nefelibata

Cloud walker.

Dreamer.

Othered.

Living on the peripherals, meandering in and out… falling up and rising down…

Damned human-centric consciousness… burnt out, imploding, imploring.

The price to pay is small, this detachment, I am not lonely, not even alone – because the universe holds such infinity in its richly textured, fragrant and abundantly threaded tapestry. Always connected, always embraced.

But this human shell… this navel-gazing, glazed, muffled, bleary-eyed sightedness.

What tyranny.

What irony.

Such exquisite pain. Excruciating beauty. Always just out of reach.

Incarcerated by my humanity.

Lowest of life forms – barbaric viciousness, swirling toxicity.

Our blood runs thick with evil.

Yet, she waits for me.

Patiently.

Unspoken wisdom of ancient sentience.

What manner of creature is this?

Such grandeur enwrapped gently in humility.

Angel in my bed.

Cloud walkers. Together.

fan boy

Lucy has a Fan Boy. His name is Maxi. He is a ten year old Shitzu, completely blind but full of vim and vigour, and he loves stalking of her. He follows Lucy wherever she goes, and he has a cute ‘bump-bump’ game where he’ll bump into her on purpose (he can smell her) and she’ll let out a squeal or yelp to tell him to back off, then he’ll meander away for awhile, before making his way back to lie down quietly beside her. Maxi belongs to my sister’s best friend, and he comes over for playdates and staycations quite often. He brings a lot of jolliness to sleepy lazy old Lucy. They’re not exactly a ‘loving’ pair, but they’re full of surprises, and such a joy to just observe. If only I could fathom the mind of a dog, it’d answer so many questions about my own humanity that no human can answer satisfactorily. No human is able to bring such unadulterated joy to my heart. How can humans still insist they must be the superior specie?

verdure

We’ve all been reading about nature ‘blossoming’ all over the world since us humans have been in various states of lockdown. Here in Singapore, there’s not much that is really natural in or about our seemingly gleaming glossy shiny city. Or is there?

The otters have been about, but some humans were not pleased, fussing about some pet koi that the otters helped themselves too. Other more disgusting humans want to cull the poor critters, just because. Humans are that way. This is why, more and more, I am beginning to want out of this grand fiasco called the human social system. Anyway, that’s for another day’s rant.

All the beautiful greenery around where I live has been cut down, merciless incursions on what was once a peaceful, genteel and unassuming locale. Nothing ostentatious about this place, a good mix of old money, new money and no money. Until massive developments rocked the equilibrium.

My heart ached when the big tree sheltering the cockatoo colony was hacked down. Where did the birds go? Lucy and I used to love visiting them at 5.30am in the morning and standing for awhile underneath the tree to listen to their vocalising. Now, there’s nothing but ugly concrete and the sound of vehicles trundling or whizzing past.

Now, we just look for small patches of straggly green stuff – grass, weeds etc – so Lucy can do her petite toilette. That’s about it. Oh, and the tiny little park – if one can call that a park at all – up the hill.

Since lockdown, nobody has been cutting the grass, so they’re now overgrown, nice and bushy-like, and the wild flowers have sprung up all over. The downside? Picking up Lucy’s poop – I have to dig deep to find it and bag it. Profound, innit?

human

Who was it who said that Autistic people have poor global comprehension and can only perform detail-focused processing? (OK, I know who, but I am trying to be wryly humorous, here, so humour me being humouring ok?)

I’ve been noticing far too many of those teeny-weeny-wriggly-squiggly details lately, what with COVID19 kicking the entire world into massive turmoil and showing humanity and our systems up in its truest, clearest, worst possible light, compounded with yet more and more revelations (as if I didn’t already know) of massive calculated cruelty towards innocent animals – the internet is an amazing thing, really, it throws up so many details for detail-focused folks to devour, analyse, recognise all the threads and patterns, feel the vibrating rhythms of the cosmic swirl that is wailing in concentric circles round and round, through and above and under the Grand Human Circus – such an indescribable massive, overwhelming deluge – that I am spent. Exhausted. Burnt out. Shrivelled up. Ashamed and disgusted at my being a member of the evil human specie. Crushed because I know I am powerless to end all this suffering. And I don’t mean human suffering – I mean the suffering of the truly innocent among us. The non-human world that we have colonised.

