Sunday, November 4, 2012

A prayer for gay marriage

"Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord."
This is one of my favourite things that the priest says when closing Mass.

So it was both a responsibility and privilege when I was asked to read this prayer at the wedding of some very dear friends of mine, just recently:

"We are reminded today that many do not share the same freedoms that we do. Like our friends in same sex relationships who cannot take part in the ritual of marriage. 

We pray that we might live in a just and equal society that sees and values the Love and Humanity in each other."

We tweaked the wording but I really like the sentiment of this prayer. It is peaceful and loving. It is unselfish and kind.

The moral of this random shit is: listen to your heart and do good. It serves us all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Everton Bus Shelter

"STOP THE CAR!!!!!" I yelled. My fella surprised, glanced over and caught just enough of the sight to see that it was worth finding a safe spot to do so. "Huh?" was the response from Lou in the back seat in a tone that said, "whatever-the-hell-could-be-so-important-that-you'd-yell-unwelcome-like-that".

Well dear reader, here's a GIF showing what brought on the outburst:


Here's the ensuing photoshoot:

More GIF showing that Lou soon saw and also loved the Everton Bus Shelter:


The moral of this random shit is that needless to say, the countryside is full of some awesome stuff - get out with your mates and enjoy it!

Love this bus shelter? Read about the "Mad Lot from Everton", the awesome crew behind the Everton Bus Shelter! Thank you for the joy you added to our roadtrip today!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vintage books on Australian flowers

I love flowers.

So I am particularly pleased to have picked up these vintage books at the Maling Road Antique Market in Canterbury for $2 and $3 a piece, check out the covers:


The photography is beautiful in that saturated sunny-hazed way of the 1970s.

I love both covers but the black-eyed red Sturt Pea reminds me of the Fred Williams exhibition I visited earlier this year where I marvelled at his abstract, vibrant Australian landscapes and appreciation of the Sturt desert pea:
Sturt desert pea (1974) by Fred Williams

Such gems; goes to show how it pays off to have time to rummage through the bargain box!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Different

As someone who spends a lot of time looking past the grey swarm and “seeing people”, I get annoyed when people only see me in one way. That is, when they only see “Asian”, “Girl” or “chick who likes fashion”. It affects me professionally, socially, romantically. Melbourne writer Benjamin Law wrote about race-based attraction on Grindr and as a single looking for that someone special whilst out and about in the city that I love; I can add that it was character-building to so often be met with prejudiced eyes.

I love being Australian. I’ve lived overseas and goodness, you should see how I wave the banner for home by sharing Barbeque shapes, Tim Tams and showing “the right way to have Vegemite” – just a smidge over lusciously-buttered bread. However, I also know that despite being born here and being so proud… on home ground the sense of comfort that I have in being Australian can be whipped out from underneath me at any time with a  “so, where do you come from?”

A few years ago now at work, a senior staff member asked me to give a team presentation about Chinese New Year. Because you know, I’m Chinese. What they didn’t know is that my heritage is Indonesian Chinese; my Opa (that’s Dutch for “Grandfather”) sent his daughters to Australia because the Indonesians under Suharto were curtailing Chinese rights. My parents’ Chinese schools, the Chinese-language newspaper were closed down, Chinese people were required to change their surnames to Indonesian ones to stamp out Chinese culture.* I had to Wikipedia the presentation.

However while fuming to my friends about the presentation, I was taken aback when one of my well-meaning friends exclaimed, “yeah Chezzy, why you? You’re not Asian, you’re Australian!”


