Saturday, June 24, 2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
CBC News Online June 22, 2006
Canada was not always the "cultural mosaic" it is today. In the mid-19th century, the Canadian government imposed a tax and later banned Chinese immigrants, moves based solely on their race. More than 120 years later, it's a wrong that Chinese-Canadians and the Canadian government are still trying to make right.
What is the Chinese head tax?
It was a tax imposed on anyone coming to Canada from China between 1885 and 1923. The federal government first imposed a $50 head tax on Chinese immigrants in 1885. This amount was raised to $500 in 1903, the price of a house at the time or the equivalent of two years' salary in China. It was replaced in 1923 by the Exclusion Act, which barred all Chinese immigrants from Canada until 1947.
How did this tax come about?
It was imposed after Canadians felt Chinese immigrants were taking work away from non-Chinese workers.
At first, when a wave of Chinese immigrants came to Canada in the mid-19th century, they were welcomed as a useful source of cheap labour. Escaping poverty and social unrest at home, some Chinese immigrants came to the United States first, before heading north to Canada. In 1860, others began to arrive in British Columbia directly from China.
In 1861, a Victoria newspaper was welcoming: "We have plenty of room for many thousands of Chinamen. There can be no shadow of a doubt but their industry enables them to add very largely to our own revenues."
In the 1880s, Canada brought in 15,000 Chinese to build the Canadian Pacific Railway through the mountains of British Columbia. About 17,000 Chinese migrants helped build the railway — with 700 dying in the process — for half wages. But in 1885, after the CPR track was complete, many thousands of labourers were laid off. And at a Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, Chinese were often described as taking work away from non-Chinese people. The government responded with the Chinese head tax to curb further emigration from China.
How many people did it affect?
An estimated 81,000 Chinese immigrants paid the head tax, raising $23 million for the Canadian government and the provinces that were collecting. In today's currency, that would be more than $1.2 billion.
The fee was collected from 1885 until 1923, when it was replaced by the Chinese Exclusion Act. After the First World War, wartime industries closed, and demobilized soldiers were looking for work. On July 1, 1923, amid a post-war recession, Chinese became the only people Canada has ever excluded explicitly on the basis of race. For the next 24 years, virtually no Chinese were allowed to immigrate to Canada. The act banned immigrants from China until after the war, in 1947, but it wasn't fully repealed until 20 years later.
Only a handful of those who paid the head tax are still alive, along with about 250 widows of men who paid the charge.
What kind of effect did it have?
Obviously, the fee made it costly, and therefore harder, for Chinese immigrants to come to Canada. But it also had the side effect of separating families - some could only afford to send one family member to Canada, who would save money to fetch the rest. But, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was implemented in 1923, families were then separated for extended periods of time, as long as 20 years in some cases. Chinese-Canadians were offended by the act, and observed July 1 as "Humiliation Day," closing shops and boycotting Dominion Day celebrations. It made many Chinese-Canadians feel like second-class citizens.
What is being done about it today?
In the 1980s, there was a growing movement in Canada demanding payment and a government apology to make up for the injustices of the Chinese head tax. The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) has been seeking redress for those affected by the head tax since 1984, asking for financial compensation and a formal apology from the government.
In December 2000, three Chinese-Canadians — backed by the CCNC — launched a class-action suit against the government. It was unsuccessful, primarily on the grounds that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — introduced in 1982 — can't be applied retroactively.
The decision was appealed. But the appeal was dismissed in Ontario Court of Appeal in 2002 and the Supreme Court of Canada in 2003. Ultimately, the courts felt the claim was a political issue, not a legal one.
And in 2003, the CCNC launched a new redress website and a Canadians for Redress Campaign.
In November 2005, the federal government, then led by Paul Martin and his Liberals, signed a $2.5-million deal to set up educational projects to commemorate those who paid the tax. The deal was struck with the National Congress of Chinese Canadians and 14 other Chinese-Canadian groups signed a deal with the federal government. But, the cabinet decided not to offer an apology because it could open the government to legal action. The agreement angered other Chinese-Canadian groups, including the Chinese Canadian National Council, who complained they had not been consulted.
In January 2006, then industry minister David Emerson said, after talking to lawyers, a full apology was in order. Then prime minister Paul Martin issued a personal apology on a Chinese-language radio program.
On April 4, 2006, newly elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised he would formally apologize for the head tax.
On June 22, 2006, Harper made a formal apology in Parliament. About 100 people, including some who paid the head tax and their families, boarded a train in Vancouver a week earlier to travel to Ottawa and hear the apology, in a journey dubbed the "Redress Express." The public gallery in the House of Commons was filled with hundreds of people.
Harper apologized on behalf of the people and government of Canada for the head tax and the exclusion of Chinese-Canadians.
"We feel compelled to right this historic wrong for the simple reason it is the decent thing to do … a characteristic to be found at the core of the Canadian soul," he said.
Harper also offered symbolic payments to compensate head-tax payers, or their spouses, and funding towards community projects. Susan Eng, of the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families, called it a historic day.
"In our private lives, we remain responsible for all of our wrongs," said Eng. "For the government to step up to the plate and say we take responsibility for our wrongs, I think it sends a major message to all Canadians of the kind of values we hold dear."
Globe and Mail Update
Prime Minister Stephen Harper closed a dark chapter in Canadian history Thursday by issuing a public apology in Ottawa to those who were forced to pay the Chinese head tax and promised compensation to the survivors and also to the widows of immigrants who paid the tax.
"On behalf of the people and Government of Canada, we offer a full apology to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants," Mr. Harper said in the House of Commons Thursday.
The Prime Minister thanked Chinese Canadians for their role in building of the country's railways, what he referred to as "the iron backbone" of our developing country, and for which thousands of Chinese immigrants died building.
Mr. Harper said the federal government would also issue "symbolic payment" to survivors and their widows. The compensation will amount $20,000 each, according to Canadian Heritage.
"No country is perfect. Canada, like all other countries, has committed errors in the past, and we are aware of this. Nevertheless, the people of Canada are fair, and we will be undertaking measures of redress."
The government has apparently identified 29 people who paid the tax, but there are roughly an additional 250 to 300 widows still alive. Overall, about 81,000 Chinese immigrants were forced to pay a total of $23-million to enter Canada beginning in the late-1800s until 1923.
The federal government brought survivors and their families by train to Ottawa Thursday for the apology in the House of Commons, some travelling as far as from Vancouver on what has been dubbed the Redress Express.
A huge influx of Chinese immigrants came to Canada between 1881 and 1885 to work on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
"From the moment the railway was complete, Canada turned its back on these men," Mr. Harper acknowledged Thursday. "We feel compelled to right this historic wrong for the simple reason that it is the decent thing to do, a characteristic to be found at the core of the Canadian soul."
The Canadian government imposed a head tax of $50 per person to limit immigration. The tax was later increased to $500, or roughly the equivalent to two years in wages at the time.
The head tax was paid until 1923, when Canada banned Chinese immigration. That act was repealed in 1947.
Mr. Harper said "the head tax - a product of a profoundly different time -lies far in our past."
In addition to the apology and the compensation, the government will also a national recognition program established for educational and cultural activities. Estimates of the cost of the overall program varied, although one source said it would top $30-million.
The Italian, Ukrainian, and the Sikh communities are also expected to receive a portion of the $25-million fund put aside by from the former Liberal government for redress to a number of cultural communities.
