In Australia, Sydney, today on the train, I saw two lost foreigners from China speaking in Chinese. What I did not like about Australian people were the reactions on their faces as I looked around at the other local commuters on the train.
One white, blonde Australian woman would look from the corner of her eye at these two Chinese females speaking in Chinese, turn her nose up at these Chinese girls, and then go about her business. I knew what they were thinking, because I used to be one of those people.
Travel The World To Open Your Mind
In Australia, before I ever had a chance to travel overseas and see the world, I used to think, “Why can’t they speak in English?” But the truth is, nobody has to do that.
In China I once had a girlfriend who could not speak a word of English. I traveled to China and had to learn Chinese in order to court girls like her, and become their boyfriend. If she ended up coming to Australia, there would be no way she would be able to learn English.
Australians As Cultural Dictators
Australians have a reputation as being cultural dictators in their own country. We have developed a tall poppy syndrome, where we not only cut down the successful Australians anymore, but we also try to cut down the immigrants who want to peacefully settle down in Australia, and more recently Australians have tried to dictate culture to foreigners who cross the water border into Australian territory. Australians are very dogged when it comes to cultural identity.
But learning English should not be more important than the love and marriage of two people. Just because somebody cannot speak English, it does not mean that person cannot get married to an Australian and move here. You cannot refuse a foreigner a marriage with an Australian based on language inadequacy for example.
The Fundamental Reasons Behind Cultural Differences
I think the small, white minority in Australia is very racist towards immigrants and other people from Asia.
But, obviously, that cynicism inherent in Australians is not represented in the majority.
There is some truth to their gripes, because a majority of Asian people will stick to their kind, stick to their own people, and stick to their own language. But the fundamental reason behind this is because Chinese people are very strong in their culture.
And it is not just Asian people.
All the people from every single country who come to Australia, most of them will still hang out with their own people and not integrate too much. It is not the fault of anybody really. It is just the way it is.
And if you accept people to come into this country, then you should accept those facts.
Should Cultures Dictate To Each Other?
Australians who go to Bali are not expected to learn Indonesian when they go there to party. Australians who go to Thailand are not expected to learn Thai.
So, why do Australian people expect everybody to come here and learn English for their sake?
China is a country full of peaceful people. In China I have come across many people who have said, “You should learn more about China if you are to understand Chinese,” but no one ever threatened me to learn Chinese culture.
The question remains, is there a place in society for cultural dictators? Should cultures dictate to each other, or should people be allowed to have their own cultural identity, and live in peace.
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.