Tuesday, August 6, 2013

no award: social justice. media. fandom. drop bears.

Hey so all my apologies! I have a brand new blog that I'm super excited about. That makes blog number eleventy million for me of course, and I am in no way neglecting this one, or the vegan blog or the tumblr, but this new one makes all others PALE IN COMPARISON in terms of my passion and drive for it. At least right now.

Liz and I have combined to bring you No Award, a blog where we talk about social justice and media and intersectionality all specifically keeping in mind that we are Australians of varying backgrounds. So far in our first three weeks of posting I've spent a lot of time blogging about racial and infrastructure and political issues in Pacific Rim, and also about the exotic as shorthand in dystopic future fiction. Liz has looked at lots of things including the deconstruction of masculinity in Dance Academy, and an old school Melbunnie SF novel. It has been a lot of fun so far, and I look forward to continuing this project.

Come say hi! It is super fun.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

8 ways to keep applying for jobs when all you (i) want to do is yell JUST GIVE ME A JOB and then go to sleep

red is the star   My contract with WWF-China finished in November of last year, and since then I've been busy but payments have been intermittent. I've been working hard on my con (just seven weeks away, and mildly stressful), working on a major personal (but hopefully fruitful) project, baking cookies for sale in a cafe, looking for a new place to live and dealing with my ever exciting depression and anxious tendencies.

So in all of this I have trouble with motivation; though to be more specific, what I have is a motivation issue in regards to finding a new job. I've been for so many interviews since I returned to Australia, and written so many selection criteria, and been told so many times 'you were amazing and we love you but we went with someone less qualified' - as if telling me that makes me feel any better about the job search that is slowly sucking my soul.

And I'm sitting on the couch right now, prioritising everything that isn't writing yet another set of selection criteria for one of the jobs that I have open in a tab, but I do have some techniques for getting this stuff done, even when I'm feeling demotivated and all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch Super Sizers.
  1. Do something little but useful every day. I get a whole bunch of job emails sent to me that I've tailored to what I'm looking for. I filter these into a separate folder, but I check that folder every day. Even if all I do on the job hunt that day is open the folder, read the emails, and open the jobs that look suitable in new tabs, that's still a thing, and I did it.
  2. Prioritise the jobs by date. I keep track of them in my head but if that doesn't work for you, put them in a spreadsheet. When I see how far apart the due dates are, it allows me to feel like I can breathe.
  3. Breathe.
  4. Break it down. Break the job application down into something that looks like a process, then do one part each day, or two parts, or whatever works for you. A normal government job for me looks like: find the pd; pull out the selection criteria; write each criteria point (not all at once); email BFF to review them; write a cover letter that directly addresses the sc points; review cv; have someone (BFF) reassure me that I would be great for this job; rewrite sc; submit; don't think about it again. You are good for doing each of those elements, you have achieved something for any step that you complete of that. 
  5. Sometimes apply for easy jobs. Not jobs that you easily get, jobs that are easy to apply for. With the work I do, for the most part I have to write five pages of selection criteria and a tailored cover letter, plus of course my CV. That takes days. Sometimes it feels really good to just write the cover letter and shoot it off. I might not get that job (though it's always a job I think I could do, just maybe a bit higher than I should be aiming or out to the side or something), but it helps me to maintain momentum on days when the thought of yet another 3000 words on my suitability just seems insurmountable.
  6. Take a break. Don't do it constantly, it wears you down.
  7. Get someone to poke you. For me that's a person whose specific task is to say 'hey did you apply for that thing? Let me sit on the internet next to you while you write one criteria and then we'll watch some tv together,' but your mileage may vary.
  8. Reward yourself. Applying for jobs is hard, for so many reasons, including the constant rejection and the constant doubts of your own self. You have to do this work, but reward yourself immediately for getting it done. The nebulous satisfaction of 'getting a job' is great but ultimately useless when you're in the throes of rejection/anxiety/omg I'm going to die homeless and friendless and alone, and sometimes you just need a cookie and a cat gif. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

mqff is upon us! prepare for queer cinema!

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival starts next week, and as always I'm super excited! I missed out on the Festival last year (because China), and I'm really looking forward to this year's festival.

I volunteer every year, which is something I recommend for anyone who is in to films, is in to queer films, or wants to support their queer community. It's a great festival, everyone is always really lovely and there's a great feeling around it.

