EdTech, Climate, Future of Work, DE+I
Looking for a 'professional bio?' There's a separate page for that.
I like to connect with people on a level beyond work.
In that spirit, my hope with this page is to strip away trappings of work, career and achievement - and to expose more about who I am, rather than what I do.
I've focused here on five different identities that I live, wear and perform. They don't define me in my entirety (duh), but they are perhaps interesting facets which aren't obvious from my work.
I was born in the UK and have lived my whole life here. My parents are both Malaysian Chinese, born in the state of Penang.
It's a weird dual-culture identity, sometimes - for example, the capital of Penang is called 'George Town', as an uncomfortable reminder of British colonialism.
(Is my history that of the colonisers or the colonised? A bit of both...?)
I grew up in a secluded bubble of educational privilege: private preparatory school, through to a state grammar, and then to Oxford.
It's made me into a bit of a dork.
Things I am dorky about include:
- board games (e.g. Settlers of Catan)
- musical theatre (fave: The Lion King)
- ties, weirdly (I have a collection of ~40)
I'm a heteroromantic asexual, and have known this since I was about 17.
- Heteroromantic: as a cisgender man, I experience romantic attraction to women
- Asexual: I don't experience sexual attraction to people of any gender
I'm lucky - I'm read as straightforwardly heterosexual, and I don't generally experience any overt discrimination.
However... it can be an alienating, peculiar and isolating experience, because it's 'invisible', rare and not yet widely known.
So, I try to raise awareness of asexuality where I can. (Meta alert: this passage is one such way!)
I quite enjoy playing up to an audience - there is an attention-seeker in me.
This started with piano performances when I was younger (3x Finalist in Walsall Young Musician of the Year; 0x podium finish).
From there, it progressed to stage (e.g. UKIP: The Musical, pictured) and even national television - I've been on Channel 4's First Dates.
I like to think that through all of this I've collected quite a good collection of stories, which I also love telling e.g. at the pub.
(Please ask me to tell these stories some time!)
Getting lost in thoughts, ideas and reflections is one of my favourite activities.
I get a lot out of walking, thinking and reading. (But, sacrilege! I tend to opt for Kindle for the convenience.)
Non-work things I quite enjoy thinking about:
- political philosophy - I currently lean communitarian (e.g. David Goodhart's Hand, Head, Heart)
- interpersonal connection - I've been heavily influenced by Non-Violent Communication
- social impact - I'd like to perhaps be a better effective altruist
Other identities, tribes and communities that I belong to:
- Brummie(ish). No, Londoners, Birmingham is not 'the North' - it's called the West Midlands.
- Vegan(ish). Really, I'm a vegetarian (mostly on animal welfare grounds) and aspiring vegan.
- PPEist. Yes, I was one of those 16 year olds who declared "I want to be Prime Minister".
- Pianist. I deeply regret not practising more when younger. (I got to Grade 7 and then quit.)
- Brasenostril. I used to hate this term for Brasenose College alumni - but I've become rather fond of it...
- Agnostic. I wouldn't even say I'm 'on the fence' - I just don't even think about religion.
- Perfectionist. Or, perfectionist tendencies at least.
Most of all, though, I find that I am the people whom I connect with and learn from about all parts of life.
I always love hearing the stories of other people and who they are - so if you have enjoyed my story, I'd love to hear yours!
Share with me: firstname.lastname@example.org