While I stepped back

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev | unsplash.com
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev | unsplash.com

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. Continue reading “While I stepped back”

Overthinking a tweet

Photo by Andre Mouton | unsplash.com
Photo by Andre Mouton | unsplash.com

This is a quick lunchtime post because something’s been haunting me since yesterday afternoon.

I had ended the day’s work with a tweet listing the things I’ve managed to get done so far this week. Most of them are things that had a much longer life in the pipeline (#AlbatrossPaper, for example, has been hanging out in my publication drafts for years), and this week just happened to be a culmination of editorial deadlines. It was also a chance to flag a Year of the Ox reference and use a cute GIF.

A little while after I posted it, I almost deleted it again. Continue reading “Overthinking a tweet”

First workshop of the year

Opening slide for the workshop | Tseen Khoo

I taught my first workshop for the year yesterday. It was a big one: a 4-hour session with researchers from the Okinawan Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) on ways to grow a community around your research using social media. It covered platforms that weren’t social media exactly but that worked well with establishing a strong online presence and complemented active social media use (e.g. LinkedIn, Google Scholar, figshare).

This was a gig that was a long time coming. Irina Filonova (@irina_filonova) had invited us (the Research Whisperers) to OIST in 2020 and we were slated to be there in May. It would’ve been my first time in Okinawa. I hadn’t been overseas in many years. I was excited. Continue reading “First workshop of the year”

Top 3 reasons why I liked 2020

Still from The Fall (2013-2016) | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_(TV_series)
One of my lockdown habits | Gillian Anderson in a still from The Fall (2013-2016) | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_(TV_series)

The pandemic rages on around the world and, here in Australia, we are lucky to have an almost-normal existence. 2020 undoubtedly sucked in many ways. Undoubtedly. I have written about its suckitude through the year – in blogposts, emails, and on Twitter.

That said, there were elements to it that I found really positive and I want to talk about the Top 3 of these in this post. Yes, I remain a sucker for listicles. I should preface all that follows with the caveat that I am (for the moment) in a continuing academic job and cushioned from many of the financial ramifications of living in lockdown and not being able to travel. Continue reading “Top 3 reasons why I liked 2020”

6 months in 1 post

Image created by Carolina Iplinsky as part of United Nations Global Call Out to Creatives | unsplash.com
Image created by Carolina Iplinsky as part of United Nations Global Call Out to Creatives | unsplash.com

It’s my last day of work for the year today.

It has taken the writing of a couple of end-of-year posts for me to build enough momentum to give this blog some love. The two other posts I’ve contributed to in the last few days are:

  • Surviving 2020 (final post for Research Whisperer; co-authored with Jonathan O’Donnell)
  • Looking at 2021 (final post for RED Alert; co-authored with Jeanette Fyffe, Dan Bendrups, and Jamie Burford)

If you read both of these posts, you’ll get an idea of how I’m feeling towards the year and what’s transpired. There was plenty I didn’t say, though, because of space and also the types of forums those blogs are. There are things I’d say on this personal blog that I wouldn’t as part of RW or RED Alert (and I realise there’s a whole blogpost in the whys/wherefores of that statement…). For a start, this post is really quite long… Continue reading “6 months in 1 post”

#chefbro recipe – kaya

I know some people live their whole lives without tasting kaya. It’s sad. 

Basically, kaya is a type of coconut jam –  an eggy, custardy, pandan-fragrant, delicious coconut jam. 

Kaya has big childhood resonance for me. My mother used to make it in the cramped kitchen of our family home in Brisbane, at night so the heat wasn’t usually too bad (says I, who never had to stay tethered to the hot-plate and double-boiler…).  Continue reading “#chefbro recipe – kaya”

#chefbro recipe – crumpet loaf

This blog is not a recipe blog, so it may seem odd that this post contains a recipe. Here’s why it’s here: I posted a couple of photos of my brother’s crumpet loaf on Twitter and the level of interest in it was remarkable.

Lots of people did not know such a thing existed – it is indeed a gift for humanity that it does – and quite a few were asking about a recipe. I thought this was the easiest way to share it as Twitter does not lend itself to sharing recipes, what with that 280 character limit and all.

The recipe and method is below, direct from my brother Kong Hian Khoo, the chef (aka #chefbro on my Twitterstream). Not only is he a fabulous chef, he’s also an excellent brother and human being. If I could emulate even half his generosity, good humour, and optimism, I would be a way better Tseen – and possibly someone you don’t recognise…

[Don’t worry, family, I’ll go back to sledging the dragon-seed soon]

Whole crumpet loaf | Photo by Tseen
Whole crumpet loaf | Photo by Tseen

Continue reading “#chefbro recipe – crumpet loaf”

When more = more

Nerd Nite snap by Nerd Nite photographer James Verhoeven.
Me hidden behind Clare’s hand, Steven in front, Jamie and Lise behind. Nerd Nite snap by Nerd Nite photographer James Verhoeven.

I’m a home-body. Have been my whole life. This has waxed and waned, though, and I’ve stumbled across journal entries from my late teens/early 20s where I seemed to go out just about all weekend – going from one thing to another, hanging out at various friends’ places, out to dinners and parties. That seems a long time ago, and I remember these heightened social times balanced with plenty of flaking out in my room and a richness of solitude or quietness with just my partner.

In my 30s, I travelled and did a lot academically – I spent almost a whole decade as a research fellow. This was pre-babies. Once babies hit, it was a different ballgame and kettle of fish. Yes, both of those. Continue reading “When more = more”

A January post

Photo from ‘Crossing Lines’ exhibition, Jan 2020. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/keith-haring-jean-michel-basquiat

I’m getting in early this year with a post to set the tone, if not the pace.

Realistically, with running two other blogs that publish weekly (and have much more invested in their regular schedule), this blog will not get more love in 2020. I published five posts here last year. If I can match that this year, I’d be OK with it. Tseen’s life lessson: low expectations = frequent happiness.

I’m using this first post of 2020 to report back on my “Recharge wishlist” from our  last post for 2019 at Research Whisperer. In that post, Jonathan and I talked about how we were going to exhale and recharge over the holiday break. Continue reading “A January post”

The summit that was

Photo by Stephanie (@yiduiqie)
Photo by Stephanie (@yiduiqie)

I attended the second day of the Asian Australian Leadership Summit recently. It was a 2-day event, with a ‘next gen’ focus on the first day (that I unfortunately couldn’t attend – it looked fab and listed some excellent speakers).

The event on the second day that I attended, held in the SLV’s Roadshow theatrette, drew a big crowd. I was appreciative of the invitation, and the opportunity to be part of such an ambitious project. I am glad I attended and (re)met some fabulous people; people I probably wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this kind of gathering. It was a huge undertaking and I’m thankful to the organisers for creating a space for these conversations and cross-sector perspectives.

This post is a reflection on my experiences and the conversations that took place through the day. The intention is to examine the way issues and tropes manifested during the event, and is in no way intended to diminish the achievement of staging this important, complex, milestone summit. I am speaking from the position of an academic and long-time activist in Asian Australian Studies.

Continue reading “The summit that was”