I was never much of a dreamer as a kid. Forget being a princess, pilot, pop star or police officer. All I ever aspired to was to be an accountant – a short degree with strong job prospects.*
I’m not even kidding. To tell you the truth, I was an unambitious and cynical child.
The funny thing is that somewhere along the way into adulthood, I did start dreaming.
I dreamed of changing the world. Perhaps it was born of a desire to prove that my unambitious and cynical younger self was so, so wrong.
Changing the world hardly seemed a dream to me, though. In my early-to-mid-twenties, I started to appreciate that changing the world is within reach of each of us, that the smallest gesture can be a part of a bigger picture. That it doesn’t have to be dramatic or headline-worthy to be, well, worthy. To count as real change.
And since it was something I was already in the process of doing, it never seemed a far off reality. It never seemed far away enough to be called a dream.
So whaddya know – it seems I’ve been living the dream.
But there are also dreams I’m yet to live. These are not things I hope I manage to do before I die, nor will I feel unfulfilled if they don’t happen. Far from being a bucket list, this is a set of six longings that speak to the core of who I am.
I’m sharing them with you here, to encourage you to discover (if you haven’t already) and reflect on your own dreams. Continue reading The deepest dreams
The other day my dad kindly informed me that if I ever stood for politics I’d need to renounce my Malaysian citizenship. This, of course, occurred in the context of the dual citizenship debacle that has kept Australia entertained for the last few months. Now I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that my father thinks a political career is a real possibility … Continue reading Going for glocal
Sometimes I think I might have made a great bureaucrat. But alas, I don’t like ticking boxes. And so it is that since graduating, I’ve given up ticking the boxes and being boxed in. Instead, I’m beating the box and I’m boxing the ticks. Continue reading Notes from a champion tickboxer
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
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
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
I’ve never been one for fireworks. So when she went ballistic I shrunk and tried to zen myself back to a place of balance. I should have seen it coming from her tone, low and ominous, foreshadowing a storm. Yet the thunder and lightning that followed still came as a shock to me. I put my hands up and used sorry like an umbrella, like a … Continue reading Easter Peace-ster
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
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
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