Empowering autism awareness

dsc 6245

A NEW theatrical production is poised to bring understanding and empathy of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to the forefront.


Titled ‘Ocean of Stars’, the play intimately explores the challenges faced by parents raising children on the autism spectrum.


Centred around the character Wang Hailan, the monodrama delves into the emotional odyssey of a mother caring for her autistic child.


From moments of despair to glimmers of hope, Hailan’s narrative mirrors the rollercoaster of emotions encountered by countless parents in similar circumstances.


Through perseverance and acceptance, Hailan finds the resilience to forge ahead alongside her child, discovering inner strength amidst life’s uncertainties. It is a poignant portrayal of a mother’s unwavering love and determination to navigate the complexities of raising a special needs child.


The play, written and to be performed by local artiste Lim Chia Chia, is among the highlights of the Autism Acceptance Campaign 2024, organised by the Penang Shine Like Stars Association. Gleneagles Hospital Penang co-organised and sponsored the play.


Penang Shine Like Stars Association chairman Katherine Koo said the association was organising the campaign for the seventh year, aimed at fostering empathy, raising awareness, and celebrating the unique talents and strengths of individuals with autism.


dsc 6234
Koo (left) speaking at the media conference. With her is Lim (right).


“We are thrilled to present an exciting lineup of events and initiatives, with one standout highlight being the monodrama ‘Ocean of Stars’, led by the talented actress Lim Chia Chia in collaboration with JL7 Studio.


“This touching stage production will vividly portray the heartfelt journey of a mother navigating the challenges and triumphs of raising her autistic son.


“We urge the public to support this meaningful cause. We aim to cultivate greater awareness, foster inclusivity, and inspire positive attitudes towards autism within our community and beyond,” Koo said.


The performance will take place at Gleneagles Hospital Penang on April 19 at 8pm, April 20 at 3pm and 8pm, and April 21 at 3pm. Tickets are available for RM50 each, with proceeds going towards supporting the association’s annual activities.


photo 2024 04 02 11 15 36


Gleneagles Hospital Penang sales and marketing senior manager Aileen Foo said autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that could significantly impact a person’s learning activities, communication skills, and social interaction.


“Sadly, due to society’s incomplete understanding or acceptance of people with autism, they are often neglected or marginalised.


“Events like this play a crucial role in nurturing inclusivity, empowerment, and optimism within our community,” she said.


dsc 6235


Besides the ‘Ocean of Stars’ play, a charity food and fun fair will also be held at Atrium A, Ground Floor, Prangin Mall, on April 27 from 2pm to 8pm. The fair is part of the Autism Acceptance Campaign 2024. Featuring 40 stalls brimming with a diverse array of food, merchandise, and games, the fair guarantees a delightful experience for families of all ages. The public can support the cause by purchasing the coupons at RM20 per book.


photo 2024 04 02 11 15 36 2


Simultaneously, the ‘Autism Runway Showcase’ will grace the stage from 3pm to 5pm on April 27, taking place at Prangin Mall, offering another compelling event for attendees to enjoy. The unique event is aimed at empowering special needs children by allowing them to shine on the runway. The participation fee of RM50 per entry covers makeup, hairstyling, digital photography, and a commemorative limited-edition T-shirt, ensuring a complete and memorable experience for each participant.


dsc 6250


Penang Youth, Sports, and Health Committee chairman Daniel Gooi Zi Sen welcomed the public to support the meaningful campaign.


“We recognise that individuals with autism perceive and interact with the world in distinct ways.


“With this campaign, we aim to raise awareness about their unique perspectives, foster greater understanding, and offer support.


“We firmly believe that cultivating empathy and understanding within our society can enrich the lives of all individuals, helping them find their rightful place and value within the community.


“The Penang government is dedicated to nurturing an inclusive and compassionate society, where every individual is valued and embraced, irrespective of their abilities,” Gooi said.


dsc 6219
Gooi highlighting the campaign in Komtar.


For more details about the Autism Acceptance Campaign 2024, call Koo at 012-3381641 or Lim at 016-4718678.



Story by Christopher Tan

Pix by Alissala Thian