Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is it really hard to connect with fellow Asian Aspies?

I feel frustrated not being able to talk to fellow Asians about autism. I feel inept. But allow me to write how I feel.

I already tried many times harder than the typical people. Do I really have to put in many times more the effort to better 'support' fellow Asian Aspies, as an Asian Aspie myself?

From my experiences with the handful of Asians I know, one told me that Asian Aspies are generally well supported, through equal opportunities and effective legislation. Hence, they may not need an Aspie forum for 'help'. This may be true in Philippines (great for them, even as they recover from Yolanda and all that), Hong Kong and Japan, but from what I know, this is not true throughout Asia.

True, in my experience, Aspies in Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand and even China are not as discriminated as much as they experienced in other countries, possibly because they have strong family (and religious) bonds with one another, and they have the culture of love from what I and my Aspie friends went through in these countries. 

However, they may not be able to share their experiences, because of rules in forums as below,

"For the benefit of everyone being able to understand and for the purpose of moderating, languages other than English are not allowed."

Much as I am not too supportive of this rule, I understand that the founders of most autism forum sites are British or Americans, and English is the most widely used language globally. So this rule must stand for the foreseeable future.

Also, some conflict of interest disclaimer: I joined a few Chinese Aspie forums in the past. The Aspie posters are as mature as the people on Western forums, so I have no issues with them. Just feel that the language rule means for the foreseeable future, we may not really 'expand' there.

Also, I am not too sure with South Asian Aspies. True, probably there are a few tens (maybe hundreds) of thousand South Asian Aspies there who can use English proficiently, and they do have an Aspie forum (especially in India). I may even join the site to 'fish' for a few Aspies. I will try, even though I am of East Asian descent. But I wonder whether we will be ready for more Aspies from South Asia especially. Anyway, this is not my biggest concern.

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The biggest issue I deal with is not South Asian Aspies. I am more than happy with them.

I am also confident in most Southeast Asian Aspies, they can find their way here.

Only with my native country.

Come on. Singapore.

And Malaysia, too.

I hear nothing but complaints from these two countries. 

Authoritarian. No welfare. Racial and religious discrimination.

It makes even Alabama look more supportive of people with autism, even Asian Aspies. At least America guarantees civil rights for all.

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I would like to move to Alabama because I wish I can talk to more people about Autism. Given that I love college football, I feel I can immediately settle there with fewer issues than if I do settle in many other places.

There are more people living in Singapore speaking and writing English than Alabama, adjusting for those who only know Chinese and other non-English languages/dialects. Yet, there are far more users in Alabama than in Singapore. Not that I did not do my best to promote the forum sites I stated above. I feel I am working so hard and yet, very few NTs come. I try to work around obstacles. Don't I go to roadshows to autism organizations, autism schools, universities etc. and promote the strengths of autism to my fellow countrymen?

Sigh, that's why I feel I have to work a lot more harder to even reach out to my country's people, than the Aspies as a whole around the world. It saps my confidence.


  1. Very well written post, Tim. You show a depth of reasoning and clarity of expression that will be helpful to others. I grew up in Singapore, I love my homeland, but I agree with you that whining and complaining are some of the less pleasant features of our society, whether Aspie or not. The lack of state support for people with disabilities, even the obvious physical disabilities, is appalling for a country that identifies as "first-world." We will have to keep advocating for change in that area. In the meantime, you and many other young educated but struggling Aspies are doing your best. The very intrinsic nature of human society is to shun and ostracise those who are different. I find this to be true in every dimension of humanity - even within Aspie groups, there is an invisible trend where those who hold different views from the rest of the group are marginalised. We have to accept that this kind of human practice can never be totally eradicated. Working around it and forward from it is our only way. We advocate to those who will hear. "To those who have eyes, let them see; and those who have ears, let them hear." A rough quote from a famous biblical passage attributed to one who bears many Aspie traits. I have made it my life's work and passion to advocate for autism. Not all want to hear or see. In fact most don't. Not even those with autism themselves. That is the irony. But the main thing is to keep on keeping on. If you can touch one life in a positive way, that is a wonderful outcome in itself. If you can touch two lives, the fulfillment is not multiplied but rather compounded. Small steps. Small drops in a wide and deep ocean. But they do make a difference to the persons whose lives you may have changed for posterity. Keep going! Don't let the statistics weigh you down or "sap your confidence." For me, my goal is not world domination, my goal is to bring my message - through my life, my research, my artistic practice - to wherever and whoever wish to be touched and transformed. As for the rest, I'll leave them to their own devices. We are Aspies after all, our talent lies in intense detail focus. Use your intrinsic talents.

    And congratulations on your blog! Way to go, Aspie!

    From your fellow Aspie, Dawn-joy.

  2. Hi Dawn-Joy :)

    We are more same than different, no matter where we live. Hopefully my blog can help build a better, more supportive world for us all, with or without autism.