Being Asian in Australia: My Experience

In a 2011 census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are at least 2.4 million Australian residents that are of Asian descent. This number does not include immigrants, laborers, office workers, students and tourists who are plying the streets Down Under. Based on the same data, the Chinese, Indian and Filipino ancestries dominate the Asian-Australian community.

You will see Asians everywhere in Australia. As a matter of fact, 37 percent of them are athletes and seen on national television. More so, 20 percent of doctors in the country are Asian.

Being Asian in Australia: My Experience

As an Asian in Australia, I don’t find the previously stated statistical data that helpful. In fact, I’m more eager to know information on how other Asians in the country are living their lives. Do they experience the same societal stereotypes as I do?

I will never forget my experience in a restaurant with a friend the first time I was in Sydney. The city is traditionally a melting pot of Asian culture. As such, I supposed that the people here are accustomed to interacting with people that are of Asian heritage. While at this restaurant, the waiter approached our table and tried to get our orders. After my Caucasian friend had given his order, the waiter pointed at me and asked my friend if I had something in mind. I interrupted the waiter and told that I want this and that. And yes, in fluent English. I don’t find it rude, but funny that he thought I don’t know their language.

Another amusing thing about being Asian is that they expect you to be good at nearly everything, especially in Math. To be honest, I’m not that bright. I also struggle with my Xs and Ys.

Asian Realization

Back to my homeland, I did not stand out that much. A lot of people are far better looking, more successful, and more brilliant. But here in Australia, it seems that I’m the star. Aussies have this stereotype that Asians are well-educated, talented and professionals. Because of this typecast, Aussies see me as well-educated, talented and professional.

According to Stuart Hall, a cultural theorist, this type of positive racial discrimination is normal. Being Asian in Asia is nothing to be talked about. But once an Asian sets foot in a foreign, non-Asian land, his “Asian-ness” becomes noticeable. This includes the cultural stereotypes associated with the Asian race.

Events & News in Sydney’s Asian Community

Sydney’s south western suburbs played host to thousands of animated festival goers for the September 3rd & 4th Moon Festival, a celebration of the 15th of the 8th lunar month also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Asian Culture is deeply embedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese being an important event full of legendary stories and a popular occasion for large, family reunions for both Chinese and Vietnamese families.

An annual event determined by the equinox, when daylight and darkness are at an equal length, almost 80’000 festival goers attended browsing the food stalls, musical performances, live theatre including acrobatics & dance and of course the traditional Cantonese Lion Dance Parade, a must see spectacle! Fairfield City Mayor Mr. Frank Carbone praised the festival as providing such a valuable contribution to the surrounding local communities.

One of the few festivals even bigger in size and scale than the Moon Festival is the Chinese New Year Festival, a month long epic running from late January until early February. Hurstville Sydney will once again host a giant street show and parade with activities and fireworks galore encompassing the finest of Asian culture, traditions and arts with crowds milling until late in the night.

The other events are the traditional eye-dotting ceremony where the new lion dance costume is placed at the altar. This ceremony empowers the lion to do its duty of protecting the community, along with bringing them good luck, health and prosperity. The ceremony will be followed by group dances, singing events, lucky draw and the highlight of the evening, an interactive and traditional style costume parade.

As any Asian will tell you, no festival is complete without good food, and that is something which is found in abundance across the Hurstville location, stall upon stall of Asian delicacies and typical cooking demonstrations.

Asian festivals are full of colour and grandeur from plates of delicious foods to performances involving mythical creatures. Stories based on belief and legend have captured the imagination of writers for centuries and they’re now told with great joy on these festivals. Another important date is the Thai Water Lantern Festival which takes place across Parramatta, Sydney mid-November. Entry is free to witness the unveiling of ‘Loy Krathong’ a celebration of ushering in good luck and warding off evil by floating water lanterns in the river. The event will showcase intricate crafts from Thailand, traditional music, cultural performance by fire dancers, stunning fireworks displays as well as a water fountain display. Last but not the least, make sure you take part in the ritual act of launching the candle-lit Krathongs on the river as you make a wish for good fortune.

In fact, almost four percent of the Australian population is of Chinese heritage and Sydney is home to over half the Chinese population. The first generation of ethnic refugees and migrants came to Australia in the 1980s and have since prospered and integrated as students, employees, families, investors, business owners and heads of major corporations. Chinese migrants take their culture with them when they travel and instill their history and values into their children who, in turn, enshrine these bonds as they adopt Australia and become valued members of society.

The main ethnic Chinese are from China, Hong Kong, Macau, East Timor, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos. The one great common denominator is that all of Sydney’s Asian community take great pride and real care in honouring long held tradition and beliefs with the finest event and festival celebrations they can produce with the time and resources at hand.

