All posts by Dan from Melbourne

30 year old blogger living in central Melbourne. Lover of all things foodie, pop culture, science and history, and sharing all of this from in and around the heart of Melbourne. Married to Daisy and part time father of the nerdling. So far I've been a guest tweeter on We Melbourne, guest curator on A City with a Quirk and a guest speaker for the Melbourne Writers Club. I just need someone to give up their Facebook page for a week.

Indian Film Festival – Special events and live tweeting

IFFM Queen

The Indian Film Festival is a Victorian Government initiative that aims to strengthen cultural ties between the Indian Film industry and Victoria. Currently in it’s second year, the program extends to film, dance and master classes.

Together with the Australia India Institute, the Indian Film Festival is hosting a talk with Konkona Sen.  Konkona Sen has appeared in both mainstream and arthouse movies in three languages, including the film the Film Festival is closing with on Sunday.

Topic: Arthouse v. Mainstream
Location: Satyajit Ray Memorial Leture
Time: Tonight at 6pm
Booking and details here

Also, Live-tweeting the event on @TheTwoChairs is Benjamin D. Skevofilax.

The festival closes this weekend with Gayonar Baksho, a comedy drama about a jewellery box handed through three generations of women. The screening is on Sunday 11 May from 7:30 at Hoyts in Melbourne Central. Tickets available here.

Konkona Sen has appeared in both mainstream and arthouse movies in three languages, including the film the Film Festival is closing with on Sunday.

Benjamin D. Skevofilax is a Melbourne based writer, independent filmmaker and cinephile with a passion for films and multimedia storytelling from countries around the world that explore how diverse and creative our world is and how we can encourage and incorporate more diversity into our lives and entertainment.

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The Two Chairs chats with Kevin Lim – Local comedian

Please introduce yourself and what you do

My name is Seung Hwan Lim, that’s my real name. I go by Kevin on stage and in life in general because it just makes life easier. I came to Australia when I was four with my whole family.

What is your background?

My background is South Korean. I shouldn’t have to mention South but it seems to help.

Continue reading The Two Chairs chats with Kevin Lim – Local comedian

Everyday Racism – App review

Everyday Racism is an iPhone app released by All Together Now designed to literally put you in someone else’s skin and experience casual racism. You choose between three different characters, and over the course of a week multiple scenarios are presented to you and you then choose your reaction. We here at The Two Chairs chose a character each and tried it out.

Continue reading Everyday Racism – App review

The Two Chairs with Kate Iselin ( You are welcome in Australia comic )

Dan (Editor of TheTwoChairs) sits with Kate Iselin to chat about her new comic book Pozible campaign.

First off, please introduce yourself and your current project.

My name is Kate Iselin and my project is a Pozible campaign for a comic called “You are welcome in Australia

Continue reading The Two Chairs with Kate Iselin ( You are welcome in Australia comic )

How The Two Chairs can help white people.

Over the past few months I’ve had lots of opportunities to talk about The Two Chairs and the discrimination issues that we are tackling. Some are excited, some add their own personal stories, some tell me about their special friend that they can call the “n” word (ugh). There’s one particular group that I wanted to write about though: the ones we can teach.

When we start talking about The Two Chairs, it’s as though they develop a speech impediment. They start talking slower, pausing between words to make sure that they’re not about to say something insensitive. They start using awkward, unnatural phrases like “persons of ethnicity”.

After this happened a few times I finally worked out what was happening. They’re afraid I’m looking for an opportunity to leap over the table, grab them by the collar and yell triumphantly that I had managed to catch a racist out! Continue reading How The Two Chairs can help white people.

COMIC: GOING AS A BLACK PILLOW

SUZANNE NGUYEN'S

COMIC: BEING A BLACK PILLOW

In response to a 21st birthday African themed party, the young girl and her friends set a racist outcry. Regardless of her unintentional intentions, one needs to think and consider the bigger picture and realise the potential harmful impact of other cultures. Painting your face black is not cool.

On another note, I had a great discussion on @TheTwoChairs about the African themed party and why we shouldn’t condone this behaviour/attitude. Follow the discussion here

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Inclusion Zone

I don’t recall noticing that my grandfather was black until his ‘difference’ was pointed out to me at school when I was about 9.

“Who was that black man I saw you with at the weekend,” a schoolmate asked.

He’s black? He was just my grandfather as far as I was concerned. And while I didn’t see colour then, I certainly do now.

And so started my experience of racism. While I would later be taunted at school about having a black grandfather, I soon came to realise that the pathetic comments directed at me were nothing in comparison to the direct-action racism faced by people with a skin colour that’s not white.

My mother spent her childhood trying to scrub the brown out of her skin.

Here’s a picture of my grandfather in Egypt in 1940 during WWII:

11

He was Moriori but served in a Maori battalion.  Continue reading Inclusion Zone

Living la vida Laowai

Wikipedia describes Laowai as a commonly used Mandarin Chinese word, and a shorter, informal version of wàiguórén 外国人 (“foreigner”).