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rhapsody

Lucy Like-a-Charm, my muse and closest beloved. In the midst of chaos, whenever my soul needs grace, she is my Clement Space. Lucy is not a pet. I’ve had many pets before and I loved them all. But not Lucy, she is no mere pet. She is a higher Being.

But some angels grow old, and their time on earth is limited. I’m trying to capture as much as I can of her beauty, every little nuance and gesture, the look in her eyes,  and with each click of the shutter, she makes my heart fill with gratitude and wonder. None of these images do her justice, but they are all I can muster, with my limited photography skills and one little Fujifilm camera that was given to me by a good friend.

Lucy has been reverting to some old habits and routines that we had during our days in Sydney, but which somehow fizzled away in the struggle to survive the last few years. She has begun once more to remind me that it is time to go to bed at around 7.30pm, I would brush her teeth, put paw balm on her paw pads, give her a massage and sing to her. Then I’d get back on my laptop and just mess around until 10pm, when she would stir from her sleep, give me an annoyed look and push away my laptop with an elegant, long-legged outstretched paw. That was her signal that it is time to turn off the light, shut down the laptop and settle into bed for the night.

I’ve been taking photographs of Lucy in bed, just before I turn in. There is a different aura that emanates from her during this time, and I want to remember this always. Some of the photos here were taken with my iPhone 8, not a very sharp camera, but it was handy at the moment.

And then there are the ‘melty’ ones of Lucy and her two ‘cousins’ Tiny and Mini-B. It’s been hot and humid here – well, actually it always is but some days are more horridly so than others.

 

Any which angle I look at her from, she is to me the purest essence of wonderment, my Rhapsody in Pulchritude. I only wish I had the skill to take better captures of her.

 

taking five

Here’s another nostalgic musical moment. My friend Rick posted this up in his Facebook today, and I was remind of a silly little adventure I had in 1988 or 1989, so long ago I cannot quite remember when. Back then, I was an undergraduate student in the music department at the University of Hong Kong. Well, it was a sensory memory more than anything, really. I attempted to play this piece with a friend who played the clarinet. I cannot describe the mess we made of this piece, but it was incredibly fun and hilarious. We ended up in stitches and as far as I can remember, we headed off to the tuck shop for tea and never tried it again.

Music is hard work. But it is also amazing. I wish I worked harder at it in my younger days, maybe I would’ve been better if I’d pushed myself that little bit more? I’ll never know. But I am thankful I fought for and followed that dream.

Now, I am longing to reach a stage in life where I can stop scrambling for chicken droppings and just relax and play music, make art, write papers, work on my epic autobiography, doodle, paint, sew, crochet jumpers for dogs in shelters… Hey, wait, actually, that’s just doing almost the same things that I am now doing, but without the crushing anxiety of having to scrape the pennies off the floor, or spin dribble trying to tell people how wonderful I am and please could they give me some money to do my art, pretty please? I often envy dad – the autistic polymath who sold his clinic, retired at fifty, and indulged in all his amazing intense pursuits of Autistic Joy thereafter. Still, I should be thankful for little things. I have Lucy Like-a-Charm, oh wait, she is a big thing, not little at all. And I have music. And art. And friends. And a small part of family. I don’t have good health but I still have life. Which is a damned sight better than many others I know. Such Clemency.

Lucy Like-a-Charm: joie de vivre

Ah, such joie de vivre!

COVID19: isolating beauty

I admit I am a stereotypical autist. You know, the kind that people make jokes about, the hermits who prefer their own company, the ones that people like Bryna Siegel (now probably made famous by my repeated quotation) said are stubbornly inside our own worlds and refuse to emerge when ordered to.

I actually mean it when I say, “What is it in your world that is so attractive to make me want to be in it?” Nothing that I can cite.

Perilous times we live in now. Staying home as much as possible is self-care and social responsibility, yes. But I have to admit it is something I absolutely enjoy, almost blissful, really. Though I am mindful that many others – neuronormative as well as autistic – do not like it at all. I have autistic and non-autistic friends who are feeling horribly unsettled, some dangerously so, and I almost feel guilty about loving isolation so much. I cannot get enough of it, there’s just not sufficient time in a day to do all the wonderful things that are tugging at me to attend to.

