Education On Cultural Differences From A Cultural Scholar
Fresh on my return from China, Guangzhou to Sydney, Australia today, these are the times I am most attuned to the cultural differences between both countries.
I can be doing one thing one way in China, and then ten hours later, be doing the same thing completely differently in Australia.
To me, it is normal to reaccustom myself to the new Australian culture, but to somehow who has never travelled in their lifetime, to come to Australia for the first time would be a culture shock to them. I know.
That is why I seek to educate people on the expectations of their first steps in a foreign land, before they take steps in said foreign land.
My mission is to make people understand the cultural differences between China and The West so as to prepare travellers for the rich experience of being in another country, rather than the shock.
Racial Expectations In Marriage
Today, in Australia, as I walked around Macarthur Square and saw two young Australian kids in a relationship of the same ethnicity, it made me reflect on the expectations of race in marriage.
When are “cultural differences” acceptable as a reason for two people to marry within the same race?
In a mono-racial culture like China, marrying within your race seems reasonable. It is reasonable to say, “This person is a foreigner. They do not understand the customs in China. It would be a difficult life.”
Not being able to progress to a serious relationship with a Chinese female in China has happened to me in previous relationships where massive cultural differences have to be overcome on both sides of the cultural divide.
That is understandable.
But Australia is a very multicultural country.
Ethnic Relationships In Multicultural Australia
I still see young kids in relationships of the same ethnicity in Australia.
I think “each to their own”.
But I believe, in Australia, the only prerequisite should be Australian culture.
In Australia, everyone comes from another country. The common theme that makes us all Australian is being born in Australia, growing up in Australia, and being able to experience the same Australian cultural values.
Therefore, in this context of Australian identity, ethnicity does not really become an issue in relationships or marriage.
No Cultural Differences Between Australians
Two Australian-born Australians, regardless of background, should have no prejudice when dating.
When you are an Australian of Asian heritage, and an Australian of Macedonian heritage, for example, and you still cannot date each other because of conceived differences, despite both being Australian, that perplexes me.
To an observer like me, the culture that Australians have been brought up in is Australian culture. Australian people, regardless of their color or ethnicity, grow up in the same Australian culture, with Australian values such as multiculturalism, equality, and no place for discrimination.
Therefore, if like me you grew up in Australia, you would be aware that cultural differences between Australians with racial differences should be very minimal, if not non-existent. We should only have differences on whether to watch cricket, football, or rugby league.
Racial And Cultural Differences Between Australians And Immigrants
The only place an Australian practices their own motherland culture is in their home, in their community, or with the extended relatives from their homeland, such as a Macedonian community, a Vietnamese community, or a Chinese community in Australia.
Therefore, the only time in Australia that you could really cite racial and cultural differences in a love relationship are if one person is an immigrant who comes to Australia to settle down, and has a love relationship with an Australian.
That is when culture becomes a measurable difference.
An immigrant in Australia has to learn how to adapt to our Australian culture, as a Westerner in China equally has to adapt to Chinese culture.
Some obstacles to immigrants in mixed-race relationships is in their need to understand the cultural norms and practices in Australia, such as how men and women are equal, and they both each have to work hard to make money for the relationship.
That is a big difference.
Relationships Of The Same Ethnicity In Australia
To see so many Australians in relationships of the same ethnicity in Australia however, makes no sense, other than to assume that their preference for their own ethnicity supersedes the Australian culture and norms that we as Australians are all raised in to believe.
I cannot understand how in a country toting diversity, Australia still has racially-stacked suburbs, and racial communities.
It is good to celebrate your cultural heritage in Australia, but not so good for all your high school playground friends to be the same color as you.
Australia benefits more as a multicultural country rather than a country whose culture is supplanted by innocuous racism.
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.