There’s been much ado online about this interview that Herald Sun Fashion Ed Kate Waterhouse held with the insanely fabulous, Christina Hendricks. As a fan of the TV show Mad Men, I am also a very big fan of Hendricks’ portrayal of feisty Joan who at the point I’ve watched up to (end of Season 4), seems to be realising that men aren’t the answer and she’s gonna have to save herself to have the life that she wants. Anyhow in this interview that has gone viral, Waterhouse asked Hendricks’ "what it was like to be a role model for full figured women" and "to tell a story, to give an example to show how." Hendricks took offence at the question, shut down the interview and later called the question “rude”; which got me thinking.
Being "different" can have its downside but... 
Tell me if it's different but I related to Hendricks' reaction; I find it disappointing when people choose to focus and constantly refer to my being Asian in the way Hendricks might feel constantly being seen and referred to as “full-figured”. There is a shitload more to each of us. But for some reason, society or the people in positions like Waterhouse can only see how we're different, to them. And to be fair, it's not just Waterhouse, in an interview with the cast of Charlie's Angels, Rove McManus asked Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz "how hard was it to learn martial arts for the film?" indicating that he didn't need to ask the third Angel, Lucy Liu. Liu quipped, "why? because I'm Asian?"

We are different to the norm. Hendricks has her figure and I have colour. And it is the first thing that a lot of people see. Tina Fey wrote in her book, Bossypants, that she could tell a person based on how they treated her after seeing the scar on her face. You know what they see, it's always interesting to see how they respond.  I try to stay calm so that I can tell the difference between rudeness and ignorance and try to react appropriately. The difference between some drunk guy in a bar yelling, “KONICHIWA” in my face and the staff member asking me to give the presentation on Chinese New Year: the first instance, rudeness; the second, ignorance. 

I also don't believe in the level of political-correctness that we've come to in some places; to the point that we also don't reasonably call things as they are. I’ve been reading Layne Beachley’s biography and she talks about the teasing that she used to cop from the boys who surfed on the best part of the beach; where she wanted a go. The boys dished out the teasing and Beachley learnt that she liked standing up for herself.  Sure Waterhouse’s posing of the full-figured question (seriously "tell me a story" - come on, Kate!)  to Hendricks was clumsy and came across to me as condescending coming from one so (as she puts it herself), “slight”. I do feel though that Hendricks could have reacted in a more sophisticated way with a clever answer that would’ve had us fist-pumping. Like “only the full-figured ones? Only women?”

So regardless of whether we've dealt with the way that society looks at us, why should Hendricks, any person, even have to be a role model? This question was posed by Melbourne writer, Clementine Ford, in her reaction to the Waterhouse/Hendricks interview. Now, I’ve referred to Ford in the past as her pieces often express how I feel about a situation, albeit with far more advanced writing skills and facts and stuff. See how her work is quoted by Hugo Schwyzer in this piece on Jezebel. Such good brains. So much so that I was getting ready to defer all critical thinking to Ford until she wrote this piece on the Waterhouse-Hendricks saga.

Christina Hendricks isn't the first female celebrity who's had to bear her actual career being sidelined for the less interesting pursuit of Professional Role Model, and she certainly won't be the last. We have this incessant need in our celebrity obsessed culture to turn potentially unwilling and often inappropriate people into ‘role models’.

And why do we reward women for modelling good, conservative behaviour to young girls and punish those who refuse to play the game?

I’m tired of being told that I need role models to look up to, particularly when they reinforce very limited versions of womanhood. I agree that we need to showcase more diversity in the media, but offering patronising squeals about impossibly beautiful women isn’t the answer.

I grew up in the suburbs blaring Bon Jovi. I loved “Sleep when I’m Dead.” The video clip of a bunch of cheeky, womanizing rockers inspired me years before I really understood what their songs were about. I don’t believe that we can choose who we influence or are role models for. I believe that there are folks who work in the public eye who genuinely want to do a good job because they know that they have the skills and talent; the attention they get is a by-product that comes with the territory and which is something they have to go on and manage. While I was photographing Winter Olympian Steven Bradbury last year, I was struck by how many random people would stop and wait to shake his hand for something that he did a decade ago. A bloke stopped with his family, pointed out Bradbury and told his kids about the gold medal. Bradbury, an athlete will tell you that he worked damn hard and persevered against all odds to achieve what he did but people will always see him as a fortuitous accidental winner (even though he'd worked for 12 years, represented Australia a bunch of times and also won by accident in the semi-final in the lead up to the final). Bradbury uses that profile to speak on the motivational circuit and showcases his own cheek through the jokes that he makes that may shock the audience but drew lots of laughs the two times I've heard him deliver them. 

Which brings me to my next point that  I also disagree with Ford’s assertion that we necessarily have to, “behave”. I agree that Disney infantalises its female talent such as Miley Cyrus etc. but Disney does not have a monopoly on creating role models and neither do conservative parental groups. We're never going to please everyone but I do believe that with the rise of self-publishing, "the different" are able to put out their own stories and grow a readership to such an extent that there has been a shift in the public conscious. I feel that the public eye is ready for the less-angelic - where it is humble, self-aware more authentic and therefore, resonates. Take Gala Darling for example, creator of the Radical Self Love Project. If you haven't already - make the time to watch her TEDx talk below: 
Lady has been through a lot, what a trooper. But she battles through things and in doing so, shines a light for others to live their authentic selves. And she's one of gazillions of people who do this everyday which goes to show how widely we can take inspiration/role modeling from when we choose to look past what's shown to us on TV. Another "different" role model is blogger Carly Findlay who amongst many other things (like our mutual love for Bon Jovi) blogs about her life living with skin condition ichthyosis.

For those of us who know that we’re different…Society isn’t going to get over our being different to the “norm” any time soon. So for the most part we will be token representations of “our kind”, we will have to answer the most inane questions. I know that Findlay cops an obscene number of comments from perfect strangers. It's tiresome. But once we get over our being different, we get to move on and shift focus to our other talents and work. It’s up to us to shape our own paths and not buy into structures that will package and market us out as things that we’re not and in the case of Disney starlets; at an age when we’re not sure what we are, just yet. And it's not just for ourselves or other people "like us", it's for everyone. 

In case you're wondering about what I did with the presentation; I ended up seeing the latter as an opportunity to do what I enjoy the most; create engaging content to educate and entertain. I got Caucasian Nick to deliver the presentation in Chinese and I in English. It was well-received although the senior staff member seemed to think that I took the piss a little. Yes I was but I like to think that it made the point that there was more to Nick; unexpectedly fluent in Chinese and knowing about the traditions as he’d studied and lived in China; and more to me as people expect me to be some sort of compliant little Asian girl without spark. Ha.

Being different. How people respond to you says a lot more about them. That said, how you choose to deal with them or let it affect you says lots about you. And if you can use it for good, why wouldn't you?

*Dad was able to switch back to his Chinese name when he reached Australia because it was on his original birth certificate but we no speak the Chinese. But before you feel sorry for our loss of cultural heritage, it's not all lost; we still get red packet. woo.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

True Self: Ballerina Barbie and me

I never really wanted a Barbie a doll until I was around 5 years old and saw the one on TV.

I remember watching the ad; there was a stage with deep-red velvet curtains. A spotlight beamed and in twirled the Ballerina Barbie. She had a tutu and pink ballet shoes that laced up. I was mesmerised.

I wasn't sure I was supposed to believe in Santa but that year my parents seemed to really want me to. So when they asked me to find what Santa had brought me that year, I ran to the fireplace and-oops look - Santa had dropped a present there! When I tore the package open- well it really was Christmas ;)

I remember going to school and for the first time noticing that my hair wasn't like that of the other kids. I got home and looked at Ballerina Barbie and noticed that she had their hair. It was so long, yes she had plenty; surely we could share! So I pulled out scissors from my pencil case and carefully cut her long blonde hair. I put the chunks onto sticky tape which I then stuck over my own black bob and went to check myself out in the mirror.

I was so surprised. I was so disappointed; I didn't look like them. I looked like me but silly. Ridiculous. I looked at Ballerina Barbie with her new bob; she didn't look as good as she did before either. Most people would realise that they needed a better hairdresser but there was something about that moment. It made me realise that I wasn't ever going to be like anyone else, that it was better for everyone if I was just me.

Mum asked me why I'd cut Barbie's hair; I told her it was because I thought that she'd want to have a bob hairstyle like me. Mum's kept all of my toys and I remember coming across Ballerina Barbie when we were moving house; gosh how I felt a pang of shame when I saw her.

Tonight. I bought a piece of artwork. It's for a good cause and was priced ridiculously well but brought these old memories up to the surface.

