections from a contract? Very telling. And most disconcertingly so.

Artists are among the most oppressed and undervalued professionals. The arts scene can be spiteful, exclusive, elitist and ableist, and most artists are underpaid and overworked.

Disabled persons are also among the most maltreated and disrespected people in an ableist, elitist societal culture.

Put the two together, and we have Disabled Artists who are trying to survive under immense odds – compounded. We are asked to work for free, in exchange for “exposure”. Our needs for accommodation and support are brushed off and often even derided. Our requests and protests are delegated to the “Too Hard” tray, while large corporations and organisations milk the “Disability Inclusion” machinery, churning out facetious, spurious terminology like “Diffable”, “Differently Abled” and “Inspirational” – all entrenched in ableist ideology.

Disabled artists in Singapore deserve the basic, fundamental human right to protection against contumelious exploitation and audacious bullying. Enough is enough.

THIS is why we need a Disabled-Led Artists Collective. This is why I have committed my precious time, limited physical energy and scarce resources to leading Singapore’s first, with the support of the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) Singapore. This is why, if you are a disabled artist, I’d like to invite you to sign up to join our collective.

To find out more, please email me: dr.dawnjoyleong@gmail.com / dawnjoy@dpa.org.sg

drain

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Drain. The physical object. That little channel ushering its contents into the nether regions of our consciousness. The act of it. That actual movement, going, flowing, evacuating, emptying. And being drained. Emptied, while still alive, until there is no more. At which point does it translate into actuality? How long can the human soul endure? Continue reading

brick walls & mire

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What is it that drives some humans to abuse those they perceive as weak, vulnerable and different? What is it that propels or instigates such heinous endeavour, and what dark creature feeds upon the morsels of ruinous activity? This has nothing to do with the fight for personal survival (which I can better understand). It seems to exist solely as a means of twisted entertainment.

Perhaps, this is the reason so many of us who are neurodivergent do not wish to reveal our diversities, and so many with more visible disabilities cower in the shadows of mainstream society without asserting their legal rights even in countries where they have those in place. A simple reason, yet so ominous: the fear of abuse at every level imaginable and unimaginable. Continue reading

patterns and the genesis of Self-Other

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I read this blog post today. About using our intrinsic ability for pattern recognition to learn relatedness and interconnectivity. Pattern Recognition, Gaslighting and the Patterns of Abuse by Autistic Academic.

Straight forward. Simple language. Powerful message. I wish I knew this fifty years ago. Applies to all relationships, not merely romantic or friendships, but most essentially familial, because it is in the family, among siblings and parents, that one first learns perceptions of Self, Other and interconnectedness (or brokenness).

Pattern recognition is an autistic strength. Take it. Own it. Use it. Be empowered by our ability. Not subjugated. Continue reading

(ab)use

Another rough night. Sensory overload, anxiety attack, fever, white noise, hyperventilating, hyper vigilant. Sunken into the abyss of dark heaviness: not dreams, not nightmares, just a huge mammoth weighing down my consciousness. I could feel the heart pounding in a feral frantic dance trying to escape its mortal corporeal cage. Even at that moment, my mind was whirring and making associations – the final dance in Pina Bausch’s choreography for Stravinsky’s Le Scare du Printemps (The Rite of Spring).  Continue reading

humanity

Possible trigger here.

I read this piece of news today. Mother kills disabled child. 18 years in prison. The comments on Facebook reflect widespread outrage. Many say she should’ve got a life sentence.

I have no opinion re. the sentence. I empathize only with the child. Heinous. But would he have had a better life with this woman, resenting his existence and overwhelmed by and wrapped inside her own self-centric focus? Social services will not take away a child from the mother until there is irrefutable proof of abuse. And even then, so many times, children are returned to their abusive environments. My immediate reaction on reading this piece of news? As a person with disabilities (autism as well as other physical challenges), as a person who has witnessed first hand the utter evil of insidious subtle abuse, the kind that nobody outside of the Holy Circle of Horror would see, the kind that even if the victim were to tell about, friends and the wider society would scoff at and make light of – what were my initial reactions to this, what are my triggered thoughts whenever I read such reports?

I saw a lifetime of slow torture for any child trapped inside the swirling nebulous vortex of unwantedness – mental, emotional, and physical violence. Many other disabled children suffer this instead of death, until they manage to break free, or never in most cases of more severe disability. Dependent forever on the very persons who are torturing them.

The above was my own immediate reaction, born out of my own personal life experiences. Not everyone will see the same scene inside their intimate mindscape.

Then, there are the brave parents who persevere no matter what. They are not the conquering warriors in storybooks, they do not wield swords or sashay around clad in white linen, they are ordinary folk doing extraordinary things. The challenges are great, mistakes are made, but they valiantly soldier on, often alone and isolated from the very society that is supposed to help and support them. Raising a child is not easy, not even a ‘normal’ child. I have immense admiration and respect for these humans. And for some strange reason, I feel a deep gratitude towards them. Even though they are not my parents. I am grateful that they exist at all. To these, I say a humble, “Thank you!” Thank you for sticking to your commitment. Childbearing is a decision (in most cases), but the child concerned has had no choice in the narrative. I am grateful to these brave parents who stand by their choice even when the result falls far from their dreams and expectations, even when life can be a constant deluge of pain and frustration. And yes, I do have empathy, much more than is visible to the senses of normality, for those – parents and children, and children grown up – how have fallen and broken from the sheer immensity of the burden that human life presents.

Postscript:

A friend rightly pointed out that parents are human too. Yes, we all are. So are children. There is no ready answer. Just terrible sadness. At the state of humanity.

witch’s brew

innocence

Today, I received a sad communication from someone who has been abused by people near and dear to her. My own world crumbled within me, because I felt her pain, yet I am incapable of resolving it for her. I felt guilty, in a way, that I escaped the terrors that she had to endure, and I have wonderful friends who stand by me firmly on my side through this bumpy ride, while she has nobody but me to confide in. I am overwhelmed by empathic grief. As cosmic coincidence would have it, I turned on the telly, and was met with a report on yet another form of abuse. My heart weeps inside a very dark space today… and I am all the more grateful for the comfort that my beautiful Angel offers me inside her innocence.

Not all witches ride broomsticks wearing pointy hats. In fact, that is a laughable myth. The truth is, the most cogent evil is very often swathed in silken bundles of precious piety and steeped in a rich brew of religiosity and/ or moralistic postulation. Continue reading