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What I learned buying a house with a white man

I’ve always liked my surname. It’s the name of kings and presidents, scholars and academics. It is stately and distinguished. It set me apart at school as I would be called first for everything: exam results, vaccinations, presentations and, later, graduation. I appear at the top of most lists, be it a guestlist to a busy event, or supporters of an Unbound project.

Latest posts

The lesson I learned from Dr Christine Blasey Ford

Wallflowers aren’t weak; they’re just trying to stay safe

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bad feminist. I get angry when women act like wallflowers, or claim they’re being ‘oppressed’ by the imagery in magazines, or say that taking off a hoodie in airport security is akin to subjugation by the patriarchy.

You have grit, I want to tell them. Stop being so feeble, so delicate, so goddamn weak. Stop robbing yourself of your own agency.

The bootstrapping myth

My Kindle clippings are a huge great mess of things: information I want to keep, scraps of prose that make me weep, and words I’ve learnt and quickly forgotten. Among my clippings is a quote I added long ago that reads: “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

You may recognise it as a line from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I didn’t especially enjoy the book, but this line resonated with me. It offered a deep-reaching comfort; an assurance that if I wanted something badly enough and worked hard enough, then karma, serendipity or some mysterious alchemy would help me in securing it.

Something happened at the mall the other day

I knew I’d have to write two versions of this post: the first, a stormy tirade and the second, a more sober analysis of what happened at the mall the other day.

Before I start, I should say that I have seen and experienced much aggression at the hands of men. As a teenager, I had an iron thrown at me by my addict brother. I’ve had my head banged against a radiator and witnessed countless rages, replete with smashed plates and broken furniture.

Let's stop lying about class diversity

My most embarrassing work-related mistake happened not long after graduation. While working on a presentation with eminent epidemiologist Professor Nicholas Wald, I paused on an image of H Pylori, “a bug that lives in the stomach,” he said. I noted its arthropodal shape and sharp pincers and, thinking it was an insect, asked what size it grew to. Professor Wald looked bemused. “It’s not a real bug,” he said. “It’s bacterial.”

Is this thing on?

I recently read an interesting article called I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore and it resonated strongly.

I’ve done the exact same thing as the author of the article: sat at my desk and stared at the blank address bar of my web browser, wanting to waste time but not knowing how to do it. Like him, I’ve ended up at a news site, which is why I laughed at the following line.

Atlas & Boots

I do have loose plans to bring this blog into the 21st century at some point. Until then, I'll be blogging about travel at Atlas & Boots. Hope to see you there.


Niece: What's a dutchie?
Me: Something that must be passed on the left-hand side.
Niece: Huh?
Me: Something that must be passed on the left-hand side.
Niece: *Comes back 5 minutes later*
Niece: You're not funny.

Oh! The Drama

“People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.”   
– Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

Tribe Talk

Once in a while – perhaps five or six times a year – I’ll find myself standing next to an Asian girl on the train silently wondering what she’s like as a person. She’ll usually be like me in many ways: not ├╝ber glamorous but not Waynetta Slob either; dressed conservatively from a western point of view, but liberally from an eastern one. Perhaps I’ll catch a snippet of her phone conversation or see her pause at an interesting poster, and suddenly I’ll feel an overwhelming sense of wistfulness.

7 Tips for Travelling Alone

As someone who lives alone and who has spent much of her career freelancing, it’s safe to say that I’m pretty comfortable in my own company. When it comes to travelling, however, it’s a different story. I like sharing the experience with someone else, be it a friend, boyfriend, family member or colleague. I like having someone to share thoughts and ideas with, someone to put me right when I'm heading down the street in the wrong direction, someone to fret with when it's 3am and the bus that's meant to take me from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville is 2 hours late.