Australia’s Cochlear Implant Sounding Good To China

Australias-Cochlear-Implant-Sounding-Good-To-China

China has about 20 million people with hearing and speech disorders according to the latest national census. 3 million are deaf and 17.7 million have hearing loss but only 2% of Chinese have access to hearing aids. Aside from this, there is an estimated 800,000 children below 7 years old with hearing loss who would benefit from cochlear implant. This figure is expected to increase by 20,000–30,000 every year because about 30,000 babies are born with hearing difficulty each year. The major causes of hearing loss in China include infection, heredity, presbycusis, otitis media, and noise-induced hearing loss. Australia’s Cochlear Implant sees a good potential market in China to help its citizens have a good aural healthcare.

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. It directly translates soundwaves into signals and sends to the brain which allows the user to perceive sound. CI not only amplifies sound but also improves speech perception and reduces tinnitus. The Cochlear Implant was pioneered at the University of Melbourne. A systematic review shows evidence of the effectiveness of cochlear implant in people with bilateral hearing loss. CI improves hearing in noisy environments (like our ACM Group office) for people with severe hearing loss. It also improves overall hearing ability, reduces tinnitus and quality of life.

The ageing population and the number of children affected by hearing loss in China gives Australia’s Cochlear, the leader in hearing implant technology a huge opportunity to help the Chinese people. The huge market let the company predict increase sales in China. CI penetration in China is currently less than 5% of potential paediatric candidates, but cochlear implantation is continuing to expand at great speed, and it is hoped that the infrastructure and capacity will continue to grow and develop.

The rapidly developing technology in China aims to identify and treat people with hearing and speech-language disorders. Bosch China launched the world’s first standardized Chinese language speech audiometric system. In 2015. It is designed as speech testing software to assess people’s hearing abilities and evaluate the clinical effect of medical devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. This system is expected to help develop the audiology sector in China to adapt to the international standards of speech audiometry.

China is also currently developing low-cost alternatives in hearing implant. Health regulators in China give local company Nurotron an approval to sell its implant on the mainland. There is an increased competition from the local rival Nurotron and other lower-cost brands because of the price factor. But the Chinese government keeps a part of the national tender open to foreign companies to boost quality and make the local implant industry better. Although the price of the local devices are lower compared to Australia’s Cochlear, the leading hearing implant manufacturer can still compete in China.  It predicts increased sales in China because of its quality and continues innovation.

Hearing technology leader Australia’s Cochlear Implant continues to innovate to maintain its international market leadership.  The HEARing CRC with Dr. Andrew Vandali, its Project Leader is currently developing sound processing technology that works better with tonal language particularly Mandarin to adapt to the Chinese market. This project is determining how sound coding schemes in implants be changed to better present pitch and inter-aural time cues for their wearers. The Hearing (Re)habilitation section of HEARnet Learning offers training modules to help health professionals in China to develop new skills and knowledge in the clinical habilitation and rehabilitation of hearing loss and hearing impairment. HEARnet Learning also has free online training to help patients get the best out of their cochlear implants.

Will The Chinese Financial Crisis Affect Asians In Australia?

The Chinese market falls, and growth slowdown, have shocked the world; and nations like Australia, which have enjoyed economic buoyancy because of China’s appetite for their commodities are now suffering. As Chinese stocks tumble and the growth rate slips down to around 6.9%, a certain amount of panic has set in among many economic commentators. Australia’s ability to avoid the global economic crisis was predicated on the strong Chinese economy and its demand for our minerals. Some of these experts are predicting Australia being dragged down into recession on the back of our dependence on the Chinese economy.

How Will It Affect the Real Estate Market?

Will the Chinese financial crisis affect Asians in Australia in particular? The obvious answer is yes, and I would look to the real estate market firstly. Chinese investor demand for high end Australian real estate has been stimulating the Sydney and Melbourne property markets for decades now. With the stock market falls in China will there be even more investment in Australian property, or will there be less? There are arguments to be made for both of these reactions to occur. Chinese investors may seek the safety of the Australian property market for their money, or, conversely, losses on the stock market in China may see fewer wealthy Chinese in the market for high end Australian real estate.

What About Asian Business in Australia?

Asian businesses based in Australia, which are linked to underperforming businesses in China, will be adversely affected by the financial crisis in that populous nation. Those involved in tourism will most likely suffer, as fewer Chinese people holiday in Australia. The devaluation of the Yuan makes Australian commodities and everything else more expensive for Chinese business and its people. Chinese imports into this country will become a bit cheaper, and exporting competitors Indonesia and South Korea will have to lower their prices to maintain market share. China has had its part to play in lowering global oil prices and this will continue with oil falling to below $30 a barrel.

The Devaluation of the Yuan

The fate of all businesses directly, or indirectly, linked to the Chinese market will see slow growth and, for some, collapse. The devaluation of the Chinese currency may stimulate more international demand for Chinese products, but this will take time. In the interim, Asians in Australia may feel the brunt of a rapidly slowing economy. Australians of all descriptions will be affected by this drop off in demand for commodities. When the mighty dragon falls from the sky, all those lesser entities riding on its coat tails will also come crashing down to the earth. How great the pain is hard to predict, but their will be pain.

