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?


australia-china-flag-400“只要你不懒惰,肯付出,凭着个人能力和劳动,在这里生活很容易。”

我的老家是河南南阳,诸葛亮写下《出师表》的地方。我大学时学的是石油地质专业。1997年年初来到澳大利亚。我并不是天资极聪颖的人,但做事严谨、认真,成绩较好。当时澳大利亚的科廷大学给我了全额奖学金,我才决定过来读博士。因为那个时候家里条件不好,没有人资助,全靠自己。

我是单枪匹马来到澳洲的。我的导师当时许诺说,我可以把家人带过来,并且报销全部机票。当时经济还真是窘迫,所以导师的许诺对我来说,无异于雪中送炭。我记得第二天到学校去报到,兜里仅有100多澳元。开学注册的时候需要缴纳报名费——250澳元,但我当时划拉划拉,全部的家当也只有100多澳元。有一个副导师跟我一起去的。他看出了我的窘迫,说没关系,我给你划支票,我这才交上了钱。好在我只是上学,对生活没有太多的要求,每两个星期还有奖学金来支持生活,所以还没感到太多的困难。我听说有很多来澳的老前辈,经历了很艰苦的奋斗过程,跟他们相比,我可能比较幸运,并没有过多为生计而奔波。但是跟大多数中国学生一样,我上学期间也打过工。我记得打的第一份工是和我专业有关系的,搞石油方面的翻译。因为澳洲的公司要到中国投资做项目,请不到专业翻译,就找到我们学校,当时我可以说时学校唯一一个搞石油地质的学生。所以这应该是第一份工作吧。当时感觉钱真不少,每个小时给25澳元。这个价钱相对于当时打工的价格,就算天价啦!因为工作比较多,我还组织了其他两、三个人组成一个翻译组来翻译,我还负责记录时间,很累,很忙碌。不过当时感觉,每个星期业余时间还能挣一千多澳元,真的不错!后来我还在面包房做过工。我们当时也是组成一个队,有澳洲本地人,有中国和其他国家过来打工的人。这些就是我当年在澳洲上学的时候打的工,但是我相对打工比较少。因为入学的第二年我从澳大利亚的国家自然科学基金申请了一个小的科研经费来支持我的课题研究。我的导师也挺高兴,因为我不用花他的钱,他们出差还可以用我的钱。

家庭

我有两个孩子。老大是女孩,在中国出生。1999年六月,我儿子在澳洲出生。儿子的出生很有戏剧性。澳洲不同于中国,在澳洲你可以随便检查孩子的性别。但我儿子出生前医生一直无法看清是男孩还是女孩。最后他们认为很可能是一个女孩,于是我们当时都按照女孩的标准准备了衣物。结果生下来以后是个男孩,所以这是一个惊喜。

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


FlagsofAustraliaAndChina“我喜欢政治,就是要帮助其他人不要陷入与我同样的经历”。

1998年,珀斯,朋友聚会。

珀斯中国领事馆首任总领事要回国了,谈论中都有些舍不得。总领事颇具亲民之风,给人的印象是几乎跟每个华人都熟悉。但凡做人做戏做官,玩股票玩收藏玩政治,到了这种让人惦念的份上就是人尖儿了,那年还是一个澳大利亚全国大选年。谁说华人对政治不感兴趣?我认识的圈子对投票还是上心的。甭管选谁,投票日必到场。澳洲的规矩,不投票是要罚款的。虽说不多,没挣着的钱咱不奢望。可进了口袋的银子,没必要再拿出来吧?

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。

那年澳洲政坛出了一件邪乎事儿。

一个新当选的联邦众议院议员汉森公开发表反亚裔,反土著和反移民言论。一时间成了某些极右翼者眼中的英雄。汉森小人得志成立了“一族党”。叫嚣要亚洲人滚出去。更猖狂的甚至要土著人“滚回他们来的地方”。这澳洲大陆本来就是人家土著人的,该谁滚呀?为了拉选票,一族党公布所谓“零移民”方案,主张将所有在澳洲的各种难民五年内全部遣返回国,并呼吁政府取消多元文化政策,强制移民英语考试,严格控制移民年迈双亲入境。霍华德执政的自由党对一族党态度暧昧,基本上不反对,因为汉森原来就是自由党分化出来的右翼分子。一族党的猖獗成了华人参政的主要原因。应了那句俗话:兔子急了也踹鹰。东部的悉尼有个侨领率先成立了一个政党,取名团结党。黄先生与东部取得联系,决定也成立西澳的团结党,参加当年竞选。

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…

我是在山东出生的福建人,家里三兄弟三姐妹,六个孩子。说来有趣,我们家兄弟都是在不同的地方出生的父亲当时工作的地点就是我们出生的地方。我的老家在福建省连江县琯头镇,是主要的几个侨乡之一。福建省有几个侨乡,比如说长乐的梅花,马尾区,亭江镇。琯头镇和亭江镇紧挨在一起,我很小的时候这儿就是侨乡了,几乎所有的同乡之人都住在海外。在我之前,我的大哥追随大嫂远涉重洋去了美国,我的小妹去日本留学,大概两年后也转到美国去了。后来我二妹随我妹夫也去了美国。

那时出国打拼已经成为一种潮流,孩子一到十八岁都开始想办法往外面走。乡村人没有什么崇高的觉悟,出国就是为了淘金,好让家人过上更好的日子。那时候,美国客的房子盖得又高又壮观,美元对人民币的汇率很高,国内月薪才几十块,而在美国餐馆打工月薪两千美元左右,折合过来近一万块,对比太悬殊了!这样一来许多人的后代都移民国外了。再到后来,等到家族在外做强做大,许多平民百姓走出来的人开始怀念祖国,怀念故土,思乡情结油然而生,想要为家乡做贡献了。这是很多老华侨容易去做的事情。

之前我的老家琯头就是这样一个地方,年轻人全部都走出去打拼了。但现在情况发生了改变,在美国,工资还是老样子,国内却发生了翻天覆地的变化。在国内做生意或者做其他的行业,不会比在美国差。国门打开之后,人们的观念也日新月异地不断变化,大家真正到外面看过后就知道什么形势了。虽然我的亲朋好友有去美国的,有去日本的,我却来到了澳大利亚,成为了一名澳洲客。

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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