Chinese Association of Western Sydney – Chinese New Year and Australia Day

Chinese Association of Western Sydney

Chinese New Year and Australia Day

Friday 21 February


Good evening

In just over one week, we bid farewell to the year of the Tiger and hello to the year of the Rabbit. The year of the Tiger is supposed to be ferocious and unpredictable much like the Tiger is.

What was foretold last year has come to pass. In the past few weeks, Queensland has seen the Year of the Tiger at its most ferocious. The year of the Rabbit is supposed to bring more calm and serenity, let’s hope so.

Next week is also Australia Day – a time to think about what it means to be Australian. The floods of the last few weeks tell us a little bit about who we are. The worst of times bring out the best in us. Right now there are volunteers armed with shovels and brooms in Queensland – helping out total strangers whose homes have been damaged by the floods.

Here in Cabramatta and Bankstown people have emptied their pockets to help. Last weekend I raised $21,000 in donations – just standing at the railway station and asking people to help. What it tells me is this – we are good people. We are a good people in an unforgiving land. And we are good people made better by migration.

My first ancestor arrived in Australia in 1830. His name was Thomas Clare.

The first Chinese migrant arrived here 12 years before that in 1818. His name was Mak Sai Ying. Thomas Clare was a convict. He served his time, got married, had kids and set up his own business. Mak Sai Ying was a carpenter. He married a woman called Sarah Jane Thompson, they had kids and he went on to own his own pub – not far from here in Parramatta.

The point is: the story of Chinese migration is almost as long as the story of modern Australia. And it is a story like many others. A story of hard times, of hard work and success. Almost 670,000 Chinese call Australia home. And we are better for it.

This is the Asian Century. By the middle of this century, China will be the biggest economy in the world. And it is you, who will help ensure Australia is able to benefit from the rise of China. Just as Mak’s children, grand children and great grand children helped make Australia what it is today. It is you that will help make it what it will be tomorrow.

Happy Australia Day.

Happy Chinese New Year.

 Xin nian quai le.

Gong he fat choi.

Chuc mung nam moi.