Also, this year, there are vegan lollies available for sale! Which is pretty awesome, please feel free to thank your local vegan for the idea (me) and everyone at MQFF who let me suggest it and then just Did It. I love when people accomodate dietary requirements, I hope there's no gluten in the lollies hmm. And there's an app for iPhone and Android, and most of the movies screen at ACMI which as you know (Melbourne) is one of the best cinemas and spaces ever.

Here is my short list, in screening order:

When Hainan Meets Teochew (当海南遇上潮州) (Saturday 16 March, 16:00)

When Hainan Meets Teochew tells a unique story about love between a butch and a femme woman. The two meet in the most unusual circumstances (involving a falling bra), become enemies in the most unpredictable situation and become friends in the most unforgettable manner. Just as they gradually develop feelings for each other, Hainan’s ex-girlfriend appears and puts their relationship under the most challenging test. The ensuing love triangle results in much misunderstanding and hilarity. What will become of Hainan and Teochew’s romance, and who is the owner of the falling bra?


Oz Docs (Monday 18 March, 18:00)

This is a series of Australian documentaries, including 'The La La Road' on Chinese lesbians, and the Aquaporko Documentary, featuring a whole lot of awesome, fat, queer ladies of my acquaintance.

Cockpit (Thursday 21 March, 18:30)

Mrs. Doubtfire meets Tootsie, meets Some Like it Hot - 10,000m up, in this over-the-top comedy of mistaken identities from Sweden. After losing his job as an airline pilot when his company downsizes, Valle is thrown out by his materialistic wife, who takes the kids with her and immediately begins a new relationship with a wealthy elderly man. After countless knock backs by airlines, he hears that Silver airlines are looking for a female captain. In desperation, and with little in the way of a plan, Valle dons a pair of high heels, borrows his staunchly feminist and queer friendly sister’s identity and transforms himself into attractive Maria and wins himself a pilot’s job. The plan begins to unravel when his lesbian airline colleague Cecilia starts to fall for him/her, and a narrowly averted plane crash, lands Maria all over the news.

Queens! Destiny of Dance (Friday 22 March, 20:30)

Guru Amma presides over a community of hijras (male to female transgenders) inside a huge palace, with love and severity in equal measure. The apple of her eye is the talented Mukta who is the best dancer among them and also the potential next leader of the community. Mukta adores Guru Amma with all her heart, to the point of worshipping her. One day, a beautiful young girl turns up at their door without any explanation. Awed by her beauty, Amma takes the mysterious girl under her wings and names her Nandini.

Soon, Nandini becomes the centre of attraction for the other hijras and for Amma as well, thereby sidelining Mukta. Mukta’s jealousy soon turns to paranoia about Nandini, and Mukta leaves the community after threatening Amma. But Mukta soon realises that she will never be taken back into her house or the community. Determined to set things right, Mukta returns to Amma and the community, but behaves kindly towards Nandini this time around, until enough is enough and events unfold leading to a shocking climax.

True to the essence of Bollywood films, Queens! is chock full of colourful characters, and fantastic dance scenes.

Strange Frame: Love and Sax (Saturday 23 March, 14:00)

The first lesbian, science fiction, rock ‘n’ roll animated film is here! Hold on tight as we head off into the 29th Century.

200 years after the human race has left a decimated Earth behind, life on Ganymede, one of Saturn’s moons, is a world of space pirates, indentured slaves and genetic mutations. Parker, a saxophonist, meets a gutsy singer, Naia, who’s a ‘debt slave’, and the two quickly fall in love and form a band. Gaining cult notoriety, the band catches the eye of the authorities, and Naia is recaptured. As Parker begins a desperate search for her love, Naia is repackaged by ‘the man’ as a generic rock star and achieves immense fame. Will Naia be saved before her soul is forever destroyed?

(quotes are from the mqff programme)

I always keep my short list short, because I burn out fast during festivals, but others I wouldn't mind seeing eventually are:
My Best Day
The Mermaids
Speechless (无言)

Monday, November 5, 2012

down under feminists carnival: 54th edition

Hello and welcome to the 54th Down Under Feminists Carnival! For your reading pleasure (or rage, I guess, there is some rage going on), I present this month's links; for your listening pleasure, I have also embedded a song at the end that is about presentation and jerks and shaking your fist. It is in Mandarin Chinese but I've included a super rough translation into English.

