Change can and does happen. Hope is not always just a frilly fantasy. Sometimes, even after one has given up and walked away, change unfolds.

Many years ago, I walked away from a connection with an ‘autism mom’. She wasn’t the typical, aggressive mom-crusader that you see in online mom-forums. She was always private about her woes, but nevertheless, at the time, so full of her own grief and struggle that she was unwilling to hear whatever I had to say.

Our paths crossed again recently. Her autistic son is an adult now. The struggles have been fierce, tumultuous, and the future is still shaky and uncertain. Yet, I see an acceptance, and embracing of her child, and a fierce loyalty and determination to support him, that I never saw before. Continue reading



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes, Clement Space can exist inside inclemency.

I recently spent 3 days and 2 nights at a holiday chalet with immediate and extended family. A grand spectacle of non-stop sensory overload. Unceasing noise. Human chatter at booming, roaring, shrieking, penetrating volume. Clattering of mahjong tiles into the wee, wee, wee-est hours. Thick, choking smells from the barbecue, food being cooked all day, cigarettes (smokers were very considerate, they only smoked outside, but my olfactory receptors picked this up too), and burning mosquito coils.

Oh, yes, and food. An over abundance of food. So much that it became overwhelming, even for a Foodie Bunny. Continue reading


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Facebook feed is awash in rainbows. I am happy about this. I am heterosexual, but I embrace diversity. I celebrate Beingness, acceptance, care and due respect for a peaceful, loving, unprejudiced diversity.

Bigotry is too alive and far too robustly well in our lives. I want the haters to go away, but hatred is a very cogent stalker. And sometimes, extremely subtle and insidious. Continue reading


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


Keeping warm…

Trundling along in my little creaky wheelbarrow, rust flakes falling off and blowing away in the gentle breeze as my vessel bumps and bounces on the rocky road, I have been the fortunate recipient of such wonderful support that I often shake my head in disbelief. I do not deserve this love, respect and regard. I do not even see some of these amazing friends often at all, as they either live far away, or in different countries. They ask nothing of me, not even my company, and I stand in awe and wonderment at this almost surreal existence. Continue reading


Monday Luncheon

Monday Luncheon

Today is the first day in a week that I feel myself climbing out of the abyss of mental frustration and physical pain. Well, the pain is still there, though the screams have softened into mere staccato expletives while in the act of eating and drinking. I had a relatively clement luncheon of roast pork and tomato salsa with rice, and I finished the last two lemon cupcakes. That is an achievement indeed. I am also in the midst of writing up the proposal for my upcoming exhibition. This, to me, is really good news indeed, some work at last!

My thought for the morning was a poignant quote from this post in Emma’s Hope Book:

The things that are being said, all those recommended check lists and the questions asked by all those autism organizations and experts are encouraging us to teach our children that they are the problem.   We are raising a population of children who are internalizing the awful message given to them…  Our children, who will grow up to be Autistic adults, are getting this message from almost everyone they come into contact with from the moment they are given the diagnosis.  It is a message that is hurting our children and hurts all Autistic people.  Our children, whatever their neurology hear it,and those who have internalized it may go on to deliver it too.  It is up to us to change the message.

Ask a parent what they want most for their children and most will say, “Happiness.”  Yet so much of what we are told about autism and our Autistic children is ensuring the opposite outcome.

Continue reading


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lucy was a very good girl today. We spent the morning at the health clinic, first with the doctor, then at the pathology lab where the kind and gentle technician drew copious amounts of blood for a battery of tests. We were treated with so much kindness, not condescension, which was marvelous. The pathology technician was uncertain about service dogs, he is probably Muslim, and not many South Asians are used to having dogs around, especially not large ones like Lucy. He was hesitant, but not unkind. Once the matter was explained to him, he was very accommodating, but I left Lucy outside at the manager’s desk anyway, because the room was small and cramped, Lucy is a big girl, and also to be considerate towards the technician’s sensitivities. I told him and the lady with him, that I would be ok without Lucy for a short while, and that was true. It didn’t take long, and it is important to me to establish good relations with people who are congenial and sympathetic as well as professional in their attitudes. The process was smooth and everyone in the clinic remarked how lovely Lucy was – she lay quietly by the desk, in classic Greyhound Sphinx position, and waited for me until I emerged from the room, not a whine at all. I am so proud of her, and grateful to have her.

