Parents raising a child with special needs. Children dealing with their ageing parents’ mental health. These are gut-wrenching social issues that do not often get much air time. These are real struggles faced by thousands of real families in Singapore.
In its latest 20-part drama series Your World in Mine, Mediacorp Channel 8 has chosen to make these issues central themes, giving its audience an up-close look at the trials and triumphs of caregivers as well as persons with disabilities. Much of the heart-warming storyline is drawn from real accounts MINDS shared with Mediacorp.
All can play a part
The Zhengs – Jian Qiang (Yao Wenlong) and Jia Yun (Huang Biren) – have three children, Tian Xi (Hong Ling), Tian Wei (Zong Zijie) and Tian Cai (Richie Koh). Their youngest, Tian Cai, is 21 but has the intellectual capability of a seven-year-old. Meanwhile, Wang Jinhui, played by veteran actress Xiang Yun, is a mother with two grown children. She suffers from schizophrenia and dementia, conditions that threaten to tear her family apart.
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Asked about their choice of subject matter, Executive Producer Chong Liung Man said: “We hope to be able to raise awareness on the challenges faced by persons with intellectual disabilities and their family members. Through the story, we also hope that viewers will be inspired to see that we can all play a part in fostering an inclusive society.
“This is something we believe strongly in. Mediacorp is committed to being a company that does good, and building a society where persons with disabilities are able to lead fulfilling lives. Be it through our work with our partner, SG Enable, on the Mediacorp Enable Fund, by leveraging the talents and expertise of our staff, the reach of our multiple platforms, our star power and our network of partners, we aim to find creative and meaningful ways to give back to the community.”
Enabling Village sets the scene
As part of its effort to realistically portray the lives of those with disabilities as well as that of their families, Your World in Mine chose to set some of its scenes in the Enabling Village. The all-accessible inclusive community space, which brings together community amenities, lifestyle retail services and inclusive programming for all with a special focus on disability-inclusive training and employment for persons with disabilities, houses several social businesses and community services was featured in a few episodes.
Professor Brawn Bistro was one of the backdrops used. In one scene, Tian Xi, the sister of the lead character with intellectual disabilities, conducted an interview at the café as part of her research about people with disabilities.
The café is a social enterprise which provides jobs and social integration opportunities to people with special needs and the disadvantaged in society. Operated by the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) or ARC(S), the outlet at the Enabling Village is its second and largest public one. More than 50% of its employees are adults with autism, those who are deaf, as well as persons with intellectual disability. The Art Faculty at the Enabling Village was also given the spotlight. It was featured when Tian Xi visited the shop while working on an article about people with disabilities.
The store collaborates with brands, retailers, organisations, social enterprises and art practitioners to showcase the works of artists with special needs. Tian Xi went there to have a look at the works of those with disabilities so that she could craft an article about people with disabilities that would help her readers better understand their lives.
Your World in Mine premiered on July 18, 2022. It airs Monday to Friday, 9pm on Channel 8 and is available on meWATCH.