Migration story

When we think about migrants, we tend to classify them in one of two ways. Either they're refugees escaping persecution in their home country, or they're economic migrants.

My father didn't fall neatly into either camp.

Yes, I suppose he might've been interested in the opportunities Australia offered for him to spread his wings and provide for his family. He was given a visa on the strength of his skills as a mechanic. But he brought us here because he was concerned about living under communist rule.

We came when I was five years old, in 1991, years ahead of the handover of Hong Kong back to China. I have no memories of the time, of arriving and making a new life in a foreign country. I was not cogniscent in those early years of how hard my father worked to build something from the ground up to ensure we could live comfortably. I only know of the sacrifices – such as my mother, who left, according to him, because he was too busy working to be an attentive husband.

I remember the adjustment I made. Of learning English, while simultaneously being taken to Chinese school on the weekend to retain my mother tongue (didn't work). Of being teased in primary school for being Chinese. The latter would lead to a name change, to something more anglicised – nevermind that this was something of a failure, given the choice of an unusually spelt Russian name over my Chinese name.

My father both relished Western culture and made efforts to better assimilate. He subsisted on a diet of Hollywood action films and thrillers, Robert Ludlum, the ABC 7pm news and 7:30 Report. For years he read The Australian with a dictionary at the ready. Growing up, we ate pizza almost every week and patronised the local shopping centre food court twice a week.

While a regular dining companion of ours was Chinese, my father wasn't part of any kind of Chinese community in Perth. He didn't have many friends, but would come to call an Aussie bloke his best friend (a huge mistake). For as long as I can remember too, I had Asian friends here and there, but shunned being included in entirely Asian friendship groups.

I would never come to date anyone Chinese, nor lust over one. Though I would wind up getting involved with a person or two with a predilection for my racial traits.

When Chinese New Year rolled around, we would eat at his favourite Chinese restaurant. He'd bring home a tin of egg rolls. He forbade me from gifting my first boyfriend a Garfield clock for his birthday, because, Chinese superstition. And the firmness of that mandate surprised the bejesus out of me, because he'd never been so traditional over anything.

There were all these ways in which we were western, in thought, manner, food. And yet his difficulties with the language, hard as he tried, distinguished him as a first generation migrant.

He loved living here. He never looked back. In this more curious, questioning period of my life, there's a lot I want to know about those early years. Yet only he could've provided the answers. So I'll just have to not know – and glean what I can from others' experiences.

Love, Canberra on the Emerging Writers Festival podcast

The wonderful people at the Emerging Writers Festival contacted me last year about submitting some clips for a podcast episode they were working on. The resulting episode, "Creative Audio: Reflections from Australian Producers" features a number of excellent Australian audio producers, and me, discussing a piece of old tape and the lessons we drew from the experience of making it. 

Have a listen if you please! I come in at the 11:33 mark.

Emerging Writers Festival podcast screenshot.JPG

Angel and Michael (Episode Two) on The Project

Angel and Michael from Episode Two - Poly appeared on Channel Ten's The Project tonight to talk about living polyamory! 

The back story involves Love, Canberra - The Project emailed, referencing the episode, and asked to be put in contact with them. Everything happened quite quickly and then BAM - on TV.

Here they are with Michael's girlfriend Maddie. Watch the episode here - A&M&M appear from 34:26.

Article: Cast Away Australian Podcast Awards

On 1 April, I was delighted to attend Australia's first ever podcasting awards: Cast Away.

It was a Moment in Australian podcasting history that I felt needed to be captured - so I put myself up for the challenge.

For the piece, I spoke to Cast Away founder and organiser, Dave Gertler, one of the award judges, Madeline Joannou, and a representative from one of the winning podcasts - Anna Priestland of the Casefile: True Crime Podcast.

Read the full piece on Bello Collective.

Maria and Simon: a love (at first sight) story

Taken on Simon's birthday in 2001. "He had a 1960's karaoke party," Maria says.

From their wedding in July 2002: "In this photo Simon is telling me his vows.

"Simon and I have also been on the stage several times together. I like this one best, from Cinderella December 2009.

"This is one of my favourite pictures of us in July 2015 whilst we were in Hong Kong. We'd just come down Victoria Peak."

With many thanks to Maria Josey for the above photos and descriptions. Listen to her and Simon's story in Episode 13 - At first sight.

OzPod 2016

So. Zacha Rosen and I teamed up to produce a write-up of OzPod 2016 for the Bello Collective. 

In case you don't know Zacha (and you really should), he's an awesome radio producer (at FBi Radio) and writer.

In case the words 'OzPod 2016' conjure no memories or associations for you, it was a (fantastic) one day conference on podcasting organised by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for folks in podcasting and radio. 

Read our summary/insights/review of OzPod 2016 at the Bello Collective.

Seeking stories

According to the ACT Government, the population of Canberra is approaching 400,000. 

