In Australia, Sydney, I discussed China with a work colleague. He had some Australian friends who travelled to China to weld some buses.
He said, “You know they can build a fleet of buses in China in one day?”
I nodded, “Yeah. That’s China.”
I then asked him, “Which countries have you been to?”
He replied, “I have been to Bali a few times. They love us Aussies over there.”
I concurred, “That is the thing. Australians have a good reputation in Asia. Asia loves Westerners. But when people come to Australia, Australians aren’t as welcoming.”
…”They say, ‘You are from China? Whatever.’”
The Foreigner’s Reputation In Australia
That is the interesting thing.
My colleague at work mentioned that people in Bali love Australians. They very openly talk about Australian people.
But, Australian people do not talk about foreigners as enthusiastically.
You will never hear an Australian say, “We love those Indians. Those Indians can keep coming in!”
Or, “Chinese are great! I would love to welcome a Chinese into Australia!”
Australian People Have No Favorites
You would never hear it, because Australians do not have any favorites.
Even if we talked about Asian people saying, “I love Asian people. I want Asian people to come to Australia so I can hang out with them,” then that would be considered “yellow fever”.
There are too many taboos when it comes to Australians admiring foreigners.
Australians just do not come across as a friendly people. We do seem to be friendly to Australian people, but Australians seem to have no favorites around the world, which is quite different to Chinese people when I am in China.
The Celebrity Treatment Of Foreigners In China
Chinese people love Western people.
I have foreigner friends in China who say that Chinese people love to take photos of them, and treat them like they are superstars or celebrities.
Australian War-Time Immigrants
I don’t think Australia will ever be star-struck with another country, because we have people from every single country represented in Australia. We have already seen all cultures in Australia. There is nothing to be star-struck about.
But I do remember a decade ago when Australia did not have too many Chinese people coming to Australia to immigrate, there were only white people, Lebanese people, European people, Vietnamese people, and Iranian people. That was it. Everybody from a war came to Australia.
So, suddenly, when I saw somebody in Australia who was Chinese, I did get star-struck. I wanted to know who that mysterious person was.
That was my love affair with all things China. Ever since then I have been intrigued with China.
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.