A collaboration between artist David Bromley and photographer Christian Blanchard to help raise funds for Fitted For Work... I remember the impression it made on me when I first saw Bromley's portraits of Asian girls. Sure they were topless but it was the first time that I'd seen a contemporary artist portraying Asian girls in a sensual, alluring way like the blonde ones...

Me with photographer Christian Blanchard and his collaborative piece with David Bromley
I have no idea where I'm going to put this piece when I finally take hold of it.

It is going to be on display for a bit - so I've time to think.

In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out this piece and 51 others in this really great exhibition titled True Self produced by The Jacky Winter Group and on display on level 1 of Melbourne's GPO until June 24.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The time I fell off Kealey's shed

There are things a fashion blogger will do in order to get the right shot. Like fall off the roof of a shed into a vegie patch, then climb back up in order to "get the shot".

Random shit that I left behind to get the shot:

my skin...

Shit happens, carry on
Back on solid ground
My hero :)
And now for some shots of the delightful Doris who pretty much fulfilled what I was hoping to achieve; I now realise that it'd mean not wearing high heels ;)

Many thanks to the awesome-face Kealey for helping me get my desired shots and not photographing me while I was splayed in her veggie patch!

The moral of this random shit is to make sure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date... and if you're going to fall into a veggie patch; take care to avoid the pumpkins ;)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Family story

This month I took part in #b03, Steve Hopkin's challenge to share a blog post every day for the month of March. I have another blog that was already running six days a week and I felt that I was cheating somehow by only needing to do one more post. So I set myself the challenge here to jot down a family story every day.

Over the years, Mum and Dad have shared various anecdotes with me of which I shared 16 during this month. At one stage I sat down and wrote down 20 with the idea to locate the old family photos to tie off the month with these nostalgic images.

However as I went along, I wondered whether I'd recalled the stories correctly so have jotted them down so that I can check the factual accuracy with my parents.

My plan is to complete writing down the stories, I haven't figured out whether that'll be here or simply in the book I plan to create to gift to my Mum for her upcoming birthday.

I attended Trampoline Day today where Niki held a session on the Stories and their Wisdom. She talked about how traditional stories that were passed down from generation to generation usually had a truth in them that was important to the culture. This caused me to reflect on my family story project. In writing about my resilient and entrepreunerial great-grandmother, I know that I've found a source of strength. In writing about my parents and how they really didn't have any other choice but to migrate to Australia, I now have a better understanding of why my parents decided to uproot us and move us to South Korea in the 90s. Dad always said that it's because he wanted us to be adaptable, just in case. I get that now.

I hope that one day I have the guts to make the jumps that my great-grandmother made, that my parents made for my brother and I.

As an auditor, I'm constantly advising organisations to document their procedures to mitigate against the risk of knowledge loss in the event of staff turnover. Now, I'm going to start recommending that everyone documents their family story too!

Read all family stories. Read all of my #b03 posts (not always family-story-related!).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Story 16: Leader of the pack

What my father told me:

I was class captain every year that I was in school and school captain in my final year. When we learned English we thought that it was strange how much emphasis was placed on learning to talk about the weather: in Indonesia it’s always hot and humid!

I arrived in Sydney with two of my other friends. Quickly we learnt that Australian weather changes a lot! We were frugal and picked up jobs as day labourers. After paying rent, the only thing that we could afford was a fresh loaf of bread and a jar of IXL jam. We devoured the lot everyday.

My two friends didn’t think that the struggle was worth it, went back home and went onto become very rich businessmen.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Story 15: Driver

What my mother told me:

I had a driver whose job it was to drive me. He would take me to wherever I wanted and drop me off. If I’d forgotten to leave him a tip for him to buy his lunch, he’d have a long face when I came back. He taught me how to ride a bicycle in the driveway of your great-grandmother’s factory.

