In my book, Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure, the protagonist is named Benjamin. He has ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is also a non-verbal autistic. It is good to note that some autistic individuals may speak without stopping while many are non-verbal or partially verbal.
This movie still is courtesy of Brainchild Picture, the studio that produced The Wayang Kids, a movie about a bunch of primary school kids who must perform in a Chinese opera performance. Leading the team is a mildly autistic boy who doesn’t speak. He has to convince his friends and ultimately himself that he is good enough to play the role of Monkey King.
The book is an adaptation of the movie where Open has a voice.
It has been a very interesting and fulfilling writing journey for me working with Raymond Tan of Brainchild in producing this book. The collaboration has been one of friendship, camaraderie, the meeting of creative minds and most of all, growth.
As writers, we all know that putting ourselves into the shoes of the characters we write about can be a challenging endeavour. How can we represent these characters who are individuals in themselves, yet be that writer who forgoes ego remaining authentic to the character?
Raymond and I will be discussing this during the official book launch of Open. Come see us and join in the conversation about how Singapore literature can foster an environment of inclusivity in our communities and societies.
BOOK LAUNCH — OPEN: A BOY’S WAYANG ADVENTURE
is taking place 10 March 2–3 pm at the Living Room, The Arts House, under the banner of the BuySinglit Campaign which runs from 9 – 11 March, 2018.
The launch programme will look at how Singapore literature can play a part in encouraging inclusivity. Singapore based British author Eva Wong Nava and film director Raymond Tan—the creative minds behind Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure—will be holding a dialogue about representation, acceptance, and preserving our cultural histories.