Author Archives: Kat

Why Mum is still the best cook in the world

I wrote this for PINOYexpats, but this article was also the starting point for a similar piece that I submitted to the Australian Filipina magazine.

My extended family has produced some excellent cooks and my mum is one of the best. I, on the other hand, avoided the kitchen for as long as I could.

Cooking seemed to me a messy, laborious and thankless chore. When I moved out to an apartment with a brand new kitchen still gleaming in its stainless steel glory, I vowed to turn over a new leaf. Who better to experiment with than my new husband, who promised to do the washing up? Continue reading

Beyond the Accent : Why learning a second language is more difficult than it sounds

This was the first article I wrote for PINOYexpats as part of the theme Buwan Ng Wika. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, but I’m so glad I finally found a copy so I can post it here.

A new immigrant, Lola was gardening when a neighbour greeted her with a jaunty, ‘Good day!’

‘Thank you,’ Lola replied as she fluffed up her hair.

Two weeks after arriving in Sydney, my family was at my school for an interview. ‘How was your flight?’ the principal kindly asked my parents.

‘Oh, we’re living at my sister-in-laws’ house,’ Mum replied.

It turns out that Lola thought the neighbour was admiring the colour of her hair dye, while Mum thought the school principal was asking her about our flat. When these stories are recounted to friends, we discover similar anecdotes around their first contact with colloquial Australian English – or what many people jokingly refer to as ‘Strine.

Language fluency is not just about the ability to remember words or put together grammatically correct sentences. Language is as much a cultural construct as it is a cognitive skill. The ‘English’ we learn back home sounds, feels and evolves differently to the ‘English’ of the Aussies, Kiwis, Poms and Yanks. Continue reading

Feminist values in romance fiction

Earlier this month I wrote a guest post for the Australia Women Writers Challenge blog discussing whether or not romance fiction is inherently feminist. Here’s an excerpt:

When we consider what romance fiction brings to feminism, it’s not enough to talk about what we as individuals get out of romance fiction or how we interpret this book or that. Knowing the genre’s popularity among female readers, we should also be asking: How do women read romance and why do they love these books so much? Only then, I think, will we have a better understanding of the genre’s importance and influence in women’s lives.
If you’re a romance reader, a romance non-reader or simply curious why people love these books so much, I’d love to know what you think.

Raunchy Romance Storytime 2012

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Customs House Library hosted a Library Up Late event dedicated to romance fiction and asked me to curate it. I chose excerpts from romance books to be performed by Rhys Muldoon, Libbi Gorr and PJ Lane.

Naughty bits. Perhaps…raunchier than the library had been expecting. Oops. 😀

I loved this project. Selecting the excerpts took a lot longer and was more difficult than I had anticipated. Actually hearing the words performed by professionals exceeded my expectations. I could have listened to them all night.

You can read a transcript of my talk here.

RJ Rosales obituary

The editor of the Australian Filipina magazine asked if I would write an obituary for RJ Rosales. I only had his CV up to 2007, so you may notice that it’s light on the details after that. I hope I did him justice. You can find the original article here.

RJ Rosales, who has died aged 37, was one of the Australian Filipino community’s favourite sons. Best known for his stint as co-host of ABS-CBN Philippines variety show ASAP, he was a critically acclaimed actor and musical theatre performer, receiving a Helpmann Award nomination for his role in the 2007-08 Australian season of Miss Saigon. His smooth but strong balladeer’s voice, equally suited to popular music as show tunes, found fans across generations from all over the world. Continue reading