Saturday, December 31, 2011


Audrey Bing Shum Chan, services to the community, Auckland. THE QUEEN'S SERVICES MEDAL (QSM) 2011

Kitty Shui Fung Chiu, JP, services to the community, Auckland. THE QUEEN'S SERVICES MEDAL (QSM) 2011

Arthur Loo, services to the Chinese community, Auckland. THE QUEEN'S SERVICES MEDAL (QSM) 2011

Robert Joseph Ting, services to the Chinese community, Wellington. THE QUEEN'S SERVICES MEDAL (QSM) 2011

Robert Ting

New Zealand honors pillar of Chinese community

WELLINGTON, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government has honored a stalwart of the country's ethnic Chinese community in its annual New Year honors list for his services to maintaining a strong Chinese culture.

Robert Ting, 71, received the Queen's Service Medal on Saturday for his 50 years of work with many of the country's leading Chinese organizations.

Ting, whose grandparents emigrated from south China's Guangdong province in the early 1900s, told Xinhua the award symbolized the growing recognition of the contributions the Chinese community had made to New Zealand.

The Wellington resident was for 17 years treasurer of the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre and for three years treasurer of the New Zealand Chinese Association, and for the last 10 years has been treasurer of the Tung Jung Association, which was founded in 1926 by Chinese who emigrated from the Tung Qwoon ( Dongguan) and Jungsen (Zengcheng) districts of Guangdong.

"I come from a family that was quite heavily involved in the Chinese community from the early 1900s. My grandfather was the founding president of the Tung Jung Association," Ting said in a phone interview.

Originally set up to maintain kinship ties and to help fellow Chinese in trying times, the association became a focus for many of New Zealand's early Chinese immigrants and has since evolved into an education and research institution to support Chinese language and culture and to help with research into family histories.

"The Tung Jung Association maintains all the Chinese cultural occasions and we always hold dinners to celebrate Qingming and the Chinese New Year as well as other traditional festivals," said the retired accountant.

"Unfortunately I don't speak Chinese myself my mother spoke English to us all the time at home, so I never learned."

Recent immigration from China had seen a growth in the use of the Mandarin dialect in New Zealand's burgeoning Chinese community and distinctions between the established Chinese and new arrivals, he said.

"My heritage is Cantonese and it has become increasingly difficult to keep the prevalence of Cantonese."

However, interest in New Zealand's early Chinese immigrants has grown since the previous Labour Party-led government under Prime Minister Helen Clark apologized in 2002 for historic injustices against the Chinese population, in particular the infamous poll tax.

The Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881 imposed a poll tax of 10 pounds a sizeable sum at the time -- on every Chinese entering the country, and this was raised to 100 pounds in 1896.

The discriminatory levy meant many Chinese men could not afford to bring their wives and families with them to New Zealand and it left many in long-term debt.

After petitions to the government, the poll tax was waived from 1934, but it was only officially repealed 10 years after that.

In a gesture of reconciliation in 2005, the New Zealand government established the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust with a grant of 5 million NZ dollars (3.88 million U.S. dollars) to promote the preservation of Chinese New Zealand history and to support Chinese New Zealand history, language and culture, particularly that of the early Chinese community.

The establishment of the fund marked a long awaited formal acknowledgement of the Chinese community's contribution to New Zealand, said Ting.

"The interest from the trust fund has been distributed to many worthy Chinese projects, such as books and other research."

Asked whether he considers himself predominantly a Chinese or a New Zealander, Ting replied: "A mixture of both I still like to keep my ties to the Chinese."

Chinese street name suggestions to be sought

George St, Princes St and Moray Pl, in Dunedin, could be joined by Sew Hoy Lane or Guangdong Rise.

The Dunedin City Council is to seek suggestions from the city's Chinese community on names for the city's new roads.

The move came after councillors this week voted to adopt the council's new road naming policy, which spelt out rules for new names and the aim of better reflecting the area's identity.

The draft policy was first released for consultation earlier this year, prompting three submissions from members of the public.

One, from Chinese historian and retired general practitioner Dr James Ng, of Dunedin, argued the Chinese contribution to Dunedin and Otago should be recognised in road and place names.

The Chinese had played a significant role in the region's history, from the goldfields of Central Otago to commerce and employment in Dunedin.

That included Sew Hoy and Sons, which employed "300 or more" workers in their clothing manufacturing business for more than 30 years, and the more recent arrival of the Chinese Garden, built for the city by workers from China, he said.

The city even boasted a Chinese former mayor in Peter Chin, he said.

Despite that, the city had yet to recognise its Chinese heritage in a place or street name, and that needed to change, he said.

He suggested Sew Hoy or Guangdong as examples of road or place names that could be used.

