我的故事 ~ 1. 有时候换一片土壤,也许可以开出不一样的花


Flag of the People's Republic of China“我本不是做建筑业的,但是就好像佛典底下的老鼠,听着听着就成精了…

我们来到这片全新的,非常陌生的土地,一路上走过来,从最初的长一点知识,学一点喜欢的东西,学一点英语,再赚一点钱;从当时的不入乡随俗,不喜欢,然后变成了喜欢。喜欢上了以后,国内很好的工作也辞去了。在这里从零开始,一路上走过来,确实是一个非常艰辛的过程。有悲伤,有欢乐,有艰难,有困苦,有兴奋。

我是1963年出生的。老家是福建福清市,县级市。感陶,市底下的一个镇。我家不在城里,所以我是百分之百的农村户口,百分之百的乡下孩子。我所说的乡下,就是以种田为生。有人说:“靠山吃山,靠海吃海”。我们是没山也没海,所以我们就不靠山不靠海,不吃山不吃海,就是贫贫的几亩地。最普遍的是地瓜,然后种一点水稻、花生、蔬菜,仅此而已。

家里面我兄弟都很聪明。我五个兄弟当中,大哥、二哥、三哥都念过小学。我大哥念到小学毕业。二哥三哥因为父亲去世了都没念到毕业,然后老四和老五一天学校都没念过。我几个兄弟死活要培养我念大学,所以我是书念得最多的一个。我原来是福建省商业专科学校的。84年考上去的,那时候竞争是非常激烈。像我们那边,是100个选一个。我87年大专毕业,是第一届商业专科学校,念的是商业企业管理。在学校里面,我们都是来自全国各地的孩子啊,有志气。毕业后分配的单位是一个非常好的单位,福建省办公厅。我所在的岗位又是跟经济有关系的。我是个农村孩子,我对自己定位很清楚,我这辈子绝对不能在经济上犯错误,再大的诱惑我都不要。当时因为我们福清那边有很多人出国。他们一个礼拜赚比如说400澳币,就2000多人民币,那时候澳币兑人民币6块半,所以一个礼拜就可以赚两千多。我那时候一个月工资才125,一年才1500块钱。他做一个礼拜,我要做两年。所以我当时就想,两全其美,跟我老婆一起来。我们出去,第一学一点英语;第二长一点见识;第三我们赚一点钱回来,然后好好工作。

那时候去日本比来澳大利亚热。因为日本赚钱快,但是我们后来才发现,澳大利亚是好很多的。日本劳动强度太大了,有的人一天要打两三份工。当时想,87年一毕业,我就去日本那边,因为家里比较穷嘛,我也想孝敬一下我的老母亲。同时也想能够在经济上有点起色,因为那个时候兄弟毕竟年纪也大了,又没有读书。所以我是想去日本奋斗几年,对兄弟也算是报答了。我就想去,家里却一直不同意,说我不能去,辛辛苦苦培养你,你去了,怕工作丢了,代价太大了。

后来,我回老家的时候,经过我念初中的那个中学,我一个同学在那里当老师。我就跟他谈起这件事,他跟我说绝对不能去。我说为什么?我们奋斗了这么长时间就为了这来之不易的铁饭碗,你要把它扔掉。日本是什么人去的?都是那些流氓加文盲去的。那些没毕业的,在家里没出息的,家里才送他们到日本去拼的。我们不能与狼共舞,你不要跟这些人为伍。我一想也有道理,就不去了。

到了89年,我就申请了,家里也是觉得挺困惑,觉得拿不住。我兄弟一直不肯,还是我母亲,她说,整个人生是他的。我母亲虽然没文化,但是人很开通。她说我相信儿子有志气,他不会出问题,他会有成就。最后我答应她,我说我去两年就回来,最多三年。这样,家里面才同意,我就来了澳大利亚。 Read more

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My Story ~ 2. The Country Behind The Forests


yinyang-web-at-100mm

“As time passed by, I gradually got to know Australia. It was different from what I saw at first glance from the plane–a land covered by the forests. I slowly started to see the friendliness and openness of Australian people.”

