My Story ~ 6. From “Falling Leaves Settling On The Roots” To “Falling Leaves Growing From The Roots”


flagchinaaustr“I think we should change the traditional Chinese thought that ‘falling leaves will settle on the roots’. We can let falling leaves grow from the roots in Australia. Work hard and struggle to make a living—my major life decision.”

It was on the 5th June, 1990 that I arrived in Australia. At that time, the reform and opening-up policy was taking place in China. So I wanted to widen my knowledge and see a brilliant and colorful world outside China and experience the difference between capitalist countries and China. However, when I set foot in Australia for the first time, I did suffer a lot from being unfamiliar with a new country and the language barrier.

Nevertheless, Australians were friendly to me. After a lot of arduous effort, I accumulated some savings and I settled here in Australia.
When I first lived in Australia, I worked hard although I didn’t master many technical abilities. I took several part-time jobs, from cutting vegetables on a farm to picking fruits. Washing dishes occupied most of my working time. Now I can’t remember how many odd jobs I have done. I was always changing my jobs. Others work for eight hours a day while I had to work twelve hours, sixteen hours or even eighteen hours a day.
Later on, I took a part-time job in a restaurant. The boss was a kind man and now we have become close friends. He was an Austrian while the landlady was Dutch. In those days, my wife was still in China with our children so you can imagine my loneliness and hardship in a foreign country. Two years later, several companions who came with me couldn’t bear the suffering and loneliness anymore and intended to go back to China. The boss asked why. I answered: “We can’t get ID here, so we want to go back.” He asked again: “Do you like it here?” I answered: “Of course, but we can’t get our ID here.” He told me seriously: “Australia belongs to everyone. As long as you step on this land, it must belong to you! You ought to stay here! If you like it here, you should keep trying for your ID .Then you are sure to settle in this country.” Many years later, when Australia News interviewed me, I told this story to the reporter .Those 457 workers were moved by my words. They say that if they had not known my story, they would have gone back to China.

Then I started to learn electro-welding and shipbuilding; later I started my own business, manufacturing ships. At first, there was not much profit. What’s worse, on account of switching to this business, an area that I had never been trained for, I had to keep on exploring and studying professional skills. Yet, generally speaking, if you make great efforts, you will be rewarded. Just as we do hourly manual work, the longer and the harder you work, the more the boss will like you, the more you will earn. Therefore, in my opinion, Australia, where we don’t have to follow hidden rules or depend on relationships, is a place for us to make a life; it’s a suitable country for industrious and diligent people to live here .

About “English”—-my ironic past

Soon after I came to Australia, I made a lot of stupid mistakes because I didn’t understand English. Now when I recall those memories, I describe them as: “I have forgotten all my past difficulties, but I have kept my ironic English in mind.” Read more

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我的故事 ~ 6. 落叶生根


flagchinaaustr我觉得中国人要改变传统的“落叶归根”的思维方式,做到“落叶生根”,在澳洲生根发芽。”

辛苦打拼——人生的重大决定

我是1990年6月5日来到澳洲的。当时因为国内刚改革开放,想见识一下外面精彩的世界,看看资本主义国家跟我们中国到底有什么不同。刚来澳洲的时候人生地不熟,语言又不通,显然是很辛苦的。当然澳洲人特别友好,经过努力奋斗,我慢慢有了点积蓄,就在这里居住下来。刚来澳洲的时候,虽然没什么技能,但比较能吃苦,我一个人打了好几份零工——去农场砍菜、摘水果,干的最多的是洗碗。具体做了多少份零工,自己都记不清了,就是在不断地换工作,人家做8个小时,我做12个小时、16个小时、18个小时。后来我在一家餐馆打工,老板人很好,现在我们成为了特别亲密的朋友,像家人一样。老板是奥地利人,老板娘是荷兰人。那个时候我的老婆孩子都在中国,一个人在异国他乡的孤单与艰难可想而知。过了两年,和我一起来的几个朋友熬不住了,就想回国。老板就问原因。我说:“我们身份都拿不到,当然要回去了。”他又问:“你喜欢这个地方吗?”我回答:“当然喜欢,但是拿不到身份。”他就很严肃地告诉我:“澳洲是属于大家的,你只要踏上这块土地,它就是属于你的! 你应该可以在这里,只要喜欢,你就要坚持,就继续努力地去申请,你肯定可以在这里居住。”后来,澳大利亚时报采访我的时候,我讲了这个故事,那些457的工人都被我的故事深深地打动了,说如果不是看到我的故事,他们都想回去了。后来我就在澳洲学了电焊和造船,自己出来做造船的生意。建造船厂最初等于是给自己打工,根本赚不到钱,而且由于是半路出家,只能不断地摸索、学习。但总体来说,澳洲有一个比较公平的环境,你如果付出了努力,就有所回报。就像我们去做工,因为是小时工作制,时间做长一点,吃苦一点,人家喜欢你,你就可以多赚点钱。所以,我认为,澳洲比较适合生存,也不需要我们开后门、走关系,这样比较勤劳刻苦的人很适合在这里生活。

