Author Archives: Orange

About Orange

I am what I write. I don't care what it is.

What the autistic person needs

We do not merely want a diagnosis. We want a whole sense of who we really are. It should not be just by our disability or what we cannot do. It should be about us, not just the gifts we can contribute to other people, but also how we relate with our family, our community, and our world.

In the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, although we categorise autism as ‘five delays’ and see it as the lack of ‘pi’ (digestive and absorption system) function, there are so many approaches to achieve effective, holistic goal of better health. We often have acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and especially qigong and meditation. There is no single magic bullet for autism. Rather, like life in a western society as a whole, Traditional Chinese Medicine talks about wholeness and holistic approaches to things. Autism is certainly not something you will get rid of when you do detoxification on yourself.

I dislike meditation personally. I find that I have too many things that float around, and there is little support I get in my mainly western influenced society that keeps me from what my parents do. My parents certainly grew up in a different era where their societies are much more inclined towards China and Asian-centric thought and practice. It does not help that as a recent convert to Christianity, I face many forces against meditation, though mindfulness is well encouraged.

It certainly works if I fix my eyes on scripture and am attentive to the Lord. I am taught to attach myself to the Lord and not detach from the world. It works better because I had this experience before I faced Christianity, I tried to meditate and remove ideas and things, all I see is fiery balls of flame and random thoughts that seem to make no sense. I felt even more lost and angry than ever as I never gained mindfulness.

Therefore I think the autistic person needs not just treatment. We need a much holistic approach than recognising and working on our deficits, or even scant recognition of what we can do. We are who we are. We want – maybe more of a need – guidance, perhaps much more than others, and a proper direction, to lead us to where we need to go. To get to our destination, we have to be first human. We have to meet our human needs of being fed, being clothed and being safe etc. and, to move even further, be valued and feel worthy. Also, it will be good to align the ‘stars’: we should make sure, whenever possible, our self, family, society and world are all supportive of our efforts. If anything does not work, we should see what is the needle that we can move first, and it should best be the self (no matter what our society is, collectivist or individualistic, we can somehow work it out) that changes. Find our selves, and get along with it.



医师的天职是救死扶伤,以慈悲为怀,这是放之四海而皆准的。近几年, 慈善中医机构不断地扩展,计划要把慈悲遍布全岛。这个“壮举”看似照福人群,可是却导致中医院校无人问津,同时降低了中医在社会中的地位,也无形中降低了中医的医疗水平。










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.