Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore

Paperback + E-book bundle available below: Get the e-book at 50% off with each purchase of a paperback


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 the table of contents and Editors' Introduction here.

(Book cover description: The central visual of the cover is a photo. This photo, taken by photographer Isabelle Lim, is of two performers in the centre of a spacious room, where the wall and floor are both decorated with brown and gold patterns. The foreground is lit by a bright yet warm light, which illuminates the side profiles of the two men against the blackness behind them. Closer to the camera is the rapper Wheelsmith. Clad in a mustard  yellow cap and blue denim jacket, he is riding his wheelchair toward the left of the picture. At a slight distance behind him, and in the midst of walking in the opposite direction, is fellow rapper ShiGGa Shay, sporting an orange, white, and blue puffer jacket and a bun of electric blue hair."

On the book cover, this photo is accompanied by the Book title "Not Without Us" in all-capitals, beige text against the black background on the top of the photo. The subtitle in small caps "perspectives on disability and inclusion in Singapore" is printed in the center-right of the book cover. In the black background of the photo are light blue lines in the shape of Wheelsmith's and Shigga Shay's silhouettes, layered and expanding towards the top of the book cover to amplify their poses in the photo. The editors' byline is at the bottom of the book cover in black text.)

“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 centring disabled subjectivities. In the process, it opens up new spaces of empathy, praxis and critique.” Philip Holden, Independent Scholar and Counsellor 

"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 of A Place For Us

"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, University of Illinois in Chicago

More reviews of the book here.

And check out our book club starter pack, which includes excerpts, discussion questions and additional resources for Not Without Us. 

Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore

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$27.00 SGD


This landmark book establishes disability as an underpinning narrative in the Singapore story. 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 precious ideas and tools to see how we can redesign society for genuine inclusion and embrace of all. Clearly, this is a 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)

“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… the perspectives here provide new, necessary insight for all, including the ‘abled’.” —Linda Collins, author of Loss Adjustment

"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


Kuansong Victor Zhuang, Meng Ee Wong, Dan Goodley


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