YumCha with family & friends!

Humans like communal sharing of food, an almost ritualistic social exercise.

Family time at Ichiban!

For those who enjoy food, there is a space inside, an intimate and personal nook, set apart from the interactive merriment and camaraderie, tucked inside that little moment when you imbibe the morsels and make elemental visceral contact with the fabric, material and compounds. This is my favourite part of food: that bubble in time that transports the foodie beyond mere sustenance into soulful contemplation, even if subconscious, of life itself, that solitary interstice of rich sensory luxury. Continue reading



Tonight, I eat with a deep sense of gratitude. The pain levels are low, albeit still present (I cannot remember a drug-free-pain-free day in my life anyway, so this is good!), but I am able to enjoy the crunchy textural success of my latest batch of kale chips! More than this, I am thankful for having food to enjoy, a safe and comfy roof over my head, and an Angel in My Bed. Continue reading


Breakfast Roll

It was an anxiety laden night, wrestling with thought-gremlins about the upcoming slew of medical appointments this month and the mental, physical stress as well as the financial struggle. The sharp stabbing pain in shoulders and elbow joints didn’t help make sleep any better at all. Lucy’s presence is ever more important on days like these. She is the reason I am able to get out of bed at all.

I switched on the telly and was greeted with a Channel 7 breakfast programme featuring an Italian chef and Italian food, but Cuban mambo music playing in the background. Irritating to say the least. Reminds me of the terrible Ibuprofen advertisement playing A Tavern in the Town as accompanying signature music. Yes, it is a song about a lonely prostitute. Duh? Don’t people do their homework before shoving bits of music here and there? Obviously not. Yet, these people have jobs. Sigh.

Breakfast was uninspired but I had to eat something, just so I don’t faint – funny how one needs to make oneself better and stronger in order to see the doctor! Continue reading


After yesterday’s sensory agitation, Lucy crashed into bed and slept through the night, till our usual 5.30am. My recovery was less exuberant. I woke up in considerable pain – what is wrong with those shoulders and elbows? – but Lucy always ushers in the day with so much dignity and judicious consideration that I cannot stay in bed rotting inside my mental swirls. We cuddle, then she tells me it is time for our early morning walk by bouncing out of bed, standing parallel to the side, and waiting for me to place my hand on her shoulder for balance as I slowly creak out of bed. Yes, creak, a sonic production as much as it is visually pathetic. Nobody sees this but Lucy, no ma’am!

I have been feeling utterly inadequate again. I am told it is a common malady of all good Ph.D candidates. Cold comfort, really, because I am quite convinced that I am brilliant, but yet utterly stupid at the same time. And I fear I may be unequal to the task of such monumental intellectualism. Does one have to be intellectual all the time? I am often not at all. I think a lot, but it is a very sensory based activity. The better way to describe it is that my senses engage in a lot of thought. I am sure there is a better way to say this in classical Chinese language. I wish I had learned the language better. Someday, I shall apply myself to that task – I promised my father before he passed away, that I will. I inherited his carefully compiled Cantonese pronunciation handbook, and all his classics. In my sensory mind, there is a photograph of the books on the top shelf in my bedroom at my other home. Far away from here, but the visual image is very near, and I can smell the books. Continue reading

dear chicken

Dear chicken, I am sorry you had to die so I can eat. I am sorry that modern agricultural methods can be so wasteful and unkind, from your perspective, even more barbaric than the backyard killings that your great great forbears had to face. You did not die in vain, however, you are giving me and Lucy more than a couple of days of gustatory joy. The folks who sold your carcass to me did quite a decent job at the roasting. I paid $10.99 for you. Well, actually, they charged me $11, because I paid in cash. That’s their trick, you see. Every cent counts, doesn’t it?

Why am I speaking to you, anyway? I just felt thusly. Many people don’t think about our food, but I am one of those who do, and I eat with appreciation and some measure of guilt. Continue reading

overdrive on purpose

I have gone on sensory overdrive on purpose again, uhoh.

One of my big interests is the multimodality of our sensory experience, and hypersensitivity in Autism Spectrum Condition. I am hypersensitive, which is the extreme opposite of hyposensitive. Both are features common in Autism, although studies seem to show that more higher functioning autistics are hypersensitive rather than hyposensitive.

Hypersensitivity can lead to avoidance of certain sensations, but it can also trigger a reverse effect resulting in a need to over stimulate certain senses for a variety of conscious or subconscious reasons.

Food is one of my big sensory weaknesses. This is not an unusual feature. Many people, regardless of neurological make up, reach for food to satisfy their sensory (and very often, emotional) cravings. However, there is also a high instance of addiction and addictive behaviour among people with high functioning autism. I wonder if there is a relationship somewhere that links the two? That is, the tendency to overstimulate the senses as a result of runaway hypersensitivity and the propensity for addictions.

I notice there is also a specific time of day when I am more driven towards gustatory overstimulation. That time begins in the early evening and sometimes stretches all the way towards midnight. This happens regardless of whether I am alone, with family, or in social company, which runs contrary to the theory that people addicted to food tend to overeat when alone, due to emotional loneliness / emptiness. I can eat right through a social event, disregarding all conventions and niceties. I am also not at all emotionally lonely. It has been more than a month on my own, alone in a completely foreign city, away from everyone I know. I have absolutely not a single social friend here, not one with whom I can even sit down and have a casual coffee and chat with. And that is fine with me. There is no poor me, I am all alone, feeling, I feel, instead, great satisfaction, peace and calm, and this environment has increased my creative drive.

I wonder about the overdrive though. I wonder what lies beneath this particular need for gustatory sensory stimulation. It does disturb me. A huge reason for me to figure out a way to divert this is that I no longer have the eat-all-you-want-and-still-be-skinny metabolism which I have enjoyed all my life, now that I am in my forties. Middle age catches up even with Aspie chicks. And this Aspie chick is very aware of physical appearance.

Oh dear.