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.

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Talking the talk

Photo by Tseen Khoo | www.flickr.com/photos/tseenster
Photo by Tseen Khoo | http://www.flickr.com/photos/tseenster
It has been a long time coming but I’ve finally, FINALLY set up a photo account where I can share my images.

I’ve made them all Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

When I wrote this post on Finding the perfect image for the RED Alert blog, I was itching to get my own images online and spread the love.

My friend Jonathan O’Donnell had encouraged me to take my own photos to use for my blogging, and I have been doing precisely that for around 5 years now.

In that RED Alert post, I said:

I take more photos than I did before, and I get to exercise my artistic eye. I don’t necessarily know if they’ll be used on a blogpost but I have my own archive to choose from now. I’ll be putting them up somewhere so other people can use them, too, when I get some time (!). It’s my form of giving back to the online community that has given me so many excellent, free things to use.

So, on annual leave, I have made the time to start building the collection I’ve been wanting to share.

I hope that you’ll make use of them, play with them, use them on events and invitations and other projects. I know they’re not the best images in the entire world, but I’ve had a lot of fun and it has given me another way to take in what’s around me.

My pics are here on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tseenster

 

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

Expressions of Interest: #whispercon 2016 (29 August, ANU)

 

whispercon

The way #whispercon works: each of the five key participants get to invite four people to the gig.

I have used two of my invites and wanted to gift the other two to my broader network of Twitter peeps.

I want to do this for a few reasons. The main one is that, even though I am a big cynic about many things, one thing Twitter has taught me is that there are many potential collaborators and #circleofniceness members out there I may not have had the chance to get to know better.

I love the friends who’ll be getting together in Canberra, and I recognise that growing this wise, positive, supportive bunch serves all of our interests.

My bias is towards those with interests in researcher development, digital communities, and effective, savvy ways for researchers to build non-academic organisational collaborations for the longer-term.

So, if you’re interested in being considered for one of my #whispercon invites, please:

  • Read about the format and aims of #whispercon 2016.
  • Know that the event is in Canberra + we offer no funding.
  • Email me (tseenkhoo@gmail.com) for a link to a short questionnaire. And, yes, I’m deliberately putting an extra step in there.

Expressions of interest welcome till MON 18 April 2016. 

My final decision will be based on entirely opaque personal preferences. I’ll let people know within a week of the closing date.

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EDITED TO ADD: We’ll be welcoming four wonderful people to #whispercon in 2016 – 2 from my open invites, and another 2 from two of my colleagues each making one of their invites open. 

Thanks for your interest and excellent enthusiasm for #whispercon, Kath Albury, Roanna Gonsalves, Linda Kirkman, and Sharon McDonough. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you to the event in August. 

Where RW can take me

ECUlibrary
ECU Library, Joondalup, WA  |  Photo by Tseen Khoo

I’ve just returned from a brilliant trip to WA – to Perth and Edith Cowan University. ECU – Joondalup, to be precise.

I was invited to ECU by Con Wiebrands (ECU’s University Librarian), to give a presentation to her Library staff and Research Office people, too. It was the first time I’d been invited to give a presentation to an audience that was not higher degree researchers or early career researchers.

It felt like a challenge, and my presentation on “What ECRs want” aimed to generate intra-university connection and collaboration to create an enabling ECR research environment.

There were several notable things about this gig, which came about because of The Thesis Whisperer’s advocacy and my work on The Research Whisperer with Jonathan O’Donnell.

One of things I realise repeatedly and gratefully since about mid-2012, is that RW is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We have had so many lovely opportunities to meet with excellent colleagues and try out new audiences, and to be able to share the experiences and wisdom of so many researchers.

Knowing how much rides on invited speakers, it’s always an honour to be approached as an event guest. We often find ourselves giving talks and workshops at society conferences, as part of professional development programs, and within ‘research week’ activities.

For 2015, Jonathan and I have been invited to present across many topics, around Australia. Here’s our speaking trail: RW live!

As well as being invited presenters at others’ events, Jonathan convened the first Whispercon, hosted by RMIT, in August this year. If you want to have a peek at what went on, here’s the Storify from Whispercon, and a post that Jonathan wrote afterwards, How the Whisper workshop works. The 2nd Whispercon is planned for Canberra in 2016.

The second thing that was notable about this WA trip is I got to meet Con face to face.  Continue reading

Less blog, and moar blog

Photo by chrysics | www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics
Photo by chrysics | http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics

It’s ironic that I wrote a post about whether blogging could be a hobby for Research Whisperer, professed my love of blogging, and yet I haven’t posted here since mid-February!

The issue I discussed in the RW post was: if you’re blogging about work topics, and the blog profile adds to professional gravitas, can it actually be a hobby? Hobby implies something you do in your leisure time, not ‘work’. My lines were blurred, and have always been in academia. It’s a common problem.

The first thing I drop when I’m under the gun for other blog deadlines is this one. My personal and first blog.

I recently deleted a whole heap of posts from this blog. I had used this blog as a repository for AASRN-type info and updates for quite a few years, before the network developed into having its own identity and social media outlets. Even as I hit ‘delete’ on mass-selected posts, I was wondering whether I’d regret it.

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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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PHOTO: There’s no going back to the Big Pineapple

A big pineapple of the past (photo by Tseen Khoo)
A big pineapple of the past (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

As kids, our family loved the Big Pineapple. We loved going there ourselves, and we took just about every single visitor there as well. Our photo albums are peppered with now-faded shots of various clan members. Complete with big sunglasses and perms. Everything about our trips there signalled excitement, visitors, and happy tension. Childhood’s salad days before we could see past the fibreglass and merchandising.

When I try to think about what it was exactly that we were drawn to, I’m left somewhat empty-handed. I remember the old advertisements on TV that featured ridiculously tall parfaits (that I never had) and the Macadamia Nut Train.

On a recent trip to Queensland, we stopped by the Big Pineapple for old times’ sake. To see it as it is today, and scotch the rumours that we’d all heard that it had been taken away.

It was there. The photo for this post was taken there in September 2014. Surrounding it were grassy, cracked car-parks, rundown novelty stalls, and overgrown pineapple patches. There was an odd little zoo further down the block. Everything felt a little defeated and sad.

We left thinking we didn’t need to go back to the Big Pineapple any more.