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Waller in a nutshell
Rachel's idea of a perfect life would be to hang out with her husband all day, grow her own vegetables, make her own clothing/furniture/tools and live off the grid without any modernity whatsoever.
A semi-feral pack of children might just top things off nicely. Whenever possible, Rachel avoids driving the car. She keeps her phone switched off when not at work and has a blanket over the TV.
Growing up in Kuching was a far cry from an equivalent childhood in the UK. Borneo in the 1970's, 80's and 90's was a strange mix of tribal culture and modern Asian lifestyle.
Rachel's first home was an enormous manor house located in the outskirts of the jungle, occupied by almost every branch of one huge extended Chinese family.
There were animals kept out back, a swamp and a dirt road that led to the nearest town. This was Rachel's mum's side of the family: Chin.
On her dad's side of the family, things were even more distinctly tribal; a people who hunted, killed and kept themselves isolated in the deepest mountain regions of the jungle.
Rachel's dad did at one point work in a bank... Henry Kajan Anyie is locally known for constructing and playing an indigenous musical instrument called the 'sape'.
Rachel is eager to please, amiable, friendly and curious. As a child she picked things up quickly, studied hard and made rapid progress in school. Her education included:
All UK academic subjects
How to identify fresh food at market (fruit, veg, meat)
Basic electrical work
Basic car maintenance
Between the ages of 13-17 Rachel studied taekwondo, gained a black belt and became the President of the club at her school.
At the age of 17 Rachel won the prestigious Shell Scholarship which enabled her to move from Borneo to West Malaysia in order to study at Koleg Tuanku Ja'afar: the top international school.
Rachel became Head Girl. She passed her exams with excellent grades and moved to Durham to study Geology at the University.
The King and I
Rachel met the King once whilst at school. She was required to dress in full traditional Kayan costume. The King asked Rachel which country she was from. Rachel said, "Yours."
After University Rachel managed to persuade Shell that she was not cut out for the oil industry.
Rachel moved to Keswick to work at an Outdoor Retreat Centre where she took school children on long walks in the hills as a Youth Leader.
She then moved to Liverpool to work as a School Chaplain, then to Newcastle in 2005 in a similar role; gaining a Permanent Residency Visa along the way. Once in Newcastle, Rachel met her husband...
Realising that taekwondo was no longer something she wanted to do, Rachel looked for another martial arts outlet and tried Newcastle Tai Chi in 2007.
As part of the Mc generation I am as guilty as anyone of wanting everything now, and being very demanding in terms of my own needs, of looking straight to the highest teaching and grasping after it. It’s interesting to reflect after the introduction that this is clearly the opposite approach that is required by a martial art like bagua, and then it follows that an introduction to bagua at this time may simply be utterly beyond our capabilities. As Adam Hsu says in his book, The Sword Polishers Record, ‘kung fu literally means time and hard work, there are no shortcuts.’
Certainly bagua cannot be seen, as perhaps it could be argued some other aspects of martial arts are, as simply another medal to pin on the chest of ego.
Rachel got married to Sifu Waller in 2010. Their wedding was low key and inclusive.
Eschewing the typical paraphernalia commonly associated with a wedding, Rachel designed the service and arranged for her friend to be the organist.
There was no best man, no maid of honour, no bridesmaids, no special roles, no official photographer, no gifts, no meal, no disco, no speeches, no dance, no exotic honeymoon...
Even the rings were modest: titanium - for impact durability.
Focus on the real
Sifu Waller and Rachel were only really interested in being married, not the wedding day. The wedding ceremony was for them.
Guests were encouraged to please themselves. There was an optional pub meal afterwards for people that wanted to chat and celebrate. Ironically, the guest feedback was very positive...
Many guests felt that the wedding was genuine, welcoming, earnest and real; they felt privileged to part of the event and had a really good time.
Rachel loves being married.
Since her job involves helping others all day everyday... the weekends and evenings are private opportunities to enjoy one another's company without the need to assist/educate/support other people.
Sifu Waller and Rachel relish having fun together and make the best use of each day.
Rachel works a 37.5 hour week for a charity. It often involves extracurricular commitments. By being organised and discerning, Rachel manages her time skilfully.
She gets to fulfil her work responsibilities, train qigong, taijiquan, yoga, pursue her hobbies/interests and still have quality time to spend with her husband.
The home routine followed by Rachel takes around 2-3 hours to complete. On a weekend she complements this with lengthy walks in the countryside with her husband.
Whenever possible Rachel undertakes partner training with Sifu Waller in order to receive corrections, partner practice and learn new skills.
