“In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
Join us for an afternoon dedicated to a special sharing from independent voices on ‘Transforming Attitudes Towards Disabilities’ in Singapore!
TA>D for short, is our pioneering ground-up open platform to propel the inclusion agenda forward, through collaborative solutioning and social design. We seek to bridge gaps, amplify successes, and unite partners with a shared commitment towards meeting the needs of the disability sector.
Featuring dynamic speakers and panelists, TA>D welcomes everyone: individuals with or without disabilities, schools, community groups, corporates, and government agencies.
Experience a collection of extraordinary, straight-from-the-heart stories that reaffirm the vibrancy of humanity in Singapore. Get ready for an “Inverse Stomp” as we showcase brief, impactful experiences embodying unity and inclusivity.
Where & When
Location: Auditorium 3, Block 26B, Level 2, Temasek Polytechnic
Date: Friday, 13 October 2023
Time: 1 pm to 4 pm
Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore
Meng Ee Wong (Moderator)
(NTU Professor of Psychology and Child & Human Development)
Tay Sze Hwee Jace
(Autistic history graduate and disabilities advocate)
(Founder of Access Path Productions, a disability-led theatre company)
Tan Siew Ling
(Deafblind fitness enthusiast)
Sherry Elisa Toh
(Journalist with spinal muscular atrophy)
How to Live Your Dream Life with Your Disabilities
By Pearl Lee
(PwD, speaker and inclusivity advocate)
Navigating Visibility as a Person with Disability
By Fiona Tan
(PwD, history graduate and archivist)
Hidden Struggles, Open Allies: Navigating Inclusion Together
By Sherry Soon
(Founder, Be Kind SG & Autoimmune Diseases SG)
Dear Mama: I Made It
By Erna Fauzana
(Visually impaired, skilled chef and inclusivity advocate)
Inclusive Hiring and the Employment Landscape for People with Disabilities
By Fathima Zohra
(PwD, inclusive employment recruiter and disabilities advocate)
Assistance Dogs and Duchenne: What it Means to be Rare in Singapore
By Shalom Lim
(Artist and creative writer with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy)
Reflections on Perseverance
By Dr Azariah Tan
(Hearing-impaired classical pianist and pedagogue)
By Bernard Chew
(CEO at St. Andrew Autism Centre and parent of PwDs)
Embracing Diversity: A Journey Towards Inclusivity for All
By Muhammad Arshad Fawwaz
(Autistic and ADHD founder of Inclusivity 4 All)
Speaker and Panelist Profiles
Meng Ee Wong (Moderator)
Associate Professor Wong Meng Ee received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is a tenured Associate Professor at the Psychology and Child & Human Development academic group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He researches and teaches special and inclusive education, assistive technology, disability studies and teacher education across diploma and postgraduate courses. He has published in international journals and book publications. His recent co-edited book with Victor Zhuang and Dan Goodley was released in February 2023: Not without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore by Ethos Books.
Meng Ee currently serves on a number of non-profit and charity organizations, including iC2PrepHouse serving individuals with disabilities. In 2019, he was appointed Chairman of the Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund. Outside his academic endeavours, he is a keen athlete, having completed five full marathons, two biathlons, two 10km open water swims and competed in competitive swimming, participating last at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games with two bronze medals in the Men’s 50m and 100m freestyle.
Tay Sze Hwee Jace (Panelist)
Tay Sze Hwee Jace is an autistic history graduate student from Nanyang Technological University. Their main area of interest is disability history and the disability movement, with a particular focus on neurodiversity and neurodivergence. They are currently working to advocate for disability and neurodivergent rights in Singapore, as well as highlighting disabled perspectives within Singaporean history.
Grace Lee-Khoo (Panelist)
Grace Lee Khoo is the Founder of Access Path Productions, Singapore’s first disability-led theatre company. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Applied Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduated with Honors from the National University of Singapore’s Theatre Studies BA program and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education. In 2017, Grace was International Artist-in-residence at Graeae Theatre Company (London) – UK’s flagship disability-led inclusive theatre company. In 2019-2020, she was appointed a Singapore International Foundation Fellow. She is currently an International Associate Artist with the David Glass Ensemble and a proud member of experimental theatre collective Emergency Shelter. A director, performer, dramaturg, researcher, educator and producer who works internationally, she currently serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She was last seen onscreen as the host of Channel News Asia’s docu-series The New Hire.
Recent directing credits: Patterns of Perception (Singapore Biennale), Glimpse (Access Path), Kaite O’Reilly’s The 9 Fridas (Singapore Repertory Theatre), Clumsysaurus (Access Path), alieNATION (Access Path), Self-Portrait (Access Path), Mak Mak Menari (Bhumi Collective) and Coronalogues: Silver Linings (Singapore Repertory Theatre).
Tan Siew Ling (Panelist)
Tan Siew Ling is Deafblind, having lost both her sight and hearing to a neurological condition, Neurofibromatosis Type II. She carries a screen reader with a braille display, fondly named “Bear Bear”, everywhere she goes. Her humour and love of puns keep friends on their toes. She enjoys reading books in her free time and loves to pen down her thoughts, often on a whim, which can be entertaining on her social media. When she is not writing or reading, she can be seen doing insane 72kg leg presses or swinging a 20kg kettlebell to and fro.
Sherry Elisa Toh (Panelist)
Sherry “Elisa” Toh is a disability advocate, blogger, and journalist whose writing is influenced by her life with spinal muscular atrophy. Her journey into journalism began with writing about life as a patient columnist for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy News site, SMA News Today. Since then, her disability-focused sociopolitical commentary has been published by local independent news site Rice Media, and she has written feature articles for international gaming news sites PCGamesN, TheGamer and NME.
‘How to Live Your Dream Life with Your Disabilities’
From battling lifelong challenges to crafting a life exceeding imagination, Pearl defied the odds. Born with bowlegs, severe scoliosis, and restrictive lung disease, she once deemed possibilities limited by her disabilities. A burnout ignited her transformation journey under a mentor’s guidance, propelling her to conquer her “impossibles,” like air travel and discovering her role as a speaker. Pearl now aspires to embolden others, sharing her journey’s lessons to empower them to step toward their dream lives.
‘Navigating Visibility as a Person with Disability’
Fiona Tan has been a wheelchair user for most of her life but has only in the past 15 years or so been comfortable in being in one. She frequently thinks about the questions of disability visibility but is herself still navigating the grey areas of remaining invisible and hopes that the process of putting together this talk will inspire ideas for more ethical disability representation. She is a history graduate working as an archivist and feels much more at home in the past than in the murky (some say turbulent) waters of the present.
Hidden Struggles, Open Allies: Navigating Inclusion Together
At 19 years old, Sherry was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease causing painful ulcers on her feet, leading to hospitalization and prolonged periods of bed rest. Despite its impact on her daily life, the condition’s invisibility challenges societal norms. With over a decade teaching students with learning difficulties, she founded Be Kind SG in 2017, later registering it as a non-profit organization in 2021 to serve persons with disabilities. In 2020, she was awarded ‘Leader of Good’ at the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards. She is an Obama Foundation Leader and was awarded ‘SG Heroine’ at the SG Women’s Festival 2022.
Dear Mama: I Made It
Diagnosed with glaucoma at age 10, Erna views herself as “specially abled,” emphasizing change within the world’s heart. She believes visual impairment should not limit aspirations. With only 50% vision due to glaucoma, Erna, also known as Ernawati, has defied the odds. An advocate for inclusivity, she demonstrates her capabilities in the workplace. Erna, a skilled chef specializing in Malay and Indonesian cuisine, embraced her passion despite her low vision. Learning from her late mother, she’s empowered the visually impaired community through cooking since 2018, fostering vital independent living skills.
‘Inclusive Hiring and the Employment Landscape for People with Disabilities’
Zora was paralysed from the neck down and became disabled when she was 20 after a car accident. She has been living with a disability for six years. After experiencing the difficulties and challenges faced by PWDs, she decided to use her story, voice and platform to spread awareness, educate the public and speak up for her community to make a difference. Zoe is now an inclusive employment recruiter and disabilities advocate.
‘Assistance Dogs and Duchenne: What it Means to be Rare in Singapore’
Shalom is a 28-year-old artist and creative writer with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a debilitating disability that causes progressive muscle decline. He is the Community Partnerships Executive at K9Assistance, the only organisation in Singapore that provides Assistance Dogs for individuals and families in Singapore living with Autism, hearing loss, and mobility challenges. He wishes to advocate for greater participation of people with disabilities in the economic mainstream of Singapore society.
Dr Azariah Tan
‘Reflections on Perseverance’
Dr Azariah Tan is a Singaporean classical pianist and pedagogue. In addition to performing, he adjudicates piano competitions and conducts masterclasses regularly. Azariah has been a prize-winner of multiple competitions and a recipient of many awards. In 2020, Azariah received the Goh Chok Tong Achievement Enable Award, which recognizes PWDs with significant achievements and who inspire others. Azariah received his doctorate in music from the University of Michigan and the NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Bernard is currently CEO at St. Andrew Autism Centre (SAAC). This non-profit organisation caters to the education, training and care of persons on the autism spectrum (mainly on the moderate to severe end) and their families. Before this, Bernard spent 20 years in education, with his last role as Director of the Special Education Branch at the Ministry of Education. Before that, he was the Principal at Bowen Secondary School for five years.
Bernard is the father of 19-year-old Evan, who has autism and intellectual disability, and 16-year-old Chloe, who was diagnosed with dyslexia, anxiety and other needs and has just finished her O Levels. Bernard was called to disability work since his appointment at the Special Education Branch 5 years ago.
With his wife, Hsiao Yun, he has experienced both the joys and pains of journeying with his two children and helping them find their place in life and society. He believes that a genuinely inclusive community celebrates the dignity of each human being, regardless of ability (or disability), and that unconditional love is the foundation of true inclusion.
Muhammad Arshad Fawwaz
‘Embracing Diversity: A Journey Towards Inclusivity for All’
Muhammad Arshad Fawwaz, a 26-year-old with Autism & ADHD, is the visionary behind Inclusivity 4 All. This platform amplifies the talents of those with special needs while raising awareness of critical issues. A multifaceted artist, he is a singer-songwriter, host and actor, who breaks down barriers through his pursuits.
Videos of the Talks coming soon!