Creative Folk

Jordan’s intern reflection

Interning with Celebrate Living History has been an invaluable experience for me.

This internship has provided me with a unique opportunity to apply what I’ve learned as a Journalism/Creative Writing student in a real-world setting, especially with interviewing and storytelling.

Engaging with Australian seniors and recording their life stories was not only rewarding in and of itself but also deepened my appreciation for oral history and its cultural significance. Interviewing people that I’ve known for years but never thought to ask these kinds of questions has let me learn a lot about them that I never would have without this opportunity.

This experience has really boosted my confidence moving forward with my skills in interviewing, which were underused and admittedly shaky before my start here, as well as in storytelling and editing. This has really reinforced my passion for creating meaningful content. I am grateful for the opportunity given to me to contribute to such a fantastic project.

Meet Jordan our latest intern!

What attracts you about being an intern for Celebrate Living History?
I was attracted to Celebrate living history mostly because I have a passion for storytelling. I enjoy creative expression in all its forms, and CLH would let me use that passion for a good cause. Interviewing seniors also sounded interesting, especially as recently I’ve been discovering new and interesting things about seniors in my own family, details about their lives that I’ve never thought to question before, and the impact those decisions and actions have had on my family and my own life. CLH just seemed to be a natural pick.

Who is an older person that you admire and why?

I admire my grandmother, who has spent most of her life acting as a carer in one way or another. After my mother and her siblings were all grown up and out of the house, my nan decided that she wanted to help people, and has worked as an assisted living carer for elderly people who have incapacities, like dementia. This has always been something I’ve admired about her, helping people who need it.

If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why? 

I would have to say either the renaissance period or the 1980’s. For the Renaissance, seeing the massive leaps forward in almost every creative field, from art to literature, would be amazing. Seeing Shakespeare performed at the Globe for the first time, or a bit further back and seeing Da Vinci’s paintings being unveiled would be absolutely incredible. Almost the same reason for the 1980’s, really. There were so many defining pop culture icons in that decade, I can only imagine seeing E.T. for the first time in theatres or listening to new Michael Jackson songs as they were released.

Amy’s Intern reflection

By Amy Saeki-Zhai

I have been very lucky to be able to do my internship at Celebrate Living History. As
a literary studies student, I have always wanted an opportunity to use the writing techniques
that I have studied in other texts such as metaphors, symbolism, and dramatic irony to write
and share my own stories.

I believe that considerable amounts of wisdom, cultural history
and, inspiration for future generations can vanish throughout time without stories from older
generations being written down. Thus, I not only wrote down the experiences of my
interviewees but attempted to recreate their experiences through literary techniques.
The aspect that I enjoyed the most about Celebrate Living History is that when it
came to selecting a topic and subject to write about, ‘ the sky was the limit’. I was not
constrained to write about a single topic and could find the interviewees myself. While this
was challenging at first, it opened up more opportunities for me to get to know my local
community, family,and friends overseas on a deeper level. Without this internship, I may
have never known their incredible, often, unbelievable experiences.

It made me realize that the everyday struggles and hardships that I have experienced are incomparable to what my interviewees have gone through in order to build a better life for their families. Sometimes it
was difficult for me to even ask about their life journey. Such was the case when I
interviewed Shelly, a current resident of the Gold Coast but originally from South Africa. In
the beginning I requested her for an interview asking about her life experience which she
promptly denied. Just when I decided to give up, Shelly invited me for some coffee at a
nearby cafe. After chatting for close to two hours, she began to open up to me about her
childhood and participation in protests against Apartheid. I learned that the process of
conducting an interview goes beyond asking the interviewee a list of predetermined
questions. Instead, it is built upon trust and emotional connections between the interviewer
and interviewees.

Despite her past trauma, Shelly never forgets her motto, “ No matter what
life throws at you, keep smiling.” There is hardly a time when I do not see Shelly with a bright
smile on her face. Inspired by her, I also try to smile during hard times, whether I am feeling
stressed or have an argument with someone. It certainly makes a difference.

I really want to thank Bev for always being very encouraging and supportive
throughout this internship experience and taking the time to read all of my stories. Although I
was totally lost in the beginning of the internship as to how to write my stories and where to
find my interviewees, Bev’s constant encouragement helped me build the confidence as a
writer and interviewer. Her passion for writing has also inspired me to continue to pursue a
study that I love, regardless of what others think of me. Working with Celebrate Living
History has been an invaluable experience and I hope to take the skills that I have learned
here with me for my future career as a writer.

Happiness from 10 percent

By Amy Saeki-Zhai

The whole carton of grape juice is gone.

Only less than 10 percent remain, making a shaking sound.

I poured it into the tiniest cup of my thumb size.