He taught one of your aunties how to drive a car. On her first day she crashed and killed a goat. The farmer was so angry and made her buy the goat. So the servants were very happy because they got to have the goat for dinner.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Story 14: my friend

What my mother told me:

I was the youngest. Your uncle was my closest sibling but he was 4 years older which is still a big gap and he was a boy. I had a little maid who was about the same age as me and we were very close. We played together and every night she would sleep in my room but on the floor. I hated that there was a difference between us. I always asked her to come and sleep with me in my bed but she never would saying, “no no, Miss I’m too dirty.”

When it was decided that I was moving to Australia, we cried lots but I promised her that I’d come back for her and bring her to Australia where we would grow up, have our own children and always be friends.  

One day she was walking down the street carrying a jar of oil, she tripped and fell forward. The glass jar broke and she cut herself badly. They got her to hospital but you can't get any treatment unless you pay upfront. The servants didn’t have any money to pay for a blood transfusion so she died.

I came home to Indonesia for the holidays and couldn’t find my friend. When they told me what had happened, I couldn’t cry. I sat, staring out of the window, silent. There’s this bird that makes a wailing sound. It wailed and it wailed all day and the servants kept saying, “that’s your little maid, Miss – she’s crying to say that she’s sorry she’s not here.”

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Story 13: Snack foods

What my mother told me:

In Indonesia the land is very fertile and there is food literally growing everywhere. One of my favourites was the tallow plant which grew along the road near our house. My little maid and I would go for a walk then when I saw that the tallow plant was ready, we’d grab a few of the plants and run all the way home. The farmers (or people were cultivating the crops and were waiting for the plants to be ready to sell at the market would see and chase us home but we were so quick! The farmers would then knock on our doors ask)ing to be paid for what we’d stolen. The other servants would get upset with me, “Miss! You are making people angry! Why don’t you just ask us to buy this for you at the market?”

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Story 12: [White] Australia

What my mother told me:

I arrived in Melbourne in 1973 and lived with an Australian family. I remember walking through Shoppingtown with the family and people were looking at me. The father reached out and grabbed my hand in solidarity. I appreciated his sentiment but I was 15 and I thought “oh god, does it look worse that this old white man is holding my hand?”

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


No family story today. I had an amazing day where I felt engaged with my colleagues after 2.5 days of Enneagram exploration; covered a beautiful fashion show where I got to meet some great new people and see one of my besties whom I haven't seen in TOO LONG; overcame a fear and photographed a writer I admire; dined at a favourite place where I meant to make space to reflect on things but instead got drawn into some wonderful conversations with those around me; got home to work only to find that we've a blackout and no wireless. So I'm going to sit here in the dark and bask in the glow of a fine day in my life. Hope yours has been a great one too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Story 11: the basic solution

What my parents told me:

They closed down our schools. We had been going to the schools for ethnic Chinese. They closed down the Chinese newspapers and made all chinese change their names to Indonesian ones. Our old schools were turned into jails and people we knew were imprisoned there. There was this old guy we knew, we used to joke about how skinny he was and how plump his wife was. I think he had been a writer for the Chinese newspaper. When we walked by the old school which they had all walled up; sometimes we'd throw a banana peel over the wall and you could hear the prisoners scuffling for it but at least that meant they were still alive. They eventually released the skinny man but his wife had died in the meantime.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reflecting on the family story project

This business of jotting down a family story every day for the month of March for  #b03 is tricky business! I'm currently pretty busy with my day job, covering fashion week and riding my bike in the moomba parade. And as quickly as I try to jot down a story, ideally within a 15minute block, I spend countless moments thereafter reflecting on the story- how it was told to me, the emotions expressed by the sharer, how the story made me feel at the time and how I feel about the story today.

The first story was told to me when I was doing a year 7 project on heroes and I decided I wanted to write about my great-grandmother. It was a story my mother retold to me over the years as an example of why it's important to be financially independent and perspective: things aren't always as bad as you might think they are... 

My parents told me the story of how they fell in love when we were having breakfast in Paris. Yup. I'd been backpacking through Europe about the same time my parents were taking a cruise in the area and we managed to meet up in Paris, the city of love. I cannot tell you what a special time it was hanging out in Paris with my parents. I crashed my parents cute hotel room by sleeping on a single bed they hired for me. Dad snores so I had to wear ear plugs in order to be able to sleep. During the day, I showed them my Paris- Montmartre and we climbed the steps to Sacre Coeur and attended Mass. 