Actually, my memory is not so good, but there is one day I will never forget. That day was August 22, 1988, when Perth, Western Australia came into my sight. As the plane was landing, I could see no houses, only forests. Hence, the first thing that had occurred to me after I came to Australia was that I would have to cut down trees for a living Otherwise, what could I do in this place? Where could I find a job? This place was so underdeveloped, even worse than China. Could I earn money here? I doubted my brother’s recommendation to come to Australia.

In my hometown, my brother was a very successful entrepreneur with a wide range of social contacts and aware of all the latest information. Originally, I didn’t plan to come to Australia. My brother helped to arrange me to go to Japan. Lots of Japanese classes and English classes were set up for those going abroad. The reason why so many people wanted to go to Japan was that they said it’s easy to earn money in Japan, and the social type and skin color are similar. I studied Japanese in the evening. Afterwards, my brother heard Australia was a better place to go if you wanted to establish a new life. His friend’s sister happened to be married to the principal of a language school in Perth, Western Australia, so I registered with this school. I could not speak any English when I first came to Australia, let alone knew much about the country.

When I was at middle school, I only knew that Australia was a developed capitalist country with agriculture as the main industry. “Australia rides on sheep;s back”, I heard that milk was from a tap and someone also said that the tap water was drinkable. Thinking of this today, they had their reasons for saying this. In fact, the milk here is very cheap; a large can of milk only costs two Australian Dollars. You can’t say they were fooling us, or exaggerating.

After coming to Australia, I had to spend a lot of money renting a house. In China I lived in my own house. I found the price of daily necessities here were far higher than in China, however the wages were very high, so I wanted to find a job. Soon after we arrived, we had nothing to do. We just wandered about with friends who had come to Australia before us. On Sunday, we went to a weekend market in Fremantle, which we Chinese call a “flea market”. It was fun to stroll around the market. There was lots of staff for sale and you could buy some very good second-hand goods for fifty cents or one Australian dollar. I met a couple also strolling around the market. The husband was Australian and his wife Chinese. Because there were not so many Chinese there, I felt happy to meet them. We greeted each other and kept each other’s phone numner. Later on, I found out that her husband was Australian and had studied traditional Chinese medicine in China. After coming back, he opened a clinic of traditional Chinese medicine on London Street located in the center of Perth. He specialized in acupuncture and tuina and treating sport injuries for his clients. They were very friendly, so we sometimes went to chat with them at their clinic. Due to the language barrier and unfamiliarity with this new place, it was hard for us to find a job, so I hoped that my local friend could help us. At last, thanks to his introduction, I found my first job. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 2. 森林背后的国家


yinyang-web-at-100mm“时间让我慢慢认识了澳大利亚。它并不是我第一眼从飞机上看到的东西,只有满地森林。慢慢的,我看到了澳大利亚人的友善、真诚

其实我的记忆力非常不好,但是有一天却记得很清楚。8月22号,西澳佩斯入境。那是1988年8月22日,飞机要降落,我看下来,看不到房子,都是一片森林。于是,我来到澳大利亚的第一件事就是想到要伐树。否则到这里来干什么呢,去哪找工作呢?这地方也太落后了,还不如国内呢。能赚钱吗?我心里就有些怀疑我哥的安排。

我大哥在我们老家是一个比较成功的企业家,社会交际广,信息也相对流通。原来我不是计划来澳大利亚的,最早我哥是帮我安排去日本的。因为去日本的人多,也有说日本容易赚钱的,肤色种族也差不多。当时有许多为出国人开的日语班、英文班,我也准备去日本而在晚上学了日语。后来哥哥听说去澳大利亚更好,正好他朋友的妹妹嫁给西澳珀斯的一个语言学校的校长,在国内我就报了这个语言学校。刚来这里的时候,我连英文的一二三都不会说,更别说对澳大利亚的了解了。

以前读中学的时候知道澳大利亚是一个发达的资本主义国家,以农业为主,是“骑在羊背上的国家”。出国前听说澳大利亚水龙头打开就是牛奶,还有说自来水都可以喝的。今天想一想他们说的也有道理,实际上这里的牛奶跟免费的差不多,那么大一罐牛奶,两块钱,也不能说他们忽悠我们,或者说是夸大其词。

来到澳洲之后就觉得物价比中国贵很多,因为在国内都是住在自家的房子里,这边租房就是很大的一笔费用。但是也发现了这边的劳动工资很高,于是就想去找第一份工作。那时候,我们刚来,没事做,天天跟着这一班比我们先来的有车的朋友到处去晃悠。有一个星期天,我们就去到Fremantle(弗里曼陀海港)的一个周末市场,我们中国人可能叫跳蚤市场,在里面逛挺好玩的,什么都有。有时候淘些二手货,5毛1块这样的也挺好。在逛的时候碰到一对夫妇,男的是一个澳洲人,女的是中国人,因为那个地方中国人也不多嘛,能碰到中国人都觉得特别的亲切。于是我们就打了招呼,彼此留了电话。后来我知道她的先生是澳洲人,在中国学过中医,回来后在珀斯市中心的伦敦街开了一个中医诊所,给客人做针灸推拿和运动扭伤的治疗。他们非常热情,于是我们有时候就跑到他们的诊所去跟他们聊天。因为我们在这边找工作不容易,一个是语言的因素,再一个人生地不熟,认识一个朋友,又是当地人,就希望他帮我们介绍工作。后来他们就真的通过他身边的朋友帮我问工作的事情。最后靠这位朋友的介绍,我找到了我的第一份工作。这是一个做意大利糕点的公司,生产的商品有的送给航空公司,给头等舱的贵宾客户用,有的批发给本地的咖啡店。我在里面主要做清洁工,负责帮他们洗磨具,以及收工的时候清理地面。我在珀斯的这段时间主要就是做这个工作。后来因为移民局拿到了我的工资单,发现我打工时间超出了规定时间,违法了要遣送我回国。移民局的官员把我装在囚车里,往机场开。我说我要回家拿行李。他们把车开到我住的房子的楼下,怕我跑了,就把我锁在车里,两个人拿着对讲机上楼去给我拿行李。他们一走开我就在看怎么能出去。最后我把那个车窗上铁栅栏掰掉,又把那个窗户打开,但是它太小,钱包被挡住了,我只能扔掉不要。当时一分钱都没有,我只能躲在一个废车库里,又冷又饿又不敢出去。人生最苦的就是那段时间。一个中国电视台的导演曾建议我把我的这段经历编成电视剧。

珀斯是不能再呆下去了。我的一个朋友给我了车票钱,我坐了三天两夜的大巴来到了墨尔本。到了墨尔本已经是89年,中国留学生已经挺多的了,他们来了以后基本上都能找到工作。找到工作以后他们通常还会跟老板讲一下还要不要人,我们有朋友。中国人在这边打工是很受欢迎的,因为没有身份,所以很听话。澳洲当地人他们不高兴就不做,反正他们有福利的,而我们不论好坏都要做,而且人勤快,效率高,所以比较受当地老板的欢迎。在墨尔本之后,朋友就介绍我去工厂。第一份工作是在工厂给汽车做塑料配件,注塑,Toyota汽车商的各种配件都是从那边做的。那个工作大概做了两年,我又做过几年的印布厂监工和铸造工。 Read more

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My Story ~ 3. Many Small Stones Can Build A Pyramid – That Is How Miracles Are Created


china australiaIf each person contributes one dollar, one million people will contribute one million that makes a millionaire.

I was born in Shanghai in 1951. My father’s family moved from Jiangsu province in the 1930s. At that time my father wanted to have four sons, he had chosen four Chinese characters as his boys’ names: “Ping, Sheng, Ke and Li”, meaning: “common people born to be independent”. I am the second son, so my name is “Sheng”.
As a young man, I followed my country’s call, “marry late and procreate late”, I got married when I was thirty-five. Many people asked me why I came to Australia, in retrospect, the primary reason was that my wife’s sister was in Australia, so my wife and I immigrated to Australia after we got married. But most importantly, it was a dream in my heart. At that time in China, we needed coupons for everything, grain coupons, meat coupons, eggs and oil, you name something, we had the coupon for it. For clothes, young children wore the left over clothes from their elder sisters and brothers. Life was not easy. So when I was a little boy, I dreamt to live a better life, to pursue something different. I always imagined what the outside world was like? Was it the same as China?

