Dear Brain Injury Survivor, Carer or Brain Injury Survivor Associate,
I wish to share about meeting Takalah Tan in Singapore.
I have set up this worldwide e-mail broadcast and website to bring a new sense of belonging and hope for restoration from your brain injury or for the person you are associated with. Brain injury results in a sudden change of life ….. The one thing we all have in common is a brain injury if you are a survivor.
The injury affects not only the person but their family and friends as well. We didn’t ask for it but it came into all our lives in a sudden way from many different causes. The result was a sudden change of life. Brain injury affects people in similar ways for anyone around the world. The one thing that suddenly changes is the way we relate to other people. This can be in some of the following ways:
We may have a fuzzy way of relating to other people but that can change with time from a very black and white approach to people towards a more intuitive approach to people … sensing what people are saying on the inside
Physically connecting with other people …. you do not drive any more (As you cannot take in all the intuitive information from the driving environment). You may use public transport instead or someone drives you around (as in my case …. now eleven years on from my former injury in December 1995 … my wife Harriet drives me around ….. see the photo above)
For those on the Internet, we find we can use the Internet for social contact. I think that is very true in my case as my e-mail network is easily over a thousand people around the world. People are in countries as far flung as America, Australia where I come from, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, India , Singapore etc.
I had a personal case of this in May when I had an e-mail response from Takalah Tan in Singapore. Several years earlier, I had read Takalah’s story on a City News website he had sent me. I then had another reply from him in April this year. I wrote back to Takalah and said that Harriet and I would be stopping over for a day in Singapore in early May on an overseas holiday trip to France in May. I would like to catch up with him when we there. He wrote back and said than we got to Singapore, he would like to connect with me and here was his mobile phone number. He would come to our hotel and take us out to lunch. We were staying at The Peninsula Excelsior Hotel. See the website at:
https://www.ytchotels.com.sg/sp-ytcexcel/ We spent the morning walking around Singapore and looking at the history and some of the old buildings from the 1800’s when Singapore had been started as a city. See the post of photographs and words on my personal experiences website. This post is a record in photographs and little on the history of Singapore of our one day stay there.
Takalah came at 11.00 a.m. in the morning. It was a strange experience in actually seeing him in actuality versus only seeing him on a website photograph. He took us out to his district or community on Singapore’s very efficient train system. We went to a communal restaurant where Takalah went around the various restaurant owners introducing us in a very personal way as his Australian friends. It was interesting to us as Australians to see how Singapore is very different to many Western cities. It is the mixing of an Eastern culture (Chinese) with a Western Culture. An Eastern culture focuses more on the family and the community (Cooperative) whereas Western Culture is highly individualised (Competitive and Corporate).
Singapore is a nation where the East is meeting the West and has a unique city of contrasts …… the past is retained and the West is encouraged. I saw this clearly when I was reading the freely available magazine ‘Voices of Central Singapore’ and I read on the one page article by Zainudim Nordin, mayor of Central Singapore District when he wrote ‘What have You Done For Your Neighbour Lately?’ He says ‘I think we can all agree that having a cohesive communal society is one of the greatest strengths a nation can have …… in a community we will work together for a common goal. We can put aside our differences and fulfil our role as active citizens. Working towards a common good also teaches cooperation, understanding and the ability to listen to others. It also helps to resolve conflicts. Be a volunteer: It could be your contribution towards building a united and resilient community, the basic building block of a cohesive and strong Singapore.’
The Government of Singapore has seen Singapore as a cohesive community with the whole city broken up into interconnecting cohesive communities. Each community was to work towards the common good of the community. Each community had its own residential, leisure, shopping and transport hub. Each community had an interconnecting transport system ….. the train system which connected each community with the next. See the first photograph above.
Takalah took us out to his community to the communal restaurant and the communal shopping centre (things are so cheap in Singapore compared to Australia where I come from) and the general layout of the community, we saw this COMMUNAL MODEL being well illustrated.
We even caught the train out to where he lived in a residential complex with his mother. We walked up to his apartment block and caught the lift right up on one of the upper levels of the block (13th level). See the photographs above.