My experience this morning has made me think about my parallel existence and how it affects others around me. Having a ‘disability,’ whether neurological or psychological (yes there is a difference), physical ‘handicap’ or a debilitating illness, or even merely a divergent learning style etc, is expensive. Yes, that is the reality of our existence. We need help and support from the rest of society, because we are living in a system based on a contrastive system and perception of ‘ability,’ and ours is a disparate ‘normality.’ Continue reading

empathic simulations


Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast

Baked beans and sunny-side up egg for breakfast today. I am trying out an old drug that I once reacted badly to, more than thirty years ago, and I needed a more robust breakfast instead of just a small bowl of rice bubbles. The dosage this time around is one third of what I was given before, and I am now almost 10kg heavier too, so I hope I will be fine and this might just be a palliative answer to one of the many issues I am battling physically. Continue reading

building tough

While musing on my various foodie adventures in the last few days, my brain meandered towards thoughts raised in this video, a very concrete delivery from Jeanette Purkis about disability, resilience and achievement. Traditional plain Cantonese style congee with preserved tung choy (salted and preserved water convolvulus) and a dash of light soy sauce is the go-to food for Chinese peasants, and according to my late granny, the best panacea when one is feeling unwell. I must say it did perk me up quite a bit, and of course, the rice porridge soothes the mouth ulcers. I recycled the old, fading pear from the Thoughtful Foods box two weeks ago – microwaved and topped with coconut cream sauce – for a soft, mushy dessert. Again, miam! The downfall of the day was indulging in a Max Brenner’s choco brownie, though. Uhuh, delicious, but by golly, it hurt the ulcers so much, I struggled valiantly to finish every bit (waste not, especially not such an expensive indulgence!). I cannot say it was worth the pain, but I will definitely try it again on a better day. So, what did these delectables have to do with the video that I watched this morning? Quite a lot. To me, even my foodie enjoyments are acts of determination and resilience. Continue reading

Of Dogs and Spirituality

Of dogs and spirituality 2012 01 19 – a sad musing on a sleepless night.

Lucy loves churches. She would pull me towards the church doors each time we walk past. I let her sniff around when the doors are closed and nobody is inside. She can linger for a long time. Tonight, the church nearby was open. Someone was playing the piano, and there were people walking in and some going in and out and in again. Perhaps preparing for a service. Lucy walked up to the entrance, she strained at the leash, she wanted to go inside. We struggled for a good eight minutes, which seemed like an age to me.

She was insistent, and didn’t want to leave. The one thing that rang a deep chord in my memory about this situation was that nobody invited us inside. Nobody even smiled at us and stopped to chat. The religious folks were too busy going about their religious activities to bother with the odd figure of a lone woman tugging at her big black dog at the church entrance. Irony, isn’t it, because to go in and out of the church, they had to walk around my Lucy’s large body, which was planted like a rock right in front, in the middle of the thoroughfare.

What is it that draws Lucy to church? Why does she insist so vehemently on entering a confined and unknown space – built by humans for the supposed purpose of worshipping God, Creator of All Creatures, but where humans do not welcome all creatures apart from certain conforming humans? Is there something, or “someone,” residing inside that she sees and senses, which the humans frequenting the place do not seem to notice exists within? (If they did, would they not allow Lucy and her kind in, in fact, even welcome them, then? Doesn’t their Holy Bible say. “All creation worships Thee, Oh Lord?” – it does means ALL, doesn’t it????)

Is the spiritual a deep sonorous extension of the sensorial?

I have too many sad and horrific stories to tell about my skirmishes with organised religion. But that was about me. There is one markedly disgusting one about yet another dog who loved to sit in church, quietly, not a single sound, inside his pram, all zipped up and disturbing no one. After a few weeks of quietly enjoying church with mummy and daddy, this perfectly behaved pooch’s human parents were approached by the priest and told that other parishioners had complained about the presence of the dog, that nobody wanted to worship with a dog, so please do not bring the dog again. The disgusted couple left, never to return.

I am not an atheist. I believe in my ability for a spiritual existence. My problem is not with God. My problem is with the humans professing to know and love and worship God.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I care not for a man’s religion if his dog or cat is not the better for it.” Amen to that. But who is listening? Most are not. They are too busy being pious.

What’s even more sad is that this church is one I used to respect, because of their liberal stance on homosexuality and their wonderful service to the homeless. I guess their Christian love just doesn’t extend to ALL God’s creatures after all.

My guess is that humans, in our search for superiority over all creatures, have left the sensorial behind, and robbed ourselves of the spiritual in the process. Perhaps we ought to turn back, and look at and learn from the ones among us we now deem as weak, disable, unwhole, the specially different humans who sense better but yet seem to care less or know less about mainstream humanity’s complex social structures of power mongering and manipulation of self and others – and yes, look also upon the animals, to find our original souls again, our purity of spirits, and indeed, to find GOD.

[P.S. I know that there are many churches in Europe that allow worshippers to bring along their dogs. But not in Singapore, and not here in Sydney, Australia – and probably all of Australia, which, although is far more dog friendly than Singapore, is still many centuries behind Europe’s Italy or France where being dog friendly is concerned. Another personal observation of mine is that Catholic churches tend to be more tolerant of dogs than Protestant congregations. Perhaps the example of St. Francis of Assisi is a valuable one for all church goers to follow?]