Suzanne Mahadeo

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Moderator of the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Abolition of Indian Indentureship

I was honored to moderate this event by the Indian Diaspora Council on March 3rd at the Indian Consulate in NYC, to mark 100 years since the abolition of Indian indentureship.

Articles below from India Abroad (March 24, 2017) and the South Asia Times (March 11, 2017).

India Abroad - Page 23 - March 24 2017

South Asian Times - March 11 2017 - Page 5

New featured article on Youth Ki Awaaz

Here is my latest article (co-written with the artistic director of Price of Silence, Jason Jayology) about uniting as a people.

“Together, we are not minorities. We are a force. But society is currently structured in a way to keep those in power still in power and to keep us thinking that we are smaller than we are—what else is the word “minority” supposed to accomplish, but to try and make us feel diminished, parcelled, fragmented, and ultimately, invisible and unimportant? We, together, are not a minority. And we have to stop acting like some of us are better than others in these marginalized groups, based on the internalized racism that has brainwashed us into thinking that we are different from each other.”

We are not the Minority

 by Suzanne Mahadeo and Jason Jayology

wearenottheminority-youthkiawaaz

New article on the Global Fund for Women

I’ve recently become a Contributor to the International Museum of Women/Global Fund for Women.

My first piece deals with the harrowing and ultimately deadly story of two young American girls who were murdered in an honor killing by their father.

herblueprint

Documentary Unravels Honor Killings of American Sisters

by Suzanne Mahadeo

New article on The Price of Silence

Coo coo: It’s crazy to cluck about looks

I’m a new mother. I’m also a lot of other things: a world traveler, editor, first-generation American, and like the rest of you, I can’t be summed up in a single sentence. You can understand, then, why I cringe each time someone new approaches my seven-month old baby and coos about her appearance. Without being daft—as I am blessed and grateful for her health and physical wellbeing—I politely say thank you on my baby’s behalf. This piece is about what I wish to say instead of “thank you,” knowing full well that society is just not ready to hear it out loud.

(read more by clicking on the link)

babygirl

To honesty

Sometimes people tell me I look 17.

I want to say, “Nope. I’m 31. If I were 17, I’d still be miserable.”

Sometimes people tell me I look 24. I want to say, “If I were 24, I’d still be arrogant.”

No one’s ever really told me I looked 28, but if they did, I’d say “Close, but no. If I were 28, I’d still be fearful.”

I’m happy to be 31, because 31 is where I’m honest. With me and with you. Something tells me it’s only going to get better from here.

La Condesa in Mexico City

Sunday in La Condesa, Mexico City.

Here’s to being you, wherever, and whenever you are.

Celebrating Similarities

There is peace in sitting in a church in Mexico. It’s similar to the peace of kneeling in a Buddhist temple in Myanmar or Thailand; bowing in an elaborate Cao Dai temple in Vietnam; listening to the morning, afternoon, evening and in-between chants slip through the air from the mosques in Malaysia or Indonesia; or walking past the Hindu procession of devotees carrying immaculate representations of their beloved Gods high above their heads as classically trained musicians follow behind and create the soundtrack to their spirits in Singapore.

The feeling is wanting to believe in something bigger. Wanting to connect to the hundreds, thousands, or millions of people who have come before, during, or after our time spent in these places feeling the same feelings: pain, worry, anxiety, listlessness, confusion, love, yearning… and peace. One usually leaves these places feeling refreshed, if not for a few minutes before being tossed back into the world where we’re taught that almost everyone else is a stranger to be feared.

Celebrating Similarities, by Suzanne Mahadeo

The Human Mirror. All photos by Suzanne Mahadeo.

 

But all friends first start out as strangers. And it seems like strangers are more similar than we give them credit for. The next time you feel suspicious of someone, look them in the eyes, give them a smile, and offer sympathy instead of suspicion. This has made my days a lot less fearful. In all of the places I’ve visited or lived in—as a silly monoglot who only speaks English and can barely dabble in other languages enough to get me to the bathroom, order no chicken/beef/pig, or count to six—I’ve found that the language of being kind is universally understood and spoken.

