Shenpaha is one of the Delegates Coordinators for the 2019 Asia Pacific Week Conference.
She is currently in her third year studying a double degree of Bachelor of Law (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts.
What does the 2019 APW theme 'New Horizons' mean to you?
I think the theme 'New Horizons' means expanding what we already know about the region and exploring aspects of the Asia Pacific that hasn't necessaarily been explored before. The theme to me also means linking the local to the global. I'm so excited to explore the interplay this creates between the cultures, customs, language and identity of a region and the overall shared identity of the Asia Pacific region as a whole. The theme begs the question, what do we know, and what can we learn from questioning what we thing we know? I'm looking forward to answering this question and asking how we can push the boundaries of knowledge further.
What is your cultural/ethnic heritage and what do you love about it?
I'm ethnically a Sri Lankan Tamil, and culturally, I would describe myself as Australian/Tamil. I have such a strong memory of the few years I spent in Sri Lanka, where I was born, and I think that has really contributed to the way I shape my own Australian identity. I think of myself as someone who is able to exist between the hybrid spaces, the spaces where the boundaries of identity aren't clearly set in stone. I love that I can be so many different things as one complex person.
What language/s can you speak? Or what language/s would you love to learn?
I speak Tamil, English and French. One of the weirdest experiences I've had was when I was sitting around my aunty's house in Paris, eating croissants and speaking what appeared to be a hybrid of English, Tamil and French all in the one conversation. I would love to learn Sanskrit because I think there is so much knowledge to be learnt from such an ancient and historical language. I'm also so curious about the interplay between psychology and language; the way we think and how that is shaped by the language we think in.
What do you love doing in your spare time?
In my spare time, you can catch me sipping tea and scrolling through my favourite young desi artists, finding new prints to hang in my room, making origami or taking my friends on fun excusions like trampolining!