The suggestion won support from Cr Richard Thomson at this week's infrastructure services committee meeting. He asked for the suggestion to be given weight in the council's new road naming policy.

Cr Kate Wilson - one of the councillors appointed to review submissions - said the idea had been considered, but cautioned pronunciation and spelling might create problems for emergency services.

Despite that, councillors voted to create a register of approved road names available for use when new roads were created, and to ask the Chinese community for possible road names to be considered for inclusion.

A process for approving names for the register would also be prepared for a later infrastructure services committee meeting.

The new policy also confirmed existing names would only be changed if there was a "clear benefit" for the community, and council staff confirmed at Tuesday's meeting there were no plans for a clean-up of existing names.

The policy prohibited new road names that were the same or similar to existing names, and said names should reference the area in which they were located.

The policy also allowed the use of macrons when spelling new Maori road names, and allowed changes when the use of macrons was of "demonstrable importance" to mana whenua.

When a road name using macrons was approved, the spelling of it without macrons would be "discouraged, but permitted", the policy said.

Councillors would continue to have the final say on recommended road names.
Chinese community feels left out of constitutional review

A Chinese community leader and commentator says the local Chinese community feels left out of the current Constitutional review debate, and continued sidelining of the group will disadvantage New Zealand in the future.

Steven Young, the immediate past-President of the New Zealand Chinese Association, said there was a lack of response from the government to engage the Chinese in the debate which has so far been confined only to the politicians, academics and others with vested interests.

Chinese Kiwis feel under-represented on treaty issues, according to the Wellington-based consulting engineer.

While the government has advanced on treaty issues in the last 30 years it has had little time to think about the country’s relationship with those who are not directly party to the treaty – the ethnic communities, said Young, who came to New Zealand from China at a very young age.

“Visibly-different migrants usually have stronger cultural needs and aspirations which they would like to maintain, express and develop, while learning to also be loyal New Zealanders. However, they feel left out of the Constitutional debate – which is what the development of the treaty relationship is. The official view that such migrants are represented by the Crown in the treaty debate is a kind official deafness to the needs of the multicultural sector and the Chinese who make up a large proportion of that sector. This lack of an official response could disadvantage New Zealand in the longer term.”

Ethnic communities form a significant part of a multicultural New Zealand. There are close to 150,000 Chinese living here.

In the light of the coming general election, Young hopes the new government will do something and actively encourage and facilitate participation from the Chinese.

“This would include explaining and defining the current Constitutional situation and exploring alternatives. The debate should be brought down to street level. Full participation will help define what kind of society New Zealand should be in the 21st century and beyond,” said Young.

When asked to comment on the difference in approach between old Chinese politicians such as former Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin and Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, and new Chinese immigrants standing for election, Young said Chin and Foon had been around long enough to understand local issues and to resolve local problems; they had earned the confidence of the locals.

On the other hand, Young noted Chinese immigrants entering politics were usually “shoulder-tapped by political parties looking for a token Chinese to ‘represent’ a potential constituency”.

With barely 10 years of residency in New Zealand and lacking a track record of working with the minorities, “they are parachuted into list seats without a great deal of political experience or a power base of their own.

“At best they can only act as salesmen for their parties to an ethnic sector. We would expect that such candidates once elected will advocate ethnic ‘motherhood and apple-pie’ positions for their communities,” said Young, adding that he expected the pattern to continue in future elections until such time when the Chinese community “is able to fully participate in mainstream parties over a period of years and in sufficient numbers to influence the development of policies”.

Young does not see any political party gaining a majority of Chinese votes on Nov 26.

He said the Chinese had in the past supported Labour because of “its history of looking after the underdog by word and by deed... However for both old and new migrants, their cultural history, personal drive and economic positioning has increasingly placed them somewhat more to the right on the political spectrum.

“If people vote in accordance with their beliefs and interests, then no party can expect a majority of Chinese support”.

Interview by Yuanyong Yang
Written by Kwan Kwan Lim

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gudao, Lone Islet

Gudao, Lone Islet

Diary from Chinese youth leaders' camp

Carolyn Ding, student | Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:29

Carolyn Ding is in Year 11, at Saint Kentigerns College. She attended the New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA) first ever Youth Leadership Camp at Camp Adair in December 2011.
Winston Gee

Chinese students earmarked as future leaders have taken part in the first youth leadership camp run by the NZ Chinese Association. One of those chosen Carolyn Ding, is Year 11 at St Kentigerns. She kept a diary of the experience for the Aucklander. The 43 students - aged 14 to 17 - were exploring what it means to be young and Chinese in New Zealand. They were chosen because they have been earmarked as future leaders. Albert King, a personal development coach from Singapore ran the weekend which featured speeches from high-profile Kiwis of Chinese descent including film director Roseanne Liang (My Wedding and Other Secrets), Andrew Young (ex-CEO, Starship Foundation) and Meng Foon (Mayor of Gisborne).

