A year of thinking about relationships

Nasi Lemak in Berlin, made by a good friend who makes kaya.
Nasi Lemak in Berlin, made by a good friend who makes kaya.
Nasi Lemak in Berlin, made by a good friend who makes kaya.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that intimacy might need to be reclaimed. It makes me think of the unnecessarily long “intimate relations” in place of far more concise terms like sex, hook up, fuck, sleeping with. Intimate relations as euphemism drags a beautiful phrase — to intimately know — into a swamp of muddled associations and judgement. Intimately know could mean sex, but needn’t be confined to it.

Recently, a close friend asked, “How does a shared intimate relationship work? Is it open? Have you ever tried that before?” She didn’t mean it that way, but my thought after the first…


Riders on the Hong Kong tram in black and white
Riders on the Hong Kong tram in black and white
Photo by Athena Lam. All rights reserved.

This article was originally published in my travel blog The Cup and the Road in 2018.

Below are notes that extend on a fresh WhatApp rant that a friend unwittingly set me off on. She was talking to business owners in the Balkans, and she had asked for my opinion on what digital nomads would like in a co-living and co-working space. She asked because she figured I was a digital nomad.

Rather than answering her original question, I spent a good few minutes explaining why I don’t like the digital nomad label, never wanted it, and don’t support the…


Harald Friedl presentingn at the World Economic Forum

Harald Friedl is an Adviser & Lead Special Projects for the UN Climate Change Conference — @COP26. For the last 15 years he has worked in the field of societal change through organizations such as the UN, impact organizations such as Impact Hub or circular systemic change accelerators like Circle Economy. You can find him on Twitter or Instagram.

What are the main challenges for impact organizations that you work in or with have when addressing the Climate Crisis in 2020?

In the impact or purpose sector, like the business sector, has competitive thinking and not abundance thinking. How can…


From the panel “Country Deep Dives: Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development in a Post COVID-19” Future at AVPN 202
From the panel “Country Deep Dives: Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development in a Post COVID-19” Future at AVPN 202
From the panel “Country Deep Dives: Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development in a Post COVID-19” Future at AVPN 2020

This piece appeared on the Alliance Magazine on June 15, 2020.

Between June 8–12, 2020, the AVPN hosted its annual conference virtually, allowing for an unprecedented number of participants to participate and access archived videos. This piece is a reflection on the evolution of the AVPN conference from a participant’s perspective.

Seven years ago, the AVPN was the first conference that connected me to other venture philanthropy organisations and the wider impact investment community in Asia and across the globe. In 2013, the conference felt an oasis meeting of like-minded people that lasted two days, after which we would all…


A UX approach to finding the blogging, newsletter, and content solutions

Old-school, text-first | Photo: from my Unsplash collection.

This is a review of text-focused writing tools for people who want to write and share their writing. If you want a quick table comparison of blogging solutions, a quick Google search will give you results. The purpose of this piece is to walk through the thought process behind available writing solutions today and the needs they aim to solve (from in-bound content marketing as a job to updates for family and friends).

TL;DR: If you just want to write and read comfortably, use Medium (free) or Svbtle (US$6/month). If you want to reach readers via a newsletter, try Substack…


Coffee Roasters, food and grocery home deliveries, and other #supportlocal initiatives

Happy memories from Five Elephants in Kreuzberg

Last Updated: March 27, 2020

Since restaurants and most cafes have shut down in Berlin due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve made a list for food-related deliveries and ways you can support local businesses. This is a working list and right now the sections include:

  • Coffee roasters (that should still be doing home deliveries)
  • Food orders & #Supportyourlocal initiatives
  • Grocery home deliveries
  • Community fundraising

What if I don’t make coffee at home?

To get started with making your own coffee at home, all you need is:

  • A grinder
  • A coffee maker: French Press, V60 filter or Kalifa Filter, or Aeropress

For the most part, you cannot go too…


Some readings before diving in

Many of you probably know that content marketing is an important part of digital strategy, sales, and/or lead generation, but may not know where to start. The good news is that anyone can do content marketing. You and your team can get started by reading some of the articles below and trying it yourselves. In my initial meetings with potential clients, I try to dissuade them from engaging my services. Content is most authentic as in-house sharing. Don’t hire someone if you don’t have to!

A useful tool to start

One of the ways to get into content marketing is…


What 42,968 participants working on 1989 challenges can create in 48 hours.

Between 20th to 22nd of March, 2020, the Kineo.ai team supported the #WirVsVirus hackathon by providing participants with the company’s machine learning modules and hassle-free access to all AWS products (read more here). This includes our team’s observations about AWS cloud usage, even highlights, and where you can find information on the event and projects.

What’s this #WirVsVirus Hackathon?

The #WirVsVirus Hackathon was a nation-wide call by the German government and seven leading organisations for assistance on solutions to the current Covid-19 crisis. The event was reportedly organised in a few days, but had an overwhelming response from the public, which included participants outside…


Offering Kineo.ai’s infrastructure powered by AWS and machine learning expertise this 20–22 March, 2020.

#WirVsVirus hackathon to solve the Covid-19

Kineo.ai is offering cloud infrastructure and machine learning support at the German government’s #WirVsVirus hackathon to solve the Covid-19 crisis from 20th to 22nd of March, 2020.

How can we as a society rise to challenge the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) poses? The German Chancellery, the Digital Council and seven social initiatives have called on technology professionals and changemakers to join a 3-day hackathon to address the numerous consequences in the wake of this pandemic. This is an open call to all of us 80 million strong living in Germany to contribute their skills to develop solutions for society.


This piece was first published on NüVoices in January, 2019.

The silence expanded beyond the empty seat she left behind, which is right in the middle of the technology company’s open office in Hong Kong. Everyone who works at the office walks past it every day. The quietness clung on for several weeks, even after someone new occupied her desk. She was one of a handful of female colleagues who left the company in the span of a year. One moved on after a few months to work at a United Nations agency, while another left for a position at…

Athena Lam

Content strategist. Product junkie. CBC. QPOC / Queer Asian. Portfolio: www.piccoloportfolios.com / Blog: www.thecupandtheroad.com / Community: b3p0.org

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