Finally, in May 1985, with the dream and desire hidden in my heart for many years, I came to Australia with my wife. But what I never thought was that when I set foot on the land of Australia, I discovered that the new environment and the new world I had dreamed about for a long time turned out to be quite similar to Shanghai.
Life was still not easy for me, the greatest difficulty was the language barrier. At that time, China and the Soviet Union were brother countries. I learned Russian at school, I didn’t know English. So I had to study English first. Secondly, financial difficulties, I had to go out and look for work. I worked in different restaurants, I worked on farms, picking grapes in vineyards under the high temperature of over forty degrees. Such hard times continued for six months. October 1985, Perth Casino was opened and needed a lot of people to work there. I was so lucky and got a job there. Nearly three decades later, I still clearly remember my employee ID number, it was 944. I was in charge of washing dishes and mopping floors in the kitchen. That was my first formal job and I continued working in the Casino for fifteen years.

Only I clearly know about the hardships I have endured in the past fifteen years. At that time, not many Chinese people were working in the Casino, communication became my greatest difficulty, both for my work and everyday life. For example, it was not easy for me to buy a car or a house. But I told myself, since I chose this pathway, I would keep moving forward, not to give in easily, to face any difficulties and to consider them life experience. There were no immediate and easy way in life, so I carried on looking on the bright side of life, otherwise you would feel unhappy and live a meaningless life.
I tried to conquer my difficulties with the language and found it was not impossible to learn English. But what really made me feel upset was that my professional skill I had learned in China did not apply to the work here. My specialty was original machine design in the electromechanical field. Before coming here, I was on the technical staff of a company, but in Australia I could only do manual labor such as washing dishes or mopping floors. The psychological gap would be appreciated by most people.
I never stopped thinking about how to make my specialty come in handy. Fortunately Heaven never seals off all the entrances and exits. One day, a great opportunity arrived. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 3. 小事做起,积沙成塔


china australia“每个人出一块钱,一百万个人就有一百万,百万富翁。”

我1951年出生于上海。我的父辈上世纪三十年代从江苏移居上海,那个时候他想生四个儿子,所以他在心中定了“平、生、可、立”四个字作为孩子们的名字,意为“平民生可立”。我排行第二,所以我的名字叫做“生”。

当年的我,响应国家的号召,晚婚晚立,三十五岁才结的婚。很多人问我:你为什么会来澳洲?回想起来,最直接的原因就是我太太的姐姐在澳洲,所以婚后便和太太一起移民过来。但最主要的,还是源自我内心的梦想。当时的中国,吃饭要粮票,卖肉要肉票,穿个衣服老大穿完老二穿……所以从小时候起,我便一直向往和追求一些不同的东西,我常常会想,外面的世界究竟是什么样呢?和咱们中国一样吗?

终于,在1985年5月,我怀揣着这儿时以来一直藏于心中的向往和追求,和太太一起来到了澳洲。但令我万万没想到的是,当我踏上澳洲这片土地才发现,原来我追求了这么久的东西——这新的环境、新的世界和上海竟没有大的区别。

生活对我来说依旧不易,最直接的困难就是语言障碍。当时的中国和苏联是兄弟国家,我从小在学校学的是俄语,而不是英语,因此在这里首先必须进行英语学习。另外,我和太太的生活需要经济来源,就必须出去打工。我曾在不少餐馆做过工,也曾冒着四十度的高温在葡萄园摘过葡萄。这样艰苦的日子一直持续了六个月。直到1985年10月,这里的Casino赌场开放,需要很多员工,我很幸运地得以进入赌场工作。将近三十年过去了,我还清楚地记得我当时的员工号是944。我在赌场的厨房洗碗、拖地……那是我在这里的第一份正式工作,一做就是十五年。