Sexuality and Society 

In the coming out post, Elizabeth at Spilt Milk talks about coming out, and divorce, and erasure. Pondering Asexuality and Living Arrangements sees Jo at A Life Examined looking at non-partnered living and options and relationships. And at My Scarlett Heartt: Narratives of Kinky Sex.


The News with Nipples shares how to respond when you see sexism happening, and Mary at the Ada Initiative shares what to do when there's a harassment report at your conference.

Luddite Journo looks at Imagining a World without Sexual Violence and Mike Tyson: the Undisputed Truth at the Hand Mirror. There's at the risk of sounding like *that* feminist, on violence and blame and Jill Meagher, by Danni at Crosslegged on the Front Lawn, and Justine Larbalestier writes about the Brad Pitt Defence of harassment. Stargazer looks at targeting young women and a culture of silence at the Hand Mirror.

On Prime Minister Gillard and Australian Politics 

Because there was a lot of it this month, I'm not going to include a description for every one of these links, and I haven't included every post on this, but I have included ones that I thought were particularly interesting or important or different.

 Some of Tony Abbot's Best Friends are Women at the News with Nipples; Yesterday in Politics at Ariane's little world; Bluemilk shares a lot of links about the prime minister's speech (including the video); Why Julia Gillard's Smackdown Speech was Brilliant at Mamamia; Raivans talks about the difference a good speech makes; and Now the Dust has Settled at HaT; Singing our Song 2 at A Bee of a Certain Age; and Perceptions of Gillard and Misogyny at Emma in Oz. Tigtog brings us a collection of links at Hoyden About Town about the media circus that is particularly relevant to ladies in Australian politics.

A few posts on silence, and anger: At HaT, Mindy asks When is Anger Allowed? There is some great linking and discussion in the comments as well. Bluemilk has a lesson in silencing women and the video of Penny Wong being awesome in OMG! Australia is discussing the nuances of misogyny, sexism, privilege, silencing and moral equivalence (and when I grow up I would like to be Penny Wong, or at least, a fierce, queer, intelligent, Chinese-Malaysian Australian woman who knows where she's at).

Flexing my mussel and the Real Gillard Hypocrisy at No Place for Sheep

Ada Lovelace Day 

For Ada Lovelace Day, Danni at Scrambled Tofu profiled colleague Elaine Miles, a researcher at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau followed this with profiles on its FB page of four of its awesome Bureau Women (scroll to Oct 16 on the timeline). Mary profiled Marita Cheng, Robogals Founder, and Else Shepherd, leading Australian electrical engineer.

Representation and Women in the Media 

Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear discusses Kate Elliot's appearance on Q&A and how the boys are jerks. You can find An Open Letter to Usborne Books: who are you calling famous? at Jill in a Box; and So it's okay so long as there are no women around? by Mindy at HaT. At My Scarlett Heartt, Let me tell you a secret Chaka Khan…I am not every woman.

Performance and Art and Bodies

A review of The Wizard of Auslan at the UQ Wom*n's Collective; and a visit to Fat Stories: An Exhibition written up at Fat Heffalump.

Things about performativity and bodies: In pursuit of a political argument for exercise by Stephanie at Ginger and Honey; How not to Market to Fat Customers, Om Nom Nom and My Fat Body is Me at Fat Heffalump; A Frocktober Checkin and on bras and breasts in do they wobble too and fro at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist; Public Knowledge / Private Performances at Definatalie.

On Families and Motherhood 

On homebirth as a feminist issue at Bluemilk and No surprise here: Family First doesn't really put families first and Paid parental leave: zombies/babies - they sound similar for a reason at Idealogically Impure.  Idealogically Impure also has a series of posts on anti-choice and abortion: Name the Dentists; Abortion in Southland: Alison McCulloch kicks ass edition; Irony in Action: antichoice whinge edition.

A, Miscellany 

I post about two short-film projects featuring Asian-Australian ladies that are currently fundraising via indiegogo.

International Day of the Girl links at HaT.

At Leftover Words, Sky Croeser asks that we please tell Labor not to excise the mainland from our migration zone. Continuing with Chally's Feminists of Faith series, we have anjum rahman. On the demands on time and marginalised users in what are all these cars doing on my road? at a Bee of a Certain Age. A collection of links on Pinktober at HaT.

