For our February bonus episode, we welcome a very special guest! We chat to author Wai Chim about her book, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling. Topics include: writing about mental health issues in Asian families, flawed but well-intentioned characters, introvert representation, and self-care. The first half of the episode is spoiler-free (we let you know when the conversation gets spoiler-y!).
About the Book
Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.
But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.
About the Author
Wai Chim is the author of a number of children’s titles, including the Chook Chook series and Shaozhen. Her debut YA novel, Freedom Swimmer, was published by Allen & Unwin in Sept 2016. The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling was released in Australia in August 2019 and the US in November 2020.
Outside of writing, Wai enjoys cooking, pretending to yoga and ogling cute animals. She also spends a lot of her time creating paper craft animations and adventures for @bogsthepenguin. Part of the internet generation, she works as a digital producer, copywriter and digital creative for a number of notable Australian brands and agencies.
Relevant mental health resources:
- BeyondBlue has a range of mental health resources on several topics translated into a number of languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Dinka, Hindi, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese. So does Embrace Multicultural Mental Health.
- SANE Australia has a lot of information around psychosis and related disorders, navigating the hospital system, and information for carers.
- Formerly ARAFMI, Mental Health Carers Australia advocates for the well-being and needs of the carers and families supporting a person with mental health issues. So does Carers Australia.
- One Door Mental Health (formerly known as Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW) is a leading mental health service provider specialising in severe and persistent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
- Mental Health First Aid Australia offers training in providing support to someone dealing with mental health issues, including people who may be experiencing psychosis.
- Did you know that, in many areas, people can access translators and interpreters for free through the public system? For instance, in Australia, Victorian government schools can access the services of Victorian Interpreting and Translation Services (VITS) (link). In New South Wales, you can use interpreting services to report a child at risk (information can be found here)
- If you are a mental health professional in Australia, Victorian Transcultural Mental Health offers four free online learning courses related to improving cultural responsiveness.
- HeartChat is a website that helps people find mental health professionals who share their language and/or cultural background.