Thursday, November 22, 2018

Take over

When Calder was laughing out loud again and wouldn't/couldn't stop.

Nephew: He's too noisy!
Ethel: Mommy, can you get him to stop?
Me: Can I just eat my dinner and not have to deal with it? I've had him for the whole day. Can someone, like, take over?

(And I realised I'd uttered the cry of many parents in the special needs community.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Our Common Earth

Name: Ethel Kam 
Age: 11
School: St Nicholas Girls’ School (Primary)
Class: P5 Justice

A light shone in the darkness.

The light grew brighter and brighter, filling my vision with the span of its wonder. Then, I heard a soft, fleeting sound - laughter. The light became a blur and the blur became figures, which were people. The people, I took to be a big family. Feasting. The people in the family were different. There were the intellectually disabled, the physically handicapped; the aged and the young. But they all shared one thing:


Happiness radiated from them. The smiles on their faces were sincere and their laughter were not dry ones. The purity of their love and togetherness drew me in and I curiously observed them until they had finished their meal. Some members of the big family bid the rest farewell and exited the house in cheery spirits. I followed one of the family members out into the open.

The usual apathetic crowd was not to be seen here. Instead, joy and kindness were displayed on the people around us. There were people who looked a bit tired, but they had a look of satisfaction from fulfilment.

I saw someone who stuck out like a sore thumb. He had the ragged look of a criminal, and my suspicions were confirmed when I heard murmurings of the people around me: “Isn’t he that notorious thief?” He seemed to sense the unsettled state of the people around him, and his head drooped, probably in embarrassment. A friend of his, or maybe a kind stranger, went up to him and comforted him until his face showed hints of a smile which reached to his eyes. When I saw him, I was also compelled to smile. How great the effects of kindness!

Shortly after, I turned my attention back to the person I was following. I realised that he was intellectually disabled; I identified him as autistic. My thoughts drifted to my brother, who similarly had autism. Sometimes, people would stare or look annoyed by his unique behaviour. However, here, the people around the autistic person I was following smiled at him, and the ones who were more familiar with him tried to interact or be friendly with him. The fact that community accepted him instead of labelling him as ‘weird’ touched me. As I looked at all these examples of love displayed in various forms throughout the community, I felt a warmth spread in me, and the only word that came to my mind to describe this truly wonderful world was:


At this point, a hint of darkness hindered my sight and the feeling of being pulled away from the present scene rushed through my body. The feeling grew stronger, and my body screamed out, trying to hold out. My vision blurred once again, and the people turned into shadows which turned into what we can safely say - nothing at all. My mind sank back into reality, and I lay on my bed, feeling utterly defeated. My mind was still contemplating the fact that the perfect world I had been in merely seconds ago was a dream, and that I will never see that world again. The feeling gradually overwhelmed me, taking its form in a sort of melancholy: I felt defeated, sad and, maybe a little angry at how that world had just slipped through my fingers, allowing me only a taste of it before disappearing into thin air. 

A spark ignited in me; it was called Hope.

That world could exist. That world could become reality. Suddenly, I understood what that world was. That world was -

Our future.

(598 words)