New Zealand through Chinese eyes
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.