这十五年的路有多艰辛,只有我自己最清楚。那个时候中国人不多,语言交流还是最主要的困难,这导致我在工作、生活,包括包车买房都会遇到困难。但是我跟自己讲,既然选择了这条路,就要认真走下去,别把它说成是困难,而说成是一种生活经历。如果把什么都讲成困难的话,那么就会感到很不高兴,感到生活没有意思,我必须克服它。面对语言的困难,我还算可以应对,真正让我内心感到痛苦的,是我自己出国前的专业技能已完全起不到任何作用。我的专业是原机设计,机电方面的,来这里之前是正式公司的技术人员,到了这里却只能做洗碗、拖地的体力活,这种心理上的落差是一般人无法体会的。于是,我一直努力思索着怎样才让自己的专业派上用场。天无绝人之路,终于,让我等到了一个极好的机会。事情是这样的。1986年,赌场为了提升形象,从日本请到一个冰雕师傅。主厨看我年轻,就叫我当他的帮手,业余时间拿着刀跟他学一学。我欣然答应了。也许你们会问,冰雕和我的专业有关吗?——关系可大了!虽然我的美术并不是最好,但是我在机械方面的技术知识可以和美术结合起来。比如机械上用到的圆圈、直线、三角都可以变换到艺术上。于是,我就开始了我的帮工生涯,当时,我也真是没有想到,这一帮竟改变了我之后的人生。 Read more

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My Story ~ 4. I Remain A Typical Chinese Person


AustraliaChinaFlag“An Australian passport in my hand for eighteen years, but I still do not feel and will never be a real Australian.”

My hometown is Qujing, a small city in the east of Yunnan Province. Back when I was still in China, Qujing was different from the west part of Yunnan, there were only several minorities. Yang Liping, a well-known minority dancer whose Peacock Dance has won top praise of the world was born in Yunnan too. Well, I majored in dancing and during the past years, all my work has been closely related to dancing.

Talking about my experience of Australia, I think it’s quite interesting: the first time we came here as tourists. In 1996 when my husband and I were living in Africa with our eldest son, we made a trip to Australia and the first stop was Perth. The moment we arrived, we called a taxi and asked the driver to take us to a hotel in the city, and then there we were – Holiday Inn in the downtown area. We got up quite early to eat breakfast and my elder son (my little son hadn’t been born then) would sit beside the breakfast table reading. Suddenly, he said to us with excitement:” Look here, a migration agent, why don’t we move here and live in Australia while we are here can complete the immigration procedure?” I considered a while and replied, “Well, why not.” When my husband called the migration office, an old western lady answered the phone. She came to find us and took us to the Kings Park and Swan River where we saw black swans and walked along the river. I was quite amazed by the beauty of the small city, quiet and tiny, with no Chinese. She told us that there was no Chinatown, only several shops run by Vietnamese. (Northbridge was not Chinatown at that time.)

I fell in love with this peaceful city and said to my husband, “Let’s move here!” He agreed with me and we signed a contract with that nice old migration lady. Back to the hotel, we remitted ten thousand dollars to her and flew back to Africa.   However, I regretted the moment when we were back home, yes, what was I thinking about? What could I do in Australia with no relatives and friends there? My pregnancy with our little son increased my anxiety. After my husband’s call to that lady, we found that if we cancelled we would only be refunded part of our money due to the contract. Well, we had to go on. The procedure was actually quite easy at that time and only two months later, we were told that everything was okay and we could go there. My mother lived with me at the time, so I asked her to come to Australia with my son. I would move after my baby was born.
Perth is so beautiful and clean which is just what I love. It’s like living in the peaceful country with several families around. In fact, I’ve been to many places like Sydney, Melbourne and London et cetera. But I only like Perth. It’s weird but only because wherever you are, people around you are nice and friendly and of course the old lady in the office impressed me most. She was so hospitable that the first time we met, she took us around. And after my son came, she even offered to help arrange school. My mom knows little English so she found her a Hong Kongese at a restaurant as translator. If my mom went shopping, locals would offer to assist her. With all the memories in mind, I know I’m okay in Perth. Read more

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