East vs West
Chinese Street Performer Sydney

Cultural Differences: Chinese Travel Aspirations

In Australia, Sydney, on a night-time walk down the main business district, I noticed a Chinese couple, and a lone Chinese girl walking with them. She was very skinny and attractive.  I could tell she was definitely not from Australia.  She is too skinny to be Australian.

The Ethnic Japanese Restaurant In Australia

On the walk, I also saw a Japanese restaurant with all-Japanese workers, all talking in Japanese.  I thought, “I have not lived in Australia for many years.  Who am I to judge people who come to Australia?”

I thought it is a good idea to have immigrants come to another country and just give it a go.  Despite how it is a Japanese restaurant, the owner will give Japanese people some jobs.  They will have a nice experience in Australia.

If they stay in our country, good luck to them.  If they go back, that is also their choice.  It is still a nice, immigrant experience.

Modern Chinese Aspirations

Soon, I came to stand across the street from New Golden Town Chinese restaurant.

Two young Chinese couples walked past me.  They looked like they could not speak any English at all.

That is one inter-generational difference I am seeing between Chinese people that came to Australia 20 years ago and the Chinese that come to Australia now.

I am thinking, Chinese 20 years ago were coming here to set up business, integrate, and try to be part of Australia, and earn respect.

But the Chinese that come to Australia now, they mostly come to have fun.  They come to ‘live like an Australian’.  They come for a great social experience.

Chinese people these days board a plan, keen to come to Australia, thinking, “Let’s walk around Australia and live that life for six months, and then go back to China.”

From my experience, they do not seem to bother to interact with Australian people or to learn the culture.  The sheltered experience in the Japanese restaurant is similar.

Chinese Night Markets Sydney

Historical Chinese Aspirations

Recently, it has become much easier for wealthy Chinese to travel to Australia.  Plane-loads of 1-year lifestyle Chinese, or student visa Chinese come to Australia for that Australian experience, whereas 20 years ago you would see Chinese people come to Australia strictly to do business and then settle down in Australia.

The foreigners that immigrated to Australia 20 years ago thought, “We are going to stay here for a long time and adapt.”

There is no right way or wrong way, only cultural differences visible to me on the streets of Sydney between Chinese travellers decades ago compared to the aspirations of modern Chinese travellers today.

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Author: 钨宝

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.

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