On Privacy, anonymity, pseudonymity, outing, and accountability by tigtog at HaT. Sh*t this feminist says (that she shouldn't) by Katherine Klaus at Can be Bitter. Jo at a Life Unexamined writes on feminism as a way of life (and being a good feminist).

In I wonder if I am too weak to write, Utopiana talks about Anthony Mundine's comments and the media reaction to it.

Thank you for visiting the carnival! Next month's carnival will be hosted by the News with Nipples! Submissions to newswithnipples at gmail etc.

No No 你說的全都不對
紅頭髮 黑指甲
沒表情 話太少
被你說成 無可救藥
你喜歡 不喜歡 跟我全都無關 
算了吧 無所謂 隨便你 去說吧
好幾次 我試圖 對你微笑
可你覺得我在 強顏 歡笑
既然這樣 我只好 做自己
轉過身 還有 一大片天空
紅頭髮 黑指甲
沒表情 話太少
難道真的 無可救藥
你喜歡 不喜歡 跟我全都無關

算了吧 無所謂 隨便你 去說吧
你說對的 他說錯
都不在乎 let it be
他說對的 你說錯
都不在乎 let it go
Hey Hey Hey
來 瞄准我方向
我就站在這裡 微笑著 盯著你看
優雅的 轉過身 我根本不怕
我已經 受夠啦 受夠啦 受夠啦
無所謂 無所謂 算了吧

No no   you say it’s all wrong
Said my awesome self wasn’t worthy
These years, who have I insulted
Usually provoked by some gross mouth
Red hair, black fingernails
What’s strange, what’s surprising
No feelings, words missing
You say hopeless
This is the way I am
No way to please everyone
I can only be this way
You like me or not, it’s nothing to do with me
Forget it, whatever you tell me
Several times I tried to smile at you
You thought I was laughing (at you)
But that was just you
Turned the body in the sky
Red hair, black fingernails
What’s strange, what’s surprising
No feelings, words missing
You say hopeless
This is the way I am
No way to please everyone
I can only
You like me or not, it’s nothing to do with me

Forget it, whatever you tell me
You say he was wrong
Don’t worry about it let it be
He said you were wrong
Don’t worry about it let it be
Hey hey hey
Come, aim in my direction
However you want to treat me
I stand here smiling, staring at you
In the face of weak bullets
I shift gracefully, I’m unafraid
I’ve had enough had enough had enough
Forget it, it doesn’t matter, let it go

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

azn aus lady things i'm giving money to

I came across two awesome looking short movies starring Asian Australian ladies that are currently looking for funding. I'm planning to donate to both of them as soon as I find my credit card, and I think they sound super interesting. I don't know any of the people involved in this (though if they want to say hi, they should definitely do so!).

Blood for the Devil's Daughters sees three Asian vampires resurrected and threatening Melbourne's Chinatown. The vampires will allegedly mix Asian "vampire" themes with Western ones - like hopping ghosts, fox spirits, and flying heads, and will be battled by two ladies of Asian heritage. The fundraising for this movie ends December 1.

Hit Girls is an action girl assassin comedy. It's set in Sydney and looks amazing and I want it and it aims to help to fill a space in Australia where we're multicultural but our media is all white. And I want it. Their fundraising ends November 13.

Monday, October 29, 2012

movie review: tai chi hero / 太极2

My short review on twitter immediately after seeing Tai Chi Hero:
[text of tweet: love flying machines & kung fu machines; sideeye at sudden & unexpected sideline of ladies; enjoyed the humour.]
The longer review (some spoilers):

Tai Chi Hero follows immediately on from Tai Chi 0, and has been released in China (and in Australia) with only a month between. It's easy to view them as one long movie, but it's easy to see where the original rumours of a trilogy would have come from. It's a duology with an epic story to tell, and just not enough time.

In Tai Chi 0, Yang Lu Chan ("the freak") comes to Chen Village to learn the Chen family style of Kung Fu. Lu Chan has been born with a natural advantage, the "Three Blossoms Horn" which both gives him awesome powers and is slowly killing him, hence his need to learn the more even Chen family style. The problem is that Chen family style is only taught to members of the Chen family, and Lu Chan is desperate enough to try anything to learn this style.

