我的故事 ~ 4. 地地道道的中国人


AustraliaChinaFlag“我拿着澳洲护照已经十八年了,却从来没把自己当成过澳洲人。”

我的老家在云南曲靖,属于云南滇东。我在中国的时候,曲靖一度管辖着13个县。云南西部少数民族众多,滇东只有彝族、苗族等几个少数民族。在我们云南,有一位著名的少数民族舞蹈家叫杨丽萍,她的孔雀舞让世人称赞不绝。我也是学中国民族舞蹈出身,多年来的职业也一直和舞蹈有关。

我来到澳洲的经历非常特别,一家人旅游着就过来了。1996年的时候,我和我先生还有大儿子都住在非洲,一起来澳大利亚旅游。我们从约翰尼斯堡过来,第一站就到了珀斯。达到珀斯的第一天,我们跟出租车司机说要到城里找个地方住,他就把我们带到城里的假日酒店。每天早上我先生很早就起来吃早餐,我大儿子就在一边翻书看,翻着翻着,忽然说:“哎,这里有办移民的,我们要不要移民来澳洲住?”我考虑了下说:“问问看吧。”然后我先生就打电话给移民公司。接电话的是一个白人老太太,她人很好,马上就开车到我们住的酒店,然后带我们去国王公园,再去天鹅湖边看黑天鹅,沿着那个湖边兜了一圈。当时我的感受就是:哇,这个小城市居然那么漂亮!那时候的珀斯真的很小又很安静,几乎没有什么中国人。我就问这位老太太有没有唐人街,她说没有,附近只有几个越南人开的店,还没有大陆人开的店。

我一下子喜欢上了珀斯这座安静的小城,于是就对先生说:“我们移民吧!”我先生也很赞同,就跟那个太太签了合同。回去以后,我们给她寄了差不多一万美金,然后绕了一圈就回非洲了。可是一回到非洲我们马上就后悔了,心想:哎呀,去澳洲干什么呀,没亲戚又没朋友……而且我发现我又怀孕了,怀了我的小儿子,就更加不想去了。于是我先生打电话给那个老太太说不移民了,她答复道不来澳洲可以,但因为合约已签好,她收的钱只能退给我们百分之几十,剩下的她要全部扣除。无奈之余,我先生只好让她继续办理。那个时候办理移民手续非常快,大概两个月之后她就写信给我们说办好了,叫我们赶紧过去。我的母亲一直和我住在一起,我就让我的母亲和大儿子先过来澳洲,我在非洲把小儿子生下之后,也跟了过来。

在珀斯住下之后,就觉得此地美丽又干净。我喜欢安静,喜欢那种乡村一样的感觉,安安静静没多少人。我之前其实也去过不少地方,例如悉尼、墨尔本,还有伦敦。我觉得很奇怪,我就喜欢珀斯,因为不管你在哪里,当地人都非常友好。给我印象最深的就是那个办移民的老太太。真的是第一次见面,她就很热情,给我们安排所有的东西,然后带我们去游玩。我儿子来了以后,她还给我儿子安排读书。我母亲不懂英文,她就给我母亲找了一个在这边开餐馆的香港人帮我母亲做翻译。我母亲走路去买菜时,很多当地人也很热情地过来问她要去哪里,然后把她送过去。于是我心里默念着:这里真好!

不过,刚开始生活的时候我也还是遇到了不少困难。最主要的就是语言不通,特别是生活中的琐碎语言。我在非洲四年,并没有去学外语。到了珀斯之后,即使是去华人店,他们要么讲英语要么就讲广东话。为此我都哭了,我打电话给中国那些同学诉苦,我说我现在无法和外界沟通,我不但要学英语还要学广东话。直到现在,我广东话还是不会,只会听一点点。

在珀斯住了好一阵子之后,因为不用工作,我开始在家里闲得有些难受。我之前也没有太多的工作经历,只教过跳舞。那时的珀斯只有三所中文学校,都是属于中华会馆的。我就到中华会馆去,想找一份在中文学校教舞蹈的工作。但当时那些学校都不需要人,我后来问了几个熟人,包括我儿子就读的台湾人开的学校,也都不需要舞蹈老师。我只好作罢。一直到1997年香港回归中国的时候,当地华人要在街上搞游行。不知道听谁说了我会跳舞,当时负责搞游行的人就打电话给我叫我去演出。阔别舞台那么久,有人邀请我跳舞自然很高兴,不过那个演出就是在大街上搭一个台子,没有乐队伴奏,也没有灯光和舞台,连音乐的卡带也没有。所有东西都要自己准备——这一度让我很困惑,包括后来有一次在西澳大学演出,叫我跳独舞、音乐、服装也都是要我自己准备。我只好打电话给我中国的同学,叫他们快递了一件孔雀服过来。 Read more

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My Story ~ 5. Three Words, One Marriage


chinaustr3“Run-in period requires time; a marriage is much more complicated than test driving a new car.”