"Our deep sorrow over the racist actions of our past will nourish our unwavering commitment to build a better future for all Canadians," Mr. Harper said
Thursday, June 15, 2006
CHIA also includes the beginnings of an encyclopaedia of Chinese-Australian history, complete with bibliography, aimed at providing contextual information for database images. This is a work in progress and we hope users will be inspired to write contributions to build this aspect of the database.
CHIA is a joint project between the Chinese Museum and La Trobe University supported by the Australian Research Council. We are pleased to collaborate with Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre (Austehc).
Excerpts from Yee Jock Leong's address books
My great-grandmother burned a lot of my great-grandfather's belongings after his death. I assume we lost quite a bit of family information in the flames.
Luckily some of his address books survived. Hopefully someone will recognize a name and lead my mom and I to long-lost cousins or family friends.
New excerpts will eventually be posted to the China general message board and the Yee family message board.
Friday, June 09, 2006
The 80th anniversary of the Association is being celebrated with a buffet dinner and dance function on Saturday 5 August 2006 at the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre in Wellington (NZ) starting at 6.00pm.
The book, Zengcheng New Zealanders, a History for the 80th Anniversary of the Tung Jung Association of New Zealand Inc. will also be launched at the function. Many people have contributed to this book. It will have chapters about the migration of Chinese from Zengcheng to New Zealand, the history of the Tung Jung Association since its beginning in 1926, stories about the villages in China and the families of the people who came to New Zealand all those years ago, and a specific chapter about Zengcheng women. The book will illustrate the colourful and often painful journey experienced by the early Chinese highlighting their success in becoming established and respected in the New Zealand society. This book will be of interest to families and researchers alike.
Tickets for the function are available from any member of the committee.
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT 2003 - 2004In 2003, the association, spurred on by the upsurge in interest in the history of Chinese in New Zealand, applied to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage for a grant to conduct an oral history project.
This was successful and the following write up based on the interviewee's comments and interviewer's summation, raises a number of interesting issues. The audio tapes of the interviews and abstracts have all been lodged with the Alexander Turnbull Library. (See attached file: Victims.pdf)
Thursday, June 08, 2006
In 1905, construction of an Immigration Station began in the area known as China Cove. Surrounded by public controversy from its inception, the station was finally put into operation in 1910. Although it was billed as the "Ellis Island of the West", within the Immigration Service it was known as "The Guardian of the Western Gate" and was designed control the flow of Chinese into the country, who were officially not welcome with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
This facility was primarily a detention center. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a series of restrictive laws had prohibited the immigration of certain nationalities and social classes of Asians. Although all Asians were affected, the greatest impact was on the Chinese.
The first Chinese entered California in 1848, and within a few years, thousands more came, lured by the promise of Gam Sann or "Gold Mountain". Soon, discriminatory legislation forced them out of the gold fields and into low-paying, menial jobs. They laid tracks for the Central Pacific Railroad, reclaimed swamp land in the Sacramento delta, developed shrimp and abalone fisheries, and provided cheap labor wherever there was work no other group wanted or needed.
During the 1870s, an economic downturn resulted in serious unemployment problems, and led to politically motivated outcries against Asian immigrants who would work for low wages. In reaction to states starting to pass immigration laws, in 1882 the federal government asserted its authority to control immigration and passed the first immigration law, barring lunatics and felons from entering the country. Later in 1882, the second immigration law barred Chinese, with a few narrow exceptions. Imperial China was too weak and impoverished to exert any influence on American policy. This law was originally for 10 years, but was extended and expanded and not repealed until 1943, when China was our ally in World War II. However, only 105 Chinese were allowed in legally each year, so the exception process actually continued into the 1950's. Chinese were not on a equal immigration footing with other nationalities until immigration laws were completely rewritten in the mid 1960's.
Monday, June 05, 2006
As with many cultures, it is important to every family to have a male child carry on the family name. Girls were considered an unnecessary investment because the majority of them would eventually get married and leave the family. Although some families left the unfortunate female babies to die, especially right after the one child policy was enacted, when each couple hoped for a son, many of the female infants were sold into prostitution or, if they were lucky, put up for adoption
In the past, only the male child was given an elaborate naming ceremony, while the daughters were given a small dinner party with the family. Today, having a female child is not considered as bad as it once was, but most families still hope for a male child. In order to understand the ceremony it is necessary to explain the importance of a male child, or any child at all. there was a high infant mortality rate in china, especially before the 1900's. This is why the ceremony is not given until the baby is a month old. After this time the family is reassured that the child will live.
there are still villages in which only an experienced old woman is there to help. The other and child often are forbidden to go outside, sometimes until the full month after birth has passed
The first thing a family must do is to pick a name for the baby. This can be done in a variety of ways. It is up to the family to decide if the given name at the party will be the child's formal name or a "milk name." the milk name is a nickname used until the child starts school, or even up until marriage. If given a milk name, often a girls' name will be chosen for a boy, because it is thought that a male child was the " special prey of evil spirits" and that these spirits will be tricked if the boy has a girl's name. A female, and sometimes a male child, is given an animal name or called some sort of derogatory name in a joking sort of way.
A child's formal name is usually picked by it's grandparents. Sometimes the name is picked simply for it's sound or meaning. In most places siblings share a common character in their names and in some villages this sharing goes further than the immediate family, and a common character is added to all the males of a specific lineage.
After the name is chosen, invitations are sent out to those who honored the baby's birth. They sued to send a hard- boiled egg, dyed red, to let friends and family know of the up coming festivities. In present day celebrations in the bigger cities, brightly colored eggs are placed on the table and guests may take one home for good luck. the guests at these celebration often get an egg and some ginger to take home with them, too. This red egg tradition started long ago when it was customary for the maternal grandmother to visit and bring gifts. She almost always brought clothing and eggs for the baby. Eggs were considered a delicacy in China, and that was how one knew someone special had come to visit. The grandmother also brought sweet cakes. Often these cakes had pictures on the showing various good luck symbols, especially the apricot flower. However, they are not supposed to use white because that is the color of mourning and sorrow. the eggs, usually duck eggs, were stamped with pictures of children, and flowers. Now there are no special rules for grandmothers to follow, as this was before 1941, when everything started to change.
..since the baby ceremony was not as big to begin with, most of the traditions remained the same. It used to be that the baby's head was shaved during the feast. The girls' head was shaved before the image of "Mother", the Goddess of Children, and the boy's head was shaved before the ancestral table. The symbolism of this practice is not entirely known, but it is speculated that this is the removing of the birth hair, to mark the point of the child's independent existence. traditionally, a big banquet is thrown, with thirty to forty people in attendance. The guests often bring gifts of clothing, or "lucky money" envelopes, which are called Li-shihs. The baby is is taken around the room to be introduced and admired. After that, the guests eat and visit with each other. Instead of sending thank you cards to the guests for their gifts, the baby's parents send presents to them. This gift usually consists of small round biscuits with pork in them, a little like char-sui baus, or pork buns. Although the meaning behind these used to be more pronounced they are still considered an adequate thank you, even though the families do not usually send the 50 to 100 they might have sent in the past.
For more information about the history of Asian immigrants in America, here are a few links that we have discovered that lead to valuable sources of information.
