Be our own

I do not want to be merely an appendix to someone else’s destiny. Everyone has a capacity to love and feel, and I feel that nothing should stop us be our own people.

I learnt that from family. It is often the case where children, when they can afford it, reward parents with the trip of the lifetime, but most often in their terms. However, having being exposed in cross-cultural settings, I learnt there is more than just doing things out of what you think you like.

Respect is two-way traffic. You do actually want people to not just treat you well, but allow you the space to be what is you. In Asia, for parents, it means giving parents the opportunity to decide what are the terms they want to feel the love.

It is easy to say: I want to bring you to Taiwan, and then maybe the parents just go around Taiwan. If that’s the case, I believe my parents would have visited Taiwan multiple times. i intuitively felt, based on my understanding on the mere occasions my parents traveled since my parents and my sisters went for their last trip together, that it has to be a trip that my parents decide on their terms. All of the trips thus far are TCM-related trips where it involves a TCM meeting on paediatric medicine.

Just because I am the only sibling close to my parents (and for that, a circumstance I will like to explain in detail when I am even-minded to explain with factual and observational clarity) doesn’t mean I know more about my parents. However, I know for sure, my siblings just do not see my parents as full working professionals, the way that they want to present themselves to us and our children. For this, I prefer silence and I do not want to engage with my siblings. If they are unsupportive of my parents the way they want to ‘get’, then I believe they should not have a piece of my parents’ legacy – which, unfortunately, they will get. It all begins when I see my parents being slighted.

If society is not discriminatory of me and people like me, which I do consider as the biggest consideration in my life, I am willing to do anything and everything ahead of me.

Is TCM any inferior to other worthy professions? TCM is more difficult than many other professions out there, which are difficult. Do consider, though, TCM is the combination of life sciences, traditional Chinese philosophy, and our understanding of our land, air and time.

I believe the world, including the half-baked Singapore autistic and autism communities, need to open eyes to see new possibilities in TCM. The family is indeed the most critical of autistic success, the parents have to strike a balance between letting the autistic make individual great decisions and contribute fully to society, as well as giving him the time, resources and heart to empower the autistic individual. The parents must not set the agenda, for this is a surefire way of failure in the life of autistic people.

Autism in TCM

Autism is part of the ‘Five Delayed Syndrome’ due to the imbalance of the heart and kidney meridians, as the heart yang and the kidney yin do not meet. We often clear heart heat, and build on the spleen qi and kidney jing, so they rebalance and eliminate the phlegm within our bodies.

The kidney is the most powerful organ in the human body. Everyone leaks the kidney jing, and because of the disturbances by the deficient spleen, some people have uncontrollable behaviour. It takes a lot for people to caliberate the jing within them.

The odd thing that strikes me is, Singaporeans are often stuck between the comparatively more supportive Anglo-Saxon institutions towards autistic people, and the lack of understanding of our own inherent cultures. Therefore, we have not yet developed both a response of autism on our own (unlike Hong Kong) nor empower our own strategies in our social group.

I hope autistic Singaporeans, without the support of an affirming family or society, can learn to focus and orient towards the possibilities that we can do. I have learnt it the hard way in the past decade or so. We do not need a megaevent to be better. It is perfectly fine to lock ourselves up and ‘do nothing’, so long as we have a way to build our inner strengths along the way (particularly that relating to spleen, do healthy outdoor activities that are enjoyable and non-competitive like shooting balls, or even do qigong if we are so inclined).

The value of autism

Autism can be of societal value in specific times, places and people. Recognize the uniqueness autism can bring. It should not just be seen as a deficit, or something that is done without considering the innate uniqueness of every autistic, both person and circumstances. It should just be what it is.

Autism can be an enabler of achievement. There is a place and time for autistics. If one is not given the opportunity now, just try again, if this does not work try another time. There is always a reason why we do the things we do. So long as it is rational and we are doing the most we can, we enjoy the most out of what we do.