clemency & space

 

This morning, I travelled across my little island home from the central region where I live, to the western coast, to the Yale-NUS College library to set up my miniature Clement Space in the City (revised, 2018) installation. It is an impressive campus, not for its size, as it is a small one, but for its compact superficial beauty. There is a sense of crafted tranquility in its manicured greenery, right in the middle of smart modern buildings. Meandering around clean, crisp corridors, trying to find my destination, I wonder about the lack of clear signposts. Is it a deliberate exercise in subtle exclusion, a quiet ‘hint’ to outsiders that we are not exactly warmly welcomed into this carefully constructed environment for the elite? I do not really know, but I did have the thought that Lucy would’ve loved a nice run around the green grass patches, though she’d probably create bald muddy holes in the wake of her greyhound strides. Then another thought following this one was, “Is this beauty something to merely behold, or can we actually use it, run around in it, hug the trees, roll in the manicured grass, laugh, flap, stim and lie on it?” Continue reading

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Hong Kong

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28 February @University of Hong Kong

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2 March @Education University

I shall be in Hong Kong next week and a half delivering two public lectures. Friends in Hong Kong, please do drop by!

Please click on this link for more details:

Upcoming Lectures – Hong Kong Feb/March 2018

crafting clement space

Lucy has been busy inspiring this autistic Bunny yet again. We are crafting “Clement Space in the City (2017)” – getting ready for the Neurodiverse-city exhibition at the Customs House, Sydney, opening 20 September 2017! All part of a huge and amazing project, the BIG Anxiety festival 2017.

(Sorry, all Lucy-fans out there, I will not be taking her to the festival – not unless someone is willing to sponsor a return Business Class ticket on Qantas and the preparation costs.)

support

This article is gold. It describes my own struggle succinctly without fanciful embellishment.

Here, in this video, Sonia gives an excellent summary of what I am facing right now. Thank you. This is why I keep reiterating the need for support and concrete help, though the neurotypical world tends not to understand the import of need, because they see only the autist’s ability to function pretty remarkably in the normative realm, and hence the juxtaposed disabilities are not discernible to the normative way of perceiving and analysing information.

In short, the world does need all kinds of minds!

accommodations

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Accommodating grace, graciously accommodating.

This post is in response to yet another powerful piece of thinking by Judy Endow. Read it here: Autism, Accommodation and Differential Expectations.

Ah, accommodations… Sometimes, people make accommodations for me, announced with a warm fuzzy glow, and then suddenly withdraw them because it’s no longer comfortable for them to continue, and leave me to fend for myself without offering me any other alternatives. In the meantime, I am making accommodations for them all the time, being grateful, showing gratitude as best as I can, taking into account their own neurodiversity quirks, and, yes, even in the way I do not rant and scream when said promised accommodations are abruptly withdrawn. It is very very tiring, making accommodations for anyone, but the Endeavour of Empathy is important. We must not stop endeavouring, though let’s not forget that the endeavour is to Self as much as to Other. We autists struggling to survive this terrain need to remember that empathy is for Self too, because so often the demands of normative social constructs say we must do otherwise, and so we do. Continue reading

autism cure

Yesterday, I made a few comments on the Today Show’s Facebook page in response to this terrible news report by 9 News. Well, actually, it was in response to a friend’s prompting, because I usually avoid such contemptible media hype these days. It is just too distressing for me to pay much attention to. I had seen the trailer for the programme earlier on, but remember shoving that slithery visual-aural ribbon of drivel out of my mental sphere.

“How a boy learned to overcome autism”

The title comment in their “Today” Facebook page read:

“19-year-old Jake was diagnosed with severe autism as a child but recovered to lead a normal life after years of experimental therapy.
‪#‎Today9‬

This is yet another example of a tragically all too prevalent phenomenon: utter ignorance and sickening condescension in poorly researched popular media programmes, especially when they are featuring people who are different from their perception of ‘normalcy.’ Continue reading

edification

What does it feel like to be in an inclusive as well as embracing milieu? Yesterday, Lucy and I spent six hours in the company of people who demonstrated what open hearts and minds mean. My instinctive reading of the group told me they were a mixed bag of neurotypical and neurodiverse from all walks of life. It was a grueling two day workshop for art educators, but to me, on the very simple basic level, we were just earnest humans sharing experiences and insights, inspiring one another to develop professional and personal skills, strategies and perceptions. Artistic practice is truly a cogent agency for empathic edification. Continue reading

doorknob

Help and support hanging on the door knob. No need for social interchange if unable to cope with it. This is a blessedness indeed.

I remember a few incidents when I was pursuing my M.Phil in music composition in Hong Kong. I was very unwell – an autoimmune response to what was most probably sensory and emotional overload and meltdown – high fever, excruciating mouth ulcers, crippling arthritis. A few friends came to the rescue. Continue reading

thinking of Amy

It rained again in the wee hours of the morning, and we were greeted with a steady drizzle when we stepped out for our pre-dawn stroll. Lucy was good, she did not fuss, trotting valiantly in her lovely K9 Voyager Greyhound-specific raincoat. It was well worth the expense. She loves the new beef liver treats, of course, so that helped a lot! It is end of semester examinations period here. Living on campus now, I am right in the midst of the flurry. Students hunched over laptops, notepads and books form visual blobs speckling the scenescapes – library tables, cafes, open spaces and study rooms. The smell of rancid perspiration, unwashed hair and clothes has completely engulfed the library, taking over the scent of aging books. Olfactory signs of life stirring begin earlier, and I am greeted by bacon sizzling in the early morning, bread toasting, jams being spread, even as Lucy and I make our rounds before 6am. I have had to complain twice about unbearable noise just outside my unit, emanating from the study rooms a few feet from my door. Gathered in groups with academic paraphernalia, then spending the night in raucous revelry, replete with potato crisps, soft drinks and assorted takeaways (yes I can smell it from inside my unit, the aromas waft in through the ventilation spaces in the door!), the students wage war on my fraught senses, just as I am trying to retire into the land of nod. How do they manage to ‘study’ at all? I have no idea, but that is a very alien social setting to the autistic mind. Continue reading

looking at looking

I really enjoyed this talk by V.S. Ramachandran yesterday. It really deserves to be accessed a few more times, to allow the mind to look and listen and create upon the concepts introduced. It really does wonders when a very brilliant mind presents a talk with a lot of humour too!

I have been doing some thinking about neuroaesthetics and neurocosmopolitanism lately. It seems that neuroscience really does need to take a good hard indepth and open minded revised look at the way it investigates and presents neurological differences. The whole ableist neurotypical-skewed foundations towards what constitutes impairments and how to frame these findings seem to be screaming out desperately for a more transdisciplinary artistic and humanist approach. Continue reading