Category: Blog

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A village near Wanning, Hainan, January 2015

“From the Gold Rush to the Property Rush: Poor Chinese” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

 

“’Rich’ and ‘poor’ are relative terms, of course. Australians are unlikely to meet Chinese people who are living below the poverty threshold. Such people do not have enough money to travel here for a holiday or to study, and they certainly do not have the money to invest in Australian property. In this sense, all the Chinese people you meet in Australia are rich.”

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https://twitter.com/cat_prinse/status/879227829228941312

“From the Gold Rush to the Property Rush: Rich Chinese” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

Rich Chinese. Have any two words gone together more smoothly before in the Australian accent? The two seem inseparable while the alternative – Poor Chinese; spoiler alert for the next extract – is an oxymoron. This transcript from a conversation at an Aussie BBQ is about as authentic as it gets:

“Hey, Dazza mate, who bought the big house down the road?”

“Yeah, nah mate, dunno. Probably Chinese.”

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“From the Gold Rush to the Property Rush: Mandarin Speakers” – Musings from an Australian perspective

The next excerpt from Barry Li’s The New Chinese is part history part statistics. Let’s just say outright that the numbers he provides from 2010 – 60 million native Cantonese speakers, 365 million native English speakers (one million for every day of the year!), and 960 million native Mandarin speakers – are incomprehensibly scary. How does the number of native English speakers from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and all the others not even match half that of Mandarin speakers? If there were 960 million native French speakers in the world,

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“From the Gold Rush to the Property Rush: Cantonese Speakers” – Musings from an Australian Perspective

This read through of Barry Li’s The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia has now brought us to Chapter 2 – ‘From the Gold Rush to the Property Rush’. I’m attempting not to make it a dry, analytic recap; rather I try to add my thoughts and comments to Barry’s own, from the perspective of an Australian who’s studying Mandarin and spent a bit of time here and there in China,

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“Defining the New Chinese” – Musings from an Australian Perspective.

I’ll admit: when I looked at this section title and glanced very briefly at the text I did wonder how I was going to make a blog post about this topic, and one not too dry at that. Then some words caught my attention – Qing empire, Honolulu, Opium Wars – and I realised a lot more could be found in this than just a clarification of definitions.