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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 07:50pm on 17/07/2011 under ,
I'm going to Shanghai tomorrow! So that's very exciting. I am going to attempt to speak lots and lots of Mandarin whilst I'm away. Will I be able to understand Shanghainese? Will my Australian-accented Beijing-style Mandarin be comprehensible? I hope so!

After a week and a bit in Shanghai I'm going to stop in Hong Kong for a couple of days on the way home. It is at this point that my travelling companion the incomparable C will continue on to Perth, and I will remain behind all on my own, for the first time in my life! I'm incredibly nervous, I guess it's a good thing then that I speak Cantonese.

I'm thinking about going on this tour whilst I'm away, recommended by Ms Pieces of Alice, has anyone ever done it or have any thoughts or just want to share their two cents about things I should do in HK and 上海?

I've got Feed and Deadline for the plane (thanks Emilly and Emilly's sister) and now I guess I just have to finish packing and stuff.

My word I'm excited. EXCITED. I'm going to be so AZN for the next two weeks, you have no idea. EXCITED.

And it's going to be warm!
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I wasn't sure I was going to post this review, because this was not a good book. But world, you deserve to know exactly what I thought about this book.

also mild spoilers (but I will keep it to a minimum, and they will mostly be general, and also you won't read this book so that's okay)

I had no plans to read The Windup Girl. I am not even going to pretend towards any sense of bipartisanship or willingness to go in to it with an open mind. From the outset, I was confident that I would be really annoyed by The Windup Girl, and I only read it because I found out it was the Swancon Bookclub book and was so astounded that I needed to make sure I was correct.

Wow was I correct!

Usually when I read a book, I take notes so I can remember things later, so nobody can take offense at my reading and tell me I'm wrong. I had so many issues with this book I didn't even need to take notes, I can open it to any page and point to a problem I have with it. Okay, any double page.

more details! )
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 04:28pm on 27/04/2011 under ,
Steampunk Style and Substance

I had so many issues with this panel, I wrote like three pages of notes. And there are so many frowny faces in my notes, which is not a good sign.

I wasn't totally sure what this panel was going to be about in advance, the write up wasn't super clear to me. In the end it was kind of a definition of steampunk, though less a definition and more the sketching out of a vague shape, which was cool.

Someone on the panel clearly had issues with computer technology. I have lots of quotes in my notes that steampunk is all about the "beauty of machinery that looks like machinery" and that the point of steampunk is that it lets you play with machinery that never existed, which I would totally dispute (eta: err, that that is the point, not that it can let you play with it). It was also described as 'stuff you can control' (in contrast to computers), which, again, I totally disagree.

There was an attempt at era definition of other things, diesel punk at 30s-40s and atompunk at 50s.

The discussion was mostly very white, very Victorian England. It was suggested that steampunk captures a deeper sense of Victorian England's society, capturing the imagination (though somehow not the real culture). Someone described it as "goth with colour" which makes me hmmmm. And also again obviously very Euro-centric. Apparently a lot of steampunk machinery is impossible (which I would also dispute), and apparently airships are the dragons of steampunk.

Descriptions of what counts as steampunk really bothered me, and this is why I think Towards a Steampunk without Steam by Amal el-Mohtar should be essential reading for anyone who is vaguely in to the whole steampunk thing. "Steampunkish" is often more steampunky than steampunk aesthetically, apparently, and when giving examples City of Ember was cited, as "it isn't an alternate Victorian England but it still counts." Such a description is, in its way, why we move towards a steampunk without steam. An alternate Victorian England shouldn't be the measure by which we count all steampunk things, we shouldn't be able to say something like that! Steampunk is not just stuff that comes out of Victorian England alternative universes, though people in the comments of el-Mohtar's post do try to suggest that.

What makes something steampunk is apparently the fascination with the devices, which I do kind of agree with, but it's also apparently velvet and structured garments (which, no), and finding another era exciting. "The injustices were just that more unjust" is a description which was given which makes me want to draw frowny faces over everything, because I feel like it's this sort of attitude, this nostalgia for some sort of past period, which erases current issues. I would contend that this is also another type of othering.

