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Vivian Chandra is a tech consultant with a huge difference. Her passion for education and democratising digital technology means she spends much of her time upskilling teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand so that they can teach kids essential tech skills. In our conversation, we talk about:Why diversity and inclusion in tech is important to herHow to use play doh to teach electronicsOne of the biggest misunderstandings about children and their use of technologyHow to encourage more digital fluency for your kids - and why that’s importantHow learning Te Reo Māori helped her explore her own cultural identity If you would like to follow Vivian’s work, you can do so on her website https://vivianchandra.com or follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/vivsterNZ
This is a rerun of my conversation with Iori Forsyth from 2021.-------------------Iori Forsyth is half-Australian and half-Japanese and she embodies the terms "bicultural" and "biracial" through and through. She split her childhood between Japan and Australia, which allowed her to experience both cultures fully and be fluent in both languages. She grew up with 7 brothers (she's the oldest of 8 children).Due to her family's unique status as both a large family and a bicultural one in Hiroshima, Japan, they had their own reality TV show for 10 years - a significant part of Iori and her brothers' childhoods and teenage years.We talk about what it was like for her growing up split between two very different cultures, where she felt like she fit in the most, her experience growing up in front of TV cameras, and the most important things to giving your own children a truly multicultural upbringing. You can follow Iori and her family on their YouTube channel, 大家族フォーサイス家 (Large family Forsyth). Note that the channel is in Japanese only. If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, review, and subscribe, as well as follow along on Instagram. Reach out to me on notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com if you want to share your story - I would love to hear from you!
University of Auckland PhD candidate Lovely Dizon speaks with me in this episode about the under-served mental health needs of 1.5 generation Asian young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our conversation includes:A discussion of the burden of carrying the weight of family expectations, balanced with trying to figure out what is important to you and who you areWhat is lacking from current systems of healthcare and how they fail Asian youthThe role that being a 1.5 generation migrant plays in the mental health of young Asian youthPlus much, much more - Lovely is a 1.5 generation Filipino Kiwi and a final year PhD candidate based in the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include Asian youth health, youth mental health and ethnic identity. She is passionate about amplifying and advocating for greater representation of ethnic minority voices and experiences, creating space for destigmatising conversations around mental health, and improving access to health services. Follow her work on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amplify.nz/If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, review, and subscribe, as well as follow along on Instagram. Reach out to me on notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com if you want to share your story - I would love to hear from you!
Auckland-based playwright and director Talia Pua talks to me in this episode about her latest bodies of work - a play titled Pork and Poll Taxes which premiered in 2021 and an exhibition about Chinese migration to New Zealand which ran earlier in 2022 - and why it’s important to her to tell these stories.She also shares her experiences both behind and on stage in the performing arts in New Zealand, and why diverse Asian representation on stage and screen matters. Talia is the co-founder and creative director of Hand Pulled Collective, a production company that focuses on bringing the stories of New Zealand’s Chinese community to the stage. Please share and rate, as well as follow along on Instagram. Reach out to me on notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com if you want to share your story - I would love to hear from you!
Vikram Udyawer has loved space ever since he was a kid growing up in four different countries. Like many other kids who grow up in different cultures, Vikram struggled with belonging and identity, but found solace in space and what he believed to be a borderless environment. He chats with me about his experiences growing up as a “Fifth Culture Kid”, how this inspired him to enter the space industry, and what the reality was once he started working in it. We talk about the geopolitics that come with space, as well as the lack of diversity in the industry and what real-life implications that has for all of us.Vikram is the founder of Metasolis, a s.t.e.a.m studio with a focus on building web3 tooling for space ecosystems.
Emi Chiba spent her most formative years between the UK, Japan and Spain, before eventually settling in Tokyo, Japan where she lives now. And the road between her being born in the UK to a British father and Japanese mother, to her life now is full of twists, hard truths and unexpected lessons. Yes, growing up biracial between vastly different countries and cultures is a big part of Emi’s story so far. But there has been so much more to her journey that helped shaped her into the person she is today.In this episode, Emi talks to me openly about:The complexities of being “ha-fu” in JapanBeing accepted, or not accepted, on the basis of how you lookThe life-changing experience of living in Ibiza for two yearsHer decision to drop out of university in Japan and the implications of that on her careerBeing a child of divorce between parents of vastly different cultural backgroundsWhy she left home at 17 and has never looked backThe special relationship she had with her grandmotherPlease share and rate, as well as follow along on Instagram. Reach out to me on notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com if you want to share your story - I would love to hear from you!