On a daily basis, Rachel reads from a pile of 5 taijiquan/spiritual/pop psychology/martial principles books. She also reads recipe books, gardening books, art books and anything else that takes her fancy.
The internet is used mainly for research and study.
Throughout the day Rachel enjoys intellectually stimulating conversations with Sifu Waller concerning things he is reading/considering/exploring along with matters that arise from her own research and training.
Although Rachel really enjoys teaching tai chi for health/fitness, her main interest is the martial training.
Taijiquan is Rachel's primary concern; she seeks to gain high-level skill. Rachel has already learned the pattern for all of the forms in the syllabus.
Tai chi for health/fitness teacher
Rachel went from being a tai chi student to a tai chi for health/fitness teacher; working steadily through the qigong exercises, partner drills, principles and forms.
The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain endorsed her qualification and listed Rachel on their website as a teacher.
Hobbies and interests
Rachel has many hobbies and interests. She is particularly fascinated with photography and nature; combining the two whenever she can.
TV and technology would prevent Rachel from enjoying her interests, so she only watches a limited amount of pre-recorded DVDs per week...
Although Rachel doesn't watch broadcast TV she does enjoy watch a movie. Sitting and watching a film is the ideal opportunity for a cuddle and (if lucky) a sly snooze.
There are over 900 DVDs in Rachel's library. Studio Ghibli films are amongst her favourites; particularly My Neighbour Totoro. She really likes musicals and comedies but loathes corny or vulgar humour.
Marilyn Monroe is potentially Rachel's favourite actress; but only the comedy roles.
Rachel dreams of owning a Japanese soaking tub; a deep barrel-shaped bathtub designed for relaxing in rather than getting clean. The bather showers and cleans themselves before entering the ofuro.
How to Take a Japanese Bath by Leonard Koren details the steps involved in Japanese bathing.
Asian culture interests Rachel a great deal; particularly the pursuits of modern Japanese women.
Rachel avoids additives, preservatives, chemicals and shop bought products whenever she can. She prefers to make everything from scratch: food, skin care products, hair products...
Keep it light
Rachel is really not interested in funky conversations about medical problems, gossip or politics. Intellectually stimulating topics are fine.
Silence is preferable to boasting/bragging/competing.
When faced with a bore, Rachel is apt to withdraw her attention without causing offence.
Sense of humour
Rachel likes to have fun and is very playful. She is not terribly interested in being serious; recognising that everyday life brings with it so many bona fide concerns already.
Adding unnecessary mental clutter would be unwise and unwelcome.
Babylon 5, the short stories of Philip K Dick, Ballard, Gibson, Star Wars, films of the 1950's - now... you name it.
A big fan of Star Trek, Rachel particularly likes William Shatner as Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Patrick Stewart as Picard.
She admires Gene Roddenberry's commitment to female and racial representation. Gul Dukat, Garak and Quark are amongst her favourite Star Trek characters.
Rachel doesn't like the intellectually deficient shows and movies produced by J J Abrams.
Her enjoyment of other sci-fi shows is determined their content; and Rachel is quick to switch off any program that fails to engage.
Rachel has a modest collection of World War 2 German fighter pilot watches. She owns a range of EDC gear; multitools, gadgets, axes, camping equipment, hiking goods and knives.
Her collection of Japanese bishoujo statues (Rachel: Bishoujo statues capture the flirty vivaciousness of youth with their dynamic poses, strong female poise and naughty expressions) is quite impressive.
Unusual cooking equipment, Chinese, Japanese and Polish traditional crockery have been collected over a number or years.
Rachel has no interest whatsoever in UK fashions or trends. She buys clothing that takes her fancy.
Her main influences are Swedish explorer styles, Japanese niche fashions (e.g. mori), recycled technology and Korean feminine clothing.
Rachel: Feminism is not about gender, race or gay/straight. It is about equal rights, pay & opportunity. Sexes = male or female. Equal = same. Men & women are not the same. We have biological differences: chromosomes, reproductive organs etc. Gender = masculine or feminine. Gender accentuates & strengthens our sex (male/female) i.e. femininity celebrates & values 'womanhood'. A woman who dresses & acts in a masculine way may look like a man but her genes are still female. Emulating men betrays her sex.
Rachel: I read a post by a woman that said how women must learn to think like men. Huh? How demeaning! What next? Grow a penis? Terms such as 'gender spectrum' are bandied around these days... How absurd! Emulating men doesn't make us strong. We are already strong. We are free to express our own sexual agenda. Our femininity. This is where our power resides: in being a feminine woman.