Laowai is not intended as a negative word. Of course you may hear expat stories where the word has been adapted to be used negatively by some. Sadly, this has become human nature. I am currently not an expat, and my story is not a story about international racism. However, my story is about being different. My story is about being an outsider, and loving every minute of it.

I was born and raised in Victoria Australia. I am an English Language Tutor. I love what I do, I get to meet a fantastically diverse bunch of people, and I probably learn more than I teach.

A little over a month ago now I began looking for a quiet office space in the CBD to accommodate some new Melbourne based learners. After browsing through sublet advertisements on Gumtree, I had come to the conclusion that I was probably going to end up in a broom closet next to the restrooms of a Legal Chambers, where the land lord had placed a semi-constructed flat pack desk, an over swiveled swivel chair, and a poster reading “hang in there.”

I picked one ad at random, and arranged a visit via email. I arrived at the address, took the elevator up 5 floors and stepped inside a lovely looking office suite. I was shocked to learn that I had arranged to view an office inside a Tutoring Center, there was even a stack of IELTS books by the reception desk. Needless to say, I moved into my new Melbourne office a few weeks ago. I share a suite with a wonderful company called Energy Bean Tutoring Center.

Energy Bean is probably best described as a Chinese Australian Tutoring Centre, as it caters mostly to the needs of international students from mainland China studying at various levels in Australia.

It’s fair to say the official spoken language within my office suite is Mandarin. The signs are all in Mandarin, the posters are in Mandarin, the Energy Bean web page is in Mandarin, I noticed that even the label and fine print on one of the whiteboard markers was Mandarin. Despite not knowing a great deal of the language, not once have I been treated as an outsider. Despite running a similar business, not once have I been treated as competition. I was instantly treated like a partner. After only three weeks I feel like I have been part of the Energy Bean family for a decade.

Last night I was invited to the Energy Bean Anniversary Celebration. The speeches, presentations, and games were all in Mandarin, and I felt how some of my intermediate students must feel when I ramble on and forget to articulate, and just like them, I was politely nodding and pretending I knew what was going on. Perspective is one heck of an eye opener. After giving up on my high hopes of becoming a fluent Chinese speaker by carefully listening to the speeches, I sat back and enjoyed the culture shock.

When the games began, I watched Energy Bean staff and students light up with joy as they participated in competitive group activities. It was so entertaining from a spectators point of view. I couldn’t even being to guess what the objective was, but their smiles and laughter spoke louder than any words in any language. Energy Bean’s very own hard working receptionist kindly explained what was going on, and it turned out there was a lot of method to the madness unfolding before my eyes.

I felt guilty that I couldn’t fully understand the festivities despite all the hard work that had gone into the evening. Everyone else probably felt guilty that I was unable to participate because they made sure not to make me feel as though I was being excluded, being sure not to alienate me, and make me feel like an outsider. As a result I felt like I was on an adventurous international vacation, but it became clear that I was actually witnessing Australia as the multicultural paradise that it should be.

In my opinion, I have become a better ESL teacher by spending some time as an outsider with people who instantly welcomed me, and let me in. I believe there are no minorities based on heritage and race. The only true minority group in this country are those ignorant few who consciously chose to shut everybody else out. I truly feel sorry for them. They don’t know what they are missing out on.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Dayne Collins @academiaesl

#BAD2013 – Our thoughts on Multiculturalism

Blog Action Day is an free annual event, that has run since 2007. It’s aim is to unite the world’s bloggers by posting about the same issue, on the same day, in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all, raises awareness or even funds for not-for-profits associated to the theme issue. This year the theme is Human Rights.

bananas-in-pyjamas

Suzie Nguyen on being a Banana

A banana is a fruit that is yellow on the outside and white on the inside. I am Asian Australian, and so are B1 and B2, the two characters from the Banana in Pyjamas show. When I was a kid I never questioned the differences between people, fruit and race. As a teen, I struggled with my identity of fitting into yellow/white cultures. Now, I am embracing my combined yellow and white thinking. Diversity is a part of Australia’s identity and unfortunately so is racism. Today’s battle in Australia isn’t fighting overt racism. It’s recognising the greyness of the issue and raising more awareness of other forms of racism, like casual racism. I am part of The Two Chairs initiative, we are planning to use art, community and conversation to help bring constructive discussion to this issue. It’s time we creatively chat about race and racism.

Dan Machuca on Pop Culture

Popular culture is this generation’s myths and legends. Characters such as Superman, Optimus Prime and GI Joe had as much of an effect on my upbringing as Theseus, Moses or Hercules. This is why I think it’s important now more than ever that we are as inclusive and culturally senstitive as possible with the shows we have in TV. For some people what they see on television will be their first exposure to other cultures, so stereotyping them as lazy, dishonest or otherwise “different” can only further a negative stereotype for nothing more than cheap laughs. Remember that it’s your attention that these shows want, and by voting with your eyeballs you can truly help make a change in the community.