The Aucklander asked one of future leaders who took part to keep a diary. Carolyn Ding is in Year 11, at Saint Kentigerns. This is her account.

Today I caught a lift with Jess, meeting Maisy and Alice, and drove an hour to Hunua's Camp Adair. The only other camps I have attended were in primary school and last year's choir camp.

We were allocated our cabins and I soon realised others were in the same position as me - quite nervous about meeting others. The committee, including Richard Leung and David Wong, met us an introduced us to our new coach and mentor, Albert King, who had flown in from Singapore!

I was nervous this morning knowing that I would be surrounded by a new environment, strangers and tasks that may be mentally and physically challenging.

We played a few'meet and greet' activities and acknowledged what we wanted to get out of the camp. I really like the way Albert explained that the more we put into it, the more we'd get out of it. I know I've heard that so many times but just the way he challenged us, really made me think and want to give it a go. I hope I can give 110 per cent.

He also explained our comfort zone and how we have a stretch zone and also a danger zone, the stretch zone being the extension and putting ourselves to the test and the danger zone being stretching ourselves way too far and endangering ourselves such as a panic attack etc. (I don't think that'll be too likely though).

I haven't thought about this before. I hope I can actually gain a better idea of who I am by the end of the camp.

We did activities aimed at getting to know each other. There are a couple of St Kentigern College students (Meghan Koh and Nick King) who I have seen around school but haven't had the chance to talk to before. There are also a number of Diocesan girls, some from Wellington, Levin and one all the way from Queensland!

Later, we were fortunate enough to hear from the the director of My Wedding and Other Secrets, Roseanne Liang! I love that movie and have watched it so many times, so I feel as if I kind of already know her. It was an excellent talk in which she spoke about her films, endeavours and hard work getting there. It was very inspiring the way she spoke from the heart about finding herself and her Chinese identity. It's also really interesting that her Chinese ancestry has actually helped her in her success, and she knows who she is despite the confusion of her mixed culture. I wish I could be that decisive. She also shared her childhood and her parents' Chinese influence. It's funny how so much has changed and where most of us accept ourselves as Chinese New Zealanders and may not even know our Chinese roots or the language. Are we still Chinese if we can't speak the language, don't share the culture, but simply look the part?

I guess I see myself as a New Zealander even though I am Chinese. I now feel as if my culture of Chinese enhances the New Zealand. I do know how to speak a bit of Cantonese and yes, I do know the Chinese culture to a point, but my roots and ancestry are still a bit hazy. Something to research.

Roseanne accepts that life is full of learning curves and we should put in the hard yards to strive to'not be a bad person' but instead a good, moral person. When put like that, I see life in a different perspective. I just wish we could sometimes take a simpler route to our ideal image instead of going through the hard yards.

Afterwards, we watched the lion dance performed by kids aged 4-19. I've seen this previously so it was no biggie for me. We were also given the chance to give it a go.

Chill time. At dinner, I sat with some Diocesan girls. Had some classic Chinese noodles (stirfry and chicken). Yum.

Group activities were next. Got into our groups - Davina, Sian, Cammy, Wei Luok, Nick, Braden, Nathan and I. Our facilitators were Alice Chan and Winson Fong.

Made a name: Panda Power! Made a logo. Made a chant.

'We are black, we are white, we are mighty dynamite!

Was really fun working in the group, Sian is the leader of our group and Davina is the messenger.

Burma trail
It was alright, not too adrenaline rushing as we could see in the dark and everyone was talking but it was fun spending time with the group anyway whether we could see them or not.

Supper, then played cards, tin the other dorm. Also played a few truth and dares.

It's now midnight and everyone is asleep except me. I am so tired and still have to wake up at 7.30am tomorrow. Not looking forward to that part.

Woke up to my friend, Jess, tapping me on the shoulder for a 6.30am wake up call. No not 7.30am. It's a Saturday and usually I'm used to waking up around 10.30am.

Today: It was the outdoor high ropes designed to push us to our limits or'stretch zone'. I am not so keen on heights. Once at the top of each course, about 10m from the ground, and faced with the task of leaping into mid air, I was far from my comfort zone.

The sight of even Winson jumping scared me. He jumped and spread out his arms and legs out like a starfish. Each bump and swing of the rope made him jerk from side to side like a rag doll. I'm pretty sure I would never do that in a million years. How on earth does anyone do that?

It was the first obstacle and I'd have to say the scariest although many others said they had loved it.

