A very long time ago, I used to sit opposite the news desk at East Malaysia’s first private regional TV station. Behind the editor, hung a huge white board. On the board was a table with a list of stories and the journalists and cameramen assigned to cover each story. One day, I realised that I would have liked my name to be on that board, that I would prefer writing stories about people to writing emails about replacement circuit boards.
Eventually, I resigned from my engineering job to care for my young children. In 2007, in an effort to regain a toe-hold in paid employment, I began writing a monthly parenting column, in English, for the Borneo Post. I began interviewing friends and experts in various fields, from neurology to speech pathology. Even after the column discontinued in 2015, interviewing people and writing remained my way of trying to understand the world.
In 2010, after retraining as an English teacher (TESOL) in Australia where I now live, I began teaching adult migrants. Many of my students were former refugees. Through them, I realised that the road to successful resettlement is often long and difficult. They inspired me to being collecting refugee stories to reflect Australia’s changing response to asylum seekers since the Vietnam War.
In 2015, I won an Arts SA Emerging Artist Mentorship grant for this book project. I resigned from teaching to work on the manuscript. I also began blogging as The Curious Scribbler, mainly to assure people I approached for interviews that I was really writing a book and not running a scam.
In 2017, I sent the completed manuscript out into the world to look for a happy publishing home. As the process dragged on, this blog took on new meaning.
It became my work space, the place I look forward to entering each weekday morning, when I shut the door on dirty dishes and Sisyphean laundry, and arrange my thoughts into sentences, blog posts covering migration and human displacement, identity and culture, reading and writing, parenthood and childhood, faith and hope, and all the things that make life worth living.
Samples of my writing: Champions Published in the Borneo Post Fish in the Well Chapter 2 excerpt from dad's memoirs, self-published