Over 21 topics for Open Table at #EJOpenHouse 2016!

The good people at Englishjer have invited me to be part of their Open Table sessions for their third Englishjer Open House 2016 just in time for Malaysia Day. It’s this Saturday from 12pm onwards at Gajah Tiga Cafe in KL. I was told that Open Table sessions meant people could come up to me for an hour or so and talk about anything they wanted to, in English.

englishjeropenhouse2016

Other really cool people doing open tables are JJ, Nadia Khan, Dr. Afif Bahardin, Adi Putra Abd Ghani, Altimet, Sharifah Amani, Anwar Hadi & Takahara Suiko. Even I want to sit down and talk to these flers. 

My session is at 3pm, so come then if you’d like to talk, hang out, meet me and practice your English! I know this can cause some anxiety, so I thought maybe it’d be helpful if I listed some things you can talk to me about to kickstart our conversation and make the most of our time 🙂

What you should know before saying hi at #EJOpenHouse

1.

I’ve never lived overseas before— in fact, I joke all the time that I’ve spent nearly 10,000 days in Kuala Lumpur (and sometimes Kedah). I went to SK, SMK, and even UiTM for a bit, and then a college in Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil before finally finishing a degree at UCSI University. I’ve been told my whole life that my English was far better than average, but I don’t think that makes me better (OR SMARTER) than you. I think it was because I read a lot since I was a child, and I soaked up a lot of English media along the way too. English is the most exported language in the world. It happens. My mother is a single mother who sells cookies and cupcakes for a living, and she told me that it doesn’t matter what I do in life— as long as my English is good, I can survive. I didn’t agree with her at first, but now I do. So I definitely have some privilege because of my English fluency, but I like to think that the same exposure I have to learning English is the exposure ANYONE can have in the age of the Internet.

2. 

Don’t ever feel shy about speaking English! Don’t apologise for how bad your English is, don’t feel weird about speaking it. This isn’t the space for that. When you think about it, everyone learning English already speaks another language fluently— and being bilingual or even trilingual is nothing to feel ashamed about. The fact that you’re still in the process of perfecting your English doesn’t make you less smart than anyone else. It’s the people who are shameless and unapologetic about this that really make progress in their English language. So don’t think I’m better than you either just because my English is better! I’m sure I have a lot to learn from you too.

3.

Why am I famous? Is Liyana Dizzy even famous? I’m not sure. Englishjer’s website says “Come and sit down with these personalities over drinks and ask them about their lives, passion, and everything in between!” so it’s true to say I am definitely more of a “personality” than a “celebrity.” People on Twitter seem to appreciate my opinions, and I have enough side projects to keep me busy in the city. On that note, I’ve documented almost all of them on this website, so please feel free to talk to me about anything on http://dizzy.li as well (including my bio). So yes, this includes ALL my part-time jobs, my mistakes, my successes, and ALL my side projects too.

Over 21 things we can talk about at #EJOpenHouse

These are topics that are definitely NOT off-limits for the Open Table, so come prepared and let’s talk! I’ll try bring some books from my library to refer to as well. I own more books than clothes, so this might be tough for me. Like many writers, I’m really interested in people and their stories— so please don’t be shy to talk to me about yourself.

Level 1: English-related

How to practice writing more — Or writing better. What are your writing rituals? What blocks you, and what keeps you going? What do you want to write about, and why do you feel writing is important?
How to be a good English student — I’m trained to be an English teacher under CELTA, so you can talk to me about your progress and how you think you can do better
Your work — What do you do, and how do you feel about it? What has it taught you?
Your studies — What do you study, and how has it opened your eyes about the world we live in?
Shakespeare — Umm if you don’t understand Shakespeare or any other English-speaking writer you need to study, bring what you don’t understand and I can translate his writing into plain English or even explain in rojak for you.
Your poetry / writing — Do you need a second pair of eyes for your work? Some super super honest feedback? Throw it my way. I’m not an expert but as someone who reads a lot, I’ll try to help. 

Level 2: Real talk 

Talk to me about your reactions to any of my Twitter threads here: 

Your favourite music — What do you listen to, and what do you like about that music?
Your favourite stories — I love stories . Talk to me about your favourite books, movies, comics, and why they left an impression on you. Did it change the way you see your life or the world?
Your hobbies — What do you do for fun? What do you like about it? What does it teach you? Does it make you a better person, and why? What’s entertaining about it?
Your previous jobs — What did you do for a living before? What did you learn about yourself and the world from it? What do you want to do in the future?
Mental health — As a neuro-atypical person myself, I hold no stigma about any mental health issues you may be facing. We’re all on a journey and all the pressures of life can be really hard on us. We can talk about that.
Relationship advice — Hahahaha but I’m serious actually
Anxiety about the future — This thread had a lot of people entering my DMs asking about their lives. We can have an in-person conversation about that instead. 

Things you can’t talk to your family about — Lol you know. It’s fine. It’ll take a lot to surprise me, I promise.
How the 16personalities.com test helped me understand myself — Take the test before meeting me and let’s talk about your results and how it can help you with friendships, relationships, and your workplace. This test changed my life, so I have a lot to say about it. 

Level 3: Fight me(?) 

Well, not really. But these are pretty controversial topics, and I think they’re much better to talk about in person than Twitter sometimes. All you need to know is that you and I have both good intentions and come from a good place, and sometimes new ideas can be scary and confusing, but it’s part of growing up.

LGBT community — or LGBT rights, are they really a national security threat to Malaysia, should I keep on hating these people, etc.
Muslim feminists — Is it even possible to be Muslim and feminist at the same time? What does being feminist even mean? What do you think being a Muslim feminist is? Are you a Muslim feminist? Do you know others?
Toxic masculinity — Something you may have heard in “Western” discussions. How does toxic masculinity affect you? How does it affect me?
My Muslim perspective — I’ve often been described as too Muslim for non-Muslims and not Muslim enough for Muslims. So I call myself a sandwich Muslim, but what I really am is a stubborn Muslim. I get it. I don’t ‘look’ like people you might think of as Muslims. So come pick my brain about that and see my perspective.
How to pray more often — I know what it’s like to struggle to pray regularly. And really mean it too! Maybe you can’t talk to people you’re close to about this, so I’m here to help (confidentially). I definitely have a few tips to share about what worked for me when I was struggling.
Unlearning stereotypes — Maybe you’re changing your mind about things you always thought were true. And you don’t know who to talk about it with, because you don’t feel the people around you will understand. Which of these ideas are temporary influences and which will be part of your lifelong philosophy?
The ummah’s problems — Hah! There are a lot. If you’re Muslim, let’s talk about Muslims, Muslim to Muslim. There’s a lot more to the Muslim community than just the views of Malay (and Arab) people of course. 

See you Saturday!

You can’t miss me, I have glasses and a little bit of blue-green hair. Come say hi.

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