Someone on the panel mentioned how it (steampunk I guess?) doesn't mention imperialism/colonialism/how it's western-oriented, and Jeremy (I know who said it because my notes say 'jeremy :(') suggests that it is a "lazy attack" to say that steampunk glorifies colonialism/imperialism, as "most stories explore that." I have SUCH ISSUES with this assertion; although our community of 'steampunkers who critique' is growing, I think that it is a tiny subset of the steampunking community. Most steampunk texts make very little effort at interrogating the glorification of colonialism and imperialism and the erasure of us non-Europeans, and perhaps now is a good time to mention Jha's brand new article at Age of Steam, on Steampunk Postcoloniality, wherein people in the comments are totally doing some excellent erasing but Jha is totally awesome.

There was a little discussion of multiculturalism in steampunk, but when a panel spends most of its time talking about the aesthetics of Victorian England, I'm not really feeling convinced that multiculturalism is a big part, you know?

I suppose this is where we should be asking (in our panels at Swancon, and maybe at other Australian cons), is defining steampunk a sign that we're falling behind? Should we be looking at futurism or even something else?

Because I'm concious that this is all crit, here are some links on multiculturalism (and other things) in steampunk (you'll note how few they are):

and also my very favourite, Art by James Ng, which I would suggest you cannot deny that is Chinese Steampunk and it is amazing.
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Swancon is over! And I had a good time!

I wasn't sure I was going to go, until Emilly talked me in to it; now I am so glad I went. I had such a great weekend, met lots of new people and caught up with beloved friends. I networked/checked out stuff on both a work and a writery level, and had great adventures!

I spent a huge chunk of time just talking to people. I attended a record four (four!) panels on Friday (four is usually the amount of panels I attend over an entire con), and I was even on a panel at one point! and I purchased a lot of books (and some other things). But most of the time I was sitting in the bar/lounge, chatting with people. It was super awesome. (I do wish, though, that people would feel less entitled to ask certain types of questions; and take the hint when I don't want to talk to them)(interestingly, when I genuinely like the person but it's just an inconvenient time I can outright say 'I'm sorry but I can't talk to you right now, let's talk later' but when I just want to avoid the person I can't bring myself to be so blunt. hmm)

A list of books I purchased:
  • Nightsiders, Sue Isle
  • Love and Romanpunk, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Eona, Alison Goodman
  • Cold Magic, Kate Elliot
  • Sprawl, ed Alisa Krasnostein <--so excited!
  • and a super old-school illustrated copy of The Dream of the Red Chamber
Also many people complimented me on my hair, which was nice, and I debuted my new jacket which got lots of compliments, which was also nice, except it's also very Chinese so I'm worried it got compliments for the wrong reasons.

I became addicted to Twitter. Maybe there's an actual post in this, but I began regularly checking out the #swancon and #natcon tags on twitter, and I think it was Hespa who said it's such a different experience attending a con whilst using a smart phone. There's so much more to pay attention to! And now I keep checking the hashtag to see if there's anything left that anyone has posted.

A lot of the food I ate was in my room: Emilly and I had walked up to Fresh Provs and supplied ourselves with bread and this really delicious fruit spread and snacks and things, and I mostly ate sandwiches at lunch during the con. This proved a good advance preparation, as there was nothing but wedges and chips that I could eat at the hotel. Incidentally I really enjoyed staying in the con hotel, it's the first year that I did it and I really liked the flexibility it gave me in terms of attending things and veging and running up to my room for my tentacle pillow/my sketch book/to put my shoes on. The hotel itself was not great, there were mobility access issues and the hotel was woefully understaffed. And also single flush toilets everywhere!

Proper Care and Feeding of a Fraggle

Thursday: no actual Swancon things, though I did catch the train down to Murdoch and had dinner with Sheebapants (and gave her my con-bag copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms).

Friday: I made it to one session in the Edustream, 'What TV did to me', 'Imagining better presents from worse tomorrows: using SF in sustainability studies' and the panel for the SF Bookclub, wherein they talked about The Windup Girl, which as you all may or may not know I loathe a lot (more on that later). I also ended up on the panel 'Cylons, Bajorans and the 5th Column: Terrorism, Freedom Fighters and Resistance Movements in SF.' There were heaps more panels I had planned to make it to on Friday, but I'm pretty sure I got distracted by sitting around and chatting with people, which was nice anyway.

