I’m taking a quick side-step on my discussion of Barry Li’s book The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia to briefly discuss the Cultural Revolution. This event, from 1966 – 1976 is significant in the lives of the next two generations Li covers in this chapter – those of the Chinese Gen X and the Chinese Baby Boomers. Understanding the way in which the Cultural Revolution shaped the lives and mindset of millions of Chinese is important in understanding how they act today, and the manner of influence they have on the younger generation.
Interview with Alan Qu, SBS Mandarin Radio, Friday 28th July 2017 View the original posting at sbs.com.au More information in 中文 about ‘The New Chinese’ can be found here
If you’ve read my previous passage on 80后then you’ll know that 90后 refers to the Chinese generation born between 1990 – 1999 (congrats on your Mandarin 101 Learning!). If I had been born in China this is where I would fit in.
80后 hòu is the Chinese term used to describe someone born between 1980 and 1989. This is the generation that Barry Li, author of The New Chinese, belongs to. This is a generation of a rapidly changing environment from post Cultural Revolution to technology, infrastructure and an opening up to the West.
Li describes growing up in Suzhou (China’s version of Oldtown from Westeros) with his great-aunt and his cousin (who really was actually the daughter of his grandmother’s adopted daughter. Complicated. For all intents and purposes, he calls her his sister, which is the done thing among the one-child generations. It used to confuse me a lot when students I used to teach in Beijing would tell me of their multiple brothers and sister; for a long time I thought it was just an English error they were making.)
There are plenty of things being done and still more about the frustration Barry Li shares about homeownership in his book The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia.
Foreign homeownership has been an element at the heart of the debate over Australian housing market price increases. The Chinese are regularly blamed for the price hike, purportedly pushing new owners out of the competition, and rising rental prices for lack of availability.
Local Chinese families aren’t immune either, unable to compete with Chinese buyers who are helped by “their entire family, who [have] a lifetime of savings in their pocket boosted by the economic boom”.
By Barry Li Last year, one of my colleagues built two semi-detached houses, wanting to sell one. His question to me was: How do I sell it to a Chinese buyer? There’s an implied understanding […]
“’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.”
By Barry Li Most Australians are familiar with China’s “one child policy”. Enforced around the time of my birth in China three and a half decades ago, this policy evolved into a “two child policy” […]
“CHINA used to copy the world and now the world copies China. And far from being just a poor communist country, China is now a huge economic force. That’s according to author Barry Li who […]
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,