Rachel: Be feminine. Copying men devalues and betrays your own sex. Integrity comes from being true to yourself. Men who dress like women are called 'transvestites' and laughed at by women. What should you call a woman who dresses, moves and behaves like a man? Revel in femaleness; accentuate it, embrace it, enjoy it! Female self-assurance and confidence are good. Femininity is an art and we cannot just assume that we possess it. Study, research, insight and practice make us stronger as women and quite distinctly female. Women can be strong, intelligent, resourceful and impressive. In a female way.
Rachel: Gender = masculine/feminine; behavioural traits designed to harmonize with, accentuate and enhance the difference in sex. To be a stronger woman, be a feminine woman. Use your femininity to shape/manipulate attention and consciousness. Dressing like a man is akin to saying that men are better than women. In what way is this true?
Rachel: Female stereotypes, ideas, values, perceptions and conventions regarding women and their various roles in society were created and sustained by men. Women are not damsels in distress. We are not in need of saving. We dress and behave as we do to enhance our beauty, our stature, our power. Nothing is done to impress or titillate men. Those days are over.
On Japanese style
Rachel: I like Japanese Mori (forest) Girl & Natural Kei fashions... loose dresses, long skirts, mid-length skirts, smock blouses, A-line dresses, ponchos, boleros, cardigans, oversized sweaters, lace, linen, crochet, knit, brown leather boots and accessories...
Rachel is very Taoist in her attitudes and behaviour.
Was born in 1978
Is very brave
Obsessed with pu erh tea
Slept so much as a baby that her parents thought she was ill
Is XS size in UK but more akin to Medium in Borneo
Is five feet tall
Hates to run and would rather amble
Is very patient; even to a point where any 'normal' person would probably give up
Cooks really tasty food
Favourite movie: Moana
Once fractured a bully's ribcage without even trying to or realising it
Is a bit crazy
Has a lovely singing voice
Can perform a very sexy tribal dance featuring large feathers
Can play a number of musical instruments
Stops what she is doing when listening to people
Quite happy to make all meals from scratch
Her hairdresser loves the fact that Rachel uses all natural products
Normally makes the best use of her opportunities
Was once in a marching band
Thinks deeply about things
Is very playful
Lives very much in the immediate moment
Spends forever in the shower
Spends even longer in the bath
Can't stand slugs
Has an unbelievably massive stock of tights and stockings
Isn't easy to annoy
Likes to walk outdoors
Doesn't like wandering around the shops
Loves growing vegetables
Has no interest whatsoever in sport of any kind
Loves to see examples of shen
Gets excited by high emotion scenes in movies/TV shows where the hero uses his power or does something 'cool'
Likes discovering wild mushrooms
Very good at crochet
Is willing to endure hardship without complaint
Doesn't resent people
Abhors politics, news, current affairs
Doesn't really care for alcohol
Refuses to dye/colour her hair
Has never tried cigarettes or drugs
Likes to dance
Interested in spiritual matters rather than religion
Can sew with uncanny accuracy and neatness
Prefers savoury food to desserts
Is never mean spirited
Has no interest in prestige/status/fame/popularity
Likes old movies
Doesn't typically like martial arts movies or violent films
Never mentions taijiquan to people she meets outside of class
Feels no real compulsion to argue or debate
Loves to have fun
Prefers not to cause conflict or hassle for people
Likes craft projects
Doesn't talk unless she really wants to
Never watches broadcast TV and doesn't even have an aerial
Undertakes as many professional training courses as she can fit in
Good at improvising
Likes to buy goods with a view to them lasting indefinitely
Politely declines as much as she can
Is very eco
Will never patronise or demean someone
Enjoys trying food from other cultures
Thinks that technology is deforming the human body
Doesn't follow fashions, trends etc
Loves matcha tea
Never inflicts her problems on other people
Finds it easy to get along with people
Likes being outdoors, away from people, pollution, cars and houses
Loathes 'fashion technology': smart phones, kindle, video games etc and would never buy one
Never complains about being tired
Is fastidiously anonymous
Would rather let a person think what they like than necessarily correct them
Likes woodland animals
Is a very competent, resourceful driver but hates driving
Loves to be cuddled
Has only been married once
Rachel's on-line presence only exists for the purpose of the class
Values the little things in life
Can occupy herself indefinitely
Likes to figure things out
Has a modest but impressive collection of Kayan cultural artifacts
Thinks that technology is making people stupid
18 April 1995
Last updated 02 January 2021