So on this gorgeous trip that was getting quite ludicrously so, I was being corny when I asked, "so how did you two fall in love?"

and the rest is history !

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moomba 2012

A break from the family story for the latest installment of random shit, Chez!

My friend Lara McPherson ropes me into some pretty random shit. Six weeks after we first met through Twitter, we found ourselves living on display at the State of Design Festival to launch what is now The Ace Fantastics!

Lara is one of the organisers of Melbourne Tweed Ride and the fashion runway at Melbourne Bike Festival. Both groups were invited to be in the 2012 Moomba parade, so off we went!

Dress Rehearsal
Friends know not to call me before 11am on a weekend as I'm usually catching up on sleep I've missed out on during the week. Nonetheless I received a wake-up call at 9.30am one morning to remind (more like TELL!) me that we had dress rehearsal! Despite cursing on my rushed ride over, being greeted by gorgeously costumed singing and dancing kids cheered me up immensely and made me very excited for what lay ahead!

the cutest kid: lara mcpherson
Dress rehearsal: check out the tree man walking on stilts!

Little Audreys (did you know that the vinegar skipping girl's name is Audrey?)

The Parade
New tactic to help me get to things on time: tell me to get there three hours before the event starts!

Here are my behind-the-scenes snaps of the food-themed 2012 Moomba!
my bike - I pimped it up with the yellow flowers and garlic, tomato and lemon when we were asked to decorate our bikes with the theme, "food". Extra pink flowers were added by organisers on the day!

Lisa Dempster of Melbourne Bike Festival
Clockwise from left: Dave poses with the blooms we've been given to pimp up our rides; Charlie & Paul; Pip from The Squeaky Wheel gives riders instructions! 

And now here are some little videos that we made along the way!

For more fun times, follow Lara!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Story 10: The Abbatoir

What my father told me:

I'd come down from Sydney to visit your Mum who was living in Melbourne. She'd be busy with school so I'd find myself work as a day labourer to keep myself busy. One of those jobs was in an abbatoir that was in Abbotsford.

It was my job to lead the animals to get slaughtered. The lambs and the cows didn't seem to have any idea and would follow easily but the pigs. The pigs, knew. They fought, squealed like anything and cried.

Afterwards it was my job to clean their blood by sweeping the floors of the abbatoir. In those days all the drains led straight into the Yarra river.

I lasted one day on that job but ask your mother and she'll tell you; I smelt of their blood for week.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03,
click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Circle of Life

The process of writing down a family story everyday has got me thinking about my own life and how I am shaping the next chapters with what I decide to do with my own.

A funny night tonight where I watched The Lion King and Tim Burton's Alice. The hero in the first had to remember who he was and his responsibility to step up. The heroine in the second had to come to her full muchness, kill the Jabberwocky (which I'm told symbolizes fear) so that she could drink its blood and return home.

The story of my great-grandmother is one that I've known since I decided to do a project on her in year 7 in response to topic "heroes". She was brave, industrious, independent and clever. The challenges that she faced and overcame fascinate me. I'm lucky to live in a time where women aren't dependent on their families. I'm in awe of how she managed her lovers while running a company and raising five children. She was by no means perfect...and in those ways I'm inspired to build on her story. Stay tuned?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Story 9: Marriage

What my mother told me:

Your great-grandmother’s business was doing very well, she became rich. Lots of men tried to woo her. She eventually found one and had more children with him but she never fully trusted him and despite his pleas, never married him.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Story 8: The Beach

What my father told me:

I had an auntie who was very wealthy and she owned a whole beach. Every holiday the family would go and we cousins would swim in the ocean. The area was still quite wild so that when you went to the toilet, if you didn’t go back to the house, you’d have to go in the jungle. There were wild pigs around which if you weren’t careful, would try to knock you over so they could get to your poo. I was little and swimming with all of my big cousins and I really had to do a poo. I didn’t want to go to the jungle and fight the wild pigs so I did it right there. When my cousins saw the poo bobbing around and realised it was me: how they cursed me! They yelled and swam away yelling that because I’d done a poo, the sea water would go up my bum and kill me. I thought they were telling the truth and I got very very scared.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