Even so, the juice didn’t fill it up enough.

Then, the sun from the window made a prism of magic.

Velvet waves rise across the rainbow bridge,

Suddenly, I felt like greeting a Bohemian emperor.

Amy and Jasmine Doll

By Amy Saeki-Zhai

Little Amy had a Jasmine doll.
Jasmine came when Amy had a little riddle.
“What’s wrong with my eyes and hair?”
“Other people’s are blue and yellow.”

That night, Amy watched the Disney movie Aladdin for the first time.
She loved it, and Jasmine became her favorite among all other Disney Princes.
Brave, adventurous, curious, smart, free, and beautiful.
Although people say that Amy looks more like Snow White or Mulan.
After Jasmine came, little Amy stopped asking her wonders.
She got a little tiger Raja in her heart.
One day, when she was playing in a park, people suddenly left one by one, and the police

Somebody called the police, reporting that strangers were there.
Her daddy became furious toward Mama, “What kind of place is it?”
Mama shouted, “Great and terrific, the park is all ours!”
“Come on, Amy and Jasmine, are you ready for the slide?”
“I, I, Sir!” Jasmine replied and followed Amy’s rolling coaster.
Daddy was still down and mumbling around on the bench by himself.
Meanwhile, Jasmine, Mama, and I had so much fun.

“You know, this never happens; at a park in a big city, people are lining up to slide down
each time; what a gorgeous, beautiful day,” said Mama.
Jasmine and I totally agreed.

Recently, I told my friend Debi the story of my ex and his father.
Debi is much older than I am; she is a graphic designer and a good cook.
She spent hours stewing her special Indian curry by mixing many ground spices.
In the kitchen, Debi shared her similar experience in Australia with me.
Though she is from Sri Lanka, I felt that my Jasmine doll came alive.
“I think we deserve much better guys.”

“I think so. They came with their plan. We were fooled.”
Hot curry became hotter and hotter as our tiger grew.
It’s time to watch Aladdin again.

This time, I watched the live action version.
It was as gorgeous as before.
Jasmine was smart enough not to be cheated by
The cunning and calculated Prince Achmed.
The magic carpet carried me to the Gold Coast now,
The private lesson is well taken.

It’s time to clean up my little castle.
It’s a brand new start of 2024.
Come on, “Raja, are you still in my heart?”

Meet Amy our latest intern!

We meet Amy Saeki-Zhai our latest intern from Griffith University.

What attracts you about being an intern for Celebrate Living History?

Being an intern at Celebrate Living History gives me the opportunity to practice my writing skills but also share stories from a range of generations which would otherwise be lost in time. I am able to interact with my local community and form a deeper connection with them. Despite being just average people, their experiences provide me with so much wisdom and courage which I hope to transmit through my writing.

I believe that stories are such a powerful way to share not only experiences but culture and knowledge. Celebrate Living History features a wide range of topics from Lifestyle to Cultural recipes. I think that this is an important bridge not only across generations but also cultures.

Who is an older person that you admire and why?

I admire my great-grandmother. She was strong-minded and independent, a woman ahead of her generation. She did not confine herself to social norms but instead did what she thought was right and best for her. I also want to be more confident like her without always caring about what others think of me.

If you could jump into a time-machine, what era would you visit and why?

I would like to go back to the Stone Age. It was a time before civilization and civilization can be quite troublesome. No one would be bothered by the constant ringing of their phone or emails popping up on their screens. Humans had one goal in life which was to survive. I think that would be enough for me.

My reflection on interning with Celebrate Living History

By Cheuk Hei Ng

Working as an intern under Celebrate Living History has been a very fruitful and enjoyable experience for me as a journalism student at Griffith University.

The experiences provided me with a platform and way to improve and enhance my writing skills and techniques and allowed me to gain a lot of insights after conducting interviews with various talents and knowing about their stories and life experiences personally.

I had listened to and documented memories and stories from the life of seniors, and I personally feel the connection involved between me as a person from a younger generation and with people from older generations.

The experiences had allowed me to broaden my horizon in terms of viewing the world and life experiences in a bigger picture and wiser perspective as by listening to the stories of older generations, I realised that my life had been considered “easier” in a personal perspective compared with people from the past although it is important to acknowledge different generations may encounter different forms of hardships and difficulties and it varies a lot in terms of social class, background in different individuals.

But from a personal point of view, I realised how lucky I was compared to the talents that I had interviewed.

I am also currently living in Australia as I am an international student, which at first it was hard for me to adapt to a whole new lifestyle and living in a foreign country.

But as two of my stories and interviews were based on two immigrants from Hong Kong, I can imagine how hard it would be for them to start a new life in Australia back in the 80s.