关于“英语”——令人啼笑皆非的往事

刚来澳洲时由于不懂英语,我们闹出过好多笑话。现在回忆起来真可谓“辛酸往事俱忘却,啼笑英语记心间。”当时我和其他中国工友的英语基础几乎是零,但幸好我们还知道“tomorrow”这个词。工头是一个很通情达理的人,每周一在分配工作任务时就扳着手指,把后天说成“tomorrow and tomorrow”,当然大后天就是“tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”,依此类推……我们都在心里嘀咕:幸亏一周只有七天,扳手指还能数得过来,要是数天数就麻烦了!有一个工友,只会几个英文字母,在Fremantle迷路了,焦急地给朋友打电话。当时根本就没有谷歌搜索之类的卫星定位系统,大家出行时都随身带着一本地图。偏偏他那天忘记了带地图。朋友安慰他说:“别急!你只要把你附近的一个路标牌念出来,我就能知道你在哪儿!”于是我那位“可爱”的工友就一个字母一个字母地艰难地读起来:”S-T-O-P……”,后来他被警察送回了家。还有一次,我去一家餐馆面试,老板让我十二点去上班。我当时还不懂得十二这个单词,始终听不懂他叫我什么时间上班,后来他就拿了一张纸张,画了一个钟,从一点、两点最后一直数到十二点。我就想:我的天呐,我一到十一都学会了,怎么不早点学十二呢!这家餐馆生意很红火,常常顾客爆满。有一天,老板着急地问我:“Any more fish?”我知道fish这个词,但不知道什么是“more fish”,还以为是一种鱼的名字,于是迅速打开冰箱,看着满冰箱的速冻鱼,扯着嗓子回答:“No More fish!”老板只得自己过来找,看着那些鱼,又无奈地看看我,哭笑不得……尽管闹出了不少笑话,但当时年轻,有股不服输的劲头,觉得英文也没什么了不起的,就是一种语言,多学多练就一定能学会。于是我把厕所、天花板、厨房、卧室等凡是眼睛能看到的地方全贴上英文单词,早上一睁开眼睛就能看到;开车的时候,不管听得懂听不懂,都把收音机打开,不停地磨耳朵;回家就打开电视看新闻。刚开始,我听广播如同听天书。但中国古话说得好“只要功夫深,铁杵磨成针”,我一边打工,一边学习,我的英语也渐渐熟练起来。 Read more

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My Story ~ 7. I Will Repay My Motherland For Nurturing Me


austchina“Australia is my father, and China is my mother. If you ask me whom I tend to love more, then you are actually asking whether I tend to love my mother more than my father. This is a really tough question.”

My hometown is Shanxi. In October, 1990, I came to Australia as a visiting scholar sent by the State Education Commission. Three months later, I received an Australian scholarship, after which I transferred my study to a self-financed model and started my PhD program. After graduation, I found a job. My major was chemical engineering and I focused on the consultation work for the device of this field. Later on, I had my own shares and earned a lot. At present, we bid for the projects as partners, and choose the one which won the bidding. Then we subcontract and manufacture the products. Generally, there are four to five countries responsible for the same number of parts. The products are made in different countries, there are so many products to make, but only when the selected country has the expertise and ability to produce the product. Therefore, several countries combine to make the products. I am satisfied with my job. Through all the hardships over the years, my partner and I have reached a tacit agreement and things are going well between my subordinates and me. Now, I live in Perth, Western Australia with two kids and a happy family.

Actually, I planned to go to America as a visiting scholar in the first place. But due to many reasons, my visa was cancelled and was transferred to any other English-speaking country except for America. Via the reassignment by the State Education Commission, I came to Australia. My settlement in Australia was not without difficulties, because the State Education Commission disapproved of me staying in Australia and demanded that I return to China after graduation, even if the Australian government granted me a scholarship. Fortunately, the policy at home was soon relaxed. At the time, Deng Xiaoping delivered a speech, saying that the country should give the overseas students freedom to come and go as they wish, since they were rooted in China. At a result, I paid 800 Yuan as the national training expense, after which the Education Commission agreed to let me stay in Australia.

Australian people are patient and greatly assisted me when I arrived in Australia. They helped me with such things as cultural background, rules and regulations. Bit by bit, I gained a favorable impression of this country. However, during the first six months, I felt kind of lonely. After all, there were cultural differences, especially when I spoke with a strong accent—my colleagues could hardly understand me. But gradually, they became used to it. I have to say, Australians have a high level of tolerance towards these kind of difficulties. Now my family is here, and we have already blended into the Australian society. But up to now, my mind still boggles when it comes to the Australian Aboriginal language because I really cannot understand it. However, the Aboriginal language is part of the Australian culture. So I have to give it my best effort and become used to it, since I chose Australia and she accepted me. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 7. 回报祖国


austchina“澳大利亚和中国,一个是我的父亲,一个是我的母亲,你问我倾向于澳大利亚还是倾向于中国,就相当于你问你的小孩,你喜欢你的父亲还是喜欢你的母亲。很难回答。”

我的老家在山西。1990年10月份,我作为国家教委派出的访问学者来到澳大利亚,过来三个月以后,就拿到了澳大利亚奖学金,随后便转成私读,开始攻读博士学位。完成了学位毕业后便参加了工作。我所学的专业是工程化学,一直搞这个领域的设备咨询工作,后来逐渐开始有了自己的股份,收入颇丰。我们现在是几个合伙人投标,投标中标了,就做这个课题,然后就分包、生产,分四、五个件,有四、五个国家来生产这个,在不同国家里做不同东西。因为有好多东西要做,但只有某个国家有认证资格方才可以。所以一般是几国联合起来做。我对自己的工作还是比较满意的。经过多年的摸爬滚打,我和我的合伙人已经达成默契了。我和下属关系也很融洽。我现在住在西澳大利亚珀斯,有两个孩子,家庭幸福美满。

实际上最初是应该是去美国做访问学者的,由于某种原因,去美国的名额取消了,就转到了除了美加以外的任何英语国家。国家教委改派,就来到了澳大利亚。留在澳大利亚,还颇费了一番周折。因为在我们生活的那个年代,教委不批准我留在澳大利亚,要求我读书之后必须回国,澳大利亚政府给奖学金也不能拿。也算我运气好,国家政策不久放宽了。当时邓小平发表了讲话,说让留学生来去自由,毕竟他们的根在中国。最后我交付了800元的国家培养费,教委同意让我留在澳大利亚。澳大利亚是一个很友善的国家,很有耐心。人们会很细致地给你讲解诸如文化背景、规章制度等知识。所以我也算日久生情,逐渐对这个国家萌生出一种好感。但是最初的六个月还是感觉比较孤独,毕竟有文化差异。特别是我说话口音比较重,公司的同事最初听不懂,但时间长了,也就慢慢适应了。澳大利亚人的语言容忍度是很高的。现在家人也过来了,我们已经融入澳大利亚社会。但直到现在,好多澳大利亚的土语,我一看就发怵,真的不懂,但是土语也是澳大利亚文化的一部分,我要尽力去适应,因为毕竟是我选择了澳大利亚,澳大利亚接纳了我。

