Supportive Sunday: Amy Phung

Happy Sunday!

For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Amy. Amy and I are Instagram friends – our friendship literally started on Instagram and it’s only been months after we first chatted on Instagram that we finally went for a walk together two weeks ago.

Amy is an illustrator and graphic designer from London, and you can find her online shop here. She started her career in contracts and royalties reporting, enrolled in a part-time graphic design course and loved it so much she decided to go full time with graphic design! she is also a co-founder of a grassroots movement called besea.n which stands for Britain’s East and South East Asian Network where she does amazing work with five other people to push for fairer and broader representation of East and South East Asians.

When I first read her piece, my breath actually caught in my throat with all the emotions it brought up in me. As a child growing up in a post-colonial world, I’ve been thinking about Amy’s piece non-stop since the first time I read it. But today isn’t about me, it’s about Amy so here we go – Amy Phung’s “The Cost of Greed“.

The Cost of Greed

Does a baby sleep as sweetly rocked in a boat as a baby that is tucked snugly into a cot at home? Do the crashing of waves soothe them to slumber as well as the sound of lullaby? I often wonder about my parents in the late 1970s with their four children, the youngest not-yet two, hiding under deck as they left Northern Vietnam in junk boats. As tensions rose against the ethnic Chinese (although that was not the only reason for the mass exodus of both Chinese and Vietnamese from Vietnam), they were forced to flee their home as part of the Boat People. Against a backdrop of endless wars fought by imperial powers over the country, my parents had no choice but to gamble their lives on the sea just under a decade before I was born. My daughter is nearly four now, and I have fretted over every runny nose and cursed loud motorbikes as they disturbed her sleep, but she knows little of the once precariousness of my existence and consequently her own. Only four decades before, before either of us were born, her grandmother’s worry as a young woman was not if her children, my older siblings, would be able to sleep but if their bodies would be dashed against a rock or their boat raided by pirates, their lives holding on by a thread.

One of Amy’s art pieces

Somewhere between 200,000 – 400,000 people died at sea, but my family survived against the odds. After reaching a refugee camp in Hong Kong, they were finally able to head to the UK where they had two more children, including myself. The last of the Boat People didn’t stop escaping until the 1990s but the cycle of human migration that has been forced by geopolitical tensions continues to this day. In a recent tragedy, a Kurdish boy of only 15 months old named Artin was drowned alongside his whole family when they tried to cross the English Channel last October, attempting to find safety in the UK after living in terrible conditions in a tent in Dunkirk. The tightening of borders, the lack of safe passage, and policies such as the Hostile Environment are designed to drain life from desperate migrants, and to me it’s a symbol of greed. The centuries of ravaging and overexploitation by European colonialism and US Imperialism now sees these countries tightening their grip on that wealth. Despite happily invading and raiding with impunity (at its peak the British Empire covered 25% of the world), its eventual dissolution left countries picking up the pieces from damaged resources and inter-community tensions left by their colonisers. With the empire in retreat, we see the UK government protecting its hoard, quite literally, with the stone walls of institutions such as the British Museum holding the loot hostage that its benefactors have stolen.

In the minds of many, the wealth of our country has become almost entirely divorced from the tangible fact that it has been accumulated through colonisation and exploitation. By doing so, the general public see its byproducts as intrinsically part of the ‘British’ construct, including stately country homes, museums and even the laws of Isaac Newton (many of his calculations were made based on data and resources directly gathered as a result of African enslavement). The resources that have been robbed through imperialistic endeavours and the consequent wilful genocide when colonised populations fought back have been conveniently erased in our education, contributing to the collective amnesia about our ill-gotten wealth. Nowadays the battlegrounds of the Empire have moved, with the process for gaining asylum or citizenship beset with red tape, illegal deportations in breach of human rights, and government-endorsed peddling of the scarcity complex influencing the UK population against migrants. The 2016 Brexit campaign was eager to proclaim that the UK was drowning under a supposed migrant crisis, despite the fact that migrants make a net contribution to the economy, with a study from 2018 showing that migrants working in adult social care contributed £4.4 billion to the UK economy and the UK is below average compared to EU countries for asylum applications per head. What we do have, however, is a moral crisis and one by which we can only start redressing when we raise our heads, look at our past squarely in the face, and unfurl the hands around which we grip tightly to our wealth. Most urgently, we have to address the fact that as of October 2020, the U.K. is the world’s second largest exporter of arms which often goes directly towards funding regimes repressing people around the world, causing the forced migrations we see happening to today.

Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Bristol says that, “possessions are often a marker of identity and by exerting our control over them, we claim them as our own”. With greater knowledge around the violent past that has built Britain’s wealth, we must question our entitlement to the advancements and privileges we have gained from colonialism. As I know from my parents’ plight and that of so many others (many countries turned the Boat People away before they reached ports like Hong Kong), our lack of humanity shows when we ignore the desperation of families who flee their home countries because they had no other option. Understand that borders are a construct and hold our government accountable for the countless lives lost because of callous attitudes towards migrants. As we saw from the events on Kenmure Street, with enough organising, we know it is within our collective power to stem the tide that forces people who are likely mothers, fathers and children out into the sea.

Follow besea.n where we are preparing to launch ESEA Heritage Month in September. Support ESA Scotland and SEEAC who are doing important work supporting ESEA migrants in the UK.

Amy enjoying the sun in a park

Amy, thank you. If you’d like to support Amy’s art work, you can do so here. She’s also done interviews and panels, so if you’re looking to have an ESEAN voice on one of your events, do reach out to Amy or any of the besea.n network.


Supportive Sunday: El

Is there anything more delightful than a bank holiday weekend? A bank holiday weekend with delightful people that is. And of course a dose of Supportive Sunday. This Sunday, we have El. El is one of my absolute bundle of joy friends and I just 100000% love them. You know you have those friendships where every interaction actually nourishes your soul, uplifts you when you’re down, and makes you smile from your inside out? That’s how El makes me feel. So this weekend, we support and uplift El as they share with us about what non-binary means, their childhood movie crushes, and most importantly what we can do to continue support the non-binary community in the face of a government that won’t even acknowledge them.

Hi I’m El (they/them), thanks for reading today. I am non-binary and today I’d like to chat to you about non-binary rights and how the UK government is harming and preventing them altogether. This week, it was announced that the UK Government would not be legally recognising non-binary as a gender identity. This was announced after a petition with over 130,000 signatures was taken to Parliament asking the government to recognise non-binary as a gender identity. This recent announcement is another in a long list of how the government has quashed LGBTQIA+ rights. 

What is non-binary?

To start I’d like to outline what non-binary is. Non-binary is an umbrella term. It carries many terms within it: for example, gender fluid, genderqueer. A very simplistic way of explaining it is that non-binary is gender identities that are neither man nor woman. But it is not a third gender. 
Non-binary people can be trans – like me, (but not all). How non-binary people feel towards everything is incredibly personal, and no two non-binary people will feel the same. We don’t all use the same pronouns either (pronouns don’t make you non-binary): there are so many types of pronouns, what we each are is incredibly personal. Extra tip: always ask someone their pronouns if you don’t know: don’t assume because expression is not gender. 

El at lunch bringing joy to their friends

To me, non-binary means that I don’t feel like I fit just in woman, I feel more than just that. It’s hard to put into words but I’ll try. A few weeks ago, I realised that my childhood obsession with Sharkboy wasn’t because I thought he was cute: it was because I wanted to BE him! But child El didn’t have the language to understand or even communicate that. I just thought I had a crush on Sharkboy because of HETERONORMATIVITY.  The reality is I wanted to be with Lavagirl, and who doesn’t! 

A throwback to Lavagirl and Sharkboy

How does this government decision affect me?

It means I get misgendered everyday. It means all my legal documents have and continue to misgender me: my driver’s license, my taxes, my pay cheques and the list goes on. It’s painful and it’s dehumanising. 
Did you know over 40% of non-binary people are not out at work? We are not legally allowed to exist and we don’t feel supported or safe. If one day I wanted to get married, I would be misgendered at my own wedding

And pronouns and misgendering are only the start. Many trans people get surgery: in the UK, the waiting list for just a consultation about gender reaffirming surgery on the NHS can be 2 years if not longer, never mind waiting for the actual surgery. Private trans health care is expensive. It’s inaccessible. And most scarily, it’s costing lives. Providing trans health care is suicide prevention. So the government’s decision to not support trans and non-binary people is painful; to not recognise us and cut funding to our healthcare is a death sentence. Currently, I have not decided if surgery is something I would like, but the fact that access to making informed medical decisions is so hard to obtain; to even discuss it with a doctor is a long wait that no one should have to endure. 

