Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing journey, 2021

Welcome to Scheherazade’s Sea: continuing journey, 2021.

This digital presentation was premiered online to invited guests last night, 30th November 2021, at 7pm SGT. It is now uploaded onto YouTube.

The following was my opening speech at the private preview:

Good evening, or good morning, depending on where you are in the world right now. Thank you all for making the time to attend this private preview.

I have changed the title of the show at the last minute, using the word, “journey”, instead of “odyssey” to make it more easily accessible and inclusive to everyone from the outset. I’d like to thank the entire team for braving the challenges of finding cohesion despite our disparate embodiments and following through despite the uncertainty that Covid19 brought upon us all – bearing in mind that our cast members and I have different disabilities that make us especially vulnerable, including being immunocompromised.

This show was originally planned and designed as a blending of digital and live performance. However, when the situation became more and more unpredictable and volatile, I made the difficult decision to move the entire show into the digital realm. This meant that the final realisation of the work would rest mostly on my shoulders, and I had to deliver it within a short span of just ten weeks, while battling a plethora of obstacles, the two greatest being a lack of expertise and proper equipment for the monumental task at hand, and my poor physical condition. Thankfully, I had great help. Thank you to Peter Sau, who directed the live components, for your steadfast trust, despite my garbled way of communicating, and Karen Low, my sound engineer who also became my personal assistant, working with me seamlessly according to my eccentric autistic rhythms and patterns without complaint. The other person I want to thank is Esther Huang, my NAC officer – Thank you, Esther, for being so supportive throughout, riding the choppy sea of changes with such patience and fortitude.

Scheherazade’s Sea is my story, the story of an Autistic girl, woman, friend and quite unexceptional human, struggling to find a way through the battlefield of social systems not built for my natural way of Being, fleeing from torment, learning life lessons, finding goodness and hope, and yes, even finding Love in an unconventional but absolutely organic way.

Yet, Scheherazade’s Sea is also a universal story, a story that I hope every person can relate to in one way or another, whether through the senses, intellect, emotions, physical body or any other channel and dimension unique to you, inside your own Clement Space.

I must also thank the National Arts Council for the Creation Grant, a precious opportunity to create this work, which is not meant to be a finished polished one but rather a prototype for fuller and richer things to come, a springboard and a hothouse where lessons could be learned, experiments made and where hopes and dreams may flourish.

I ask of you in the audience to view this work as critically as you want to, with the aim to look for potential and suggest ways to expand, grow and maybe even inspire us to travel on new journeys along myriad trajectories. And, of course, if you can see such potential, I’d really be very deeply grateful for offers of supports-in-kind and help with finding adequate funding to realise this shared vision for better work to come.

Thank you also to Very Special Arts Singapore for crucial creative collaboration, without which this experimental work-in-progress would not have come this far.

One last thing. Today is Lucy’s birthday – she turns 13 and that is an advanced age according to the canine realm. Lucy is the core feature of this part of my journey, the reason I am still alive, so please join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday! Thank you, Lucy for bringing so much to this appallingly inadequate human custodian of yours!

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