The Society is raising funds and encouraging volunteers in the local community and in the larger global community who can contribute money or time to help accomplish our goals to preserve and interpret the history and culture of Asians in Butte and throughout the Rocky Mountain West.We have been able to secure funding support from the ARCO Foundation, A Territory Resource, the Johanna Favrot Foundation, the Butte Urban Revitalization Agency and the Montana Committee for the Humanities. A special thank you goes to the ARCO Foundation for a grant that made this web page possible.We are now raising funds to maintain and expand our permanent exhibit "The Butte Chinese Experience." Artifacts from the Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and the Wah Chong Tai Mercantile serve as the core of the exhibit.Every donation that we receive, small and large, is critical to ensure success
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Mao worked on the principle of divide and conquer. He divided the people into two groups. Factory workers and peasants were the ‘good’ ‘red’ class, while those from wealthier backgrounds were the ‘evil’ ‘black’ class. The chairman initiated the theory of class struggle so he could watch and enjoy his power untouched.Mary was bullied by the red elements — her school days crowded by cruelty and humiliation. Eventually, at age 21, she was forced to toil in the inhospitable Gobi Desert for 10 years.The conditions were appalling. Mary was a virtual slave, farming wheat, maize and opium in the arid atmosphere. She starved. Third world diseases were rife and Mary lived for 10 years in a cave.It is all the more amazing that she retained her sanity and optimism. Throughout her years in the desert, Mary secretly learns English. Her life improves when she goes through all sorts of officialdom to become an English teacher at a leather factory.Mary’s life still has many highs and lows. She marries three times — each husband is a failure in one way or another. But a chance meeting with a New Zealander, Bruce Renton, changes her circumstances forever.Bruce offers her a trip to New Zealand in 1986 for a year to improve her English. Mary returns in 1995 to join her eldest daughter Enya. In the meantime, she educated herself to university level and was an English tutor at Qingdao University from 1989 to 1993.The book ends happily, with Mary meeting and marrying Ian Collins, a professor at the University of Auckland and celebrating the birth of her first grandchild. Mary has become active in the community, focusing on helping new immigrants to settle. She provides counselling and support, guiding new New Zealanders through depression, relationship problems and language difficulties.Few of us can even imagine the hardships this plucky woman survived. Some of the passages in the book are harrowing and hard to accept. Yet through all her experiences, Mary remained cheerful and still managed to care about others.“Desert Rose” can be best summed up by a quotation at the beginning: “Hardship is invaluable, it teaches you how to seek happiness.”
Weijun struggled to continue her education but her father’s ‘crime’ eventually rebounded on her and she was sent to the Gobi desert for ten years of terrible hardship and misery. Forced to live in appalling conditions in a cave, with little food, she laboured in sub-zero temperatures – a virtual slave.
Against this background of terrible hardship Weijun managed to teach herself English and eventually escaped from the desert to become a teacher. Her story is layered with a number of romantic episodes: she has a brief unsuccessful marriage to a childhood sweetheart; and a scandalous and ultimately damaging love affair with a much younger man. Weijun was eventually assisted to New Zealand and has begun a new, much happier life.
This book gives the reader real insight into the daily lives of ordinary people during this terrible period in China’s history.
By BEN WATSONAuthor Mary Weijung Collins says she has film directors queuing at her door vying for the opportunity to tell her best-selling life story.
Mrs Collins, who lives in Glenfield, has won international acclaim for her book Desert Rose, published by Penguin.
It details her amazing struggle and escape from China and Mongolia during Mao's Cultural Revolution.
Mrs Collins' story began at the height of the revolution in 1965 when she was 21.
The situation got so bad she was forced to leave China and flee to the nearby Gobi Desert.
Her mother had a friend in the Muslim city of Ulumuqi who said he would try to find her a job but she would have to stay in the desert until it could be arranged.
When she eventually did find work she says it involved the harsh back-breaking task of harvesting corn, wheat, cotton and even opium. A typical workday was 12 hours or more.
She battled extreme winter weather conditions with temperatures dropping as low as -45 Celsius.
Mrs Collins says she always knew her book would make a great movie.
"I think it's a good story to make into a movie. There's romance and different scenery. It would make a beautiful picture," she says.
She has been approached by producers and directors from New Zealand, China and the United States but has yet to decide who she will chose with.
She would, however, like to see actress Zhang Ziyi, star of blockbusters such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, to play her in the movie.
Mrs Collins has just returned from Beijing with her daughter where she gave talks about her life and her book.
She says she was treated like a celebrity and had queues of people wanting autographs and photos taken with her.
When she is not writing, Mrs Collins keeps busy as a professional public speaker, talking about her life experiences
Owned by Tony and Lily Cho, this Takeaway was started about 1974. It was the original Horse which spawned a series of other Horse Takeaways - White Horse, Double Horse, Flying Horse. These owners had their cooking experience working with Tony Cho.
The food is quite bland. We have takeaways mostly for colleagues and usually have to use a lot of soya souce to give it a good taste. The prices are reasonable and portions quite large. The choice is big, so it could be our particular selections (beef curry, veggie and rice, chicken on fried rice)
I've been to this restaurant many times and still enjoy it everytime. The food is great, the staff are extremely helpful and can recommend dishes which are specials on the nite. Have experienced it when it is extremely busy, and although the food can take sometime it is worth the wait. the food can sometimes be a bit greasy but thats with all chinese food, and is better than your foodcourt or takeaway
And Simon Kaan, a Dunedin visual artist, will spend three months from October 2004 as artist-in-residence at the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing. Creative New Zealand will cover accommodation costs and provide $10,000 stipends while the artists are in residence. The Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand will meet the costs of the return airfares
Last year, Simon Kaan travelled to China where he made contact with artists and art communities, including those at the Red Gate Gallery.“I was the first of my family to return to China since my grandfather left more than one hundred years ago,” he says. “My Chinese, Mäori and Pakeha heritage is an integral part of my life. Because my work deals primarily with my culture and environment, my new work will inevitably reflect the impact of my time in Beijing.“I’m sure the residency will provide me with an array of experiences that will feed into an interesting new body of work.”
Simon Kaan: exploring his Chinese heritage When Simon Kaan travelled through China last year, he was the first member of his family to visit their country of origin since his grandfather arrived in New Zealand more than one hundred years ago.Yet his Chinese heritage, along with his Kai Tahu/Scottish whakapapa from his mother, has been evident in his work for several years – in both his innovative printmaking and, more recently, his larger paintings such as the eight-panel Ka Waka Tipuraka. This work was included in last year’s exhibition Te Puäwai o Ngäi Tahu at the new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.“There’s a certain aesthetic in my work that is Chinese and it’s something I’ve grown up with,” Kaan says. “It’s innate, it just comes out. I haven’t really gone out and studied Chinese work much.”That’s about to change when Kaan returns to China in early October, this time as the recipient of the three-month artist residency at the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing. “I think the residency will be a big turning point for me,” Kaan says. “It’s very timely; something that I need in my life. I’m keen to experiment with new materials. I want to get into some lithography, some ink and brush work, and investigate traditional Chinese materials. I’m really interested in seeing how Chinese artists work with silk.” As well as spending time based at the Red Gate Gallery, which specialises in contemporary Chinese art, a visit to trace his roots and track down distant relatives in the Guangdong (or Canton) region is high on his agenda.He’s also looking forward to being away from his normal working environment to focus on new ideas and directions. “These three months are going to give me time just to step back from it all.“I’ve already started on a different strand of work that I haven’t showed publicly yet. When I first painted, I painted for two years without showing any of that work. Instead, I showed my prints through that time. It’s good to have various strands going on because they work off each other.”Simon Kaan, 33, graduated from the School of Art at Otago Polytechnic in 1993 with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Honours) in printmaking. In 1994, he received a Diploma in Teaching from Christchurch College of Education and went on to teach art at secondary schools in Havelock North, New Plymouth and Dunedin. In 2000, he was the first Ngai Tahu artist-in-residence at School of Art at Otago Polytechnic and now practises full-time as an artist.