一踏上这片土地,就能感觉到澳大利亚扑面而来的平和和友好。我在这里遇到了一个很好的导师,就像我的父母一样,我很感激他。我刚到澳大利亚,他就亲自去飞机场接我,并让当时经济很困窘的我在他家住了四、五天,最后帮助我找了一个学生宿舍安身。我的导师退休好多年了,前段时间他得了癌症,但是控制得还不错,我们去年还一起吃过饭。当时的留学生会也处处照顾我。

我用好奇的眼光打量着这个陌生的国度,这个曾经刻板地印在地图上或者在电视新闻中一闪而过的国家。我感觉到了澳大利亚的先进和富足。在那个年代,澳大利亚就有免费喝茶和咖啡的公共场所,能用微波炉热饭……所有这一切,对于我都是那样新奇。我强烈地感觉到,中国闭关自守这么多年,真的需要向国外学习,来到澳大利亚之后确实发现这里的科学技术比中国先进。 Read more

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My Story ~ 8. From Chinese Country Boy To An Australian Professor


th-china-australia“At the Olympic Games I would be delighted to see the national flags of both China and Australia flying as one.”

Before I left China, I worked at the Changchun Geography Institution of China Academy of Sciences. During the English language training before I left China, the English teacher who was from an American church gave every trainee an English name. I was called Mike.

I came from the countryside, where my ancestors have been farmers for generations. My hometown is called Yangmingpu, a town where the Japanese invaders built an air base which was bombed by Chinese army. After I graduated from high school in 1976, I worked as the chief of Youth League Branch of my village; in addition, I was the assistant instructor of the village in addition to being a militiaman. In the year 1977, the college entrance examination system resumed, and most of the high school graduates started to prepare for the college entrance exams. Although I had my high school education in my county, I was not good at math, physics, and chemistry, especially inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. At that time education in rural schools was taught without textbooks and there was no standard curriculum. After I graduated from high school, I held an administrative post in my village; as a result I had almost no time to review my lessons to prepare for the college entrance examination, so I went back to county high school and prepared for three months. I almost knew nothing about choosing which university and major, but I did know most boys chose science and engineering, therefore I chose science and engineering as my major. In my last application to Shanxi Normal College I choose physics as my major. After I got the letter of admission, I knew there were one major normal college and one major university in every province which would enrol you if you were lucky enough to be selected. As a country kid, all I was thinking was that as long as I could be a university student, I would get a job and be able to earn a living, so I didn’t care which university accepted me. A Normal university was better, because they had free tuition, and students would get a food coupon and an allowance, so that was my preference. Finally, much to my surprise, I was admitted to Shanxi Normal University my major geography. I thought it was typing error, because I chosen physics not geography. I was worried, so I went to ask the Taiyuan Admission Office what had happened. Staff in the office told me they did not make a mistake, because the Department of Geography belongs to science and engineering. They also said the Department of Geography is the best department in the university. Students graduating from this department need not be teachers but could work at the Seismological Bureau, Hydrologic Station, and Land and Resources Bureau. I was very happy, so I studied very hard and achieved good results

As a child born and raised in the countryside, I knew that the Letter of Admission to a university was extreme important, it meant that I was no longer restricted to a life in the countryside. I slowly began to love university life. At that time students who went college in 1977 and 1978 studied very hard. I also tried my best to work hard; I was chosen to be the study monitor. If you wanted to be in that position you had to be the top student as the top student, I got the highest average scores when I graduated from the university. Back then, the knowledge and teaching quality of my teachers was not of a high standard. Most of them were from the May Seventh Cadre School, and they simply repeated what the books said, so we had to study on our own. I started learning English from scratch. However, after one year’s study, I took part in an English speaking contest and got very good scores in the non-English major group. I was the only student awarded the prize from my department, which encouraged me to study much harder. When I was a junior, I heard I could sit the Master’s degree test, I started to prepare. After the test, I got letters of admission from two different departments: Department of Physics and Department of Chemistry. I was the first person to get this qualification in my department. That year, only three students qualified in my university. I chose Changchun Geography Institution of China Academy of Sciences to further my studies. As a student from the countryside, this was an outstanding achievement. I was quite excited to get the Letter of Admission. If going to university was an important step in my life, to obtain a Master‘s degree would make life even better. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 8. 中国农村娃至澳洲大学教授