The second obstacle was fine. It was the Cargo Net where you simply had to climb up a 10m cargo net which wasn't attached to the ground. It was much, much easier for me as I'd much rather endure a small workout than facing heights!

This was also great for the team bonding because we had to work together to guide a blindfolded member of our group over the course. Also we were forced to bond by guiding the ropes attached to the climber through a mechanism, ensuring their safety. It was great fun.

The final obstacle was the Multi Vine in which we had to climb up the tree and scuttle across a tightrope wire, holding on to suspended vertical ropes every 2m. This really tested our balance, trust in ourselves as well as the trust we had in our team mates. I found this activity challenging as the further I travelled, the more it shook according to my nerves, and the more it shook, the more nervous I became. Let's just say it was very shaky up there. I was insanely scared.

As we had restricted time, we were only able to complete 3 out of the 5 courses. To be honest, I was very relieved - the next one involved heights.

Taichi was next, all about finding your inner chi and balance to your life: ying and yang. Once explained I could understand the fascination of it, although it isn't my cup of tea. Gold medallist and two time silver medallist David Wong taught us! His control and balance was amazing. When I tried it, it was surprisingly quite relaxing.

Guest speaker two: Andrew Young, Past CEO of Starship Foundation and present Global Marketing Director of Les Mills.

Andrew was also very inspiring to me, hearing about his difficulties and challenges growing up in the Chinese culture and having to work in his parents' fruit shop as a teenager instead of being able to hang out with his mates. He really rebelled against his parents. I couldn't really believe it that someone like him, now so successful, could've had so much difficulty as a teenager. He really spoke from the heart and it was an amazing talk.

We then moved on to a Chinese dance. A lot of people were put out of their immediate comfort zone but once we got going, we were fine. We have to wear cultural costumes tomorrow at the performance for the parents. Bright pink with a mandarin collar and the works. Great. I am also not a great dancer.

Then we went to calligraphy. It was surprisingly hard to write nicely. I didn't expect that. It was handy that I had attended Chinese school previously when I was young so I was familiar with most words. The calligraphy Chinese teacher was so funny!

Dinner then another speaker.

Meng Foon spoke to us. It had been a very long, full on day so we were already very tired. He spoke about his experiences working within a political setting and how if we should always use our full potential in everything we do so that we don't live with regrets. I really respect his skills and being fluent in Maori. He also sung us a Maori song. He is actually a good singer!

After supper was our group presentations answering our given question. Ours was'If you were a super hero, what super ability would you pick to have'. We chose shape shifting which ties in with our'panda' group name and created a short story based on how communication is key. Being able to shape shift into different animals and characters, we would also be able communicate with different life forms and see situations from their perspectives.

Then we sat in our groups in a dark setting to hear classical music, sharing our thoughts. It was great to see how we'd all grown a bit, and we all felt a bit wiser after only a day and a half of camp. That was one of my favourite parts of camp. Sitting around in groups by candlelight, having a deep and meaningful conversation.

It's now 2.30am and I am exhausted after chatting etc.

Team building activities, everyone grouping in a circle. All I could think about the whole time while we were interacting with one another was how we were strangers only two days ago and now, we were familiar and had built strong relationships in such a short time frame. It is like Albert said,'we are all connected now'.

We went to the hall that and listened to NZCA National President, Virginia Chong, speak. She spoke about our futures and what lies ahead of us within the NZCA community. I think it was a good conclusion, focusing on the future opportunities.

Following other presentations, we had a discussion about whether we see ourselves as New Zealand Chinese or Chinese New Zealand and whether there is a difference between the two or not. It really triggered my own thoughts.

We had a small ceremony presenting envelopes from our facilitators (Alice and Winson) in which comments from our camp members had been written. I loved the atmosphere, everyone was silent and music was put on. Not one word was said yet the message was still conveyed.

We were then able to hug and whisper our acknowledgements, ending with everyone in a circle, swaying from side to the'Vitamin C Friends Forever Graduation Song'. Although it was a bit cheesy, I think it touched each one of us.

The very last thing on the agenda was the parent concert in which we had to perform our Chinese dance we had learnt in an hour yesterday. I was anxious about performing in front of the parents and especially the Chinese dance routine as it was something I had never tried before. I don't think anyone of us were too pleased about our costumes, yet alone the dance, but it was the last challenge and we all did our best.

Certificates were handed out and a slide show played showed us how much we had done in such a small space of time. Then it was an afternoon tea with all our leftover treats and Chinese dumplings.

I now have a new set of friends, a support group and many new thoughts. Despite all the nerves, fears and early wakeups, it was a great experience, and I have a lot to take away from it.

- Carolyn Ding, year 11 in 2011, Saint Kentigern College