Chinese opera, like most performing arts, loses something without its staging, costume and cast. So it’s no surprise that the lonely, unaccom-panied Chinese opera singer performing at the Chinese New Year celebrations in Parliament earlier this year was struggling to win over the politicians who had popped in for a quick chardonnay and spring roll.
It was obvious that they weren’t enjoying it – but would saying so show them to be cultural ignoramuses? The safe choice, as always, was to clap and smile politely.
Such “cultural events” have become popular whistle-stops for political parties keen to woo the nearly 300,000 Asian New Zealanders of voting age. Not only is this a large group of voters, but it is largely untargeted, and often misunderstood.
What do they care about? According to research conducted by Shee-Jeong Park at Auckland University last year, the most important issues for Asian voters are the economy and law and order, but they vote in a similar pattern to the rest of the population, with a
preference for Labour (47 percent), followed by National (40 percent), and Act a distant third (six percent).
Steven Young, a prominent member of the Wellington Chinese community, explains the results: “First of all, if they come from China, they think the government party must be good, and the Opposition party must be criminals! The National philosophy has more appeal to the well-established Chinese, Taiwanese, Malaysian and so on. Labour’s philosophy has more appeal to the mainland Chinese.”
The Labour Party has traditionally been on good terms with New Zealand’s oldest and, until recently, largest Asian community, the descendants of the Chinese goldminers who arrived in the 19th century. These “old Chinese” worked hard – but quietly – over the many decades to carve out a place for themselves in New Zealand, but are now struggling to cope with the new dynamics created by the arrival over the past two decades of Asian immigrants, who are mostly well-educated professionals and entrepreneurs.
This new generation of Chinese New Zealanders came to the fore in 1996, when National’s Pansy Wong became “the first Asian member of Parliament”. Labour redoubled its efforts to court the “ethnic communities”, appointing a Minister of Ethnic Affairs in 1999, and giving a formal apology to the Chinese community over the Poll Tax imposed on the original Chinese migrants.
But although the Poll Tax apology was warmly greeted by the old generation, Wong was still the trump card for scoring votes with the new generation.
Labour tried to recruit its own “Asian MP”, but struggled. Many in the old generation saw it as a token role that would make little real difference, while few in the new generation have had enough experience in New Zealand politics. In the end, Auckland businessman Steven Ching received the support of Chris Carter and found himself 42nd on the Labour list – the third highest non-sitting MP.
But Auckland University academic Man-ying Ip, warns against equating Asian MPs and candidates with community leaders, and is critical of political parties for using Asian candidates as “posterboys or postergirls” to get into the pockets of the Asian communities. “Some parties regard the Asian community as walking moneybags … Honestly, I feel angry about some of [the candidates]. I think they do the community a great disservice.”
Ching, for example, has been a very successful fund-raiser for Labour, as well as being a donor. This endeared him to the party hierarchy, but his list placement caused resentment among party members, who were less than impressed by his credentials as a
His selection turned sour when the Herald on Sunday reported in April that he failed to disclose a guilty plea for obstructing a fisheries officer in 2001, and alleged that he asked an acquaintance to lend him $50,000 after offering the acquaintance help to become a justice of the peace. Ching stood down from the party list pending an investigation into the claim. Last week, Labour’s ruling council refused his plea for reinstatement. President Mike Williams said that nothing would change until police gave Ching the all-clear.
Ching’s rise and rapid fall has been the cause of much chagrin within the Chinese community, but even before the scandals there was an obvious barrier to his becoming a parliamentary representative – he barely speaks English.
Language is a sensitive issue. People who don’t speak fluent English need representation, too, maybe even more so, since they are less able to speak for themselves. But what good is a representative if they are unable to represent the views of their constituents?
Ching, when asked why he was standing for Labour, replies: “Basically, in New Zealand, there’s always two different parties in Parliament. Either National Party or Labour Party. But, they have different policy. I think Labour Party is much better. They look after old people, poor people, rich people. Equal.”
He didn’t understand the meaning of the word “tokenism”, but was able to explain Labour’s strategy to get the Asian vote. “It’s simple, because Labour, they select me as a candidate, that has already proved the Labour Party value the Asian community.”
Act MP Kenneth Wang also speaks English as his second language, though his Act-speak is fluent: “From day one I landed in this country, I was attracted to Rogernomics”; “We hate crime. We’re frustrated by police chasing traffic …”
He also speaks with a heavy accent. “Of course that’s a disadvantage,” says Wang, “but I don’t think that determines the ability to do the job, because I think that, fundamentally, people will look at who you are representing and the party you stand for.” He cites Helen Clark, who scolded the Opposition for bullying George Hawkins over his speech impediment and wondered how Parliament would treat a hearing-impaired member.
But an accent is not as insignificant as it might seem. A National Party source says that it’s unlikely that Pansy Wong will rise any further in the party because of concerns that her accent will alienate non-Asian voters. However, Wong is attempting to change their minds with her campaign for Auckland Central.
“I don’t believe that ethnic minorities, once they acquire political nous and skill, should always be list MPs,” she says. “We look different, maybe we speak English with an accent, but I would want to show people that, ultimately, the political party principle and value can be represented well by us.”
The reason there aren’t more Asian voices in public life, says Young, “is that people of my generation or a little younger don’t even put themselves forward. The people born here have been traumatised so much that they don’t want to put their head up. They’ve grown up when they had to keep ducking, or be invisible, so it needs another half generation for the people who don’t feel [like] that to reach a certain age and maturity so they can express that.”
Ip thinks that perhaps the Asian communities are not established enough to produce leaders. “In some ways, we can say the community – we ourselves – are responsible. We’re not mature enough, we don’t have enough people. Perhaps people who are really committed, really love the country, they may seek to serve in another way.
“Real political power does not fall from the sky. The Asian community’s interest would be served only when the community is strong enough and cohesive enough. It is no good to have a token person put there for decoration, it’s just misleading.”
However, Ip is optimistic about the political future of the Asian communities: “She’ll be right.”
August 20 2005 - http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3406/features/4538/asian_vote.html
About 100 mainly-Asian people attended this conference in Auckland on 12 July 2005 to discuss Asian participation in New Zealand's electoral system. Keynote speakers voiced their concerns and issues on civil participation by sharing their experiences and opinions with the wider public.
The conference was sponsored by the Electoral Enrolment Centre with the aim of encouraging Generation 1.5 Kiwi Asians (Asian-born, NZ-raised) to enrol to vote.
The event attracted people from various age groups, including the 1.5ers, as well as first and second generation Kiwi Asians. Attendees were from diverse backgrounds - Asian grassroot organisations, local and central government, students, academia, and 1.5 generation members. Also present were members of non-profit organisations and Asian news media who gave the conference significant coverage.
This document summarises the keynote speakers' contributions. The summaries have been approved by the contributors. The views expressed are each contributor's own and not those of the Electoral Enrolment Centre, other electoral agencies, or the government.
The conference was facilitated by Gavin Ellis, media consultant and former editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald.