I was born in 1963, but I feel much younger, I cannot be called a beauty, but I am rather good-looking and stylishly dressed, some Australians even take me to be high school student. But on personal experiences and mental qualities, I am prematurely aged. Shadows left in my childhood often appear in my dreams, and wounds in my young heart remain unhealed. Due to the historical background of my parents’ family, I have gone through   many emotions that other people of my age have not experienced.
I am the youngest child, I have five brothers; and I am the only girl. Looking back on my early childhood, I had secretly decided that I would not stay in China, I had to go abroad. The reason was simple, when I was 6, my family was deported to Inner Mongolia, my parents were much wronged and endured much suffering, I didn’t want to experience the same life, and I had to find a way out of this country, I did not want to stay in this country, it was all too painful. Seeing how my father and my mother were tortured every day, my young heart was bleeding. Then I did not go to school, but I did know what “torment” “suffering” and “” poverty “meant. I remember, my family had a very comfortable and cozy life in the city, then one day we woke up, and found ourselves falling into an abyss in an out-of –the-way place, all of a sudden we became penniless. I knew a family like my parents’ should not be so poor, but I was not clear about the reason.

I didn’t find any opportunity to go abroad. Nine years passed in a flash, my family returned to the city in 1978, by that time I had grown up a lot… Later I got married, had a baby, and when my child grew up, I put all my hopes on her. There is a saying on WeChat “some people are particularly wise, they do their own things, some people are stupid, they cannot do anything, and they just lay an egg like a bird, and then send that egg out.” I am among the stupid ones, I was a fool who laid an egg and put all the hopes on this egg.

Perhaps because of the underlying historic reasons and the failure of having very much in common with my ex-husband I became a single mother and struggled through life with my daughter. From the very beginning when my daughter went to school, I simply did not prepare her to take the College Entrance Examination in China. My daughter is just like me in character, she’s very direct and straightforward, and follows her own pathway with no change of direction. She was not good at dealing with people and I didn’t think she was particularly clever. If she had continued to live in China, life would be very difficult for her. I’m not saying that China is not good, but we Chinese always have a network of relationships which is very complex.
During her school years in China, I had been impressing on her mind the idea of studying abroad. In 2008, she graduated from high school, I sent her directly to an Australian college to study nursing without taking the College Entrance Examination.
At that time I was still working in China, so my daughter studied here alone, as a child of a single-parent family, she seemed to grow up particularly fast, and became an adult in an instant. You can imagine how hard it was, my daughter had to study and work part time but she managed to hang on. Two years later, my daughter applied for a visiting visa for me. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 5. 三字成婚


chinaustr3“磨合期需要时间,试婚比试车要复杂得多。”

我是63年出生的,自我感觉也就30来岁,虽称不上貌美如花,但还够得上俊秀靓丽,加之穿着有范儿,澳洲人还以为我是高中生呢!但就个人经历和心理素质来说,可以说未老先衰。少年时代留下的阴影还时常出现在梦里,幼小心灵所受的创伤至今尚未痊愈。由于父母亲的历史背景问题,还有家族背景的原因,同龄人没经历过的,我可能全部都经历过了。