People are a lot more similar than different and seeing them this way reminds us of the higher levels of our humanity. Beyond survival, there is little need to compete; little need to hoard resources; little need to be scared of others. And even in circumstances of survival, the people with the least amount to offer in their lives universally tend to give the most.

Choose love, not fear. It is the more daring of the two, but it is a choice that better leads you along the path to peace. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

Three (years overseas), Two (months back to visit), One (more week ’til we leave)

I feel like I say it a lot in my head… “I’ve been gone for three years.” Gone from where exactly? America and all of its packaged preservatives, extraneous bills, and unnecessary competition.

In the past two months I’ve enjoyed visiting family and friends for the holidays (and squeezing in a snowboarding weekend in Massachusetts) on the east coast, in the midwest and in the south. But I’ve also relearned a lot about America and mostly came up with even more reasons why I’m ready to leave again.

Mexico is the next destination. Asia, while amazing, freeing, and approachingly wild, was too far away from this place that I still want to get away from——The Good Ol’ USA, which harbors my loved ones. Much closer is Mexico, where I hope to find some of the sprawling verdant countrysides of SE Asia, the smiling faces, warming sunshine and spiciness of Thailand, and explore its own local, cultural charm.

If I like it, I’ll stay. If not, I’ll still be looking for home.

Boots and BBQ in “Big D,” Texas

Wearing gray, leatherless cowgirl boots, eatin’ salmon BBQ on a home-flame grill, and toasting pink bubbly was the way I rang in 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

After a solid three years overseas, and starting this year in China dreaming of escape, it was all I could have hoped for: spending time with familiar faces, sharing stories, and looking over old pictures.

My new year’s resolution is to write more… in journals, on napkins, in magazine articles, or even on this blog. I’ve only got about 70 years left on this planet so I might as well get started.

New print article: In the Red magazine

I wrote this article before I left Guangzhou earlier this year. It’s about the rise of materialism in China.

Some Thoughts in a Vietnamese Hotel Room

March 19, 2012

Sitting up halfway in a hotel in Hue, Vietnam, staring out the open window as birds circle between the nearby hotels and “touristic”—as everyone calls it overseas—restaurants. Ben is reading me a potential itinerary of this week’s must-sees: a museum of Cham Dynasty ruins from the 4th–12th centuries in nearby Da Nang, a Czech Brewery and restaurant (but they sell turtles and crocodiles from China, so that one is a no-go), …, and I can only listen halfway as I am focused on recording this memory for the future so that I can remember how lucky I am to be experiencing all of this.

These days, I’m fortunate to be able to take work when I want to, and have only to worry about seeing the country before I run out of that country’s visa. In India it was only three months. In Vietnam, it’s only one. There have been countries whose visas we didn’t fully use, like four months in New Zealand or nine months in China, instead of the entire one-year in either, or days in Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines, instead of the full month allowed for each country’s visa.

I spend my time seeing what I can of each place, meeting new people, resting, organizing the next trip, eating a mix of local street food and at international restaurants when homesick, and then trying to document it all through photos, videos, and journal musings that I never have enough time to string together. There definitely are people who pack up their things at home and take off abroad for a while, but for some reason, most people end up going back home or stick around in one spot because of the comfortable life they’ve created there. We haven’t found home, yet, and I think that’s what we’re looking for…

Street vendor going about her business and reading the day’s news in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Feature on gopowerkick.com

Happy Chinese New Year. The reverberations in my ears of celebratory firecrackers going off at all hours of the day are finally starting to die down, thankfully. Nothing like walking passed 3,000 blackcats still strung together and thrown into the street to explode in succession for five minutes. I also managed to poke my eye with a hairbrush, which resulted in a hospital visit to the Eur-Am clinic downstairs from our apartment and two days in bed resting, unable to open my eye. Luckily, my voice is still in working order, as I’ve taken a few voiceover projects here in Guangzhou. I had to read a few lines with a British accent, which I pulled out of my crumpet at the last minute. :)

Here’s a profile I wrote, by the request of EF. Seems like they weren’t too miffed by my honest account of my experience in China, so that’s a relief.