th-china-australia“我衷心希望中国和澳洲的国旗同时在奥林匹克运动会上升起

在国内时,我在中国科学院长春地理研究所工作。在出国前参加培训班学习英语的时候,美国教会派来的英语老师,从《圣经》中给每个人取了个英文名字,他叫我迈克。

我是从东北农村出来的,父辈们祖祖辈辈都是农民。我的家乡阳明堡乡,当年是炸日本飞机场的地方。自从1976年高中毕业,就在村大队部做团支部书记,当民兵副指导员。1977年,中国恢复高考制度,大部分高中毕业生开始考大学,虽然我是在县城里读的高中,但对数学、物理和化学,尤其是无机化学、有机化学都分不清楚。当时的农村学校,上课很不正规,也没有教材,高中毕业后,在村里又担任行政职务,几乎没时间复习,所以特意回到县城高中复习了三个月。对报考上什么学校,选什么专业一无所知,只知道男孩子学工的多,因此,所有的志愿我都报的是工学院,最后一个志愿是山西师范学院物理专业。录取通知书下来才知道,每个省里都有一个重点师范院校,和重点院校同时录取,只要你是服从分配都能被录取。作为一个农村孩子,我心想只要能考上大学,以后就会有工作就会有饭吃,无论上哪所大学都行,上师范大学更好些,没有学费,国家还给每个人发粮票和补助金,因此就服从分配了。被山西师大地理系录取了。天啊,肯定是打错字了吧?物理和地理就差一个字,我急三火四,忐忑不安地跑到太原招生办想问个究竟。自己心想肯定是他们搞错了。招生办的工作人员告诉我没搞错,地理系就是理科。他们还说地理系是师范院校里最好的系,毕业后不用当老师。是唯一一个可以在地震局、水文站以及国土局工作的专业,当时还挺高兴。那就学地理吧,入学之后,我很努力地学习进步也很快。

作为一个农村孩子,通过考大学,金榜题名,在我一生中,那个录取通知书对我是太重要了,它意味着自己可以永远离开农村,可以找个吃商品粮的老婆,不会一辈子呆在农村,面对黄土背朝天了。上大学以后,从一无所知,到慢慢喜欢熟悉大学生活,那时候77、78级学生学习都特别努力,自己更加倍勤奋,被推选当学习委员,学习委员成绩必须拔尖才能在同学中有威信。我的学习成绩总是第一名,毕业的时候,平均分最高。那时教师知识水平教学质量不是特好,大部分老师是从“五七”干校回来的,上课照着书本念,所以我们只能靠自己用功自学。英语都是零起点,第二年我就参加英语竞赛,非英语专业竞赛组我就榜上有名,在我们系是唯一获奖人,学习劲头越来越足。到大学三年级的时候,听说可以报考硕士,就开始准备。考试结果,我同时得到了物理系和化学系两个通知书。我是地理系有史以来第一个考上研究生的人,全校一共考上三个。来自小地方的我,考的是中科院长春地理研究所,在当时已经够出色了。拿到这个通知书,激动不已,考上大学是我人生第一大转折,考上硕士算是锦上添花了。

研究生读了三年,毕业以后,分到中科院,单位很器重我,但要想出国学习深造那可不容易。作为国家第一批人才,单位不会轻易把人放走的。科学院出国名额特别多,我工作了三年,才拿到一个公派名额,做访问学者。我选择了温哥华的英属哥伦比亚大学,导师是一个亚洲问题研究所的主任专家。这一年期间,我们在一起交流共同做了一个项目,当时他提出一个新的理论,研究亚洲城市化和城市群的特征差异,很多学生参加这个项目,其中有研究中国长江三角洲、珠江三角及澳洲,我选择研究大连沈阳城市群,及新加坡城市群。导师当时鼓励我考托福,我得到一个奖学金,开始了我的学术生涯。 Read more

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    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
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