“The song formerly known as” and “Polyester girl” were two of my favourite Regurgitator hits to come out in the 90s.
Last night I had the opportunity to hear the band’s lead singer and guitarist Quan Yeomans guest speak at the BrisAsia Festival Yum Chat evening held at the Metro Arts.
As a young girl when a majority of their songs were released, I wasn’t quiet sure what to expect with a speech from an artist in this band. Well anyway, I was blown away, in a good way.
Quan spoke very openly and honestly about his upbringing as an Australian Vietnamese and how he never really felt or seen himself as being different Asian. In fact, Quan said he actually felt guilty for not getting more involved and using his culture to influence his work…it was more like he was an “occasional Asian”.
Quan had one of his biggest supporters in the crowd, his mum. In the Q and A section she stood up and spoke for a good five to ten minutes about how she felt more Australian then Vietnamese after living in the country for many years and raised her children to be open to all cultures and values.
While Quan touched on many important points throughout his hilarious speech, it was a message that he picked up from reading a book by Mark Manson, “The subtle art of not giving a f***” that struck a chord with me. It taught Quan how to manage existing between cultures and learning to accept you.
Quan said “not giving a f*** is not being cool, it’s being comfortable with being different”, in other words yourself. The minute you learn to let go and not give a f*** is when you get so involved in the creative process and you’re more likely to get a positive outcome.
Above, Quan and I after the Yum Chat session.
A car park alleyway was transformed into a colourful, creative and engaging space enabling like minded Asian creative industry professionals and those, like me, interested in the culture to come together.
This character set the scene as we walked in by busing a move. I tried my best below to outshine it haha.
The night also featured a panel of guest speakers sharing their personal experiences of living in Australia as foreigners and the impact this had for some compared to others. One speaker said that now she’s older she has learnt to embrace her Japanese culture more, but when she was young was just like any other Australian.
All of them agreed with Quan’s advice that learning to let go and not give a f*** allowed them to get to where they are now in their creative careers.
It of course wouldn’t be a yum chat without food. Delicious!
Thanks so Brisbane City Council for organising this free and well put together event. I had the chance to chat with a few attendees, most who worked as actors or writers and hope to be able to support their work when released.
In case you are too young or not aware of who the band is, check out these Regurgitator classics: