What I Would Do if I Could Time Travel

Just a fun post to answer this parlour room question.

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Meme of Brian David Gilbert saying 'I'm not your friend and you have no say on what I do with my body'

Of One’s Own

I'm thinking about how it's time I finally do some #Representation work in my storytelling.

I've a lot of complicated, jumbly feelings about writing stories which borrow too much from my life experience. Since forever ago, I've subconsciously and intentionally avoided writing what they call "ownvoices" fiction. I've so many strange stories featuring a varied cast of characters in my roster, but never one set in Malaysia, and never a character who completely shares major parts of my actual identity: Malaysian Chinese, ace, sort of? non-binary, definitely queer, first-gen immigration of Australia, and other biographical fun facts.

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A Year In, Future Forward

It's more or a less year since

  • My last outdoor public event (The Joe Hisaishi Ghibli concert at the Sidney Myer Bowl in Melbourne). There, I sat on a picnic blanket, surrounded by hundreds of people, maskless, eating cherry tomatoes and Woolies chicken drummets, when coughing at a concert wasn't taboo. Also coincidentally shared the same oxygen space as Neil Gaiman. We both enjoyed the concert. How could we not?
  • The first emergency/lockdown escalation in Melbourne, followed by the military-enforced lockdown in Malaysia.The hilarious, incredibly absurd melodrama as Grand Prix week approached, which I witnessed on a front row seat far away from all the actors. I watched as the racecourse was built, as the pre-show concert commenced, as fans from all over the world (especially Italy!) flooded the trams and made their appearances on my streets... only for the whole thing to be cancelled.
  • My return home to Malaysia. The timing could not be better.
    Though I still miss Melbourne and sometimes wish I was experiencing lockdown there instead... on the other hand, the loneliness would drive me bonkers. I'm glad to be with my family and be in my city where most of my friends are.
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‘Comics are a valid art form too!’

On the rare occasions I step out of my bubble (or, I don't even need to: sometimes the call is coming from inside the house), I time-travel to the era before the rise of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, etc, and encounter publishing or academic or institutional or creative people who think comics are not a valid art form or even a medium. Despite the fact comics are flourishing in the US, already a core part of literature in Europe and Japan, accessible to a varied audience, and proving itself a strong representational medium for a variety of issues/topics/experiences. But I don't have to reiterate the statistics and official articles and journals to confirm this. It should be as mundanely acceptable a phenomenon as prose books and films in the global cultural consciousness, because it already is a part of said consciousness.

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Writing Alexander, Book 1

Last weekend I received feedback from my editor, A, finally completing the second of a two part alpha reading stage- allowing me now the comfort to feel I've reached far along enough that I can start talking about the thing. The writing thing.

I wasn't sure how to document the Writing Stage of Alexander Comic (or my graphic novels in general). It's not as instant, fast or natural as the rest of the graphic novel making process, when it's just me reading or sketching or drawing, and I can just post a screenshot/photo accompanied with a quip. You can't really show much with writing; only the end result. Additionally, I have this superstitious belief that the period of making a story come to life should be treated as sacred, private, personal. Talking too much about the writing while you're supposed to be doing the work is an invitation for a jinx, or at least... it invites said jinx to me.

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Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She creates the webcomics The World in Deeper Inspection, and The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya; the latter of which is the first Malaysian graphic novel to be Eisner-nominated.

Currently writing and drawing a whole bunch of stuff. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

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Going through an art reference book from the 15th century to select an alphabet initial to sample in my graphic novel/modern illuminated manuscript is giving me emotions :’) I’m using the book the way it was meant to 600 years later, how WILD is that!!

Malaysians should enrich our conversations about Israel & Palestine from purely theological to colonial occupation, human rights & dignity. So, we can apply the same justice & empathy in our own context in regard to orang asli, refugees, religious minorities & LGBT community.

Do you like stories about friendship, ghosts, and growing up? Then check out this juvenile graphic novel: SΓ©ance Tea Party. It follows Lora as she discovers just how bittersweet getting older really is. #OCLSReads

Link to borrow: https://iii.ocls.info/record=b2295943~S1

Mah Meri residents should not be further displaced, much less for tourism in Sepang. Stop treating indigenous people as obstacles.

Malaysians are in the middle of protesting the violence and settler colonialism by Israel against Palestine. Please bring that energy back home too. https://twitter.com/msianinsight/status/1392978368279113732

TheMalaysianInsight@msianinsight

Orang Asli Mah Meri diminta kosongkan tanah untuk projek pelancongan https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/bahasa/s/315232?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=msianinsight

I just think it’s rad that comics as a medium inherently present time *as* spaceβ€”time and space not as different dimensions but as different facets of the same thing. Every page is a unit of chronology-as-geography. How can anyone not get immensely excited thinking about this?

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