이혜지 Hye Ji (Erica) Lee joins me on this episode to talk activism and decoloniality - specifically what constitutes activism for her and how she finds the joy in activism, rather than focusing only on the things that cause pain and trauma. Erica is an academic who teaches and researches in Sociology, who was born in South Korea and migrated to New Zealand with her family when she was 11 years old. Like so many migrant kids, she experienced firsthand the ups and downs of growing up in a place where you are marked as an outsider at first glance. She has published and spoken about these issues in the media and through academic publications. You can read her work on her website and you can also follow her on Instagram.
Maria Khaydar is Russian-born and speaks Russian fluently, but has struggled to identify as Russian for a long time. As a part-Arab part-Azeri woman, she’s been questioning where she belongs and what her identity really is. And now with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she has been unpacking even more questions about identity and belonging. Remember to rate, review and subscribe if you enjoyed this episode, as well as follow along on Instagram. 
In the last year of her degree in communication design at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, Sochetha Meng created three zines documenting her family’s past, her own present and her hopes for the future.Sochetha is a second generation Cambodian New Zealander who is grappling with her identity as an “inbetweener” while also learning more about - and working through the trauma - her family’s history that, like all Cambodians, is inextricably intertwined with the horrific Khmer Rouge regime. You read Sochetha’s zines here: https://issuu.com/sochetha_meng and you can follow her work on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/project.frommetoyou/
Florence and Athina are the co-founders of Covry, a company that makes inclusive eyewear for faces of all shapes and sizes. I bought a pair of these glasses last year after seeing an ad on Instagram and I had no idea I needed them until I tried them on. In this conversation, I chat with Florence and Athina about their backgrounds, the inspiration behind Covry, building their brand, and why it’s meaningful to them to promote diversity and inclusion through their business.You can buy Covry products via the website and follow them on Instagram. 
Dhayana, who goes by “MissDeusGeek” online, is an avid gamer, influencer and content creator based in Australia. Of Sri Lankan descent and born and raised in Malaysia, Dhayana is passionate about championing diversity in gaming, particularly for future generations. During our conversation, we chat about:The hierarchy of Malaysian society and its implications, including the pursuit of perfection, unhealthy competition and colourism.Why she started Women of XBox, a global initiative focused on supporting and empowering women Xbox gamers. The power of diversity in gaming and entertainmentYou can follow Dhayana on Twitter and Instagram, and learn more about her work on her website.
Golriz Ghahraman is often described as New Zealand’s first refugee Member of Parliament (MP) and it is a label that follows her in all her work with under-represented communities in New Zealand. She came to New Zealand as a nine-year-old child asylum seeker from Iran and went on to study at Oxford University and practise law at the United Nations. She’s now an elected MP representing The Green Party, where she works on a wide range of human rights issues, including refugee and migrant rights.In this episode, Golriz shares with me:The influence her background has had on her career choices and the issues she’s most passionate aboutHow she manages the responsibility of representation for so many different under-represented communitiesHer journey with multiple sclerosis and her firsthand experience of how healthcare fails womenYou can learn more about Golriz’s story in her book, Know Your Place. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook. 
This is a rerun of a conversation released in June 2021.-------------------Alex was born and raised in the United States and is of Taiwanese and Vietnamese descent. In this conversation, we explore Alex's experiences being both Asian and gay and the challenges those intersecting parts of his identity bring. He shares his lived experiences being Asian American,  why the US isn't really the melting pot that it claims to be, why we need better representation of what being gay means in popular media, and his journey of becoming more comfortable and accepting of his identity.As always, please share and rate, as well as follow along on Facebook and Instagram! And send me an email notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com if you want to share your story - I would love to hear from you!
This is a rerun and extended edit of an episode published in March 2021.------------------------------Challenging the status quo and being the representation you want to see can be a lonely uphill battle. Shilo is an author and journalist who is of Ngāpuhi and Tainui iwi and she on that path to breaking down existing narratives and heavily entrenched racism against Māori in New Zealand through her storytelling.In our conversation, we talk about our early days as graduate journalists at The Manukau Courier, Shilo's time in Hong Kong as a missionary, confronting racism while working in Tauranga, writing and releasing her first book and how she is feeling ahead of her year-long full-immersion Te Reo Māori course.Language notes:1. "iwi" means "people" or "tribe".2. "Aotearoa" is the Māori name for New Zealand.3. "Pākehā" means a non-Māori New Zealander, generally of European descent4. A marae is a meeting ground and focal point of Māori communities, incorporating a carved meeting house, Te Wharenui. It's where the community gathers for celebrations, funerals, and other important events. 5. "Kaumātua" are tribal elders and help to preserve traditions and pass knowledge down to younger generations. They are highly revered.6. "Mana" is kind of a tricky term to understand fully through words only. In Māori, it refers to an intangible force found in people and objects. It underpins everything and to have mana means to have spiritual power, authority, identity and respect.7.  "Waka" means "canoe", but in the context of this episode, the word is used metaphorically to mean "journey".You can support and follow Shilo's work through her Instagram account and Twitter, as well as her column at Newsroom. She is documenting her Te Reo Māori journey through her own podcast, Back to Kura. Her book is The Pōrangi Boy.
