Disabled-Led Artists Collective – call out


event call out banner

Dear folks in Singapore interested in disability practice and study,

I am representing the Disabled People’s Association to lead a new initiative to form a Disability-Led Arts Practice Collective consisting of artists with disability.

I would like to invite anyone here who identifies as disabled and is an arts practitioner or is interested in becoming professional or semi-professional some day. If you are disabled and you do some form of art – visual art, music, literature, dance, theatre etc – please register to attend our very first disabled people only meeting this Friday, 7pm at DPA in Jurong Point – please visit this link to DPA’s website where you can find address and instructions on how to get there.

Even if you are not sure whether you may be interested to turn professional or semi-professional as long as you are disabled and practise some form of art as a serious hobby, you are also welcome to register to find out what we are doing. It is a first in Singapore!

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday!

Dawn-joy Leong.

To join us at our first session, please sign up at this link: Registration



This is an uninspired dinner, tasty but distracted – a symbol of my mental churning of today’s topic. It was supposed to be a quickie packed lunch. I brought it along with me to the studio but forgot to eat it, so engrossed was I in the work at hand. I also took Lucy to see her beloved Godma, and she had a grand time running around with Godma’s new foster Greyhound. The Princess even cheekily helped herself to the foster girl’s bone. I also managed to sew a new set of pyjamas for my own god-fur-child, Evan, another delightful Greyhound. We are home now, Miss Lucy is in bed and both of us girls have had our tummies filled.

Underneath the busy activity, however, I have been extremely disturbed all day. I learned about this incident yesterday, from a post on the Disabled People’s Asscociation (Singapore) Facebook page. The article was about a well known and popular (among some) radio programme in which the DJ, Joe Augustin, called a blind woman and prominent disabilities advocate, Cassandra Chiu, an “a-hole” on air. Continue reading

noticing the important


How important is it to you that there are ramps and lifts in public places? Do you even notice them at all? Do you read the subtitles at the movies or are you irritated that these lines of text are obscuring part of the screen?

Empathy is a learned response. Sympathy is a decision. Contrary to a certain neuroscientist’s implication that autistic people lack empathy, the truth is that most humans lack empathy, autistic or neurotypical or whatever minded. Until they are placed in similar situations or shared spaces, it is difficult for the ordinary human person to ‘place themselves in another’s shoes’ so to speak. (Yes, the hypersensitive autistic in me cringes at that saying – there are some people’s shoes I would avoid putting my feet into! Eeps!) Some experiential spheres and realms are even more markedly alien to the common existence – like disability and illness.

It wasn’t until I suffered a severe attack of crippling arthritic inflammation in my major joints,  that I became conscious of the presence or lack of ramps, lifts etc. This autoimmune flare up was triggered by a particularly unpleasant encounter with a malevolent relative, which sent me spiraling into sensory meltdown. Traffic crossings are another shockingly unfriendly contraption. I can still vividly remember being unable to make it across on time, and standing on the road divide while heavy traffic whizzed past me on both sides. The sensory assault was terrifying.

I like this post by Alvan Yap on the Disabled People’s Association (Singapore) blog site, highlighting things that the common man-in-the-street usually doesn’t even notice. Let’s join Alvan in an exercise in empathy, shall we? (P.S. The photograph of us outside one of my favourite cafes in Paddington Sydney, is such a jolly one, it makes me smile every time I look at it!)

Snaps from Beijing, Sydney and a bit of Brittania, Part 1.

encountering empathy

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Early this morning, I read this blog post by Alvan Yap, on Vox Nostra | A Voice of Our Own, the official blog site of the Disabled People’s Association, Singapore. A very simple reminder to me that empathic response is the easiest when one has shared a similar experience, when one is linked to another by some invisible but tangible thread of commonality. The opposite extreme applies, then, when there is no common space, no overlap, no understanding from within the interstices.

This of course set me thinking again about agency and how important it is in its role of drawing people from diverse perspectives and backgrounds together. A cogent agency is food. Of course. Nothing brilliant about this, really. Most people eat, and most people love to eat, even those who do not live to eat but merely eat to live.

So, here is my little offering of common space to everyone who chances upon my humble little ramblings. More ‘thrilling’ photos of foodie struggles of a poor Aspie scholar-on-a-tight-budget. I told the truth when I said to the lady at the pet food shop, “I would rather eat bacon all week than to deprive my Princess of goodies!” Bacon it is then – but not before the last bit of beef rendang!