Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev |
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev |

It has been quite the month. I have spent three weeks of the past four being sick, rushing to Emergency, having surgery, and convalescing at home. I am about to go back to work tomorrow. 

Time felt different when I was sick. If I’m on holidays, the texture of the days are carefree and focused on doing fun, unscheduled things. When I was sick, it was an effort to get through a day, and the earlier weeks were full of medications and anxieties. Worrying about work and the fact that I was taking unplanned time away from it (especially when a new year’s semester is kicking off properly) didn’t help with taking things easy and resting up. 

All that said, things happened while I was MIA. I was grateful for them. These projects were already rolling along beforehand, and were brought to fruition by wonderful colleagues. Seeing them out and about made me feel less like I was doing nothing and falling behind…even though I was doing nothing and falling behind.

1. First up was an interview that I’d done with the current convenor of the AASRN (Asian Australian Studies Research Network), Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty – “Know thy neighbours—Asian Australian Studies helps you know thyself“.

The interview was for Melbourne Asia Review (MAR) and part of a special issue focused on Asian Australian Studies and communities. It was good fun to work with Mridula on the interview, and share our views on what contemporary resonances there are for Asian Australian communities and the politics that surround them. Excerpt of one of my responses: 

Being told to ‘go home’ is unfortunately nothing new for many Asian Australians. It’s one of the common ways that Asian individuals and communities are made to feel they don’t belong here. The escalation of anti-Asian abuse and discrimination is an active area of research for quite a few scholars, and the Scanlon Foundation recently released its 2020 report, which stated that there is a ‘relatively high level of negative opinion’ towards Asian Australians.

Many thanks to MAR editor Cathy Harper for the opportunity, and for her patience while Mridula and I conversed! 

2. The second thing was the release of the first #Whisperfest podcast on 27 Feb! There are now TWO in the #Whisperfest podcast series that you can enjoy. 

Appropriately, the first one is about the #circleofniceness and how we got together as colleagues and friends. Featured in it are my Whisperfest co-convenors: Research Whisperer buddy Jonathan O’Donnell, Thesis  Whisperer Inger Mewburn, and Wellbeing Whisperer Narelle Lemon. The second podcast – released just today! – is about self-care and features Narelle and Michelle Tichy.  

Many thanks to my fabulous peeps who created the podcast series and pulled everything together. I’m very appreciative! 

3. The third thing crossed my Twitter stream just yesterday: the whole special issue of the Journal of Intercultural Studies focused on Sara Ahmed’s Strange Encounters is now out! 

The forum piece that I had co-authored with colleagues Jamie Burford, Emily Henderson, Helena Liu, and Z Nicolazzo – ‘Not getting over it: The impact of Sara Ahmed’s work within Critical University Studies‘ – was first published online late in 2020. Since then, the rest of this issue has been appearing, and it’s now all there. Very exciting to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of such an influentical piece of scholarship! 

There’ll be a good amount of catching up I’ll need to do from tomorrow, and I already know I’m going to get stressed about not being able to do All the Things at once.

But I do know that I need to breathe, keep recovering, and give my brain time to re-activate.