My Story ~ 9. Who Is The Foreigner In This Place?

australia-china-flag-400“As long as you are not lazy, have a strong commitment and are willing to work, you can easily survive in this country.”

My hometown is Nanyang, Henan Province, where Zhuge Liang, a famous ancient Chinese strategist wrote his “Art of War”, titled as “Northern Expedition Memorial” during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China.

I came to Australia in 1997 after graduation from a Chinese university, I majored in petroleum. I consider myself to be of average intelligence, I am conscientious and inclusive, serious about my work, so I have achieved good outcomes. Thanks to Curtin University which provided me with a full scholarship, I started to pursue my doctorate degree in Australia. At that time, the economic conditions of my family were not good, so I had to depend on myself completely.

I came to Australia alone. My supervisor suggested that he could help me to bring my family to Australia; he would reimburse the air tickets of my wife and child. At that time, I was very poor, so my supervisor’s offer was timely and a great help for me. I remember I had only 100 Australian Dollars in my pocket when I registered at Curtin University. A student was required to pay 250 Australian Dollars for registration; I didn’t have enough money for the fee. A deputy supervisor was with me, he saw my embarrassing situation and said, “No worries,” and wrote a cheque and paid for my registration fee. I was a good student, concentrated on my study without thinking about luxuries, I was happy with my simple life. Because of the scholarship, life was not too difficult. I heard that many of my predecessors coming to Australia had experienced a tough life and hardship. Compared to them, I thought I was luckier.

Nevertheless, like most Chinese students, I also took part-time jobs during my study period in Australia. I remember that my first job was related to my major, doing translation in petroleum matters. An Australian company was planning to invest in a project in China; they came to our school seeking translators. I was the only Chinese student majoring in petroleum geology at that time. That was my first job. I thought the money was good, 25 Australian Dollars per hour. It was sky-high in comparison with other wages at that time. The translation project was big, so I organized two or three assistants to form a translation group. I was responsible for the task, including recording timesheets. I was so tired and busy but I felt great. Ever week I earned more than one thousand Australian Dollars in my spare time.
My second job was working in a bakery. We also formed up a group made up of locals and foreigners from China and other countries. These were the jobs that I worked while I studied in Australia. While doing part-time work, I also successfully applied for a small scientific research fund from Australian Natural Science Fund to support my research project in the second year. My supervisor was very happy with me; because I didn’t need to spend his money and he could even use my money on a business trip. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 9. 到底谁是外国人?






我在澳洲有很多朋友、同事,他们都曾经无私地帮助过我。但我最应该感谢的还是我的妻子,她一直无怨无悔地照顾我,照顾孩子,照顾这个家,对我的生活和事业给予了极大的支持。我们双方的父母身体都不太好,这两个孩子全是她一手拉扯大的。尤其孩子小的时候,照顾起来真的非常辛苦。是她的付出和奉献,使我能够放下心去做自己的事业。我觉得我的妻子应该是对我一生影响最大的人。 Read more

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My Story ~ 10. A Party With One Member

FlagsofAustraliaAndChina“I like politics, for I don’t want people to experience what I have suffered in my life.

It was 1998 at a friend’s party in Perth.

The first general consul of the Chinese Consulate in Perth would soon return to China. It seemed that people felt reluctant to see him leave. The Consul General was in an amiable mood and gave the impression that he was familiar with every member of Chinese community. Being an ordinary man, or being an actor or an official, playing with shares, or collections, or playing with politics, having played to such a degree that people already missed him even before he departed; he was so successful that he should be seen as one of those on the peak of the human pyramid. That year was an Australian national election year. Who says the Chinese are not interested in politics? My circle of friends and colleagues definitely value their right to vote.

No matter who we support, we must be present on the polling day. According to Australia’s rules, everyone must vote. If you don’t vote you must explain why or face a fine even though it is a small amount. We don’t expect to be given money that we haven’t earned; but we should not have to take out the money that is already in our pockets.

