Australia: Not the place I thought you were

The other day after work, I was flowing with the peak hour crowd down Anzac Parade, when I witnessed something awful.

An Aboriginal man was heckling and shoving an East Asian man. The Indigenous guy was yelling obscenities and things like “Go back to where you came from!” to the suited up Asian guy, who was trying, literally, to shake him off. That was Awkward thing Number 1.

People just watched. And did nothing. That was Awkward thing Number 2.

By people, I mean mainly Asian people. The University of New South Wales appears to be predominantly Asian, even the law faculty – a contrast with the College of Law at my own alma mater. That was Awkward thing Number 3.

And I did nothing because, frankly, I’m both Asian and female. I actually thought I might get hit. That was Awkward thing Number 4.

It made me think about how Australia is not the place I thought it was when I was little. Continue reading Australia: Not the place I thought you were

Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

The wrong question? As soon as the question escaped my lips I knew that I had become That Annoying Person Who Asks The Stupid Question That Misses The Point. My poorly articulated question spread across the auditorium like a bad taste on the palate. I was at the Justice Conference in Melbourne, and it was an “In conversation with…” session on the intersection of art and justice which ended up … Continue reading Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

Defrag this

In the days before I converted to Mac, defragging my PC was a standard part of my life. I would order things in neat folders and subfolders, name files consistently and accurately then conscientiously delete them when they were superseded by newer versions. Alas, my PC would still take its sweet, sweet time with even basic tasks. It would limp along on the best of days and … Continue reading Defrag this

What feels like home

4,000m above sea level and 400,000m from the closest shore of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Sunday afternoon in the park somehow became one of the defining elements of my life in La Paz.

Now, at sea level and right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Monday evening in Manly is becoming an anchor, a touchpoint, to each week here in Sydney.

It’s funny, the unlikely things that make me feel at home. Continue reading What feels like home

80% Australian

Approaching this Australia Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Australianness. Or lack thereof. It’s not that I’m experiencing epic reverse culture shock now that I’m back in Australia (just a little …), but certainly the relationship between my personal identity and my country has undergone significant transformation. As a child I felt more foreign than I should have. Probably because I went to a really … Continue reading 80% Australian

2016: Resolving me

I’m an anti-resolutionist. I’ve always been sceptical about the value of New Year’s resolutions. Occasionally I’d humour my sister when she wanted to be accountability buddies – I’d scribble down some random objectives and then conveniently lose that piece of paper. After all, New Year’s resolutions are something I don’t need. Why should I buy into this lame tradition? (I don’t get why this is a thing) … Continue reading 2016: Resolving me

Next stop: Sydney

Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney

Still twentynothing

Almost-no-longer-twentysomething. That’s how I described myself a month ago. Since then, I’ve done some soul searching, some job searching and some Google searching. All of which suggests I’m more of a twentynothing. Linked In shows me former classmates with fancy jobs at top law firms. Selection criteria for jobs I’d like don’t align with my skills and experience. Career blogs tell me that to get said skills … Continue reading Still twentynothing

Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes

October 3 She is lovely. Creamy vintage lace, delicate buttons all down her back, descending into a sweeping fishtail. I fumble through the chapel, out of time with the music, but whatever. She floats down the aisle after me. Dad is smart in his officer’s white dress suit although he only reluctantly links arms with her. The day is lovely. Agreeable sun, genuine smiles. People we haven’t seen in years. A photo here, … Continue reading Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes