jueves, 26 de abril de 2018

My article for the Autistic Spectrum Digest apps, Sept. 2014

Opening the AS Digest apps on my smartphone, am surprised that my article from 4 years ago was still there. It used to achieve the "article of the month" in September 2014. Anyway, I submitted this article to them. If you wanna download their apps, just go to Apps Store and search "Autistic Spectrum Digest". .......................................................................................................................................... Last year I was taping an interview for one of the most popular talkshows on Indonesian TV, "Tea Time with Desi Anwar". Desi is one of the top reporters in this country, and meeting her in that session convinced me that she deserves her reputation. During the breaks I quickly decided that I will talk about a subject which I never talked publicly before (although everyone who looks at me knows that I suffer from it) which is the Tourette Syndrome (TS), and how I suffered from it. In all the hundreds of interviews with reporters I've done throughout my life, I haven't opened up this matter to any one of them, and they were all nice enough not to touch this matter. At Desi's program, it was me who decided to talk, not her. And then I posted about Hans Asperger a few months ago in my facebook, at the International Asperger's Day on Feb. 18th that coincided with Asperger's birthday in 1906, in which I confirmed and admitted that indeed I am convinced that besides Tourette's Syndrome, I also am an "Aspie" -- the popular term for us who have Asperger's Syndrome. (please read my blog http://andystarblogger.blogspot.com.es/2013_05_01_archive.html for my entry about Tourette Syndrome). It is quite common for a person to have both Tourette AND Asperger, since they both fall under the same autistic spectrum. .......................................................................................................................................... My name is Ananda Sukarlan, and I am a composer and pianist. With this profession, it is not easy to have both Tourette and Asperger's Syndrome. It all began when I was diagnosed in 1996 with a clear Tourette Syndrome and a "high probability" of Asperger's Syndrome. I even don't understand why they put Asperger with an apostrophe "s", which they don't put with Tourette! Oh well, psychologists, they are all full of mysteries. From now on, I'll refer to them with AS and TS only. .......................................................................................................................................... AS remains a controversial diagnosis due to its unclear relationship to the autism spectrum since Mr. Asperger's paper published in 1944. Only in the 1980s that people took interest in it. I have indeed given a clue of my AS in an interview at the Jakarta Post with writer Bruce Emond, back in 2008 during the celebration of my 40th birthday : http://andystarblogger.blogspot.com.es/2010/09/horribly-lonely-in-jakarta-post.html . I quote myself answering Mr. Emond's question: What would people be surprised to know about you?. I answered: I have this strange hormone in me which provokes the feeling of extreme loneliness (even if I am in a crowd). It’s been working inside me since I was a teenager. And that loneliness cannot be cured by just being with someone. When it happens, it usually indicates that I should write music. My best music is written when I am feeling horribly lonely. .......................................................................................................................................... Being lonely, or alone, is a common trait for Aspies. AS, as with the other syndromes in the autistic spectrum, has more to do with social and psychological aspects than a physical one. I won't try to explain everything about AS, since I am not an expert in that, and also since AS is still a mysterious syndrome. The problem is that there are so many speculations about people in the past who allegedly suffered from AS which I find rather disconcerting, such as Steve Jobs, Sir Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. Even Mozart! With Mozart, his Tourette Syndrome was pretty convincing, but how would one know that he had AS too? Anyway, there are similar traits of people with TS or AS. What I would like to say is just that we, people with AS and TS could, and even should, behave and socialize quite "normally". I certainly --and am sure I represent other people with AS and TS-- do not want to be treated differently. Yeah, during the Nazi era, people like us were put into concentration camps, but that was the case of everyone "different", such as homosexuals etc. In fact, it is proven that people with AS usually excel in one or even several fields, since a particular part of our brain is highly activated. Therefore, we get people with AS like Bill Gates, Lionel Messi or the founder & designer of Pokemon game, Satoshi Tajiri. .......................................................................................................................................... Another thing I would like to rectify is the common belief that people with AS can't be "empathic". That's very wrong. In fact, after talking with fellow Aspies, I can tell you that we are just the opposite: we are hypersensitive people. We just don't know, most of the times, how to express it physically. And I think this is where my music comes from : it can express things which I am unable to express through gestures, words or actions. So, that convinced me again of what I always said about music : We write, perform and play music to express, not to impress.