When I drove home after the party, I listened to an ABC radio interview about the election. The interview was at his home, where he displayed a placard to protest against racism. After he had bought the land and built a house, because of his Asian appearance, everyday someone threw rocks, and smashed his property. Although he reported the problem, the police didn’t deal with it. Because of lack of evidence (even though it was known who did it). He was harassed all year round, was fearful and extremely anxious and suffered terribly. Therefore he was determined to establish a party which would give a Chinese voice to these issues. This man was really bold; it was unprecedented in Australian history. Good Man! If the opportunity arose I would definitely like to meet this giant and I’d like to vote for him. It was unbelievable that just two days later, someone introduced me to Ed.
I met Ed at his home along with many others, at a social gathering. I found there were a lot of professors and lecturers from all universities of Perth who were from China, Southeast Asia, and from India. Later, I found out that all of these people were elite scholars. ED is Mr. Huang. That day we met to discuss the establishment of the Unity Party and to participate in the national election. Mr. Huang said “nobody listens when only one person speaks, but someone will listen when one party speaks.” From then on, I was inadvertently caught up in a political election, and witnessed the largest tide of Chinese participation in politics in the history of Australia.

That year, the Australian political landscape changed. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 10. 一个人的党




聚会结束驾车回家,无意中听到ABC电台采访,一个叫Ed 的华人要成立一个政党参加大选。当时采访就在他家,后院立了抗议种族主义的标语牌。他说当初买地盖房时,因为他一张亚洲面孔,每天都有人往院子扔石头、砸东西。报警察也不管。知道是谁干的,但警察说法律上要抓现行才行,捉贼捉赃,懂不懂?一整年的骚扰,害怕得不行,烦得不行,可遭罪了。所以下决心把党建起来,提高华人声音。这人真够胆儿。不说古往今来,这就是澳洲历史上没有过的事儿,爷们儿!血性!有机会一定要拜见一下高人。见不着咱也投他一票!不曾想才没过两天,有人就介绍我认识了Ed 。

见面是在Ed 家,不少人呢。一番寒暄,才发现珀斯各大学的讲师教授就有好几位,中国的、东南亚华人、 印度的都有。我后来发现,这些人一个个都是智囊。Ed即黄先生。这天大家来是要讨论成立团结党参加全国大选的事儿。黄先生的名言是“一个人说话没人听,一个党说话就有人听了。”从此我无意中卷入一场政治选举,见证了澳洲历史上最大的华人参政潮。



这黄先生原来经营一个邮局代理多年,夫妻店,认识不少人。最近刚退休,将店卖了。他当过多年邮政行业的协会主席,代表行业进行过各种谈判。比如争取公平竞争环境,跟政府讨价还价等等,积累了不少“参政”经验。黄先生说成立一个政党参选需要两个基本条件。首先要有党章 (constitution),东部的团结党已经有了,拿来改改就行。其次起码要有500个党员,这也不难。关键的是要提名候选人,分参议院候选人和众议院候选人。

首先是参议院(the Senate)候选人。当时统计珀斯华人不多,所以光华人不行,还要联系其他亚裔组织,土著更是盟友。一番讨论,四方联系,提名的是Ted Wilkes 。他是土著人,当选过年度人物,有代表性,也有号召力。团结党只要拿到4%的选票,就可以有一名参议院议员,任期六年。 Read more

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My Story ~ 11. Start From Simplicity

Peoples Republic of China Flag“We started from scratch, no language, no jobs and no money, but we didn’t give up and continued working, step by step until we achieved today’s success. It is a heavy burden that we, the first-generation of immigrants have to carry.”