So how can we support nonbinary people? 

At a very initial starting point, we can start with pronouns in our bios and in our email signatures (you can even add them to Zooms!). 
We should use gender neutral language. 
We should uplift and listen to non-binary voices, and support charities like Mermaids
We should talk to our MPs about how they can help us in Parliament and change the law. 

For me personally, another way we can help is by asking period companies to stop using gendered language. Not everyone that gets a period is a woman. Making period products more gender neutral is such an important step to help stop stigma. While you’re at it, email your work about bins in every toilet….

…..the same goes for contraceptives: everyone uses them, they don’t need to be gendered!

I’d like to end this on a joyful note. A nice little smile for you, and for me because I deserve joy too. 

When El first shaved their head and experienced europhia

The first time I wore my binder I couldn’t stop smiling. I looked at my body in my t-shirt and I finally felt like me. I don’t often experience gender dysphoria, but experiencing euphoria is a dream. The comfort I experience in myself is like battle armor: I stand taller, I feel happier, I live and experience life on such an elevated level. And that is something that nobody can take away. 

One of the first times I wore my binder

The government may not recognise me but I recognise me. I, like many, am very proud of who I am and we deserve to be proud and loud. Thank you for reading!

Thank you El! Didn’t I tell you they are an absolute joy? You can find El on Instagram and if you’re able to, a donation to Mermaids will be hugely appreciated! El’s kindly provided some resources below so do remember to check them out so that we know how to support the non-binary community in the best way possible.


Petition: Make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK

Dazed Digital: The UK government won’t legally recognise non-binary as a gender identity

The London Transgender Clinic: Top surgery

National Center for Transgender Equality: Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive

Gay Times: UK Government confirms trans people will not be allowed to change legal gender via self-ID

Gender GP: Patients’ Experiences of The Waiting List for NHS Gender Identity Clinics


Supportive Sunday:

Welcome back WWQD readers. We’re restarting Supportive Sunday! 

Today we have a slightly anticlimactic feature: team WWQD’s very own Aimen from This is an interesting feature for several reasons. One: is really a business? If so, why? Two: No one has ever managed to get to share what they do before, so this is an unprecedented feature in unprecedented times. 

Being notoriously private, I found it difficult to introduce myself. So my husband wrote a generous summary: “Very hardworking, deeply caring. Aimen has a diverse set of talents. Interested in design, music, production, business, management, speed reading, and things.” 

What does actually do? Broadly, multidisciplinary creative work. This is my separate entity where I (Aimen) run creative endeavors and projects I pick up purely for the joy of doing them, or for what they can teach me. In my 9-5, I’m a product manager for a non-crypto blockchain company. Outside of this, I contain multitudes (lol jk I just do a LOT of fun creative work I never talk about because I’m pathologically shy).

So. Let’s kick off!

Hello Aimen, how are you doing?

How are any of us doing?

Personally, I am balancing self-compassion with my desire to keep learning, keep doing, keep creating. In a very literal sense, I’m good! On Maslow’s pyramid, I’m at least approaching, if not mid self-actualization. 

As for how is doing…we’re in our mindful, anti-flop era. During Lockdown the First in 2020, I went full steam ahead with any and all creative projects, because I’d lost my full-time job. This was a questionable decision that saw me balancing full-time SEO work with building the WWQD platform, assisting with music videos, making decks, designing random brochures, illustrating heavily and… in general working a lot.

This year is slower. The luxury of a full-time job that guarantees my income lets me become more selective about projects I pick up, which is where I always want to sit.

Why did you start

The desire to learn and create. Secondarily, my love for computers.  

I grew up in an ambitious environment where academic excellence and capitalist achievement was highly valued. While my career is very important to me, I’m obsessed with the act of creation, and expression across mediums. 

Print and graphic design was my first love: I remember designing restaurant menus for made-up places on a bootleg copy of MS Paint on my dad’s Linux home PC in 2005 (I would’ve been…10 years old?). I’d print these and stick them to my mom’s fridge. 

