I just want to capture something I should have captured years ago – that feeling when you look like the majority and not the minority.
I’ve lived my whole life in the UK. Born and bred Brit, I wouldn’t change my life for the world but last weekend was a weekend of something special.
It wasn’t the first time i’ve felt it. The last time this happened I was so overwhelmed I went back to my hotel room and cried. That feeling is the feeling of looking around and seeing people who look like you who are also into tech.
Before PHP Asia, I very rarely met any oriental looking people in tech conferences in Europe or America. People often got me and Helen Hou-Sandi mixed up. I mean our accents are completely different and I am always wearing glasses but apparently that doesn’t stop people from thinking we’re the same person.
When I got invited to speak at PHP Asia, I remember asking work if they would send me. Mentally I knew it was a big deal to myself but i didn’t realise how much. It wasn’t till the conference group photo, that it struck me.
It was the first time in my life that in a tech crowd it took longer than a second to find where i was in the group. In fact, I couldn’t I know I was there but it made me laugh to think I can’t find myself.
Is this what it feels like to be in the majority space?
Last weekend I was at JSBangkok. Since landing in the Thailand, I have people constantly speak to me in thai. It makes me laugh but it also reminds me that people are making assumptions – and that assumption is that I’m a local who speaks thai.
At the event there were people giving talks in thai and in english. You would think that I would find no value in the talks in thai but the organisers were translating on the fly. Not only that, the big take away was a tool one of the thai speakers shared.
What the last few days have reminded me is the power of representation. Seeing people who look like you, doing things that you do or that you enjoy or that you aspire to do – it’s a powerful thing. 🥰