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”

Things to spruik 1

Comic Sans - issue 2 | Photo by Rachel Ang
Comic Sans – issue 2 | Photo by Rachel Ang

I wrote ‘Asian Australian Voices‘ in July 2016 and, since then, I’ve had so many things to add.

This is because I missed things out, they started after that last listing, I came to things later, or I just feel like more people should know about the fab work that’s going on with these peeps. If I had done my PhD around now, I would’ve been spoilt for material to study and critical takes on so many cultural works, and I’m saying that knowing full well that there’s a long, long way to go in terms of representation from, and opportunities for, Asian Australian writers, performers, artists, and other cultural workers.

Note that this listing is highly subjective and testament to the wonderful bubble of networks I have around me. I should also mention that my ability to categorise consistently is also rubbish. Caveat emptor!

I realise there’s plenty of other top-shelf stuff out there (please share them in the comments if you’d like!).

I have titled this post ‘Things to spruik 1’ in anticipation of more to come – I would love to write a series of these posts, noting the uber-fab things that you all get up to. Continue reading “Things to spruik 1”

What does 2018 bring?

Card from the peeps. My nerdy fandom wishes come true. How did they know?
Card from the peeps. My nerdy fandom wishes come true. How did they know?

It has been good to be in a stepped-down space (for those who don’t know, I’m no longer convenor of the AASRN).

The best thing about stepping down is doing so and knowing that the network is in excellent hands. Hands that are much more enthusiastic about developing the network in fresh ways, and have new networks of their own with which to strengthen the groups already there.

It’s not that I didn’t want to grow possibilities, but I had been there so long that the continuous work of managing the network, other projects, and the brain-space it took up made me feel tired towards it. Instead of looking for opportunities and taking risks with new connections, I looked at what was manageable and efficient.

That’s not good for the network or, ultimately, me. Continue reading “What does 2018 bring?”

It’s time

 

Photo by Annie Spratt | unsplash.com
Photo by Annie Spratt | unsplash.com

One of the first things I did in 2018 was to step down officially as convenor of the AASRN.

It’s a role I’ve had ever since the research network was formally established in 2006. Before that, I was functioning more or less as the convenor when the network was an informal group that came together after the original Asian Australian Identities conference in Canberra in 1999.

That’s about 18 years at the helm. That’s a long time.

In that time, I’ve moved through six different jobs, four universities, shifted states, had two kids, and trudged through countless angstful episodes about career direction and professional identity.  Continue reading “It’s time”

The increasing relevance of our Asian Australian cohorts (Tseen Khoo and Jen Tsen Kwok)

[This article originally appeared in Eureka Street on 1 October 2017, and is reproduced here with original figures derived by ABS census data by Jen Tsen Kwok, who blogs at Borderless Democracy]

It would be fair to say that Australia is in a hyper-nationalist phase. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is back in the Federal Parliament, extremist anti-migration micro-parties have gained a foothold, and recent proposals for migrant entry echo the days of the White Australia dictation tests, which was once used to exclude those who were considered ‘undesirable’.

Asian students in Brisbane

Yet, our national population is more diverse than ever, particularly when it comes to those of Asian Australian heritage. Just how diverse is something we need to examine more closely if we are to develop a more inclusive, welcoming society. Continue reading “The increasing relevance of our Asian Australian cohorts (Tseen Khoo and Jen Tsen Kwok)”

Asian Australian voices

Stuff happens | Photo by Kim Tairi Released under CC licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0
Ninja | Photo by Kim Tairi
Released under CC licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

Just recently, the lovely Katherine Firth (@katrinafee on Twitter) asked what I’d suggest if she wanted to read more from Asian voices in Australia on various sociopolitical issues.

Specifically, she outlined the genres of text she was interested in as “Sociology/ reportage / special editions journals / activist polemic”.

I started crafting a few tweets in my head, and thought of several links and articles straight away, then realised that it was probably much more useful – and user-friendly – if I just blogged it!

