Sam Wong AM is completely unequivocal about how he feels about Canberra. “I think this is one of the best places in Australia and probably in the whole world,” he says.
And as Region Media launches our Chinese language version of the RiotACT at Lunar New Year, he happily agrees that accurate, well-sourced local information is one of the best ways to bring communities together.
It’s Lunar New Year and as Canberra’s Chinese community gathers to celebrate, Region Media is launching a new Chinese language platform. Community elder Sam Wong spoke to Genevieve Jacobs about building bridges and bringing people together in the ACT.
Posted by The RiotACT on Tuesday, 21 January 2020
The Hong Kong-born pharmacist and patron of the ACT Chinese Australian Association should know. He has been here since 1974 when he arrived to work as a government pharmacist. He and his wife Chin raised their family here as well, and Sam has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities (and he’s just been inscribed on the Honour Roll of Senior Australian of the Year nominees).
“[Information] is what RiotACT has provided for years in the ACT,” he said this week. “We need accurate background information and accurate local news for migrants and people who have recently arrived here.
“What you’re doing will provide them with a much better understanding of this community. That then extends to how they can contribute to the local community.”
The Chinese language version of RiotACT has been translated from the parent site and curated to provide a selection of articles about news, events, food and culture for the 20,000-plus Mandarin and Cantonese speakers in the ACT. The site will grow as it engages with the local Chinese community about Canberra people, places and issues.
Our commitment to local public interest journalism and our focus on Canberra and the surrounding region continues to be fundamental to Region Media‘s sites, which are now seen by around 400,000 unique visitors each month.
Region Media’s intention is for the new Chinese platform to provide youthful, official, trustworthy local news, community information and event details that bring together the local Chinese and English-speaking communities. We welcome ideas for the platform and we’re also keen to co-operate with local businesses.
Sam’s approach to multiculturalism has always prioritised promoting culture as a way for people to understand and enjoy each other’s company. He believes that Canberra does multiculturalism particularly well.
“Canberra is the multicultural capital of Australia and unlike other parts of the world, this remains a peaceful, diverse place because we have a better understanding among people. Even though people are from different parts of the world, understanding keeps the nation strong and not dysfunctional.
“It makes the nation strong rather than divided. The promotion of culture across the nation is most important to keep the place peaceful and growing,” he says.
China itself is a far more diverse place than many realise: there are 56 minority groups in the country, at least four major language dialects but just one written language.
And as families gather together across the Chinese diaspora to celebrate Lunar New Year, they’re also united by another very significant cultural value: celebrating togetherness with food.
The Wong family has just moved house and will be gathering together in their new premises for the first time. As Cantonese, they love barbecue.
“We’ll have roast pig, soy chicken or roast duck and I also love seafood – prawns and fish. And we’ll have some hot pots from Szechuan. We always have a good time but I worry I’ll put on so much weight!”
Sam says the family’s Lunar New Year focus is on celebrating their new place, new prosperity and good health.
But his eye is always on strengthening community values across the ACT.
“We’ve learned over 300 years of turmoil in Chinese history that Chinese people thrive when they work to a common goal. We build the nation where we are through our hard work and contribution. That, in turn, brings peace and prosperity across the seas and builds the friendship between us all.”
Region Media would like to extend our warmest greetings to our Chinese friends in Canberra and invite you to check out riotact.com.cn and follow us on WeChat.