Associated Professor, School of Asian Studies, the University of Auckland
Manying Ip was born in Guizhou, a remote interior province of China, where her parents had taken refuge after the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong. While she was still young, her family returned to Hong Kong. There she received traditional Chinese education at home, and English education at school. She graduated with a BA Honours in history from the University of Hong Kong. In 1974, Manying immigrated to New Zealand and completed her postgraduate studies, gaining an MA in Chinese literature and a PhD in History from the University of Auckland, where she is currently Associate Professor of Chinese in the Asian Studies Department. Professor Ip is a long-time researcher on Chinese New Zealanders and more recent immigrants from Asia. She is a highly respected public advocate for the Chinese communities. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993 and the ONZM (Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit) in 1996. Many of her works including four books on Chinese New Zealanders have won much critical acclaim: Home Away From Home: Life Stories of Chinese Women in New Zealand (1990), Dragons on the Long White Cloud (1996), Unfolding History, Evolving Identity: Chinese in New Zealand (2003), and a recent bilingual work: Aliens at My Table: Asians as New Zealanders see them, co-authored with Nigel Murphy (2005). Her research project New Chinese New Zealanders 1986 - present, was made into a television documentary New Faces Old Fears which won a Finalist Qantas Award in 2004. The articles she published on the new Chinese have been widely cited. Her current research is on interactions between Maori and Chinese.
Asian political involvement and the role of 1.5ers.
There has been a significant increase in Asian population and changing profiles of the communities in the last decade. The post 1987 arrivals is a well-educated, articulate, and politically aware cohort. According to Statistics New Zealand 2001 Census data, 70% of the Chinese immigrants, 59% Indian, and 92% Korean are new arrivals with less than 10 year's residence in New Zealand. They belong to the highly skilled professionals and business class - the bourgeoisie who are the backbone of democracy. This has raised the popular desire for more ethnic candidates and Asian MPs in the parliament.
There have been incidences politicising the Chinese communities. For example, the 1993 'Inv-Asian' article, the 1996 pre-election anti-immigrant campaign and the 2002 poll-tax apology. Positive outcomes of these events have empowered the communities. There also have been positive shift of power relationship to rapidly heighten ethnic political awareness. Legislation such as the 1993 Electoral Act allowing provision of interpreters in the polling booth and the 1996 electoral law giving permanent residents the right to vote all facilitated the political involvement of new Asians.
Following on the law changes, direct participation was attempted through new experiments in the political arena such as Asian minority coalitions. However, in 1996, the Ethnic Minority Party pulled 0.12% of the national vote and the Asia Pacific united Party gained only 0.002% of the national vote. This demonstrates the fact that parties along ethnic lines are not a panacea.
Contributions of 1.5 generation of Asian New Zealanders play crucial roles in the shift of power relationship and political landscape. For example, a study of the link between age and English language skills among recent Chinese migrants shows that younger Asians are mostly proficient in English, and therefore much more au fait with New Zealand political developments. With language proficiency (in their heritage Chinese language as well as English), political acumen, local knowledge and support from their own community network, the 1.5 generation of Asian New Zealanders have the advantages in positioning themselves as quality leaders in the mainstream society to articulate the aspirations of both old settlers and new immigrants.
On 2 November, 2005 Kong Kai’s reconstructed hut in the Chinese Settlement was damaged by fire. The roof and door were burnt, with only the walls remaining.
Angela said that it was disappointing to see such damage occur to an important resource.
‘Not only is the Chinese Village important to schools, with many choosing to visit the village to learn about the lives of the Chinese goldminers, but also to the thousands of tourists that visit the village.’
Over ninety-five percent of the schools who attend the programme include the Chinese Village as part of their visit.
‘Hopefully one lesson that students visiting the damaged huts come away with is a sense of how easily something can be damaged by irresponsible and thoughtless behaviour.’There is uncertainty at this stage as to when, and if, the hut will be repaired.
The 19th century was the era of the Chinese goldseekers in Otago and on the West Coast. They were rural male Cantonese who first came over from Victoria, Australia, and later direct from China. Initially, in 1865, they were responding to invitations to rework the Otago goldfields; from there they spilled over to the West Coast. Their numbers reached a peak of over 5,000 between 1874-81. Despite their peasant background they were intrepid and determined adventurers. Sojourners by choice, their competitiveness, different racial origin and culture generated opposition. Their aim was to save about 100 pounds to take home to China; their strategy to adapt only as much as necessary until they left. They survived by their cooperative groupings of kinsfolk, clan and counties of origin.
|Dr. John Jung: “Southern Fried Rice: Life in a Chinese Laundry in the Deep South”|
|Posted by Brenda Tran|
Photos by Jai Katikineni
To commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and through the sponsorship of Gap Inc., NAAAP-Atlanta was able to host Dr. John Jung, author of “Southern Fried Rice: Life in a Chinese Laundry in the Deep South.” The event, which sold 31 books, attracted more than 43 people to UPS Headquarters.
Yin & Yang Press, 2005. Paper, 240 pp, 6 x 9, $15.00.
A revealing glimpse into the difficult path his parents took leaving their impoverished villages in Taishan, China, to come to Georgia to earn a living running a laundry from 1928 to 1956. Why did they, and a few male kin, venture as far as the Deep South where there were virtually no other Chinese? Why did they all own laundries and what was involved in their operation? What was it like to live in cultural isolation in the South for over 20 years? What was it like to then move to San Francisco and what adjustments were needed to live in a large Chinese community? Southern Fried Rice attests to their resourcefulness in overcoming many obstacles to survive and to instill Chinese values in their children.
Author Bio: Born in 1937, John Jung grew up living above the Sam Lee Laundry in Macon until the early 1950s when his parents moved the family to San Francisco. Earning a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1962, he was a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach for 40 years, publishing many research articles as well as eight college textbooks, including Psychology of Alcohol And Other Drugs, Thousand Oaks, Ca.: Sage Publications, 2001.
“Southern Fried Rice” is searchable at: http://books.google.com Available online: www.lulu.com/content/142027
Some Praise for Southern Fried Rice
“Southern Fried Rice tells the overlooked history of Chinese Americans in the Deep South through the author’s account of his family’s experiences in Georgia running a laundry from the late 1920s through the 1950s. This inside view of an immigrant family who struggled to make a living and to maintain connections with their Chinese heritage and homeland highlights the mutability and complexity of Chinese American identity and the frequently forgotten ethnic and racial diversity of the South.”
Krystyn Moon, Asst. Prof. of History, Georgia State University
Author, Yellowface: Creating the Chinese in American Popular Music and Performance, 1850s-1920s.
“… a humane and personal reflection … an incisive clarity that shines extra light on the mundane oddities and inhuman logic of everyday life in the South before the Civil Rights era. … a rare glimpse at the fairly common experience of those Americans who found themselves in the impossible spaces of the American racial order, a world that is both thankfully distant and yet hauntingly familiar still.”
Henry Yu, Associate Professor of History, UCLA and University of British Columbia
Author, Thinking Orientals, Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America
“…Being the only Chinese in town, their lives were certainly not mint julep and magnolias. Southern Fried Rice describes the process of running a laundry and the difficulty of raising children isolated from other Chinese... Through it all, the family, itself, remained steadfast in their cultural traits and folkways. …Quan Shee, the author’s mother, was truly a woman warrior...”
Sylvia Sun Minnick Author, Samfow, The San Joaquin Chinese Experience
“Southern Fried Rice offers a fascinating and insightful account of Chinese-American family life in the context of restraints on immigration and the U.S. racial and economic systems. This story of one remarkable family offers valuable insight about economic struggles in difficult times, intergenerational relations, continuing ties to Chinese culture and community, family obligation, gender, the key role of laundries in Chinese economic opportunity, and much else. This is a charming and informative book.”
Paul Rosenblatt, Professor of Family Social Sciences, University of Minnesota
“This narrative, woven with genuine scholarship about the lives of Chinese immigrants, is a masterful bit of storytelling. It is an admirable and valuable contribution.”
Ronald Gallimore, Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA
“Rich with historical details of immigration, John Jung's engaging memoir about growing up Chinese in the segregated South is an insightful observation about the resilience of Asian American families and the fluidity of culture and ethnic identities across different historical moments and racialized spaces.”