ACM Group would be interested in hearing from you if the falling Chinese market is personally affecting you and your business, please get in touch with us to do a feature on your business and the strategies you’re putting in place to combat the economic downturn.

Chinese New Year in Sydney

The Chinese New year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since that the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday to China. Originally associated with the lunar Chinese calendar, the holiday was an occasion to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also an occasion to bring households together for great feasts. With the well-liked adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating Jan 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the original Chinese Calendar year, although in a new shorter version using a new name–the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now take notice of the holiday in a very different manner to their ancestors. For some in the younger generation, the holiday has evolved from a chance to renew family ties to a chance for a pleasurable holiday from work.

The Ancient Chinese Date

The ancient Chinese language calendar, which is what Chinese New Year relies upon, functioned as a religious, dynastic and additionally a social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate it existed at least around 14th century N. C., when the Shang Dynasty was in power. The calendar’s composition wasn’t static: It would reset according to which emperor kept power and varied according to location.

The Chinese calendar was an intricate timepiece. Its parameters were set according to the lunar phases along with the solar solstices in addition to equinoxes. Yin in addition to yang, the opposing however complementary principles defining a harmonious planet, also ruled the particular calendar, as did the Chinese zodiac, the cycle regarding twelve stations or “signs” across the apparent path on the sun through the particular cosmos. Each new 12 months was marked through the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiacal creatures: the rat, ox, tiger woods, rabbit, dragon, snake, moose, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The traditional Chinese New Calendar year

The Chinese New Year period began in the middle of the 12th thirty days and ended around the centre of the first month using the waxing of the complete moon. Observance of the New Year time period was traditionally divided into New Year’s Eve and also the first few days of the new year.

Traditionally for the Chinese, New Year was the most important festival on the calendar. The entire attention on the household was fixed around the celebration. During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the main focuses.

In preparation for the holiday, homes had been thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi, ” as well as inauspicious breaths, that may have collected throughout the old year. Cleaning was also intended to appease the gods who would be coming lower from heaven to make inspections. Ritual sacrifices regarding food and icons were offered to gods and ancestors and forefathers. People posted scrolls published with lucky communications on household gates and set off firecrackers to daunt evil spirits. Folks gave out cash to children. In truth, many of the particular rites carried out in those times were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.

Most crucial were the great feasts. On New Year’s Eve, the extended household would join around the table for lunch that included as a last course a fish that’s symbolic of abundance and thus not meant to be eaten. In the 1st five days on the New Year, people ate lengthy noodles to symbolize long life. On the fifteenth and final day on the New Year, round dumplings shaped as full moons were shared as a sign of your family unit and regarding perfection.
Evolution of the Spring Festival

The Western-style Gregorian calendar arrived in China with Jesuit missionaries in 1582. It began to be used through out the general population by 1912, and New Year’s Day was officially acknowledged as occurring on Jan 1. Beginning in 1949, under the rule of Chinese Communist Party head Mao Zedong (1893–1976), the government forbade celebration of the traditional Chinese New Year and followed the Gregorian calendar in its dealings with the West. However toward the end of the 20th century, Chinese leaders were more willing to accept the Chinese language tradition. In 1996, China instituted a new week long vacation throughout the holiday–now called Spring Festival–giving people an opportunity to travel home in order to celebrate the new year.

In the first 21st century, many Chinese families spent a substantial amount of their own discretionary income celebrating the particular Spring Festival with traditional symbols in addition to food. They in addition spent time seeing the televised Spring Festival Gala: a good annual variety show featuring traditional in addition to contemporary singers, dancers as well as magic demonstrations. Although the rites of the holiday no longer have religious value, people remained sensitive to the zodiacal animals to the extent that that they considered that, for instance, a year of the rat might mean they would find a personal fortunes or for any child born during this time may grow to become rich.

ACM Group has noted a change in attitude toward the Spring Festival has occurred in China’s younger generation, with Chinese college students reporting that that they prefer surfing the world wide web, sleeping, watching TV or hanging out with friends over celebrating with their household. They also claim to not like conventional New Year food including dumplings and glutinous pastry. With its change of title from Chinese New Year to Spring Festival, for some members on the younger generation the holiday has evolved from a chance to renew family ties to a holiday spent with friends and taking lengthy naps!

 

How will you be spending Chinese New Year in Sydney?

Year of the Monkey 2016

What will the Year of the Monkey hold in store for us in 2016? There will be a lot of innovation, but also trickery in government & business …

Some people say that Chinese astrology is a load of old fishwives tales. But how often is it that you meet someone who is strategic, silent and spiritual, and it turns out they are the Year of the Snake? In fact Chinese astrology is a powerful way to work out the character of people and how they might behave in future circumstances.

As for the years themselves, well this is often open to conjecture.