Sunday, May 1, 2016

Transcript: "Claiming Narratives, Re-Telling History: Bringing Southeast Asian Steampunk to the World Stage"

Recently I went to a conference held by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, entitled "Making Southeast Asian Culture: From Region To World." Thanks to Dr. Gui Weihsin, I was on a panel on literary transformations in Southeast Asia.

I wouldn't really say I'm a Southeast Asianist. In my main blog, I describe myself as being involved with UC Riverside's SEATRiP program not by research, but through my creative pursuits. I DO study Southeast Asian history and cultures, but that is because I write stories that are meant for a Southeast Asian audience. So when Dr. Gui invited me to submit an abstract for this conference, I wracked my brain trying to think of a good usable topic (that could, in the interests of an academic career, transform into a publishable paper) and thought of something completely different, but completely untenable, and he said, "why not just talk about your book? You edited it, you know the field, you'd be the only steampunk specialist there, and it's Southeast Asian literature."

I can do that?

And turns out, of course I can, which put me into the position of speaking as an academic about a book I personally edited. I was very uncomfortable because on the one hand, Dr. Gui was right, it IS Southeast Asian Literature (we've got one white woman in the entire Table of Contents; white women are very diverse these days) and I AM an expert on the field and it IS a great opportunity to tell people about the book, but on the other hand, I have been taught, in so many ways, that being proud of my work and what I've done and talking about it is kind of big-headed, arrogant, and kinda rude. But I have the support of many lovely people here at UCR, including my adviser, so I wrote it, and made a very nice Powerpoint (which I'm not actually putting up here). 

So here is the transcript!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Con Report: AnomalyCon

About a year ago, Kronda Seibert, chair of AnomalyCon, invited me to an Author Spotlight, with the bonus of me getting a free flight and hotel out. This is pretty great! Of course I'll go to a con that gives me a flight out! Since it also happened during Spring Break, that was a no-brainer. The flight was reasonable, the hotel was comfortable. 

Denver also snows! 

This is a feature, not a bug. People who have spoken to me about this have found that I am one of those strange people who do not like the long California summers and I've been craving for a reason to go back to some snowy place for some time. (Most of the conventions I've been hitting up aren't really that far north, save WisCon, and that's after the snows have melted.)

Since AnomalyCon was at the end of March, it snowed! 

Kronda had slated me to give a brief spiel at Opening Ceremonies, which didn't really sink in until like a week before. Looking through my archive of messages, she definitely had asked me several months before, but apparently my brain has become a sieve. And I thought, "Oh, I'll write my thing on the train ride out to the airport!" Then it was "oh, I'll write my thing on the plane ride there!" And then it became "oh, I'll write my thing right before (even though I'm horrifically underslept), it'll be fine."

So I did.

And then I didn't get to read it because the sound guy got stuck in the snow so the Opening Ceremonies started like 45 minutes late.

It was fine. I got to hang out with friends in line and talk to random people. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Steampunk Postcolonialist @ AnomalyCon!

This is a little late because I've been busy writing my dissertation and avoiding trying to wade through the program Excel sheet that is AnomalyCon's program grid. I'm doing it now because I am at ICFA and trying to avoid working on my dissertation for now. 

I'm generally pleased, though, to announce that I am an Author Spotlight at AnomalyCon 2016! Here is my schedule of things:




Language, Dialect and Code-Switching
Windstar A
Representing code-switching in fiction, but also how it relates to a miltilingual and diverse geek community.

Science Fiction and the Future of Childbirth
Mesa Verde C
Childbirth is often glossed over--even in Star Trek where they "beam" the kid out. But in futuristic worlds, what can reproduction look like, and beyond the cis-normative?

With All Due Respect: Multicultural Fashion
Mesa Verde B
Steampunk isn't just about Victorian England! Dive into costuming from every angle and discuss cultural respect without appropriation. 

How To Fail Gracefully
Windstar A
As you write, you're likely to mess up, or hurt someone without realizing it. How to take steps to learn gracefully instead of turning a mistake into a FAIL and grow from the experience.

Queer Identities After the Apocalypse
Wind River B
Trans healthcare and queer reproductive choices in post-apocalyptic worlds.


The Future of Racism
Mesa Verde C
The past's virulent racism against the Irish has now faded to language artifacts like "red-headed stepchild" and "paddy wagon." What traces will present-day racism leave behind, and what new forms of racism will emerge?

Colonialism of Fairytales
Wind River A
Many people only know of tales by Grimm and other Western authors, sometimes only the versions revamped by Disney. A discussion on colonialism in fairy tales and mention of those outside the "mainstream."

We Have Always Fought
Mesa Verde
The History of women in warfare, and how women have never been so demure as history would have you believe. 

Considering how many panels I'm on, I'll probably stagger to school the Monday after. But I hope you all come! You may not like what I have to say, but you should come anyway.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

SHAW 2016: Keep Calm and Caper

I was gonna share a bit of my dissertation with you but changed my mind, because I realized I wanted to share something funnier. Steampunk has brought some incredible moments to my life, some hilarious stories, some good anecdotes, and trivial lessons. My favourite lesson is this: keep calm and caper.

What does that even mean? It means that when all else fails, do a little dance. In costume, out of costume, probably especially after you take off your costume because unless you dress Super Steampunk Casual you might be a little stiff. Do a little caper. It can have marvelous effects.

I end this Steampunk Hands Around The World here with a couple of my favourite stories: 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SHAW 2016: Tipu Sultan's Tiger

And today, a poem:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

SHAW 2016: Syncretic Balinese Treasures

I went to Bali in 2010, before starting my M.A. degree, with my family for Lunar New Year. Bali is a state of Indonesia, at the far-eastern tip. (It also shares the same timezone, which makes it a bit confusing when you wake up at 5am and it's already pretty light out and you're not used to that.)

Balinese culture is a combination of different cultures, and it's pretty easy to trace where each element in their architecture and aesthetics are from, while still appreciate it all as singular wholes unique to the region. The Hindu and Buddhist influences stand out strongly, coagulating into the local folk aesthetic.

And boy are there some steampunky things there!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

SHAW 2016: The 4 Most Steampunk Places of Riverside

Yes, Silver Goggles is once again participating in Steampunk Hands Around the World!

Folks may or may not be aware that currently, I live in Riverside, California. I'm not a fan of Riverside, exactly: the sun is aggressively hot and bright for too many months of the year; it's too dry; Southern California does not believe in public transportation; affordable housing apparently does not exist. That there are palm trees everywhere also gets on my nerves: they don't belong here, they're here only for the "exotic" feeling which is pretty pointless, and the desert could use more good desert-loving trees that provide shade to its inhabitants. I am not, however, the architect of this region.

Fortunately! Not all is lost on me here in Riverside. Today, I give to you my four favourite spots in Riverside that I try to make people aware of. Two of them are right downtown, and if you visit, I will make sure to take you there.