My name Mandy Lan, 藍云曼, I’m a Taiwanese–New Zealander, and I’m a software developer based in Berlin.
While working in software sales in Singapore, I despised the slightly manipulative, disingenuous interactions between people. I chose programming as it’s focused on creation – it either works or it doesn’t.
I was born in Taiwan, raised in New Zealand, studied abroad in Brazil and Chile, and worked in Singapore and Malaysia, before moving to Berlin. I moved here because of MC Tali, a wonderful music producer who said that Berlin would help me grow in self-love and expression. So I went for it, and grew my career in Berlin too!
Outside of work, I love practicing Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and I conduct Boundary Setting workshops. My interest in these workshops began when I was working in Singapore – as an Asian femme in the expat community, I was treated disrespectfully by a few, namely Caucasian male-bodied people. At the time, I did not have the strength or tools to stand up for myself. 5 years down the line, during a recent trip to Taiwan, it was still happening. This time, equipped with my training from Berlin, I am ready to show up, listen, empathise, inspire, and learn.
I facilitate my Boundary Setting workshops mainly for Taiwanese women. These sessions draw techniques from the theatre of the oppressed and somatic healing. My goal is to provide a safer space for true expression and guide participants in any direction they feel fit for themselves: whether that’s healing, empowerment, freedom, or frustration.
What I love the most about organising these workshops is the moment when the posture of the participants changes after they practice voicing their boundaries in a difficult situation. One of my favourite experiences with these workshops was when one participant said: “Mandy, I used your boundary setting technique during Chinese New Year, and after 3 years of not be taken seriously, my Taiwanese father-in-law FINALLY respects my desire to be vegan!”
Looking at my other activity, I also love Vinyasa Flow Yoga, I became interested in yoga through the guidance of a good friend, lying on the beachfront in Koh Samui, Thailand, with a complete focus on breathing.
Below is my routine when it comes to Yoga:
- 7 a.m. Monday & Friday – Jimavukti class (with techno music)
- 4 p.m. Wednesdays – a class I created to teach basic yoga to developers in the office
- Daily – stretching throughout the day
What I love the most about Yoga is that it is such an efficient way to calm and energise the mind-body-soul. My body’s flexibility also means that I am less prone to injury.
I have a few future goals with my Workshops and Yoga, as I am a complete idealist. Imagine if boundaries, consent, and bodywork were taught in schools in Taiwan, China, and Japan, while respecting collectivism and filial piety (respect for elders). Personally, I’d love to bridge the gaps between the logical–emotion, the Asian–Western, and the Feminine–Masculine.
I see a few similarities between my Workshops & Yoga and my current occupation. As a “Yoder” (Yogi-coder), I would say that for both activities, I can enter a flow state (as termed by philosopher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). I feel that with programming, it’s 0 or 1, so you’re either in the state or not. But with yoga, there’s a continuum, where we can use this state for more creative tasks, such as brainstorming ideas with colleagues. I’ve also definitely sped up the development lifecycle a few times using NVC conflict resolution techniques.
My advice to anyone interested in starting their own workshop is to test it on family, friends, neighbours, and pets to learn from their constructive feedback.
There is always more than tech, and it’s very important to connect with each other through our passions. We’re probably going to contribute to building AI. It’s less dangerous for us all if we understand humans and the world around us.