Barbara Kim, Asst. Prof. Asian American Studies, Cal State University, Long Beach
“Southern Fried Rice demonstrates the fluidity of regional and national identity and is both a construction and deconstruction of "Chinese-ness."…These stories offer much toward confirming and complicating popular notions of what it means to be "American" just as it traces the slippery identity shifts of what it means to be "Chinese" … a valuable mirror that will help move the history of those who are neither Black nor White towards a more deserving central role in the national and international human story.”
Stephanie Y. Evans, Assistant Professor, African American Studies and Women's Studies, University of Florida
“This interesting memoir presents a unique view of ethnic identity development. It provides fascinating insights into the process of learning what it means to be Chinese when there is no Chinese community, or even other Chinese families, to interact with, and the way subsequent experiences in -- and out -- of a Chinese community further shape this process.”
Jean Phinney, Professor of Psychology, Cal State U, Los Angeles Creator of the Multi-Group Ethnic Identity Measure
Title: Southern fried rice: life in a Chinese laundry in the Deep South /
Author(s): Jung, John, 1937-
Publication: [California] : Yin & Yang Press,
Description: xii, 221 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Standard No: LCCN: 2005-905657
Descriptor: Chinese Americans -- Georgia -- Macon -- Biography.
Chinese Americans -- California -- San Francisco -- Biography.
Laundry workers -- Georgia -- Macon -- Biography.
Laundry workers -- California -- San Francisco -- Biography.
Immigrants -- Georgia -- Macon -- Biography.
Named Person: Jung, John, 1937- -- Childhood and youth.
Jung, John, 1937- -- Family.
Geographic: Macon (Ga.) -- Biography.
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Biography.
Note(s): Includes bibliographical references.
Class Descriptors: LC: F294.M2; Dewey: 975.8/042092; B
Responsibility: by John Jung.
Material Type: Biography (bio)
Document Type: Book
Accession No: OCLC: 61656477
Friday, June 02, 2006
Located in Pokong, the camp consisted of the buildings and compound of the Oriental Missionary Society, on Honam Island, in the Pearl River opposite the Shameen. It contained an assembly hall and small residential buildings, giving internees 150 to 200 square feet each, five times more than what internees elsewhere received. The smallest camp in China, it held only 59 internees, most of whom were South China missionaries or faculty of Lingnam University. Over half were repatriated during the American and Canadian exchange in September, 1943.
Stanley Camp was located on the south side of the island of Hong Kong, and comprised the grounds of the Stanley Prison (but not the prison itself) and St. Stephen's College. Over 3,100 Allied citizens were held there at various times from mid January 1942 to the end of August 1945. Internees suffered under the strict discipline of the Japanese, and seven
internees were among the over thirty civilians executed on Stanley beach in 1943 after the Japanese kempeitai uncovered a resistance ring and discovered several hidden radios in the camp. Internees were to suffer further casualties when the camp was accidentally bombed by USAAF bombers in January, 1945. Seven internees escaped from the camp to Free China, but another party of four was not so lucky. Recaptured within a short distance of camp, they were beaten, tortured, and held in prison for over a year.
The Japanese Internment of Allied Civilians in China and Hong Kong, 1941-1945
Now in Print - available June, 2006 On the morning of December 8th, 1941, thousands of American, British, Dutch, and other civilians of the Allied nations living in China awoke to find their countries at war with Japan. A hemisphere away from their homelands, they were cut off, isolated, and faced an uncertain future. The Japanese advance created an empire from the Aleutian Islands in the far north to the southern regions of New Guinea, and from western Burma to the mid Pacific Ocean.
Japan soon held some 125,000 civilian prisoners, approximately ten percent of which were in China and Hong Kong. Their prisoners included the first American civilian to be captured on American soil since the War of 1812, and Britons in China became the single largest British contingent under enemy occupation outside of the Channel Islands. As the rigors of life under the occupation increased, they were eventually herded into internment camps known as Civil Assembly Centres. There, accommodation was overcrowded, frequently squalid, and with few amenities. Poor treatment and lack of food contributed to the death rate, and internees suffered many privations, as well as occasional cruelty, torture, and execution. Yet despite an absolute lack of many of the essentials of civilized life, the internees rose to meet the challenge of survival. They organized kitchens and hospitals, started libraries, engaged in subtle forms of resistance, educated their children, and placed their hope in the future. In internment, they were an example of the strength of human endeavor in the face of adversity.
Between 1941 and 1945, Japan held over 13,500 civilian men, women, and children as captives in China and Hong Kong. Each one has a story to tell. Captives of Empire is their story.
Captives of Empire: The Japanese Internment of Allied Civilians in China, 1941-1945 fills a major gap in the annals of World War II and that of prisoners of war. Here for the first time is a definitive history of the internment of Allied civilians in China. Private papers, diaries, letters, and official reports, many long hidden, were utilized to bring a complete picture of internment to light. In preparing to write this book, Greg Leck combed through thousands of pages of documents from archives located in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Japan. In personal interviews he listened to scores of internees describing their experiences. He researched, in depth, the histories of each camp, as well as the stories of many internees. Through first hand accounts and photographs, paintings, sketches, newspapers, cartoons, entertainment programs, maps, bulletins, posters, and other illustrative materials, a portrayal of what daily life was like for internees under the Japanese emerges. Common themes of the internees struggle are reviewed.
Together with Desmond Power, an Old China Hand and ex internee himself, information was organized and sorted to produce a database of the over 13,500 internees held in China and Hong Kong. An overview of each camp and a nominal roll completes the picture. The result is a revealing and immensely fascinating look at the world of the internees.
Captives of Empire gives you an inside look at the internment experience. From the idyllic life of the expatriate, to the shock and surprise of the Japanese victories and rule, to imprisonment and eventual liberation, it covers the panoply of this little known chapter of the Pacific war. Utilizing internees own voices, we see the food, the housing, the work, as well as the entertainments, games, escapes, births, lives, and deaths of the camp. Profusely illustrated with maps, photographs, drawings, and scarce and rare internment camp related ephemera, this is a monograph that will serve as the definitive reference work on the subject.
Greg Leck is one of the foremost experts on Japanese internment camps in China. The grandson of an Old China Hand who served in the Chinese Maritime Customs, and the son of a woman who was one of the last Britons to leave Shanghai, he grew up hearing stories of China and internment.
