Important Update: I am, unfortunately, no longer able to mentor people in the way I have done in the past — I’ve now, alas, too many other obligations and haven’t been able to cope with the quantity of requests or do them the justice they deserve. I am so sorry for this. If I can help in any small, specific/finite ways, e.g. book recommendations, do reach out (or even if you’d like to share some of your work and creations with me!) but I can no longer offer a full-fledged mentoring relationship or promise much more than an acknowledgment or a kind (but hopefully prompt) reply. I hope you understand, and thank you so much wanting to reach out. RL 19/1/2015.

This page is part of a distributed mentoring movement.

Every major step forward in my life so far has been inspired and encouraged by the mentors I’ve been fortunate enough to have. This is perhaps especially true in academia, where so much of the profession is learned not through books, but through the guidance and generosity of one’s seniors. I am indebted to many before me who have given freely of their time and wisdom, and I hope to do the same for those who will come after me.

I’ve had so many great experiences in my life, and I’d love to share them if you’re thinking of pursuing a similar path.

  • I completed a BA (2006), MPhil (2007) and Ph. D. in History (2011) at Warwick University and Cambridge University in the UK, and somewhere along the way, became a history academic.
  • I’ve been awarded two full Ph. D. scholarships: the Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholarships for postgraduate study, and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Ph. D. scholarship for Malaysian postgraduates in Cambridge.
  • I care deeply about the use of technology for humanities research, and I believe there’s so much to share and learn from each other about research systems, productivity workflows and academic note-taking. I’m a Mac OS X user, and periodically write about some of the tech I have used in my research.
  • I am passionate about reading, and about learning how to learn from books. If that last clause makes sense to you, I probably want to hear from you.
  • I’m now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, and I’m starting a new project on aspects of social intellectual history in interwar Asia.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can write me a letter responding to the questions below; I’ll write back to all letters I receive in this way within two weeks, no matter what. In response to the most exceptional letters, I’ll propose further correspondence—and in certain cases, an ongoing mentoring relationship.

  1. Tell me about yourself. How did you become who you are, and who do you want to become?
  2. What do you hope to gain from our mentoring relationship?
  3. What’s the best thing you’ve read, watched, or listened to lately?
  4. What work have you done that you’re proud of?

Send it to me: [mentoring AT idlethink DOT com]. I look forward to learning together!


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