Why We Get Names Wrong

When I was born, my Malaysian parents named me Mabel (may-berl). They also gave me a Chinese name, Li Teng (lee ting, 丽 婷), which is my middle name on my Australian passport.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of our perfectly imperfect selves | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of our perfectly imperfect selves | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

I’ve always went by my English name. Growing up, my parents called me Mabel at home. I introduced myself as Mabel when I went to school and still do today.

In this world made up of so many cultures, there are countless of us non-Caucasians who have Western first and last names. But there are times when some assume we go by “exotic” names if we aren’t Caucasian. If we’re dark-skinned, some might think we’re a Muhammad or Suresh. If we’re Asian, our first and last names might be Lee or Nguyen.

Continue reading

When Is Street Food Safe To Eat?

I love eating street food. Satay. Corn on the cob. Hot dogs. Takoyaki. Ramli burger. You name it.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does. There are always endless queues for street food at food festivals that pop up every now and then around Melbourne.

Seafood paella inside a hot pan on the street. Dare eat it? | Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside.

Seafood paella inside a hot pan, served on the street in South Melbourne. Dare try it? | Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside.

Though we can find street food in restaurants, most of the time we think of it as cuisine cooked at a market. A bazaar. Chinatown. Pasar malams. Mamak stalls. In short, street food is food cooked and served outdoors.

Continue reading

What Do We Think Of When We Meet People?

It’s always interesting meeting strangers on the street. It can be exciting. Awkward. Maybe a little scary.

The other afternoon I was taking photos of Federation Square in the city, minding my own business.

"Hi". "Hello" Words that are perceived differently by different people that we meet | Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective.

“Hi”. “Hello” Words that are perceived differently by different people that we meet | Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective.

“Excuse me? Can you take a photo of me?”

I turned around. The summer-in-autumn sun shone right into my face. Eyes squinting, I made out a tall, dark-skinned guy towering over me, compact camera in hand. Why are you looking at me? Why are you coming towards me? Right. Photo.

Continue reading