Posted by: Greg Leck (ID *****1934)
Date: May 28, 2006 at 13:51:55
In Reply to: Russian Family in Shanghai c1930s by Roberta Ward
of 971 I have met many alumni of Ste Jeanne D'Arc school. The school is long gone, but the building should still be there. Shanghai is packed with old buildings dating to teh 1920-1941 time period, but Chinese know little, if anything, about their past incarnations.The situation regarding civilians in China during the war was quite complex – at the outbreak of the Pacific War there were many Allied nationals living in China, and especially in the International Concession and French Concession in Shanghai. There were many stateless people there as well – about 25,000 Jewish refugees, and just as many, if not more, White Russians who had escaped the Revolution by going to Harbin, Mukden, and other Manchurian cities before moving down to Shanghai.It was very common for English and American men working in Shanghai to marry White Russian women.When it came time for internment, the Japanese did not intern Asians, or stateless people. However, they also viewed a woman’s nationality as that of her husband. So many White Russians who were married to Britons, Americans, or Dutch were interned. There were a few odd cases where, for example, a Canadian woman married to a Chinese national was not interned.What happened is that your father’s father, Thomas Henry Ward, was interned in one of the first camps opened for general internment – Pootung Camp, in the former British American Tobacco Company godowns (warehouses) in early 1943. Pootung camp originally held men only – single men, men married to Asian women, or men who had followed their consulate’s advice and sent their wives and families back to the UK, USA, or Australia before war broke out.Meanwhile, because of his position as the director of the International Savings Society, your father’s stepfather, Michel Speelman, was arrested on November 5, 1942, along with some 300 other men on the Japanese “wanted” list. These were men who the Japanese considered as dangerous or potentially harmful due to their connections in the business, finance, military, religious, or economic worlds. They were political prisoners and held in the Haiphong Road Camp. Many were tortured. Near the end of the war, in June, 1945, I believe, they were transferred to North China, where they were held in warehouses at Fengtai, a large rail depot. They narrowly avoided being massacred there and were rescued by a US OSS mission which had parachuted into Peking soon after Hirohito broadcast his acceptance of the surrender. I believe I have a photo of Speelman with some other Haiphong Road internees, taken in Peking.As for your father and his stepmother, they were interned in the Great Western Road Camp, which was the former American Columbia Country Club in June of 1943. They remained there until April, 1945, when the Japanese moved them out, along with the internees from the Yu Yuen Road Camp. They were moved into the former Sacred Heart Hospital compound in Yangtzepoo, the industrial section of Shanghai. It had been used to quarter Japanese troops, but as air raids became worse, the Japanese took over the GWR and YYR camps (which were known as such to the Allies) to quarter their troops and moved the internees to the Sacred Heart compound, which became known as Yangtzepoo Camp. There, the internees lived in jam packed, unsanitary conditions while enduring frequent bombing raids on the nearby docks, power plant, water plant, and factories.You can learn more about these camps at www.captives-of-empire.com
By Lincoln Tan
When Jim Tucker approached me to write a paper on the training needs of Asian journalists in New Zealand, I was truly honoured.
I still remember very clearly how small I felt that day in 1997 when I was told by the North Shore Times that I was not good enough even to be interviewed for a cub reporter’s position because I did not have Kiwi journalism experience.
Prior to moving to New Zealand, I had been a journalist at The Singapore Press Holdings, an editor for community newspapers, and a magazine publisher. Having come from a tabloid/community newspaper background, I did not apply for positions in mainstream papers because I felt my style of reporting and writing would suit the community newspapers better.
After receiving a similar reception when I applied for a reporter’s position at The North’Westor - a community newspaper in Christchurch – I thought the only way I could carry on working as a journalist here was to start my own newspaper.
When I came here in 1997, I found the stories in The New Zealand Herald to be of little relevance to me. They seem to be reported for an audience quite different from me, and as an Asian, I have become “them”. Within a space of three months, I stopped reading newspapers on a daily basis, and had instead turned to the Internet for my source of news.
The possibility that there were others like me out there, and the fact that I could not find much news of interest to me in the mainstream papers, prompted me to launch an Asian-focused English-language newspaper in 2003.
My newspaper – iBall - was launched with an agenda: to chart a way forward and to show by example, the kind of paper I thought could help with the crossovers for Asian readers to mainstream newspapers.
When the Herald dabbled in producing a Chinese newspaper in the mid 90s, I felt it was barking up the wrong tree. A publication in Chinese, or any ethnic script for that matter, will only further alienate and separate readers from the mainstream newspaper, and will do little in winning over an Asian readership to their flagship paper.
While working on this study, I had the opportunity to interview several Chinese-language newspaper readers. It is my opinion that it would be a near impossible task to convert them into becoming readers of mainstream newspapers.
The audience targeted by a Chinese language newspaper is totally different from the Asian audience that the mainstream newspaper should be targeting, which includes the English speaking Asian migrants, the 1.5 generation Asians and Kiwi Asians born in New Zealand.
I felt there was a need for a paper that reports mainstream stories from an Asian perspective that could generate interest by showing an Asian audience how mainstream news is relevant them.
Hence, iBall was born. The aim of the paper was to whet their appetite for news, and then channel them to the mainstream newspaper if they wanted a more detailed report. While I am fully aware that this cannot happen overnight, I had planned to do it step by step.
First, I would use iBall to show that there are good Asian journalists here, and show a different style of journalism – one that many Asians are used to.
Next, I would reach out to journalism students and journalists and talk to them about the importance of including ethnic minority communities’ views in their stories for greater balance and work out with them how they can go about doing so. Having a newspaper will help show them that there are interesting newsmakers within the ethnic minority communities.
In Christchurch, I held regular talks at journalism schools and sessions with journalists on the ethnic rounds at The Press and The Christchurch Star.
Last year, I was fortunate to have also been given an opportunity to speak at JTO’s Chief Reporters Conference, and the Journalism Educators Association of New Zealand annual meeting at The Christchurch Town Hall.
IBall was re-launched in Auckland last year, where I am hopeful that it will have a greater impact. The concept of iBall can only work if it is done in partnership with a mainstream paper, and not as a stand alone title.
I am still working hard to find a mainstream newspaper publisher who would give iBall the chance to achieve its full potential.
The Asian crime wave is over-rated
In the wake of the killing of Chinese international student Wan Biao, it has taken a refreshingly simple yet effective piece of journalism to put the public’s fear of the so-called Asian crime phenomenon into some kind of perspective.
Despite a number of recent news reports highlighting methamphetamine smuggling, prostitution, kidnapping and murder and involving new Asian migrants or international students, the perception of an Asian crime wave in New Zealand was effectively debunked by a single episode of Campbell Live on TV3 last month.
During the show, which aired on April 28, John Campbell interviewed Inspector John Mitchell and Police Asian Liaison Officer Jessica Phuang about the extent of Asian crime in the Auckland City police district.
Mr Mitchell and Ms Phuang revealed that while over 30 percent of Auckland City was Asian in ethnicity, only 6 percent of the crime was committed by Asians.
John Mitchell said when the numbers of Chinese students peaked about three years ago, kidnappings were a big problem with 57 cases recorded in 2003 but since then there’s been a spectacular decrease.
“With all the education work we’ve been doing, and some deterrent sentences have been handed down as well, it was four last year.”
Asked if the Asian communities created a disproportionate level of trouble for the police, Mr Mitchell responded with “not at all, it is severely under represented and they’re hard working and lawful, by and large”.
“Do you know of any Asian journalists who have made it to the top? If I can see the success of some other Asians, then I know maybe I stand a chance as a journalist too,” said one Asian student.
On the other hand, news editors and journalism tutors say there is a lack of potential candidates.
The head of the JTO, Jim Tucker, says Asians only made up 0.6 percent of journalism students.
While journalism tutors could not pinpoint the exact reason to why journalism was not attracting Asians, one said it has to do with the high standard of English required.
“Yes, and I think myself and a few other individuals in this newsroom have been working hard to get a more diverse newsroom. Have you any idea where we can get more Asian journalists?” one gatekeeper asked.
Most agreed that there was a need for a recruitment or education programme to attract Asians into journalism because more balanced and informed coverage of Asian communities made the news product more appealing to those communities, otherwise all that was represented was a dominant Pakeha view.
The report also suggests that further research into the market potential of Asian communities was needed. For a copy of the study, contact the NZJTO or email Asia:NZ media adviser Charles Mabbett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Kiwi-Asian view on the media
There is growing awareness among New Zealand news editors of the value of reflecting cultural diversity in news rooms to appeal to the growing Kiwi Asian sector but many say they are limited by a shortage of Asian journalism graduates.
