【Mentee web story】Yvonne Tan

Yvonne Tan (Mentee 2022-2023, Malaysia)

Yvonne Tan is an instructional designer and researcher who is passionate about socio-political issues within Southeast Asia. She has worked in public policy research institutes like the United Nations University – International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) and Research Triangle Institute. She has bylines in Malaysiakini, Malaysia Now, and Malaysian Insight.

Tell us what you are working on, or what are you committed to?

I work as a researcher in refugee education and also am a freelance writer on the side. I recently completed a piece on rewriting and fusing cross-cultural mythologies based on contemporary issues and also have a monthly column focused on exploring socio-political issues in Malaysia. 
私は難民教育の研究者として働いており、フリーライターでもあります。 私は最近、現代の問題に基づいた異文化間の神話の書き直しと融合に関する記事を完成させました。また、マレーシアの社会政治的問題の調査に焦点を当てた月刊コラムも執筆しています。

What made you join the mentoring programme?

I was interested in meeting women from the creative sector from all over the world. To be able to connect and culturally exchange with people I would have never come across was very exciting to me. As someone who is always open to meeting new people from different backgrounds I did not expect the mentoring programme to also be a nurturing space to test ideas and explore unknowns.
私は世界中のクリエイティブな分野の女性に会うことに興味がありました。 出会うことのなかった人とつながり、文化的に交流できることは、とてもワクワクします。 さまざまなバックグラウンドを持つ新しい人々との出会いを常に受け​​入れ、さらにこのメンタリングプログラムがアイデアを思考して、未知のものを探求するための育成スペースになるとは思ってもみませんでした。

What are you hoping to achieve, or unlearn? Have you identified any specific challenges in your private life or professional work in your mentoring sessions?

I hope to be able to foster the dynamics that have been created throughout the programme with those outside as well. Having a safe space to speak about both private life and professional work on top of the difficulties of juggling both is something that I have learnt is valuable space in the work that we do. It was also an important confirmation that interdisciplinary and cross-cultural encounters can lead to important new insights and inform one another’s work. 
プログラム全体で生み出されたダイナミクスを、外部の人々と一緒に育てていきたいと思います。 私生活と専門の仕事の両方をうまく循環させることの難しさ、それについて話すための安全なスペースを持つことは貴重であり大切だと私は学びました。 また、学際的かつ異文化間の出会いが重要な新しい洞察につながり、お互いの仕事に情報を提供できることも重要な確認でした。

What does it feel like meeting a mentor and a fellow mentee from a different country and culture? 

Almost immediately, me and my mentor shared many problems and frustrations that we face in the world of research and writing despite being in different parts of the world. My mentor and I also shared similar challenges in our work primarily to do with communication and community outreach as well. It came as a surprise to me that we would have the same roadblocks and challenges and it was nice to be able to have support in such areas and learn from tried methods/solutions from one another’s contexts.
ほぼ即座に、私と私のメンターは、世界のさまざまな地域にいるにもかかわらず、研究と執筆の世界で直面する多くの問題とフラストレーションを共有しました。 メンターと私は、主にコミュニケーションとコミュニティへの働きかけにも関係する私たちの仕事で同様の課題を共有しました。また、私たちが同じ障害と課題を抱えていることに驚きました。そのような分野でサポートを受け、試行された方法や解決策からお互いの文脈から学ぶことができて良かったです。

Can you share a tip with anyone looking for extra resources or support, i.e. how to reach out?

I would say probably being open to learning from people of different backgrounds and work, while also being understanding of boundaries and each other’s responsibilities like child work and time.