LHM (LILY) LIng
Just as we were putting issue 20(4) to press, the news that IFJP International Advisory Board member LHM Ling – Lily – has passed came through. “Impossible to think of Lily not here” – one of the many thoughts shared about Lily soon after the devastating news.
It is hard to write this – not wanting the news to be true, and not knowing how to put into words something that feels right to share of her brilliant career, her personality, and her creative gifts. One thing will be easy – remembering Lily and keeping her in our hearts and minds: “a kind and compassionate soul in addition to all her good work”, ”she called out racism and sexism in so many places, laughed so heartily and was so generous in spirt”.
Lily - an intellectual powerhouse, a beautifully creative mind and a literal joy to behold. Though she was much more and other than an intellectual, she cared deeply about the make-up, the composition and the feel of the field of IR but also the field of academia. There are countless stories of how she pulled in those who felt random, dispensable, marginal in our respective disciplinary circles to encouragingly demand we continue our work, to work harder, to fight harder for our rightful place in the discipline. And this was not just by gifting us with kind words; she put in the time to do the tedious, insanely hard work. She read and intervened in job applications, she read and advised on grant proposals, she read papers and told you what she thought. Emails received lightning speed replies, a ping of welcome energy. In her challenges to the racist, misogynistic and unimaginative world of politics she found herself in, she worked extremely hard to create a more habitable world for others.
She also worked hard to be approachable - a relentlessly laborious way of being in the world. Especially hard given she was so alone when she started in the field as a Chinese international student, a woman, a creative soul. From the outside, it looked like she just enjoyed being this way, light-hearted, giddy, a ray of sunshine, but this way of being and moving around the field allows a glimpse into the feminist postcolonial intellect she had crafted for herself.
In a moment of loss such as this, reaching out seemed to be the right thing to do, in part to share the weight of grief and of love – but also to offer a richer reflection of the wide-ranging networks, places and people she worked with and within – feminist, postcolonial, Asian IR, non-western approaches and civilizational debates to name a few. So we end this too brief memoriam with an invitation to all to share your thoughts, hopes and memories about/with Lily and for the future she so lovingly left for us all.
Teresia Teaiwa, IFIP co-editor from 2008 to 2011, died after a brief illness on 21 March 2017 at the age of 48. She was a fierce pacifist, beautiful writer and compassionate teacher, friend and colleague. Teresia touched many lives and all of us who knew, worked with, and loved her are devastated by her loss.
Teresia received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her research focused on gender, militarism and feminist activism within the South Pacific. A highly regarded poet and award-winning teacher, Teresia also wrote and spoke about art, literature, pedagogy and the culture and politics of the Pacific, perspectives and influences that brought a richness to her work on the journal throughout her term as editor.
Born in Hawai’i of African American and I-Kiribati heritage, Teresia was raised in Fiji and was the director of Va’aomanū Pasifika at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand at the time of her death. In 2009 the Guardian described her as one of Kiribati’s living national icons. Signaling her importance to many Pacific communities, her body was welcomed onto Victoria University’s Te Herenga Waka marae (Māori meeting ground) for a lying in state, an event that is considered a rare privilege for a non-Māori. Teresia leaves her parents and siblings, her partner Sean and sons Mānoa and Vaitoa.
Read the full IFJP tribute here.