About Me

 

Website: glen-chua.com

Flickr: openboxes

Tumblr: glen’s cookie jar

Twitter: gychuaa

I was born in Singapore in 1986, and moved to Canada in 1994. I studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, for which I conducted fieldwork in Tanzania concerning religious communities, nationalism, and health-seeking practices. I came to the University of Toronto for doctoral work, with fieldwork in North-East India on similar issues. Currently, I lecture in anthropology and religion.

I love travelling. I love photography. I love writing. This site is meant to be an expression of all three as I experience life day in and day out, wherever in the world I may be.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave any comments.

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Inspiration

In her early years as a fashion editor, creative director of Vogue Magazine, Grace Coddington, worked closely with photographer Norman Parkinson. “He taught me to always keep my eyes open,” she recalls. “Never sleep in the car or anything like that. Keep watching, because whatever you see out the window or wherever… it can inspire you.”

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Writing

Nigel Nicolson, the son of Woolf’s close friend, and lover, Vita Sackville-West, says of Virginia Woolf:

She once said to me, “Nothing has really happened until it’s been described.” And she meant described in words. “Therefore,” she said, “write a lot of letters to your family and friends.” “Keep a diary,” she said. “Don’t let a day pass without recording it, whether anything interesting has happened or not. Something interesting happens every day,” she said.

What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything – solemn, slight or beautiful – that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep, old desk, a capacious hold-all in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back after a year or two and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced – as such deposits so mysteriously do – into a mold, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet, steady, tranquil, compounds with the aloofness of a work of art.

***

Borders

The more I travel, the more I realize the concurrent significance and arbitrariness of created physical borders. In particular, the permeability of political boundaries sees the flow of religion, of tribe, of identity that refutes any imposed categorization. This is why González Iñárritu’s film, Babel, resonates strongly with me. He states:

The real borderlines are within ourselves in that more than a mere physical space, the barriers are in the world of ideas. I realized that what makes us happy as human beings could differ greatly, but that what makes us miserable and vulnerable beyond culture, race, language, or financial standing is the same for all. I discovered that the great human tragedy boils down to the inability to love and be loved and the incapacity to touch or be touched by this sentiment, which is what gives meaning to the life and death of every human being.

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8 comments

  1. Hi Glen,

    Not sure if you remember me from high school or not just I just stumbled upon your blog and I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading it… you bring so much life to everything you talk about, I can almost taste the food you describe and hear the sounds of the city you write about. It’s now a new favorite guilty pleasure. Anyways, its great to see you are doing well, good luck with the PhD, and I’ll probably see you again at our 10 year grad reunion!

    Cheers,
    Julie

  2. Hi Glen,
    Stumbled across your blog when I was on a quest to link you with taipei. Beautiful photographs by the way. Most envious by that sumptious congee breakfast you had recently in your kelowna home. I didn’t go through all your entries nor your photographs, but may I ask you what was going through your head when you took those photographs? Was the subject an object that possess something of perculiar that sparked your interest, or was there a particular beauty, essence that you were trying to capture? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Leo!

      It varies with every single frame. Each scenario, each circumstance, each person, each subject has a unique story. And I’m attempting to communicate that, and my interaction with that narrative, in my own way.

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