On my podcast, I have so far featured ten Canberrans. 

Are you, or someone you know, one of the remaining hundreds of thousands of Canberrans who has a story that you could share with me and Love, Canberra? 

Here are a handful of the stories I'm hoping to explore on the show:

  • An unlikely love story
  • Significant imbalance in a relationship: money, status, looks, intelligence, talent, friends
  • Pick-up artist
  • Found one true love and lost them
  • Break-up
  • Fetish for a particular ethnicity
  • Unusual sexual fetish
  • My partner doesn’t/can’t give me one thing I really need
  • Interracial dating
  • Someone you had a secret crush on and can’t forget
  • Cheated on a partner
  • Addicted to porn
  • Male escort
  • Female escort
  • A long, possibly happy, possibly unhappy, marriage
  • Death
  • An imbalanced friendship
  • An unlikely friendship
  • Having a child changed my relationship with my partner
  • Sex therapist
  • On entering a relationship that felt doomed from the beginning
  • Introverted but wanting connection
  • Canberra’s most boring couple
  • Great love story
  • Wanting someone you can’t have
  • Dating with an STD
  • Keep dating the “same” person
  • Dating on a low income
  • Don’t believe in love

Or maybe there's something else (relating to love, sex, or relationships) that you'd like to talk to me about on the podcast?

Get in touch! I don't bite :)

Hello Bello!

When I told Brittany Jezouit, creator of the Podcast Broadcast, that I had been accepted into AIR Media's summer 2016 Full Spectrum Intensive Storytelling Workshop, she expressed her excitement for me. And then she asked if I wanted to do a write-up about the workshop for a new project of hers. 

That write-up is now up, as is her new project, The Bello Collective, which she founded with Dana Gerber-Margie, behind The Audio Signal - another great newsletter about podcasts that I was also a subscriber to.

I say 'was' because the newsletter is no longer active - same with Podcast Broadcast. The book has closed on them both, with the new chapter being The Bello Collective. 

Read my piece here!

Love, Canberra on Friday Night Lip Service

Friday Night Lip Service is a rad show on the Canberra community radio station 2XXfm that's presented by a group of queer Canberran women. One of their presenters just so happens to be Daria, whom I interviewed in Episode Six - Asexual

Daria was very kind to make mention to Love, Canberra generally and the episode she was on specifically. You can hear all the lovely things she said about the show here (from 45:20).

Love, Canberra on the Filmspotting podcast

When I took Anthropology at university, I studied the text Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman.

I learned that '!' denoted the sharp clucking sound Nisa and members of her tribe made, which was a feature of their language system. 

On this occasion, many exclamation points would be appropriate, although they would have no relevance to the !Kung tribe's vocalisations. Instead, the many exclamation points I'd want to use in this post but won't (because it would be tacky and unprofessional) would symbolise my utter joy and excitement. 

Ah, what the hell.

Filmspotting mentioned Love, Canberra in the latest episode of their podcast!!!!!! That's Episode #577: Knight of Cups / FS Madness / May Marathon #3 - Mikey and Nicky!!!!!

The back story to this is, having been a listener of Filmspotting for the past year or so, I was well aware that Filmspotting is sponsored by Squarespace. In being so, Adam and Josh are in the habit of giving sites created using Squarespace a plug. So I wrote in, told them about the short-lived film podcast a friend and I did that had been inspired by Filmspotting, and said that I would be extremely grateful if they could give Love, Canberra a shoutout - because I've used Squarespace to create the website.

And they did.

And I noticed a massive spike in my listenership.

The power of podcast sponsorship!


Love, Canberra in Podcast Broadcast newsletter

Totally thrilled: Love, Canberra was mentioned not once, but twice in the first Australian edition of Brittany Jezouit's Podcast Broadcast newsletter!

Radio producer and founder of the Audiocraft festival Kate Montague said these lovely words about the podcast in her interview with Brittany:

And Love, Canberra was featured in Brittany's Top 15 list of best Australian audio storytelling:

In some seriously stellar company there!

Topic suggestion #1

Listener Mark writes:

I have met business partners, who are a couple, and own an escort agency. During busy times or a shortfall in the roster, the female partner services clients. Which brings me to what must be a core sex and relationships topic - How does being involved in Canberra's Sex industry affect the relationships of sex workers?

Particular questions are: Does being a sex worker make being in a relationship impossibly difficult; If not, is it better to be open or discreet about work with a partner; Is jealously a problem and are there other particular relationship stressors in the circumstances; How difficult is it to transition from work mode to intimacy with a partner;  Generally, are sex-workers' jobs kept secret from family and friends due to a fear of judgement; and, if so, what are the personal stress of a 'secret' life; etc.? 


If you are or know of a sex worker who would be interested in discussing with me what Mark has mentioned above, and other relevant subjects, do drop me a line x