What my mother told me:

Your great-grandmother moved her five children into a little village to get away from the in-laws who didn’t like her. She had always been good at making traditional the herbal medicines, jamu. She would go from house-to-house making special concoctions to treat the people in her village. People found her medicine effective and word spread.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Words and numbers

What my mother told me:

When I was young, I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote some pieces, won a number of writing prizes and even had a piece published in the paper. When I came to Australia, my English wasn’t very good. It was so frustrating to not be able to express myself properly. Then I found mathematics. There was a really good nun at my school who encouraged me and would give me lots of exercises. I forgot about my frustration with words and learned about the beauty of numbers. I liked that numbers were always the same, no matter what language I had to try and speak.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Story 5: On falling in love

What my parents told me:

Dad: Your mum was still just a baby when I first met her. She was four years old and still in nappies!

Mum: I was not!

Dad: I was friends with your uncle and so we used to play together and your mum was one of the little kids who followed us around.

Mum: Then when I was 13 and in Indonesia it’s the custom that when a boy wants to date you that he’ll present himself at the house and meet your parents first. I was pretty sure that your Dad would come but he never did. I waited and waited and he never showed up.

Dad: You were too young!

Mum: But I knew that you liked me!

Dad: Then your mum had an operation.

Mum: I had my appendix removed.

Dad: And so I went to see her because I was her brother’s friend and all that. And there she was in the hospital bed. She looked so little in the big bed with all the pillows. And that’s when I realised, “oh yeah, I can't fight it; I’m in love.”

Mum: I was 15 and your Dad was 19 when we knew that we were moving to Australia. We went to the church together and prayed to God that we could be together in the new country.

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03, click here to catch up on the stories I've shared so far.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Story 4: Saved

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03

What my father told me:

I almost died a few times but the first time was when I was three or four . There were these large barrels around the house that were used to store and preserve salted fish. I wanted to see if there was any fish in the barrels and climbed up to peer inside. But the barrels had been empty of fish for sometime and were full of rain water instead. I leaned in too much and fell in head first into the barrel of water. I struggled but couldn't get myself out. I remember struggling and struggling and the bright sunlight shining in the water when all of a sudden I heard this almighty bang! My father, your Kung-Kung had been on the roof when he looked down and saw my legs sticking out of the barrel. He jumped off the roof and pulled me out. I was saved.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Story 3: The Factory

I'm jotting down a family story every day over the month of March for #b03

What my mother told me:

Your great-grandmother believed that families were strongest when they worked together so each of her children had a role in the company. Oma Marie was responsible for purchasing supplies; your Oma for overseeing production. I remember following your Oma around the factory, she had a big book that had all of the secret recipes. She gave instructions for the preparation of ingredients, measuring out and mixing but in such a way so that the workers wouldn't know which product that they were making.

As children we used to play in the factory. The maids, drivers and other workers would look after us while our parents worked. I always had so much fun playing with all of the children there. Some were my cousins, some were the children of the workers. Your great-grandmother sent us all to the same school because she believed that whoever was smart enough would get ahead.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Story 2: Australia

Over the month of March, I'll be jotting down a family story everyday as part of #b03

What my Opa told me:
I had five daughters when the soldiers started storing their guns in our home. My sons were all studying overseas at the time but the girls were at home and the soldiers were always around. It wasn’t safe. Your Oma and I met Opas and his wife Stella on a cruise ship in Hong Kong back in the 1950s. He was from Australia and had lost a brother in the war. We had a lot to talk about and kept up a correspondence for years after the cruise. There was always trouble but as Soeharto came to power, I told him what was happening to the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. He was a Jew and told me about what happened to his people, he told me that he would help.

I'd seen what happened to my people in Europe, to those who didn't leave. There were all the same signs; "A Solution." I told your grandfather that I would help. We made plans, then all of a sudden the correspondence stopped. For months and months, I waited. Then one day I was in the courts when the clerk called me to tell me that there were two Chinese-Indonesian sisters crying and asking for me in the forecourt.