I want to sew, crochet, draw, paint, and make prototypes of the thoughts gyrating in my mind. I want to play the piano, to try and achieve my former proficiency. I want to write music and create soundscapes, take more photographs and videos. I want to learn how to handle a DSLR (ok I don’t even have one). I want to learn better video editing skills. I want to master Final Cut Pro and Photoshop. I want to start working seriously on Scheherazade’s Sea 2. And I want to spend time with Lucy. More, more, more, please! But there’s only that much in a day, and I do have pressing work to spend my hours on. I love the research work I am doing, don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly lucky to really adore my work. But I struggle with multitasking when detailed intensity of focus is equally required for each task – and I am juggling three at the moment.

Last night, I ‘stole’ some time and spent a bit of energy on ‘play’: just having some simple  fun with a few low-resolution, inexpertly taken photos clogging up my iPhone memory. A bit of self-indulgent activity that didn’t take up many hours. Time now to get cracking on the work projects. I must find a better, more efficient way of juggling this.

If only I had more hours in a day for isolating beauty!

CORVID19: arabesque

I’m not always ranting. Staying home in relative isolation is not at all bad. I am loving it, in fact.

What did I do today?

IMG_7823-lucy

Sizzling Walky

Took Lucy out for a walk in the morning. It was hot and humid as usual, so we didn’t venture far.

Managed to read two articles for one of my research projects. Made notes and the stuff is in my brain now, bobbing along and creating gentle waves. Tomorrow I shall doodle a few visual notes. I love my work!

IMG_8027-lucy

Lucy & her PEMF mat

Lucy and I shared the PEMF mat. We have been diligently using it. Early days yet, but I think Lucy is actually feeling less tense in her muscles.

Probably ate too much food.

Tidied up some fabric and odds and ends in my warehouse of a bedroom.

Debussy-Arabesque-score

An old favourite

Printed out a free music score of Debussy’s Arabesque, and actually sat at the piano to play it. Been wanting to do this for some time but too much swelling in shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. On anti-inflammatories now, so the swelling has subsided somewhat. Pleased to find out I can still remember how to play, used to be one of my favourites, but it’s been more than thirty years now. The muscles and ligaments are weak. The timing was hard to achieve. I still have memories of me practising this on the Steinway at HKU’s music department in the 1980s. A bit of pain returned, so I stopped. Switched to easier stuff, some old jazz standards, maybe?

Mini-B came over from next door to say hello. I was playing Desafinado – she wanted to join in the fun, but it’s hard to play Desafinado with a fat ball of fluff in one arm!

Tidied up some files and did a bit of photo editing.

Showed mum a few videos of the amazing singing coming from Italy.

Read some more articles on COVID19 – information sponge here. But so heartbreaking at the same time.

Just another simple day in the life of an immunocompromised Autistic Bunny staying home during a worldwide COVID19 pandemic. A very thankful one.

Now listening to Lucy’s breathing in bed, and about to join her in dreamland soon.

IMG_8044-lucy-zz

goodnight, Every Bunny

Good night, world. Please stay brave and safe as you possibly can!

mephitic bodies

I’ve ranted and waffled a lot lately about humanity’s paranoia over the current COVID19 pandemic. But here, I am focusing my musings on the phenomenon of bad smells in humans and the resultant social problems that arise for someone like me, with acute olfactory senses. (Well, those miasmic plumes are actually indications of bacteria congregating on or in your body, clothes, whatever they’re attracted to, and having a fabulous wild party. So, yes, they’re ‘germs’ too, though not usually malignant disease spreading types.)

“… human bodies putrefying… and I think my own is beginning to smell…!!!”

That’s the first of three videos I made for the Big Anxiety Festival 2017 in Sydney.

I know, people chuckled. Well, even if they didn’t, nobody has reported being driven to tears by these videos. Not that I know of anyway. To tell the truth… this is just one of the more ‘allowable’ ways that an Autistic person like me with hyper senses can tell the truth about our existence. Thank goodness for art. I cannot extol the amazing wonders of art enough, to be honest.

But here’s the rub. Making these videos meant I had to put myself through a series of confronting, and at some parts even terrifying, experiences. I have no regrets at all, though. This is my art. My way of communicating with the rest of the world, and with myself. In any case, I had full control over my decisions – I could not dictate the environment, of course, but I could make decisions about how much to take in, when I needed to stop and withdraw, and at which point I wanted to jump back up a bus and continue. It was physically tiring, yes, and I lost my bearings a few times, but there was no overwhelming mental-physical anguish. Continue reading