Thursday, December 20, 2018

The taxi driver

I am heading back to Canberra today for Christmas.

The first taxi I ordered didn't arrive.

The second taxi came – but the driver was an extreme Christian.

The conversation started off fine until I told him I was a biologist. And that's when things took an uncomfortable turn. The guy was a creationist. He was extremely passionate aggressive about his beliefs. At one point he wanted me to explain how bacteria can evolve into humans. I tried to change the subject but he kept coming back to to the Gospel and how God created everything. And that the Sun has always risen from the East because God made it so etc etc. He was getting louder and louder and, as he spoke, he started beating his chest with his palm. It was a tad bit scary.

He asked me if I had a wife. I said 'no' and left it at that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


It's official. I'm an LGBT ally at work. I had my training a few weeks ago and I just got sent my rainbow pin, rainbow sticker and rainbow cards (to stick on my door) to prove it.

When I told one of my (straight) colleagues that I was doing LGBTI ally training, he asked whether a gay man can be an ally. I had to think for a few seconds but the answer is, of course, 'yes': I can be an ally to the L, B, T, I, A and Qs in our community.

The training itself was lots of fun and a real eye opener. It made me realise that I was quite an ignorant gay man. If nothing more comes out of the training, at least I now know what pansexual means (I was pretty certain it had nothing to do with cooking implements but that was the extent of my knowledge prior to LGBT training).

I have been doing a bit of reflection over the past couple of months and have decided my new year's resolution is to try to promote greater diversity in academia.  There aren't a lot of gay Asian professors out there. Visibility and representation are both important.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Party Season

It's the season of work Christmas parties and I attended three this year.

The first was a day time event that took place at the zoo. I was super excited  about going to see the animals but it turned out to be a sweltering day and I decided best to stay indoors at the function venue where there was good air-conditioning. The few colleagues who braved it outside to wander around the zoo saw basically nothing. Even the animals had more sense than to venture out into the heat.

That same evening, Nathan had his Christmas part. I swear that Nathan only works so he can go to Christmas parties. He was so excited and ended up buying a new shirt (covered in tiny pink flamingoes) and a bow tie (in pink!) specially for the occasion. I was very surprised. First, Nathan doesn't normally do microprint. Second, he hates pink. I think he is going through a midlife crisis. 

Unlike my day time party, Nathan's event was super fancy. It was held in the Palladium at Crown, and his company always invites a headline act to perform. This year it was Peking Duk. For those of us who aren't on top of our electronic dance music, Peking Duk is an Australian, Aria-award winning electronic dance duo – not to be confused with the decadent Peking duck served at fancy Chinese banquets. Both are amazing.

My third (and thankfully final) Christmas party this year took pace last Friday. It was at a lawn bowls venue out in the 'burbs. This was probably the least extravagant of the three parties but was just as enjoyable. The food was rather mediocre though. The roasted 'meats' were covered in a thick layer of fat and had been cooked for so long that it was hard to tell whether we were eating animal or cardboard. I would have preferred Peking duck.