When I heard that Chinese New Year was being moved in Canberra from its correct date on 26 January to 15 February, so as to fit in with the multicultural festival I’ll admit my heart sank a little.
That it was going to be on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin rather than, say, in the Dickson Chinatown was also a matter of some worry.
But with the best will in the world I went down to Commonwealth Park today hoping for the best.
My worst fears were confirmed.
Little girls were bopping around to cantopop. Between songs they would change costumes at the back of the audience (no change rooms) before renewed bopping about. During this interval hectoring women would exhort the crowd with the wondrous spectacular nature of this entertainment.
There was no food, and little drink. There was a little bit of a line for iced tea and coca cola was also available. Half the stalls were empty an hour after the start of the official program.
There were maybe a couple of hundred people in the crowd. 60% Chinese to 40% European at a guess.
They hadn’t even planned for success with minimal portaloos and seating for maybe 20 people.
Here’s a thought. Give Chinese New Year’s back to the Chinese community. Support them in closing off Woolley St in Dickson on the right day, slip them a grant for stage hire and PA. Let them get on with it and the rest of us can go enjoy it as we choose.
Let it be the vibrant, fun event it can be without our multicultural commissars stamping their big boots all over it.
Please let there be no repeats of this embarrassing farce.
UPDATED: The Canberra Times on the other hand thinks everything was peachy, although oddly they didn’t manage to get a chinese punter’s view of the event.
Slideshow of the “Festivities” below: