Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Talk/Workshop, Zabbalang

Representation or Tokenism?: Meeting in the Middle #3

Organised by: Ethos Books
Performed by: Dr. Dawn-joy Leong, Cassandra Chiu, Laika Jumabhoy
  • Date:
    29 Mar 2019
  • Time:
  • Duration:
  • Venue:
    The Moon, 37 Mosque Street, Singapore 059515
    The Moon, 37 Mosque Street, Singapore 059515The Moon, 37 Mosque Street, Singapore 059515
  • Language:


What is the difference between representation and tokenism? How can we do better, both in stories and in our everyday lives, to create a more inclusive community? This dialogue brings forth the voices and lived experience of female advocates from the disabled community.

As part of International Women's Day, join us for a conversation with Cassandra Chiu (author of A Place for Us, guide dog team with Esme the Global Guide Dog), Dr. Dawn-joy Leong (autistic artist-researcher) and Laika Jumabhoy (AWARE Singapore)—as they talk about the tendency for tokenism, and how we can do better at truly representing and including people with disabilities.

Whether you're a reader or writer, we invite you to join us for this year's Meeting in the Middle, and to make an active effort to create space (literal or metaphorical) for disabilities in your stories.

The $10 fee for this programme goes towards covering our venue charges and honorariums for our panellists. We are employing a sliding scale for the fee, so if you would like to attend but are unable to pay the full price, either call us at 66591749 or email

*Note-takers or sign language interpreters available upon request. If you would like to request any of these services, call us at 66591749 or drop us a message at by 20 March!

✨BOOK EXCHANGE✨ Bring one of your favourite book by a female author and exchange it for someone else's favourite! We'll have a book exchange table for you to leave your beloved books, and to find a new one to read.

✨✨BUYSINGLIT TOTEBAGS ✨✨ The first 20 people to register for this talk will receive a complimentary BuySingLit tote bag to strut your new reads around in :)

Thank you to The Moon for hosting us for this session!

Cassandra Chiu is a blind psychotherapist who manages The Safe Harbour Counselling Centre. Chiu is also a social advocate for equal opportunities and has been interviewed extensively by the media on inclusivity towards the disabled. Her works have been featured in publications by the World Economic Forum, The Straits Times Opinion Page and in 50 Years of ASEAN, an anthology of essays. Contact her at

Dr. Dawn-joy Leong is a researcher and practitioner in the field of Autism, Neurodiversity and Multi-Art praxis. Her research examines Autistic Embodiment with a focus on alternative empathic connectivity and her material practice features immersive mind-body experiences incorporating elements of music, soundscape, video, photography, installation, narrative, poetry, and performance. Dawn-joy's research and artistic works have been published and exhibited in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Lucy Like-a-Charm, a rescued former racing Greyhound, is Dawn-joy's trained psychiatric assistance dog, creative muse and closest companion—together, they explore novel ways of sensing, contemplating and communicating the rich, vibrant tapestries of their shared ecology.

Laika Jumabhoy works as Senior Case Manager with AWARE's Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC), where she employs creative art in her therapeutic work for trauma recovery. She also developed and led the only creative arts based open support group for sexual assault survivors. When not working, she dabbles in writing and performing poetry themed around trauma, disability and the intricacies of human relationships. She was part of committee of Say It Like You Mean It, a Penang-based arts mentorship program and has performed at the Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown Literary Festivals.

Meeting in the Middle is an annual conversation organised by Ethos Books as part of International Women's Day. Last year, we were thrilled to have brought together Shaza Ishak (Teater Ekamatra), Dr Anju Mary Paul (Yale-NUS), and Filzah Sumartono (AWARE Singapore)—outstanding women from the fields of theatre, academia and civil society—where they spoke with each other about the stories they choose (and the ones that chose them), and how they tell these stories in their lines of work.

Representation or Tokenism?: Meeting in the Middle #3