Chinese New Year delayed and moved – epic fail

johnboy 16 February 2009 30

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:

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30 Responses to Chinese New Year delayed and moved – epic fail
New Yeah New Yeah 6:05 pm 16 Feb 09

From reading the posts above, I can’t quite work out how the Chinese Embassy (ie Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China) is involved with CNY festivities in Canberra.

Irrespective of this, it is worth noting that many people who identify as Chinese, along with their ancestors, have been living outside of China for many years in places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and pretty much every where else, and now they live here. As mentioned above, these people probably don’t want to have any more to do with the Chinese Embassy than do you or I. That the Chinese community at large runs the CNY festivities is a more palatable suggestion.

Nevertheless, the embassies have plenty of coin and put on some decent shows (obviously this not being one of them). It could really suck the life out of the MC Fest if they were kept at arms length.

I would wholeheartedly support the Chinese embassy if they put on a CSN&Y gig, though.

johnboy johnboy 5:38 pm 16 Feb 09

I’d prefer the representatives of foreign powers be kept out of the affairs of local communities.

It gets tricky because countries with decent government’s and small local communities like to be involved, think the US embassy flogging hot dogs and budweiser at BAMOASD.

But once you let one in it’s hard to say “Sorry, but you’re murdering bastards” to diplomats.

If discretion can’t be exercised better to leave out the embassies entirely IMHO.

bohemian bohemian 5:12 pm 16 Feb 09

I have one question. Does this mean that it can’t be handled by non-Australian Chinese who have been here for years?

OzChick OzChick 5:00 pm 16 Feb 09

^ I hear you JB. Remember the Vietnamese protest a few years ago? It was in protest to that concert that was organised by the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

johnboy johnboy 4:54 pm 16 Feb 09

Well if you don’t think it’s isolating for the local chinese community to be unwilling to go to what’s meant to be their own festivals then you don’t see much.

Let’s say for the last sixty years Australia had been ruled by a brutal dictatorship. Let’s say your parents fled to New Zealand, settled in well, started a business, bought a house. And let’s say that despite your loyalty to your new found home you and yours still liked to get together for a shindig on Australia Day and invited your neighbours around for a shindig.

Then suddenly your local government handed the event over to the same goons you fled back home? If they find out exactly who you are and who your family are back home you’ll end up doing them favours, many of them illegal, forever. You’ll end up ratting out your own friends.

Maybe you’d just stay home instead? Save your family back in Canberra from the possibility of being held hostage to you complying with a regime you despise?

poptop poptop 4:48 pm 16 Feb 09

OzChick – I agree with you.

Mind you, having fewer multicultural events under the control of Messrs Hargreaves and Manikis is an outcome devoutly to be wished, IMO.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:43 pm 16 Feb 09

I see your point JB, but I think it’s drawing a bit of a long bow to say that by letting their embassy run their CNY festivities we are isolating them from the community. I’m not also not sure how letting the Chinese embassy run CNY will directly result in the Chinese govt farming the organs of Chinese people living in Canberra.

But hey, their food is great!

OzChick OzChick 4:41 pm 16 Feb 09

^ No, it should be handled by the respective Australian-Chinese community here in Canberra.

poptop poptop 4:36 pm 16 Feb 09

Shouldn’t all the cultural festivities are handled by the respective Embassies then?

johnboy johnboy 4:33 pm 16 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

What exactly do we think their govt can do to them here in Australia?

Organise a crap CNY?

Threaten to farm family back home for organs if they don’t spy for them here is just one of a long list of things.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:26 pm 16 Feb 09

What exactly do we think their govt can do to them here in Australia? Organise a crap CNY?

johnboy johnboy 4:18 pm 16 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

How is that even relevant? If we enjoy their food then we’re oging to engage with them whenever we eat with them. Jokes aside, I’d suggest that most Canberrans are unlikely to actively choose to drive a minority like the Chinese community into isolation.

No, but handing their community events over to the Government they’ve fled from might. For example, as just one reason why staying on top of events matters.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:13 pm 16 Feb 09

How is that even relevant? If we enjoy their food then we’re oging to engage with them whenever we eat with them. Jokes aside, I’d suggest that most Canberrans are unlikely to actively choose to drive a minority like the Chinese community into isolation.

johnboy johnboy 3:37 pm 16 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Who cares why they’re here? Their food is fantastic.

Pretty important to figure it out if you want to engage their community rather than drive them into isolation.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 3:25 pm 16 Feb 09

Who cares why they’re here? Their food is fantastic.

bohemian bohemian 3:24 pm 16 Feb 09

I know that not many are fans of the China govt/embassy but this is currently as good as it gets. That doesn’t mean I agree. It makes sense because they have the resources to do so.

johnboy johnboy 2:59 pm 16 Feb 09

Minor matter that the chinese community are in large part here because they really dislike the Government back home.

bohemian bohemian 2:52 pm 16 Feb 09

It makes sense to have the China embassy organize the CNY event. But I’m not sure if the ACT govt have ever considered that the Chinese doesn’t necessary come from China only. The Chinese that had left China to settle in other parts of the world, many generations later, still retain traditions that even the comrades in China no longer practice. Thus the celebration is slightly different. Different dialect groups also prepare and celebrate differently. The Canberra community only get a glimpse of a watered-down version of such a glorious celebration.

OzChick OzChick 11:45 am 16 Feb 09

Also, it is not just the Chinese community that celebrates CNY, the Vietnamese community annually have celebrations at the temple in Lyneham.

OzChick OzChick 11:39 am 16 Feb 09

The CNY celebrations at the Fairfield showgrounds are awesome every year. You can’t really compare as there is a larger asian community in the south western area of Sydney. It would be awesome if there was an annual event like this in Canberra.

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