Music was next, I started running a fairly popular audioblog on tumblr in 2010, through to 2012 focused entirely on reviewing EDM. That led my affair with live music from 2013-16, after which I transitioned entirely to production in Audacity and Ableton. In the meantime, I also freelanced heavily, developing my print design skills working with a mix of local businesses, startups and indie agencies. At this stage, I desperately wanted to learn and do, so I picked up anything from designing cafe signage to full-fledged websites.

These miscellaneous creative projects made me realize I needed a manageable outlet for creative projects. I also needed admin support as my freelance obligations scaled up alongside a full-time role. So, I hired an EA, streamlined design work through and built my own website ‘store’ in Cargo to sell music on. This Frankensite came complete with psychedelic animations half-copied off Codepens, half-original. The legacy site functioned as a direct-to-consumer music store where people would purchase MP3s that my EA would email directly to them, because I couldn’t figure out how to hide downloads behind a paywall. I sold 1,000+ units through my self-published music store…meaning I saw actual £££, which I’ve yet to see via streaming services, LOL. 

The legacy storefront

In 2019, I wound all of the above down to focus ‘more’ on my 9-5. I regretted this and started creative work once more in 2020!

What are you most proud of at to date?

The versatility and diversity of work taken up, and what the work has given back to me. 

Seeing as a separate entity – sometimes a business – helped me pick projects I would never have pursued otherwise: designing a website for a film studio, producing music for my project io, working with incredible pop artist Roma Radz, pitching music video collateral to Rebecca Black, creating art for the G.O.A.T. Komato$e

What I’m most proud of in terms of pieces of work:

Project 1: Album artwork for Komato$e and Lucas Versace’s compilation album (out soon!!), plus it’s lead single ‘Summary’.

The LV Koma Vol. 1 art combines Komato$e’s classic chaotic evil with my chaotic good energy: it’s vibrant, it’s current: it used GraphixSlayer’s clip art, it’s deep. The colors honor trans music genius CCI Midas who passed away in 2020 (gold and black). The colors for ‘Summary‘ honor Komato$e’s excellent taste. This project is special beyond words because this was the first music I released posthumously for my brother Komato$e.

Artwork for lead single ‘Summary’
Album art for LV KOMA vol. 1, coming soon to a streaming service near you

Project 2: Cityscapes for Boyfriend in Every City by Roma Radz.

This is a catchy, gorgeous song by pop’s rising princess. I love Roma – I met her while she was supporting Hannah Diamond’s tour, we started talking on Insta and I jumped at the chance to work on her debut music video.

Watching this inspires me: the artists featured here are so cool and the (extremely talented) video editor made my small contribution shine in ways I couldn’t have imagined!

Boyfriend in Every City Music Video

Project 3:Personal Statement‘. I just love how it looks LOL.

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

The relentless energy, passion and curiosity my darling friend Max had for every piece of music he worked on. I carry his troll spirit with me and it carries me through creative block. 

Showing my sister any work I do, or being able to support her in any way with the work I do. She’s my number one concern and her resilience is something I want to channel.

In tough (and good) times, I lean on my husband. His clarity of thought and calm creativity is unlike anything else; it balances me out and provides a blank slate where I can breathe and create freely. 

I am replenished and encouraged heavily by my best friend and cheerleader, WWQD’s Queenie. I can trust her feedback and guidance without question, and our discussions fuel me.

In the day-to-day sense, I allow myself to passively appreciate art others have made if I don’t feel creative myself. I’m refreshed by 7G by A.G. Cook, all of Charli XCX’s discography, Graphix Slayer brings chaotic good energy to my Twitter feeds; Terrell Davis inspires not only me, but an entire visual movement

What’s your ambition for

Honestly, none. This space is the antidote to material achievement. What drives me is creation. It’d be nice to do more personalized work through my ko-fi. Formally, is currently working on closing three main projects: publishing an essay collection on loss, a poster series about why I miss the 00’s so damn much, and honoring Komato$e’s musical legacy.

Beyond projects, the ethos of is the pursuit of creation for the sake of creation, or for what creation can teach you. 

That being said, I love to work with pop princesses. More of that. 


Well thank you Aimen! I promise I didn’t threaten to withhhold non-existent wages from her to be our first feature or to say that I’m amazing. You can find out more about Aimen’s projects here and if you’d like to say a small thank you to her, you can find her ko-fi here!