There was only one panel I wanted to attend on Saturday (Dolls of Desire: Man's unnatural selection of the perfect women' which apparently was really good), but instead of doing that I went on a hunt for a new french-cuffs shirt (success) in Perth's CBD op shops, and then I went ice skating with C. And then for once I actually attended the masquerade, AND I looked fierce, AND I went to a room party! But we don't talk about room parties.

On Sunday I attended one panel on purpose (Steampunk Style and Substance) (several blog posts to follow, I'm not kidding) and one I sort of fell in to (a vid panel), and had lunch with my parents (at Lotus) and trekked out to the wilds of the Armadale line to visit the ex-laws. And then spent a lot of time drinking cocktails and getting hugs in the lounge. Also I had the shakes. Combination not enough sleep/too much caffeine?

Monday I played a lot of blokus and drank some tea, and Vi came to visit so we played some more blokus and she beat me! I managed to miss every panel I'd planned to attend.

After the con finished, I finally made it to Utopia for crispy mushrooms and salty fried (vegan) chicken and for once in my life, I had no one to fight with for the final spicy hou tou mushroom cashews.

I spent Tuesday morning hanging with Emilly at the hotel before my mum came and picked us up and dropped her off at the airport. I progressed up to the parental house, where I started going through boxes of my things, as my parents had requested of me. I have found a massive pile of stuff that I think I could sell at the Swancon auction, and I wish I had realised this earlier. Now my parents are going to have to put up with this stuff for one week less than another twelve months.

A sampling of wares I found in my parents' house:
  • a Star Wars Darth Vader Tie Fighter model kit
  • a Dick Smith Electronic Kit
  • a Buffy figurine with crossbow and bible (in package) (I would sell this for way less than this year's $15 average)
  • hilarious kiddies battery operated 'Old Smokey' train set(AMAZING)

ANYWAY SWANCON: GOOD TIMES. Panel summaries / rants / word rambles tomorrow.


ETA: swancon #2: steampunk style and substance (a panel)
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 09:06pm on 12/04/2011 under
Do you remember Potluck #1? Of course you do, it was super exciting, and all about holidays. I am pleased to announce that I am hosting Potluck #2: Comfort Food over at my foodie blog. Submissions can cover anything you like, and you do not have to stick to the theme! but please remember that we are trying to talk about intersections. Potluck is, after all, intended to be a carnival for multicultural and intersectional discussions of food, including but not limited to food discussions intersecting with disability, gender, sexuality, fat, animal rights, and cultural and racial issues. How many times have you gone to eat your comfort food, only to be told it's gross and weird and disgusting? How many times has advertising told you that your comfort food is wrong and terrible?

Submissions are open until May 15th, giving you a comfortable six weeks to get something in - that is, six weeks from the original call, which was two weeks ago and I forgot to crosspost here. You can leave submissions in this post or on this post at the foodie blog. Please feel free to submit links to your own posts or to someone else's. You may submit multiple links. Links will be included at the discretion of the host.

Also we are looking for the next host, so if you are interested feel free to get in contact.
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 10:36am on 29/01/2011
It is up! Thanks to Glass Icarus for hosting. You can find it here: Potluck #1. Stay tuned for an announcement shortly for Potluck #2, hosted by meeee. Maybe in the food blog.
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 11:03am on 09/10/2010 under
this is too amazing for me not to post immediately.

i love the muppets. all of them.
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 09:44am on 28/05/2010 under ,
I have such a fondness for this series of advertisements that aired when I was a kid in the late eighties.

Vitamin D is my favourite.
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posted by [personal profile] yiduiqie at 09:51pm on 01/05/2010 under
My short story, "The Last Rickshaw", is in the latest edition of Crossed Genres!