This is a rerun of the first episode of the first season of NYTM that aired in February 2021. In the very first episode of Not Your Token Minority, I speak with my good friend Sheila about growing up in small-town New Zealand, building her career as one of the only Asian female leaders in her industry and coming to terms with her mum's death. Themes and topics explored in this episode include:- growing up as an Asian kid in small-town New Zealand, including experiences of racism- work ethic - the death of a parent Have a story you want to share? Email me at notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com or fill in the form here. If you like the show so far, I would really love your support: leave a review, make sure to subscribe and follow NYTM on Facebook and Instagram.
The "better life" adoption narrative is one that many of us know well - a child, who is usually from the global south, is adopted by a loving couple from the west and given a “better life”, one that they never would have had, had they never been adopted.But what if, in reality, many adoptions don't follow this familiar narrative? In this episode, my guest shares with me her own adoption story and how her journey to learning more about her own background has led her towards a decade of fighting for adoptee rights. Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom is a Korean adoptee, who was adopted by a Swedish couple when she was 2 years old. During the course of her journey looking for her first parents, she uncovered some unsettling things that challenged everything she was ever told about her adoption. Her graphic novel "Palimpsest" is about this journey and you can order online. You can also check with your local library to see if they have it in their catalogue.In our conversation, we also talk about finding belonging as an adoptee of Asian descent and the unique challenges she's faced in figuring out her own identity. You can also follow Lisa on her Instagram and support her Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/woolrim
"Nikkei" is a term that you'll hear a few times in this episode. It's a Japanese word that means "of Japanese descent" and is used to refer to the huge communities of Japanese diaspora living overseas. Leo Fuchigami is second generation Japanese-Canadian and is considered "Nikkei". But what does that really mean? In this episode, Leo shares his journey of how he has unpacked his "Nikkei" story through a series of experiences travelling and living overseas. Through the people he's met along the way, the things he's learnt from their stories and discovering more about his own family's migrational movements, Leo has come to understand his own cultural identity in the context of the much larger migration of people all over the world and across generations.As always, please rate and share to support this podcast, as well as follow on Instagram and Facebook. This is the second-to-last episode of the year before I take a bit of a break over December and January. This is the perfect time to get in touch if you, or someone you know, would like to be a guest on the show. Just send me a message via IG or FB, or email notyourtokenminoritypodcast@gmail.com.
You've probably heard the terms "diversity and inclusion" (D&I) or "diversity, equity and inclusion" (DEI) thrown around a fair bit in more recent years. They have become indispensable parts of employee engagement and retention initiatives in workplaces - but not all DEI strategies are built the same. I'm joined in this episode by Gigi Hui, an HR professional who is passionate about DEI and working with others to help them become their best selves. In our conversation, we look at the different layers of “leaning in”, especially when you’re not a straight white male; society’s obsession with extroverts and the implications of that in the workplace; and what true DEI looks like and how to avoid turning it into a “tick box” exercise.Gigi mentions a TED Talk on "The myth of bringing your full authentic self to work" by Jodi-Ann Burey. You can watch it here.Follow NYTM on your favourite podcast platform, as well as on Instagram and Facebook. 
Most of us are familiar with the busy-ness that life can bring and how easily we can get caught up in it. This was no less true for this episode's guest, Bonnie, who is a fellow podcaster and a business owner based in Auckland. This year for her, though, has been about slowing down and having more gratitude for the smaller things in life. We talk all about that mindfulness journey she's on, as well as the biggest lessons she's learnt as a small business owner and her love of sky diving. Bonnie's podcast is called The Everyday Us and is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play. As always, share, review and subscribe to this podcast and follow on  Facebook and Instagram. 
Have you ever heard someone say: "Why is everything about race these days?" or "I can't joke about anything, everything is so PC"? If these comments make you uncomfortable, then this episode could be for you.In this episode, Steph Tan - who was my wonderful guest in the previous episode - joins me again to break down comments that we most commonly hear and see when addressing race and racism. We look at why those comments can be damaging in the context of racism against people of Asian background and how someone might address them. I don't intend this episode to be a complete, incontestable conversation - just what Steph and I currently understand of and have learnt about racism so far. There is still so much to learn and I'm always open to constructive and healthy discussions.As always, rate and subscribe if you haven't done so already + follow along on Facebook and Instagram.
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