Tai Chi 0 features lots of fun action, videogame style sequencing and introductions, and lots of elements that I loved (including great machines and action sequences), as well as some awesome characters such as Yu Niang, who is not only the village apothecary but also completely stone fierce; brother Tofu; and the overly dramatic Fang Zijing, a family member with the wrong name who has never been allowed to learn the Chen family style.

In Tai Chi Hero, we are introduced to the remaining characters, some who have been given elevated importance in the trailer and some who weren't really introduced at all. The Inventor and the Silent Wife turn up, and I really hope that the Silent Wife's parts were originally there but later cut because otherwise what we have is a mysterious sidelining of the ladies, after they were all so awesome in the previous instalment. Yu Niang, who was so amazing in Tai Chi 0, and becomes Lu Chan's teacher in this instalment, is later resigned to standing on the sidelines as Lu Chan battles to prove that they are truly from the Chen family. This is obviously done for story purposes - it is, after all, the story of how Lu Chan becomes one with the yin and yang and with himself, therefore it must be he who demonstrates the style for the story - but Yu Niang, as daughter of the Chen Grandmaster, is surely the more logical demonstrator here? And the Silent Wife has so much potential, does some excellent kung fu, and then runs around looking sad and being threatened with torture. As this follows on from British agent Claire Heathrow's death in Tai Chi 0, which motivates Fang Zijing to become Truly Evil, it is unfortunate.

The switches between English and Mandarin are fun but sadly lacking. Mandy Lieu, as Claire Heathrow, is great in Mandarin but not so much in English. Peter Stormare turns up as another agent of the British East India Company and chews the scenery in both English and Mandarin. Eddie Peng (as Fang Zijing) is dramatic in English and unsympathetic in Mandarin.

It's not all criticisms. In fact, it's barely any criticisms, really, I criticise because I care. Tai Chi Hero continues to be a great (if heavy-handed) look at the impact of Western influence and modernisation in China at the turn of the century, and how that conflicted and contrasted with the desire to keep things as they are, for whatever reason and by whatever means necessary. It's a look at government corruption and the interpretation of history. I loved big brother, the inventor, who wanted to revolutionise China and his family by taking western machinery and ideas and developing it to take advantage of their best assets - in the Chen family's case, by making their kung fu even better. The revelation of his kung fu-aiding machine vest was probably the greatest moment of the film for me, a commentary on modernisation and adaptability and family and tradition and being Chinese in a five minute sequence. 

I really loved the moment when we found out why the movies are called Tai Chi X; and every moment featuring the Prince.

This instalment also continued with the humour and self-reflection, and I'm sorry to tell you that the translations didn't manage to capture all of the humour in the dialogue, so if you thought it was funny and you don't speak Mandarin, let me assure you that it was actually (intentionally) even more hilarious.

I loved it, I will definitely own this one, and I hope this new-ish trend of Chinese kung-fu steampunk movies continues. I just wish all of them had awesome ladies, is that too much to ask?

Other reviews: Margaret and David review Tai Chi 0 and Margaret interviews Kuo-Fu Chen and Tony Leung Ka-Fai*; Ay-Leen the Peacemaker reviews Tai Chi 0 at Tor; James Marsh at Twitch Films reviews Tai Chi Hero; an article on how it's a return to more traditional WuXia and it's a box office success for doing so (Zh).

*David and Margaret are Australia's favourite movie reviewers. Margaret's earrings have a Facebook page and my favourite Facebook page ever is called "When David Stratton from At the Movies gets shirty about handheld cameras." I love them. A lot.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

54th Down Under Feminist's Carnival

Okay, wow, the last time I hosted the Down Under Feminist's Carnival was the eighth edition, and now we're up to the 54th! Nobody point out to me what a terrible number that is.

The next edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is planned for 5 November, 2012 and submissions can be made up until November 2, though it would be excellent for me if you would submit before that. Submissions can be sent to yiduiqie [at] gmail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form.

Submissions must be of posts of feminist interest by writers from Australia and New Zealand that were published in October. So submit early and often, please, and tell your friends!

There is no official theme for this edition of the carnival, though the unofficial theme of this blog is always race and ethnicity representation, so please definitely feel free to use that for guidance! (Do you sense a post brewing on exoticism and feminism and my experiences in China? oh yes indeed)

The 53rd edition of the carnival is available now at Opinions @ bluebec.com and is filled with all sorts of awesome and interesting posts.