我在家排行老小,5个哥哥,就我一个女孩。从儿时有了记忆开始,就已暗自决定,我一定不要在中国呆着,一定要出国。理由很简单,在我6岁时,全家人被遣送到内蒙,眼看着父母受到那么大的委屈,遭了那么多非人的罪,我不要重蹈他们的覆辙,我一定要想办法离开这个国家,我不想在这个国家呆着,太痛苦了。看见我父亲母亲每天受的那些折磨,遭的那些罪,我幼小的心灵在淌血。那时我还没有上学,但我知道“折磨”、“遭罪”和”“贫穷”的含义。我记得,本来全家人在城市里生活得很舒适安逸,一觉醒来,啪的一声就跌进深渊僻壤了,刹那之间,变得一穷二白、一贫如洗。从中产阶级降至牛鬼蛇神。我只知道像我父母的家庭不应该这么穷,究竟是什么原因所致就不清楚了。没有人给我解释,但我似乎明白这是国家和历史的原因。所以我从小就想一定要出去,离开这个不讲道理的地方。但是因为时间段没有好的契合点,一晃9年就过去了,到了78年全家人返回城里,直到我长大成人了,也没有出得去。后来结婚,生孩子,再后来,孩子也长大了,我就把希望寄托在了孩子身上。就像“微信”上说的:“一种人特别聪明,他自己要去做事情。还有一种人特别笨,什么都做不了,她就下了个蛋,就像鸟一样,然后派这个蛋出去。” 我就属于这后一种人, 我就是个笨人,下个蛋,把自己所有的希望都寄托在这个蛋上了。可能由于潜在的历史原因,加之跟前夫没有共同语言,很快我就成了单身母亲。一个人带着孩子苟且偷生。等女儿上学的时候,我压根儿就没准备让她在中国参加高考。从性格上分析,女儿跟我极像,直,一条道能跑到黑,不带拐弯的。但是从待人处事方面,她就显出太弱势了。如果她要是在咱们中国继续生活的话,我不是说中国不好,咱们中国历来这个人际关系网太复杂。加之我这孩子又不是特别灵透,在中国生活会很艰难。孩子上学期间,我一直往她的脑子里灌输要出国留学的想法。到了2008年,女儿高中毕业以后,没有参加高考,我直接把她送到澳大利亚的大学来读书了,读护士专业。那时候我在国内还得上班,女儿一个人在这边读书,由于生长在单亲家庭,孩子似乎成长得特别快,瞬间就长大成人了。虽说初到澳洲时,女儿一个人生活学习还要打工,那种艰难可想而知,但是她坚持了下来。两年后,女儿就给我申请到了探亲签证。

我第一次来到澳洲是2010年的12月16日。来到了澳洲,第一印象特别的深,当我下飞机的时候,是夜里十一点多,孩子在机场接我,一路上什么都看不见,只有漆黑一片。静悄悄的,偶尔有两道白光从对面照过来,近处才知道是汽车。第二天吃过早饭,女儿带我出去走走遛遛,到了外面,可以说我是百感交集,那陈封了40多年的记忆匣子顿时打开了。出现在我面前的酷似内蒙古大草原!记忆中的内蒙古,是一望无际的草原,被当地人称之为大草甸子,到了夏天大草原绿油油一片。抬头望去,那湛蓝湛蓝的一尘不染的天空,酷似内蒙古哲里木盟!哇,这两个地方的天和地实在是太像了!另外,还有一样更相似的,那就是人。在我看来,中国的蒙古人和澳洲的原著居民应该是最早开化的,文明程度比其他民族要早好多年。他们自然朴实,心地善良,不绕弯子,比起某些所谓的文明人士要更好相处。我第一次来澳洲拿的是探亲旅游签证,一年期限,多次往返,每次在澳最长只能呆三个月。 我就在一年的签证有效期内,每三个月往返一次,做了十五个月的空中飞人。辛辛苦苦积攒的那点钱,多半给孩子交了学费,其余的就交给航空公司了。当然了,我要把这钱挣回来。在澳洲的每三个月,我都去打工,明知道这是不合法的。另外前面我讲过了,我是有备而来的,在国内时我就四处询问在澳洲除了打餐馆工以外,还有什么其他工作,不需要语言,又能挣钱,因为我没学过英语,最多知道三个字,Hi,Bye,和thanks。后来听说做按摩比较容易,又能挣钱。我就在国内学按摩做好赴澳工作的准备,同时也做好了心理准备,因为我当时在国内的工作跟做按摩可算得上是天壤之别。一个全职播音主持,改行给人做按摩,您可以想象的出来那种感受吗?但出国是自己终生心愿,且挣的又是澳元。决心已定,目标明确,虽然是半路出家,没有多久,便可以自行操作了。到澳洲的第二天,我就奔着按摩店去了。很快发现,这里的按摩店良莠不齐,大多数是中国人开的,用中国人的话说,有的店是黄色的,也有做正牌的,我做的那个按摩店就是一个正牌正规的按摩店。凭着自己脚踏实地的工作精神,加上来澳前临阵磨枪地读了些中医解剖学、按摩技巧书,很快被店主和客人认可,每个月的收入能达到五千多澳元,当然是每周7天都工作很累,但很自在。不过,在澳洲也不能说是没有任何人际间的问题。我遇上的店老板,多数都是中国人。中国人有中国人的特色嘛,有些人也是蛮难相处的。中国人的那种典型的曹操的心理,你做的好他怀疑你,你做的不好他诋毁你,外加上自己不会外语,有些港台来的年轻打工妹,明目张胆地欺负你,知道你听不懂英语,故意跟客人套熟给她们自己拉客,我虽然听不懂,可心里明镜似的。但是人穷志短嘛,这句中国古语说得太到位了,特别适合我当时的处境。我需要钱,所以我低头做人,什么事情我都能忍。 Read more

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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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