It's Malaysian Steampunk, and I'm really excited about it. I really like this story, I hope you do too!
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The Asian Women Blog Carnival presents: Who I am When I'm (not) With You

One of the big things for me in presenting as an Asian woman is that when I think of my identity, and of my performativity, I don't think 'Asian,' I think 'Chinese' and I think 'Malaysian' and I think 'mixed-race' and I think 'Caucasian.' So when I was compiling these amazing posts by these great Asian women, I thought about indicating their ethnicities - just about every one of them mentions their ethnicity in their posts (myself included). But part of performativity is choosing how we represent our identities, and our ethnicities. This edition of the carnival is, after all, about how we choose to present as Asian women. So instead of describing the posts, for the most part, I've simply excerpted from them.

We are who we are, but we're not always how you see us.

vi draws performativity

Annieeats reminds us that every action is different depending on what you're thinking and where you're thinking; and on duality: Don't even get me started on my sub-selves:
To view bowing as an act of humiliating subjugation is a western idea. In the east, it's almost as informal as a handshake, but tied to the underlying cultural Buddhism that completely infuses Asian countries. Bowing is humility, respect, deference, honor, and a lessening of self that ultimately leads to something greater.

If my brother can bow to me, the older sister, why can't I bow to a statue of a Buddha, a teacher? Teachers are revered in Asia. In Japan when children get in trouble, the authorities call the teacher before the parents. In Korea teachers get more respect than doctors, and people compete for the opportunity to major in education. When people become old and respected, their titles change from Mr. or Mrs. to Teacher.

My Asian self can bow to the Buddha. My American self bitches about it. This is a problem that I don't know how to fix.
Elaran blogs Who I Am When I'm (not) With You (mirrored at dreamwidth), concious and unconscious.
I really like this topic in that I'm interested in reading responses and yeah, everyone's experiences will be different but I suspect there will be a fair bit of head-nodding in agreement on my part.

Well I haven't read anything people have posted yet but I have this inkling. Probably because interacting with other people who are Asian, about family or exchanging moments of explaining things to those outside your culture have often resulted in a lot of oh yeah, I totally get what you mean and yep, been there, done that too.
dimension view talks about hijab and self actualisation:
I am now without a hijab when I go to classes or wander around the city. My parents, relatives and friends from my former religious high school do not know this. One day, they will. Not now.
From Jolantru, who writes Walking the Wild.
I am not just Chinese, not just Singaporean. I am also a walker between worlds. My world is not merely made up of Chinese traditions and customs, of chopsticks and tonic soups. My world is not exotic. It is real, it is true, it makes up who and what I am. Dig deeper, and you realize I have stories to tell.

I am walking the wild. Are you listening?
The Rigorous M writes The Gift of Giving, on the performativity of giving and family.
All of my time spend with my Korean side of the family involves a variation on the following exchange: giving of gifts; waffling over whether or not the gifts can be accepted (NB, when the gifts include money, the waffling sometimes takes the form of a pseudo-argument); acceptance. One of my earliest memories from spending time with my aunt in Los Angeles is pulling out of her driveway with a check flapping underneath the windshield wipers. (We stopped a block later and took it into the car.)
The editor should never include herself! How gauche! I know, I know, and yet: and it looks like:
So here's the thing: I'm totally more Chinese when you're around.
dmp writes At Home We Called it Têt:
Together with the teacher, we would read the book out-loud about all the Chinese New Year traditions. Reading this book, I wished I could celebrate Chinese New Year the way all the little village kids did in the book: with exploding firecrackers in the streets, stringing paper lanterns outside doorways, practicing calligraphy I didn't understand and watching dragons dancing in the streets. Instead of in a classroom with that kid who bullied me at recess flicking all of the veggies in his lo mien onto the floor, or my classmate next to me asking if I could write those same characters in the book, and whether I could write her name out in Chinese too. The best part were the fortune cookies, because that was the only time I could have more than the one I'd usually get at take-out restaurants.