At first, when I thought about what Katherine had asked for, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t think of what might be the best places to get started or which articles to read. I’d been immersed in Asian Australian Studies perspectives on everything for so long, I had to take a deliberate step back to see how a (savvy, highly intelligent, research-oriented) newcomer might most usefully find a way into the diverse and multi-voiced material that’s out there.

Continue reading “Asian Australian voices”

Conversations in contrast

pineapplecrush-TK
Photo by Tseen Khoo

I was at an event at the Immigration Museum recently.

There was a savvy panel of Asian Australian intellectuals and creatives from Peril magazine and Asian Australian Democracy Caucus.

They generated a fantastic critical race conversation and covered big, exciting territory about nation-state identities, exclusionary processes, dispossession, and everyday racisms and their consequences for senses of community.

Most of the people in the room were activist inclined and on board with the debates – not always in agreement, but willing to take on the issues and talk about them.

There were several white audience members – mostly older and male – who were deeply uncomfortable, if not openly hostile, to the presentations taking place in front of them.  Continue reading “Conversations in contrast”

2 gigs in two weeks!

  1. Excited to be presenting a workshop on “Getting started on social media” for the AASRN with Tom Cho next Monday night (16 Feb 2015). It has already proven to be good fun and highly educational for me because I’ve never worked with Tom on this kind of thing before. We google-doc’d and Prezi’d together throughout the last week, and it was a very good experience.I’ve never used Prezi before – EVER – so learning about the new app was useful. I have had a few bad experiences with Prezi (that nausea everyone talks about) and wasn’t sure about it. Now that I’ve played with it a bit more, though, I think it has huge potential and people just need to rein in their enthusiasm about any given presentation’s visual mobility!We’re hoping that this session, focussed on helping Asian Australian communities to engage via social media, will be the first in a series of activist/lobbying/outreach events that will get Asian Australian research, topics, and debates out into the broader public sphere. These kinds of processes should also create conversations and further networks within Asian Australian groups that will generate more cultural and political activity. And, to me, this is always a good thing.
  2. The second gig is at ACMI in Federation Square and I’m chairing an amazing panel of Asian Australian creative talent. “Growing up Chinese in Australia” (TUES 24 Feb 2015) is part of the China Up Close festival, and features William Yang, Annette Shun Wah, Benjamin Law, and Juliana Qian. After the panel is the Melbourne premiere screening of Yang’s Blood Links. I have fan-girled these people for varying amounts of time, in different ways, and being able to participate in the event is just dreamy.

benjamin-law-tony-ayres-hero-2-small

Nhu “Ned” Kelly – P.M. Newton’s novels

PMnewtonjI’d been wanting to read P.M. Newton’s The Old School for a very long time. Ever since it came out in 2010, actually.

My buddy, Rodney, who is quite the afficionado of Australian crime fiction, had mentioned it to me and I was immediately taken with the idea of a Vietnamese Australian detective in 1990s Sydney.

It took me till 2013 to read The Old School (thanks, @oanh_1)and I included it as part of my AWW 2013 listing. The impending publication of Newton’s second novel with the same lead character – Nhu “Ned” Kelly – spurred me to get a hold of the first. I inhaled the book, with its fast-paced narrative and tough, adeptly attuned characterisations. Then I eagerly awaited the second.

Beams Falling sat on a library shelf one weekend, tempting me with its new-bookish allure. I snatched it up immediately.

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Placeholder Post

No Little Birdies (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
No Little Birdies (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

Best intentions and all. Life’s totally overtaken my blogging schedule.

I started a new job at a new institution recently, and my new commute is 3 hours a day. While I thought this would mean OMG so much writing time, it has not come to pass. On a swaying bus, the best ‘work’ I can do is checking emails + tweeting from my various accounts (AASRN and Research Whisperer, mostly).

I’m keeping this here as a placeholder until things settle down. I’ve started dozens of posts, but never saw them through. Poised over the keyboard, thinking I needed to write something insightful and worthwhile shunting out into the world, I usually balk.

So, if you’re looking at this blog because you’ve found me via one of the hats I wear, here are some shortcuts for finding the kind of stuff you might be interested in:

Meanwhile, as I’ve been saying for about five years, I need to start shedding some roles…