I was born in Shandong but my hometown is Fujian. I have two brothers and three sisters. It was very interesting that we six siblings were born in six different places, we followed our Father’s working place which changed frequently; the place where our father worked would be a birth place for one of us. My hometown is Guantou Town, Lianjiang County of Fujian Province, one of the overseas Chinese hometowns in China. There are several hometowns of overseas Chinese in Fujian Province, such as, Meihua District, Mawei District and Tingjiang Town in Changle. Guantou Town is next to Tingjiang Town, which had become a hometown for overseas Chinese when I was a little boy. At that time, almost all the people who lived in these towns went overseas and lived outside China. Before I went overseas, my eldest brother went to the United States with my sister-in-law; my youngest sister went to study in Japan, and I went to the United States two years after that. Soon after I went abroad, my second sister also went to the United States with my brother-in-law.

At that time, going abroad had become a trend. People began to seek opportunities by going overseas once their children became eighteen years old. People from rural areas wanted to send their children abroad for a better life, they didn’t have any other ambition or desire to remain in the countryside. At that time, people knew that America had tall spectacular houses and buildings. US dollars were much more valuable than the Chinese RMB; the monthly salary in China at that time was only a few dozen yuan, while working in a restaurant in American for one month, one could earn about two thousand US dollars, converting that to RMB yuan, it was more than ten thousand yuan. There was a great disparity between the two currencies! As a result, many people and their children left their hometown and emigrated to other countries. Many years later, these overseas Chinese had grown old and become wealthy, their children and grand children had grown up, but they had a feeling of homesickness. They wanted to revisit or return to their hometown and brought with them donations and contributions. This is a very common thing for many older overseas Chinese to do.

My hometown Guantou was such a place during those years, all the young people went abroad to earn money. Nowadays the situation is very different. The wages in the United States are still the same, but China has undergone enormous changes. Running a business or working in other industries in China, a person can earn as much as in the United States. With China’s opening up, people’s attitudes have changed with each passing day. They go abroad to have a look and return home with new ideas and the ability to do a better job at home. Although most of my family members are still overseas, some living in the US, and some living in Japan, I came to Australia and became an overseas Chinese in Australia. Read more

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我的故事 ~ 11. 从最简单开始

Peoples Republic of China Flag“我们从语言不通、一无所有慢慢努力,一步步打拼到现在,这是我们第一代移民必须要承担的艰辛…




我曾经在上海基地后勤部当汽车兵。从上海回到福建,我被分配到供销部门做司机。伴着改革开放的春风,供销部门当时也想走出去。因为对上海比较熟悉,我就带着琯头供销社主任和县供销社主任两个人去上海开拓业务。走了一趟上海以后,两个主任对我比较赏识,觉得我做驾驶员有点可惜,应该出来做管理人员。县供销社主任对我说,县供销社准备在上海办一个驻上海办事处,因为他看重我在上海的经历,就任命我去当办事处主任。一夜之间,我就从一个普普通通的司机进入了上海做了办事处主任。我非常喜欢这种充满挑战的生活,但是有人不理解。驾驶员当时的待遇非常好,工资又高,而且有外快,手上从来不缺零钱。你出车一趟给别人的东西带回来,别人就给你十块报酬。当时来说十块二十块是很多的钱了,多到你永远都用不完的感觉。可是对于一个人的发展前景来说,当司机就不太好了。去上海没多久,我最小的妹妹高中毕业,没有考上入大学。那时候考大学真是千军万马过独木桥,非常困难。因为考虑出路的问题,正好赶上了出国热潮。我当时澳门一个朋友的儿子就在日本读书,勤工俭学。我一想还不错,就把两个妹妹送去了日本。这样一来,很多亲朋好友都来找我帮忙。我开始更多地去了解美国、澳大利亚这些国家,在当时的出国热潮中,我的中央歌舞团的几个朋友去了澳大利亚,他们希望我也过去。出国就要辞职,可是领导不同意,让我停薪留职。领导说让我出去闯荡一番,如果不行的话还可以给我留个职位。我当时三十出头的年纪,在国内混的有模有样,有自己的司机,各方面关系都非常好,经济基础也非常好。但是以我的性格,好马不吃回头草,一旦出去就不可能再回头。 Read more

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