And then I'd go to my grandparents house and celebrate Têt, the real New Year's.
[livejournal.com profile] handyhunter writes here (and mirrored here) on code switching and performativity:
There was a time when I hadn't told anyone I was Chinese online. It wasn't so much that I wanted people to think I was white as I didn't think race should matter (of course, if it didn't, why would it trouble me to be not-white?) and the internet provided some anonymity in that regard. People reacted to what I wrote first, rather than what or who I am, and there was something appealing about that. I'm a lot more candid and opinionated online than in offline interactions. I don't talk about race or racism offline because I don't feel comfortable doing so when I'm the only POC around and I express myself better in writing and there are some friendships that I don't want to test for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture.
[livejournal.com profile] allangtegek writes I Am a Title; Read Me:
I also never know what to say, because for nearly every one of my identities, sometimes/often/mostly I feel like I’m not [identity-in-question] enough. I’m mixed-race. I’m half-white. I’m pretty much totally whitewashed/naturalized/whatever. I look mostly “white” and a bit “Asian” around the eyes (maybe, sort of), but that’s not nearly all I am. Oddly enough, I look like a multiracial person. And so does my brother, who looks nothing like me, but who’s no less my brother for it. This genetics thing isn’t A+B=C—not that we’re just A and B, but let’s not go into that right now. I do have a plane to catch, y’know. And it’s a long story.
bossymarmalade writes fire in mi wire:
I say what I want about brown people without feeling like I'm selling out my own, and I hold them to a higher standard because you know we have to be twice as good to be thought of as half as good. I snarl at people who "ruin it for the rest of us". I say dumb, mean-spirited things about other Indian people that I would never say in front of non-desis. I fail Hindi class and feel secretly relieved because I'm more comfortable speaking French and Spanish with a broad English accent rather than Hindi with the same.
wistfuljane writes on who I am when I'm not with you
I'm the girl who grew up watching wuxia. Who learned tứ sắc on her mother's lap. Who walked the walls of her temple, a trail of child wishfulness behind her.

I'm the girl who traveled to U.S. on a plane at eight. Who was quiet because she didn't know your language. Who wished she could join you in your childhood games of Seven Up and Candyland and Snakes and Ladders.

I'm the girl who didn't understand your pop culture reference. Who for you to understand hers must find words like Hong Kong TV miniseries drama and Vietnamese musical variety shows and Chinese astrology. Who must used titles such as Goddess of Heaven or Goddess of Mercy for you to recognize her deities.

I'm the girl who wears Phật Quan Âm around her neck. Who ăn chay in fasting. Who still can't name the tenets of Buddhism if you ask her.

I'm the girl who speaks in half-Vietnamese, half-English. Who thinks and writes in English. Who lacks the cultural fluency of her native country.
glass icarus writes who am I when I'm (not) with you?
once: It was my mother taught me to make dumplings, mixing together ground pork and shrimp and jiǔ cài and chopped cabbage, drizzling in soy sauce until it was just this side of brown. Dipping our fingers in the dish of water to wet the edges of the skin, we used to sit around the table, my mother and sister and I, racing each other to see who could wrap the most, the prettiest, the quickest; which of us would scrape the last of the filling out of the bowl. Sometimes we'd boil them and sometimes we'd pan-fry them, but I always loved the fried ones best, watching the wrapper turn crispy golden-brown at the edges.

(People used to complain of the smell sometimes when I brought them to school for lunch, but after a while I figured they were just jealous.)
ciderpress writes (identities erased) we'll give ourselves new names

In my mind and in my own experience, my identity is more like a consensus reached from endless negotiations between who I am inside and who other individuals, society and the world I interact with expect me to be. I also know that that the line between internal identity and external identity is blurred, and that I can often no longer tell if my selfhood, my personality, my choices and my actions are purely of my own internal desire or the results of internalisation of external expectations of a certain kind of identity.
troisroyaumes writes names and naming:
Two questions that people have asked me about my name:

1. "What's your Korean name?" when they don't realize that in fact, I don't have separate English and Korean names.

2. "How do you pronounce your name, /hænɑ/ or /hɔnɑ/ (IPA)?" when they don't make that assumption.

Happy Lunar New Year, if you celebrate it! And thank you to all these awesome women for submitting. There's as yet no-one hosting the next carnival, so check out the AWC website and maybe think about it! [and I want someone to host a carnival about intersections :o) ]


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