Gaik has experienced different tertiary educational systems, obtaining her B.A. (English) from The University of Texas (Austin), then moving to Canada for her MA (English) and PhD (Interdisciplinary Studies) at The University of British Columbia. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute (ARI-NUS) in Singapore in 2004-05 where she built up invaluable networks in the region before becoming a lecturer at The Australian National University where she taught gender, cultural studies and Southeast Asian cinema (2005-2012).
Gaik's work focuses on cinema and independent filmmaking in Malaysia; cosmopolitan spaces including public eating places like kopitiam and mamak stalls; race, religion and the politics of identity; multiculturalism.
Gaik has previously taught courses on Southeast Asian cinemas, dance film musicals, Australian multiculturalism through food and sport, feminism, introduction to cultural studies.
She will be teaching transnational film and television.
Focusing on the cultural sustainability of Penang hawker food.
Korean migrant adaptation in Malaysia and the role of Korean restaurants in advancing gastrodiplomacy.