Suzanne: Abroad in Guangzhou
SuzanneMahadeo-GoPowerKick

New Article: Island Under Water

Hello! Haven’t updated in a while. Life these days is full with the challenge of teaching, freelance editing, traveling, writing and general randomness. We’ve made it five months into our one-year contract here in Guangzhou. It’s going by relatively fast, but not fast enough. 😉 I still only know a handful of Mandarin since our interaction with people happens mostly in English or charades.

Here’s a new article I wrote for The Get Go about a visit to “China’s Hawaii” (cough).

islandunderwater

At the last Get Go party, I won the Texas Hold ’em table, so a trip to Macau might be in the works soon…

Lots more to share, but have to run.

The Get Go Magazine’s Launch Party

About a month ago, I wrote an article for a new magazine published by Being Fun China called The Get Go. My article is about a nightmare weekend trip I took out of Guangzhou to a city called Zhaoqing in a neighboring province. The launch party for the magazine was this weekend and it was really fun.

 

Lights!

Dapper and happy

 

There were salsa dancers, glow lights, an English band, a DJ who spins at the city’s sole Mexican restaurant, and lots of raffle prizes — three of which Ben, Kevin, and I all won. Ben won a number of brews at the German pub in town called the Wunderbar. And Kevin and I each won 500RMB worth of “hair treatments” from Toni & Guy, which we couldn’t stop laughing about.

(Last week turned out to be a lucky week. I found out last Thursday that I won the video contest at work: see previous entry. But, so did everyone else who entered since there were so few entries…hehe.)

I was amused and embarrassed when I walked into Bravo and saw my face on the homepage of the Being Fun China homepage displayed on a projection screen on the wall…

On the Being Fun China homepage

 

The  e-magazine has a nicer layout of the article if you download it and open the table of contents. I can’t see the issue with my Mac, so here’s an HTML version:

Month One in China: Needing a Break and Breaking the Bank
by Suzanne Mahadeo

 

Video: A Day in Guangzhou, China

Well, hello there. It’s been 2.5 months now that we’ve been in China. I’ve had intermittent and unreliable internet access, with a fairly busy schedule up until the last few weeks.

Now that I have the time (and the internet connection!), here’s a video I made for a contest at work. It’s a two-minute glimpse at an average day in Guangzhou.


A Day in the life of Suzanne Mahadeo in Guangzhou

Hope all is well, wherever you are.

Another day, another country

Made it safely to Guangzhou, China!

First impressions of the route from the airport to our hotel, after three months in India:

  • The streets here are newly paved, wide, clean, and lined with big, beautiful, green trees. (I haven’t spotted a single cow yet.)
  • The people are friendly, helpful, and happy.
  • The women are very fashionable! They wear short, classy dresses and heels at all hours of the day. My plaid shirts won’t cut it here unless there’s a resurgence of Grunge in the East.
  • The men are very polite and offer friendly smiles as you pass them on the street.
  • It’s quiiiiiiiiiet!

We purchased several pairs of khaki pants to go with the rugby and polo shirts we are to don for our new positions, at a branch of the largest language institution in the world, located in hundreds of cities and countries around the world (some of which I haven’t even heard of, like “Nice” in North Italy). So far the company has been very kind, picking up our flight to/from China, two weeks in our hotel while we look for an apartment, and Mandarin lessons throughout the year. They’re also flying us to Shanghai next week for some more training. I’ll be honest, though, after several months of living out of luggage, I’m ready for a clean apartment, a closet, and to get back to work…

 

Happy Father’s Day!

This video goes out to Mr. “Daddy Dan” Mahadeo, one of the kindness, smartest, funniest people I know. I’m fortunate to have such a supportive, understanding father. I love you very much, pops. Thanks, today and always, for being you, lollygagger and all. :)

 

Thanks, 82 Birds!

My wish of having a blog so that I can keep in touch with friends and family while overseas has been granted by the genius genies over at 82 birds! My favorite design/web team always manages to make me smile. I recommend them if you (or anyone you know) needs marketing material, brochures, business cards, newsletters, a fresh new website, or a blog customized and added to your existing site, like this one. :)

Thanks so much, Bibi and Ben. As always, I love your work.

I look forward to using this blog, especially since I’m about to move to a country that blocks sites like Facebook and YouTube (more on that in another post)!