WHEN Su-Lin Chenn married Dr Steve Harrison on Australian television, the mixed-race marriage was notable not so much because it was happening, but because it hadn't happened before. In a society which comprises 150 ethnic groups and more than 15 per cent of Australian households are of non-English speaking backgrounds, television drama stands in a minority. Most of the actors in local shows represent white, Anglo-Saxon Australia - a situation the Australian Broadcasting Corporation decided wasn't representing the society it is supposed to serve. So when Bruce Best, executive producer of the ABC's top-rating medical drama GP decided it was time for Steve, the show's eligible bachelor, to tie the knot, he saw a chance to broaden the ethnic mix of characters. ''It seemed to me that a Chinese-Australian would be the way to go,'' he said. ''I could see that as being something that touched a chord for most of us on the editing staff. We have a very large Asian population developing in this country.'' For Theresa Wong, the Singapore-born actress who plays Steve's bride, Su-Lin, that decision meant a welcome boost to her part-time acting career - she's also a graphic artist with her own business - and unimagined heat from the media spotlight. Although all the attention was meant to be fun, 22-year-old Wong questioned the motives behind it. ''It's great, but at the same time to emphasise it as such a big deal stereotypes it, and emphasises the stereotypes,'' she said. ''Australia has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.'' Hakka-speaking Wong, who left Singapore at the age of three and moved to Sydney from Canada 13 years ago, says her own experiences in life have been tempered by the loss of much of her Chinese culture, her adopting of Western ways and her Anglo-Australian friendships. ''But still I got some racism. People are not accepting that you are different. They think you look different so they are judgemental,'' she said. ''Differences are what enrich a culture. You cannot ever let go of that and it should enhance you, not restrict you.'' But it has held her back: acting jobs for young women are hard enough to come by, and being a Chinese-Australian makes it even more difficult, she said. ''It's very hard for an Asian person to get a role at the moment because television does not seem to emphasise multiculturalism as a reality that exists. ''The role has to be written for the person so Asian actors have to wait for a role that comes up that needs you.'' Her role in GP, which she picked up after working as an extra playing a 15-year-old in the soap opera Home And Away last year, has given her the chance to meet other Chinese-Australian actors. Her on-screen father in GP , George, played by Taiwanese-Australian actor and playwright Jon-Claire Lee, and her grandfather, played by Cecil Parkee, oppose Su-Lin's decision to marry the handsome young doctor played by Michael O'Neill - opposition that,ironically, leads her to accuse them of racism. Darren Yap plays Jimmy Lee, the young Chinese student she's expected to marry, thus providing Australian residence for the young pro-democracy activist afraid to return to China. But Wong said her colleagues have spoken little of the difficulties their origins posed to getting on in their profession: ''We don't talk about it or make a fuss about it as much as other people do.'' Mr Best said that having touched on the ''reverse racism'' of Su-Lin's family, the plan is now to treat her character as ''just another member of the cast'', rather than emphasising her race in future episodes. That's not the way a commercial channel would have handled it, he said. They couldn't have resisted the temptation to hammer home the racial cliches. Ironically, although when love conquered all in the two hour GP special, Su-Lin wore a magnificent pink cheongsam emblazoned with gold dragons. Theresa, who hasn't been able to afford to visit her native Singapore since she left, says she encouraged to script writers to Westernise her character more than they intended. ''I've tried to bring in a more realistic approach. For instance, when they said, 'let's have her cooking noodles', I said, 'no, let's have her cooking spaghetti'.''