A large part of Chinese superstitious beliefs is tied up in numerology – lucky numbers and unlucky numbers. I talked about it before in Rich Chinese ; crazy things are done and large amounts of money is spent to get the right numbers and avoid the bad ones. Barry Li, author of The New Chinese: How they are changing Australia recounts a story of a Sydney house that failed to achieve the same ludicrous selling price as other Sydney properties, all because it had the street number of 74 (it probably still sold for other 1million AUD though). With different tonal inflictions, the pronunciation of 74 can easily become ‘wife dies’, ‘angry to death’ or ‘die together’, so Chinese buyers steered clear. Continue reading
As I brought up the Monkey King in my previous post on religion in China I thought it would be reminisce of me if I didn’t expound further on this little guy. In some regards he’s a bit like Santa Claus: everyone is familiar with the image and the symbolism in some small way. A guy with a white beard in a red hat is easily synonymous with the term Christmas. But Santa didn’t appear out of nowhere. Like how facts and truths about Santa’s reindeers, elves and home address are a bit more quick to mind than the story of his origin as a monk, the history behind the Monkey King is equally mystical, and also if it not as instantly recognisable as his appearance.
Barry Li’s view on the mindset of the new generation of ‘new Chinese’ (basically those born from the 1980s on) can be summed up in the final paragraph of his extract:
“They do not like to hear anyone, including the mainstream Australian media, describe China as an extreme communist country, because it simply is not true. They probably will not be offended if you describe the Chinese as realists, because they mostly are. They will be offended if you tell them that the South China Sea does not belong to China, even though they personally do not own a single drop of water in that sea.”
China, as Barry Li disclaims in the very first sentence of this excerpt, does indeed have a “poor record” on human rights. Li doesn’t expound further on particular issues, as neither will I. Plenty of journalists and articles elsewhere explain what has been done or denied to certain people, particularly those of ethnic minorities and those with political agendas not favourable towards the CCP. Likely Li doesn’t want to be blacklisted as a trouble maker in his home country; Continue reading
The title of this chapter should be enough to give away that this will not be an easy topic. Interesting, undoubtedly, and perhaps controversial. Chinese style democracy is sure to fall short of the hopes of some, and higher in the expectations of others.
This passage is perhaps one of the longest so far, as Li spends more time covering pre 1949 history than anything too contemporary. He does this in order to explain the answer to a question he once heard from a senior manager in a top accounting firm: is there any chance or risk that large, wealthy cities like Beijing and Shanghai – given their significance – may break away and declare independence from China?
This is not an extract from Li’s book, The New Chinese, but it is such an important development in recent Chinese history that I thought it deserved its own post. There are plenty of accurately researched articles about the policy’s history and about how it was/is implemented that can be easily found; this article will be more a gathering of threads together to explore what the One-Child Policy, and the recent revoking of it into a Two-Child Policy, means in an Australian context.
There’s a lot of babies in this chapter. I myself am not overly fond of newborns (I’m told my opinion will change when my friends or I start having children. I’ll wait to believe it.) but it seems that China, between 1949 and 1979, was. If you’ve ever wondered what was happening to China’s population when the one-child-policy was bought in, here’s the breakdown according to Li:
“The morning Barry Li woke up with the worst hangover of his life was the moment he realised he no longer belonged in China. It was the day after New Year’s Eve 2010, and the young accountant had been pressured into joining colleagues at the Agriculture Bank of China for a formal dinner involving vast quantities of Chinese liquor.”
Smith, Michael. “Barry Li on the new Chinese changing Australia”. The Australian Financial Review. July 28 2017. http://www.afr.com.
Interview with Kevin Turner, “How to Attract Chinese Buyers”, RealEstateTalk, July 21st 2017.
Kevin: In the last 30 years, China has transformed itself into one of the world’s leaders in political, economic, and social relations. With Australia a hotspot for Chinese immigrants, understanding the cultural nuances – both from an Australian and Chinese perspective – is more important than ever.
In his book The New Chinese, author Barry Li has written an essential guide on the history, culture, and mindset of Chinese migrants in Australia. He joins me to talk about the book and the influences on Australia of having Chinese investors.
Barry, thank you very much for your time.
Barry: Thank you, Kevin, for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Kevin: That’s okay. Barry, how do Chinese buyers feel about how we discuss their buying Aussie property impacts on our prices?
Barry: Well, to answer that, Kevin, I need to divide the Chinese into two groups. One is the group who works here and lives here, permanent residents like myself. We make Australian salaries, so it’s as difficult for us to compete with overseas buyers as any Australian. We would feel the comment is unfair, but we totally understand why – because typical Australians can’t tell the difference.
For the second group, the Chinese from overseas, they don’t care about these comments. These comments won’t stop them from buying, because they don’t read our media or our social media.
They only look at things from Weibo and WeChat, which are largely controlled by property developers, and there’s probably only positive news about investing in Australia, which is the reason they buy here. So, that’s the situation.
Listen to the full interview or view the transcript at realestatetalk.com.au