In carrying out a study for the New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation, iBall editor Lincoln Tan undertook to survey perspectives among news gatekeepers towards New Zealand’s increasing Asian communities as well as converse views.
The report ‘There’s scope for more Asian involvement in the mainstream media’ was funded by the Asia New Zealand Foundation. It canvases the views of media studies students, journalism lecturers, mainstream news editors as well as editors and readers of the Chinese language print media.
“With the changing face of New Zealand, as we head down the path of multi-culturalism, mainstream media must be prepared to evolve and to take the bold step to admit – yes, there is a need for change,” Mr Tan said.
Mr Tan says his report focused on the mainstream media and New Zealand’s Chinese communities and, while many of the issues discussed are generic to most Asian communities, he recommends that a similar study on South Asians and the media be undertaken at some point.
The Maori of New Zealand - published by Song Lam
The Maori performers tell of how their ancestors began their journey many centuries ago, crossing the sea from China to Taiwan and from there they reached then Pacific Islands including Aotearoa.
The pronunciation of five Maori vowels (a e i o u ) is exactly as in Chinese Mandarin (Hanyu Pinyin).
The Maori word “hui” which meet meeting or gathering, has the same meaning and pronunciation as Hanyu Pinyin “hui”
The Maori demi god Maui has his Chinese counterpart in Monkey, Sun Wu Kong. Both Maui and Sun Wu Kong are shape shifters who could transform themselves in any shape or figure at any time.
Chinese legend has a woman called Chang E who stole elixir and flew to the moon and stayed there alone. In Maori legend a woman called Nona was punished by living alone on the moon.
Both Maori and Chinese value the land and pay homage to it – traditionally and now.
It is part of Maori and Chinese protocol to remove shoes before entering the Marae and a Chinese home respectively as a mark of respect. The Maori Marae is just like the Chinese Ci Tang where the people from the hupu or tribe worship their ancestors.
Before the coming of the European Maori Chiefs practiced polygamy, as did the Chinese.
Traditionally the Chinese do not encourage marriage between men and women with the same surname. In the case of Maori people from the same tribe are not encouraged to marry.
Traditionally in Maori practice, the marriage of a puhi, a virgin daughter of a chief, is arranged by he father or a kaumtua. This is similar to that of marriages arranged for the Chinese nobles in ancient times.
Like the Chinese, the maori respect their elders and other senior relatives, such as older brothers and sisters. They have the responsibility of looking after their younger siblings. Both Maori and Chinese value and function in an extended family circle.
Both Maori and Chinese regard the head the most important part of the body. Traditionally the Maori used to keep the severed heads of their enemies as a kind of utu. In ancient times the Chinese did the same.
Rank or heritage right of Maori was theoretically based on the principle of Primogeniture. The first born in the senior male line had the highest rank, similar to the Chinese practice of naming the oldest Chinese son or Grandson heirs to the father of grandfather.
A formal wedding ceremony was not common practice among Maori and Chinese. They just invited relatives and close friends to attend a banquet or feast.
Maori tend to present a koha when the visit each other , as do the Chinese.
Published in iball 26 May 2006 email@example.com
A desire to give Chinese immigrants to New Zealand an insight into their new country led TEAM Solutions facilitator Song Lam to write a book on her new homeland. “My New Life in New Zealand” offers reflections on her move to New Zealand in 1990. The 420-page book offers a mix of personal experiences, poems, “happy journeys” and a section on New Zealand writers, conferences and symposiums. It is written mainly in Chinese.
Song Lam says she came to New Zealand with her husband in 1990 in search of better educational opportunities for their two sons. Her childrens’ academic success means these goals have been achieved, she says. Eleven years since the family migrated, her oldest son, Stanley, has graduated with an Honours degree in chemical and engineer from Auckland University and has also completed a Master of Information Technology degree at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is now working for IBM. Her youngest son, 13-year-old Yick Wong, is a “happy college student” and is responsible for designing the cover of her book.
Song Lam says that as a new immigrant, she had to overcome hardship, language difficulties and racial discrimination. She attributes her positive attitude to helping her overcome these difficulties and says her personal philosophy of goals, attitude and strive (GAS) has helped her achieve her goals. “As a new immigrant, I want to let others know that life is hard, but if you can try your best you will get what you want,” Song Lam says. “I have always believed that so I guess that is also my philosophy." “Supporting others and writing books to help new Chinese migrants in understanding new cultures is my passion.”
‘My New Life in New Zealand’ is Song Lam’s third book. In 1998, she published the first-ever on Maoridom to be written in Chinese, entitled ‘The Maori of New Zealand.’ A year later she published ‘What do Children Learn in New Zealand Schools?” Both books were designed to give new Chinese migrants an insight into Maori culture and the New Zealand education system and both received achievement and literary awards from organisations in New Zealand and in Asia. ‘My New Life in New Zealand’ is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
Song Lam has plenty of other ideas in the pipeline. Next, she plans a book on outstanding Maori and will follow that a book on famous Europeans and then prominent Chinese. Coming up with ideas for books isn’t a problem, Song Lam says, but finding the time to write them is. With her commitments at TEAM Solutions and involvement in setting up and running free language classes for new migrants, the only free time is “late at night.” “That’s when I get my work done,” she says.
Friday June 2, 2006
Anyone who has been to the Shung Ye Museum of Formosa Aborigines in Taiwan would hardly have been surprised when researchers found a genetic link between the peoples of that part of the world and those in the Pacific.
One glance at the displays in dark cabinets and you didn't need a scientist to tell you what was obvious.
But of course, few people have seen the Shung Ye Museum, despite it being opposite the tourist magnet which is the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the vast structure built into a mountain which houses the world's largest and best collection of Chinese art.
But Taipei is not a destination for tourists. It draws business people for the most part and only around 5000 Kiwis a year make it there. And my guess is that only a tiny percentage of them do much more in this noisy, fume-filled city than go to Snake Alley to drink - or watch others drink - snake blood, eat turtles or buy some weird powder from an endangered species guaranteed (yes, guaranteed) to enhance sexual performance.
Taipei is not by any measure one of the world's most attractive cities and I could find no reference to it in that recent list of the best quality-of-life cities to live in.
The predilection for convenient but noisy motorcycles reaches its zenith in Taipei. They form solid lines along footpaths, come at you from all sides when you step out of shop doors on to the pavement, and zoom around at all hours of the night like manic mosquitoes.
Yet Taipei does have its attractions: the most amusing (but the one you need to stay poker-faced for) is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial where the hourly changing of the guard looks like it has been choreographed by Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.
Of much more interest to travellers from the Pacific is the Shung Ye Museum.
Taiwan brags long and loud about its aboriginal peoples - nine separate tribes by all accounts - but they comprise only 2 per cent of the population and so are all but invisible. Their festivals are being encouraged because they form a colourful and unexpected tourist attraction in a country notable for its homogeneity. But mostly their story is told in the museum, where their traditional crafts, pottery, textiles, musical instruments and crude houses are reconstructed or archived.
And what an uncannily Polynesian/Melanesian story it is: even the faces on the models look like people you'd pass on K Rd or in Manukau City.
The day I was there the place was absolutely silent, not one other visitor, and it made for a very strange experience. It was as if I had stepped out of a noisy Chinatown and into a frozen world of ancient Aotearoa.
Of course there were differences, but it was the striking similarities which resonated.
As I left I passed a counter and smiled at the tidy middle-aged woman behind it.
In staccato English she asked where I was from.
I told her.
"Oh," she said nodding furiously. "We know you. We know you."
As I walked back into the mania of motorcycles, I had no doubt she did.