[Upcoming Release] Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore

Book Release: 6 January 2023

Not Without Us: perspectives on disability and inclusion in Singapore

edited by Kuansong Victor Zhuang, Meng Ee Wong and Dan Goodley

About the Book

Disability is all around us—among people we meet, the media, sports, our own family and friends. Undeniably, all of us have or will one day come to experience or encounter disability. But how can we reckon with the realities of those who live with disability, or its reality in our own lives? In a city-state slowly moving towards inclusion, how do those meant to be 'included' feel about such efforts? Not Without Us: perspectives on disability and inclusion in Singapore is a groundbreaking collection of essays that takes a creative and critical disability studies approach to centre disability, and rethink the ways in which we research, analyse, think and know about disability in our lives. Across multiple domains and perspectives, the writings in this volume consider what it means to live with disability in a purportedly inclusive and accessible Singapore.

Read a preview here.

Dawn-joy Leong, Cavan Chang, Tan Siew Ling, Xie Yihui,
Timothy Y. Loh, Cat Chong, Damaris Carlisle, Bella Choo, Grace Lee-Khoo, Geraldine Chin, Ivy Chia, Eunice Tan, Alvan Yap , Aaron Ho, Sherry Toh, Yeo Kia Yee, Nurul Fadiah Johari, Daryl WJ Yang, Jocelyn Tay, Justin Lee

"Even as we build smart cities that are highly connected and intelligently managed through harnessing big data generated by the Internet of Things, we must ask whether these cities are inclusive too. In particular, how can we ensure that future directions in urban planning fully cater to people with disabilities so that their needs are well met? After all, can cities be smart if they are not also caring? This excellent volume brings together a powerful medley of voices that illuminates what it means to be disabled in Singapore and offers viable ideas for engaging with—rather than invisibilising—disability."
Professor Lim Sun Sun, Vice President, Partnerships & Engagement, Professor of Communication & Technology, Singapore Management University

"It warms my heart to see another book on disability through the Asian lens. Not just any book or author, but a plethora of contributors who are leaders in the Singaporean disability scene. The tapestry of all the essays inspires the imagination to how we can truly create a place that all of us can call home. Inclusion isn’t just keeping the token seat available, or inviting someone disabled to the party, but truly paving the way forward for all of us to celebrate each other as individuals in all our different shapes, sizes and colours. Thank you Not Without Us for so eloquently celebrating ‘Nothing about us, without us’!"
Cassandra Chiu, Psychotherapist, Social Advocate and Author

"This is a pathbreaking book. Not Without Us weaves together a rich fabric of voices exploring the politics and poetics of disability in Singapore. Moving between lived reality, representation, and struggles for social transformation, the collection excavates hidden or forgotten pasts, documents struggles and community formation in the present, and hints at possible futures. The essay collection challenges contemporary discourses of and scholarship on disability in Singapore by centering disabled subjectivities. In the process, it opens up new spaces of empathy, praxis, and critique." 
Philip Holden, Independent Scholar and Counsellor

"...the lived experience, interviews, and research essays in Not Without Us are a call to action that more needs to be done. The book opens up a conversation that centres disability as an issue for educators, policymakers, and society. It gives Singapore’s sometimes silenced and side-lined disabled community a vital voice that is both informative and compelling. Ranging from the lyrical poignancy of poet Cat Chong, to Aaron Ho on media representation, to co-editor Meng Ee Wong on student education, the perspectives here provide new, necessary insight for all, including the ‘abled’."
Linda Collins, author of Loss Adjustment; co-founder of the PleaseStay youth suicide prevention movement; diploma in learning disorders management

"Not Without Us is a richly edited and profoundly written collection of essays about disability in Singapore. It is part of a new and fresh movement to provide local knowledges and global perspectives to a field that has been for too long grounded in the West, particularly the US and the UK. The book will be extremely valuable not only to readers in Singapore but also to those throughout the world who seek a broader perspective on significant issues in disability studies, arts, policy, and activism."  
Lennard J. Davis, Distinguished Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Department of Disability and Human Development, Department of Medical Education

"Not Without Us is highly accessible as much as it is sophisticated. It is gripping reading because of the imaginative way it blends analysis and storytelling, evidence and poetic writing. We hear from a wide range of established and emerging voices in the Singapore disability scene. In their wonderful contributions, the authors challenge injustice, discrimination, and exclusion as much as they give us our precious ideas and tool to see how we can redesign society for genuine inclusion and embrace of all.

