Failing to become integral part of country

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 October, 1998, 12:00am

It was intriguing to see long queues of Australians, mostly ethnic Chinese, voting at the Australian Consulate in Wan Chai in the country's general election. No doubt many were there to stop One Nation from winning seats in the federal parliament.

This mentality is typical of migrant Hong Kong Chinese. As someone who was an overseas student in Australia for seven years, I am more than qualified to say that many Hong Kong Chinese who successfully obtained Australian citizenship, wherever they are living these days, are far too occupied with just doing business and earning money and do not care about anything else, in particular mainstream Australian politics. Only when there is an issue that threatens their own livelihood will they take some action.

This sort of outsider mentality contributed largely to the rise of Pauline Hanson.

Australia, with a constitution stating that English is the official language, is very kind to its non-native English-speaking voters in that one can vote in Hong Kong and get voting instructions in Chinese.

Yet many Hong Kong Chinese Australian citizens are reluctant to learn what Australia is all about. At an Australian-Chinese function some years ago, I saw people standing up when Waltzing Matilda was played, saying that it was 'their' national anthem. The national anthem actually is Advance Australia Fair.

My message is, wherever one migrates to, be part of it. Australia is far too tolerant to be provoked by the outsider mentality, because it is relatively well off. Indonesia is an altogether different story.