My aunties:
All your Opa told us was to ask for Mr Phillip. I can’t remember how but somehow we made it from the airport to the courts. We couldn’t speak much English, we were very confused. We asked for Mr Phillip. We were told that there might be many Mr Phillips. We cried and they started bringing out these men who each went by the common name of "Mr Phillip". Each one would come out and we'd stop crying, look up and NO! That man doesn't look like how Opa described Mr Phillip! This went on and on, man after man, we crid and cried; where would we go if we couldn’t find Mr Phillip? Then finally a man came out and he knew why we were there and he took us home to his wife, Stella. She was so good to us.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Story 1: The Well

My family, like many, has an interesting story. Or that interests me, at least. I've always wanted to get the stories down do I'm going to have a shot as part of #b03 to jot one down here every day for the month of March.

A story that my mother told me:

Your great-grandmother had 5 children when her husband died. She lived with her family-in-law as people did in those days. The family never liked her and while her husband was alive, he protected her; with him gone, she knew that she wasn’t welcome. She took her oldest daughter to the village well and looked down. They were going to jump. She looked down into the well. She said it was very dark and deep. They were crying. She decided that things weren’t so bad that it had to end there. So they didn’t jump and they went home.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

The lyrics as I heard them by Andy Bull for Like a Version

Welcome to your life
There's no turning back
Even while you sleep
We will find you
Acting on your best behaviour
turn your back on Mother Nature
Everybody wants to rule the world

It's my own advice*
it's my only voice*
Help me to decide
how to make the most
of freedom and of pleasure
I know that nothing ever lasts for ever
and everyone wants to rule the world

There's a room where the light won't find you
Or no hands when the walls come tumbling down*
when they do, I'll be right beside you
So glad we almost made it
so sad they had to fade it
everybody wants to rule the world.

I can't stand this indecision
or is it the lack of vision
everybody wants to rule the world

Say that you'll never never ever ever need it
one headline why believe it
when everybody wants to rule the world

wants to rule the world

*not quite right

Thank you Tears for Fears for these lyrics that resonate in the way that only a good 80s track can - easy to sing along to and profound in the cheesiest but most satisfying of ways. Mmm cheese :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A stream of consciousness from my desk

Written at 11:14AM this Sunday morning.

Sitting, waiting for washing, typing. I'm at my kitchen table, blinds drawn to keep out the sun. The irony of wishing to be in the airconditioned office on a Sunday. Free day. Free. dream, delight, inspire. Must comment on Kimberley's blog.

I digress. Plan for the day is writing, blogging, getting finances in order. freelance. what's happening and what can we make happen more. spinster, the article i read about rosalind whom i first heard about in year 7 from that actress who toured schools and performed to show girls that they could have a role in science. how did i end up in fashion? biology was my first love.

excitement. memories. microscopes. the crazy canadian teacher who taught biology to me in south korea. shook my hand for way too long when we were first introduced. crazy guy but so much knowledge and giving.

crazy. do we have to be to reach our full potential. what gives to make awesome happen? bill cunningham. respect for his work but can i have it all. love. why has no-one else talked about his religion. religion. what is it. his guilt. finding love in his work. could i be sustained by that. spinsterhood. why would it be bad. melodramatic perhaps but hasn't it been stunning thusfar? despite the disappointments. MEN! but the friendships, the freedom. i want nothing more. best men are already in my life. Dad makes me cry. must call Mick. blessed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Play Make Do

~ What did you do for fun from ages 5-14 (before the Internet :)
I read Enid Blyton books, climbed trees and built cubby houses  wherever I could.

~ How do you Play now? 
Freely, wildly with everything. I'm currently going through a phase with pipe cleaners. 

~ If you invited someone over to Play tomorrow what would you do? 
Play internets. 

~ If you were to teach others at Play Make Do something, what would it Be?
How to spot the saucepan in the night sky :-)

Very excited, here are some of things I've packed for the trip:

Play Make Do