Clearly, this is the must-read account of disability in Singapore; but it also makes a major contribution to the world-wide debate underway on rethinking disability and society. So, Not Without Us is a remarkable book that should be read by anyone curious about disability––and why it is such a powerful resource for social progress and the good life."
—Gerard Goggin, Professor of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

"What if we don't see disability as a lack but an invitation to redefine diversity and inclusion in humanity that we sorely need to evolve? Challenging the notion of disability was what got me to start Hush TeaBar with the Deaf at the centre of the experience design. In an environment where no spoken words are needed, who is the disabled one? What do we, the Hearing, learn from silence that can help us become better humans? We have come far with the Enabling Masterplans but we have much further to go in ensuring that policy design and social narratives are informed, and more importantly, led by those with lived experiences so that change is made not for them, but with them. Not Without Us is therefore an important contribution to the Singapore that we aspire to be, where disability becomes 'transparent' and inclusion a mere social norm."
—Anthea Ong, Social Entrepreneur, Impact Investor & Author; Former Nominated Member of Parliament (2018-2020)

"In much of public discourse, many of us hold firm to our own lived realities and views. This is expected; and not unlike the proverbial blind men describing the elephant only by the parts they can feel. Where perspectives can be shared and aggregated, therein stands a chance of a clearer larger picture to develop more effective actions for better life outcomes. Not Without Us provides one cluster of perspectives of individuals wanting to see the disabled amongst us better included and embraced. It is valuable insight to further clarify the larger picture of what Singapore aspires to and can become. Added to perspectives of stakeholders not included here, it is great fodder for deeper dialogues across the public, private and people sectors. I am eager to see how the outcomes of these crucial dialogues can be validated, aggregated and then translated to a better life for the disabled and the rest of Singapore." 
Denise Phua, Chair, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and Autism Association Singapore; Member of Parliament and Mayor of Central Singapore District

"There is an urgent need to de-Westernise Disability Studies and theorising about dis/ability. The time has come for us to revise the power-relations in academic knowledge-production in this field. This thought-provoking book contributes to that vital process of revision. It provides rich insights into how dis/ability is shaped by culture and social formations – and how the lives and perspectives of disabled people around the globe are similar and diverse. The book includes chapters that are 'traditionally-academic' in style, but many more that are not. This is something I welcome. Many of the contributions felt, to me, poeticpowerfully sotheir writing being an act of celebration or resistance. As such, the book challenges the reader to think anew about how we research and understand disability, rights and inclusion. I learnt much about disability in the context of Singapore from this text. The book reaffirmed my belief in the importance, and value, of inclusive and supportive editorship. It reminded me, once more, of the importance of personal narrative as a window into diversity of the disability-experience, of the different passions, perspectives and lives of disabled people internationally. The book invites the reader to think about their own assumptions and it does so in a way that is highly engaging." 
—Professor Angharad Beckett FRSA, Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds

"I enjoyed reading the outstanding and well-prepared Not Without Us immensely, often linking diverse issues in the context of Singapore to  universal issues and to the challenges in Japan, where I live. As expected of Dan Goodley as one of the editors, the book is inclusive, including persons with intellectual/learning disabilities among others. I find the analysis of ableism and meritocracy particularly useful, as the Secretary-General of Inclusion International. I am fascinated by this book, accessible with artwork, at times quite funny, profoundly personal, and theoretical. It is a great pleasure to recommend it to those who are interested in (critical) disability studies, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), or Singapore studies, whether you are in ‘non-liberal’ societies like Singapore or not." 
—Nagase Osamu; Eminent Research Professor, Institute of Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University; Co-Chair, East Asia Disability Studies Forum

"This book is an eye-opener for anyone in the disability sector in Singapore. A fresh breath, a playful twist, a heart-wrenching memory, a resolution…many discoveries in one unique Singaporean collection. Amazing work! Reading it reframed how I look at myself, my children and the world around me. After so many years of living with disability, as a developmental paediatrician, a caregiver and lately as founder of CaringSG, I thought I knew enough. But now I realise it is still a mystery. There is so much more to understand, to learn, to accept, to imagine, and to love. Thank you Not Without Us for being a special song that I will hold dear for years to come, for reminding me why I started, and for the reasons to press on in this adventure." 
—Dr Lim Hong Huay, Developmental Paediatrician; Caregiver; Board Chair and Founder of CaringSG 

About the Editors

Kuansong Victor, Zhuang is Fung Global Fellow at the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, and International Postdoctoral Scholar at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. His research lies at the intersections of communications, media, and cultural studies; and disability studies, especially as it pertains to the workings of technology and inclusion. He hopes to use his research to contribute to current debates about how inclusion happens both in Singapore and around the world.

Meng Ee Wong is Associate Professor at the Psychology and Child & Human Development academic group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He researches and teaches in special and inclusive education, assistive technology, disability studies and teacher education across diploma and postgraduate courses. He has published in international journals, including Asia Pacific Journal of Education, British Journal of Visual Impairment, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, and Support for Learning. He has also published book chapters with Lexington Books, McGraw Hill, Springer and Routledge. His most recent co-edited book with A/Prof Levan Lim, Special Needs in Singapore: Trends and Issues was published by World Scientific in July 2021. He currently serves on several non-profit and charity organizations, including SG Enable, iC2 PrepHouse serving individuals with disabilities. In 2019, he was appointed Chairman of the Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund.

Dan Goodley is Professor of Disability Studies and Education at the University of Sheffield and a prominent scholar in the field of disability studies. He is also co-director of iHuman: the interdisciplinary research institute for the study of the human at the University of Sheffield. He has published extensively on disability, as well as participated in research spanning diverse fields over the past 30 years.

For sales, press and general enquiries, please contact: 

Ng Wei Lin

Jennifer Kwan