Thinking With Disability
Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore
- This book is about disability and inclusion in Singapore
- The book takes a critical disability studies angle
- It centres on disability to offer new ways of thinking and doing
- It hopes to contribute to inclusion and what it means
Thinking back, the first image of disability I can recall in my life is that of Suzy.
I didn’t know her name then, but I would always see her around, usually outside the NTUC supermarket, a life-sized doll of a girl with a leg brace, holding a teddy bear in one hand and a box in the other, inviting donations for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Singapore.
Besides Suzy, I recall seeing images of disabled people in need broadcasted and beamed to my television set through the annual telethons, like the President’s Star Charity and the NKF Charity Show.
Growing up, I thought that was how disabled people were like, always in need of help and charity.
How different things are today.
Scrolling through my social media feed, I see Paralympians celebrated for their sporting achievements, disabled people lauded for their abilities, and organisations feted for hiring disabled people.
I see plans in place to build a more inclusive society.
I see a general climate of inclusion that has permeated Singapore’s society.
But is that all there is?
I wondered if more could be said about disability in Singapore than simply the celebratory or charitable tones that are often present.
I wondered if there could be more sustained and constructive conversations and debates about inclusion.
I wondered if we could move beyond looking past disability, to embracing disability as a generative source of knowledge and embodiment.
And that is also the reason why I began this note with a short easy-read version, to offer a concise yet incisive point about what disability can bring to the table.
I hope that you would recognise this and more, as you read the collection.
I am personally grateful for the opportunity to work with my fellow editors, Meng Ee and Dan– two very supportive mentors–on this collection over the last three years.
Disability studies is an academic field, but we are also cognisant of the ableist and exclusionary nature of academic writing and research.
This is also why we strove to support contributors in their writing, and to allow for a variety of forms throughout the volume.
As we continue to pursue inclusion in Singapore, I sincerely hope this volume will serve as a useful starting point for thinking and imagining differently.
And I hope that you will enjoy the book and (hopefully) the many insights it might bring you.
Co-editor of Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore
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