The technologies and media were less developed in the 80s compared to nowadays, therefore it is considered a major hardship for immigrants to communicate with families and friends back from their home country.

When I first came to Australia to study in high school, I felt extremely emotionally burdened and homesick due to having the need to adapt to the lifestyle, education, people, language barriers, and new environment.

I felt extremely stressed and depressed for a while, but luckily as time passes, I was able to fully immerse myself into the new community, having been able to make new friends and participate in activities, and learn about the Australian culture.

But speaking frankly, I may have encountered more hardships if I was born in the eighties or earlier. One of the interviews really stood out for me, which is Joyce’s story that I had written. “It depends on your attitude when approaching hardships in life,” says Joyce. This was a very valuable insight that I gained throughout my internship experiences.

By listening to her story, I learned that although life isn’t always going to be happy and smooth as we idealized, we may encounter a lot of up and downs in life and we may feel frustrated and defeated, but it is essential for us to retain a positive attitude and outlook in order to overcome hardships and solve problems.

As Joyce told me she had to restart another career when she arrived in Australia instead of having her stable and successful career back in Hong Kong, I am deeply inspired by her boldness, toughness, and positive outlook in life.

My religion had also given me a lot of strengths in terms of overcoming challenges, and emotional burdens like homesickness and loneliness in Australia.

I am a Christian and it was unexpected for me to be invited to attend church in Australia when I was encountering a huge amount of stress and when I was emotionally vulnerable.

I was feeling lonely and defeated as I struggled to find a part-time job last year, but with the emotional support that the church community had provided me, I was able to be healed emotionally and improved my overall mental health and well-being.

Luckily, I was also able to find a part-time job in Australia after some struggles. Without the help of God and the church, I don’t think I would be able to overcome those struggles emotionally and mentally.

I was thankful to everything and everyone that I encountered throughout the journey. I remembered in one of my interviews with pastor Daryl, he told me that God loves and adores me no matter what. Although I was a bit traumatized by past struggles and events, I was able to strengthen my faith in God and build meaningful bonds and connections with people throughout those struggles.

Throughout the whole internship experience, I really want to thank Bev for helping me in terms of improving my writing skills and abilities by providing me with really helpful feedback and advice, also encouraging and inspiring me to go for my dreams and stay passionate for the things that I really want to achieve and do in life.

Bev was very encouraging and helpful in terms of suggesting different ideas for writing and improving my communication skills. I was very thankful for the experience and internship in Celebrate Living History as I had learned and experienced a lot!

Meet our latest intern Cheuk Hei Ng!

We meet Cheuk Hei Ng our latest intern from Griffith University.

What attracts you about being an intern for Celebrate Living History?

The reason that attracts me about being an intern for Celebrate Living History is that I really want to know more about the stories and insights gained from the seniors throughout their life experiences.

One of the aim and mission of Celebrate Living History is to connect younger generations with older generations through the work of journalism, which through conducting interviews and documenting the stories from seniors.

I would not only be able to gain working experiences in terms of journalism and writing skills, but also gaining some life experiences and wisdom from investigating and listening to older people’s life stories, discovering their perspective on life and advice to younger people in terms of how to live their life filled with purpose and meaning. I feel like I really could learn a lot from this internship. 

Who is an older person that you admire and why?
The older person that I admire is my grandfather. Although he had passed away early this year, I would never forget him as part of our family.

My grandfather was a wise old man who had lived his life filled with a lot of different experiences and memories. He had witnessed the Second World war, and he had talked about his experiences and insights on life gained from his life experiences, no matter the experience was considered good or bad, he had learnt a lot.

I admire him because my grandfather never stops learning in life and from history. Although he may not be the most outspoken man throughout his life, but he was a man full of wisdom. He was also a loyal husband to my grandmother.

Although my grandmother had passed away long time ago, he still puts the photo of her in front of his desk as a beloved memory. He loved my grandmother so much when she was still alive and even after she had passed away. I really admire my grandfather and he will always be remained in my beloved memory. 

If you could jump into a time machine, what era would you visit and why?
If I could jump into a time machine, I really want to visit Ancient Greek as I know that it was time when a lot of science, philosophy and academics were created. I really want to talk to philosophers from Ancient Greek, like Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BCE as I was really interested the philosophy of “stoicism”. 

Stoicism refers to the philosophy of maximizing positive emotions in someone’s life instead of negative emotions. I really wanted to learn more about this idea as I think it would really help me live a happy and fulfilling life in terms of having a different perspective on life through the glance of philosophy. 

Meet Leon

We meet Leon Panapa our latest intern from Griffith University

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Meet Ronan

We meet Ronan Hughes our latest intern from Griffith University in Queensland.

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