Well we did it Melbourne! While lockdown has ended with a whimper rather than a bang in our household – I’m very happy for everyone especially our young people who have missed out on two crucial years in their lives. Some of my lasting experiences and strongest memories are those from my early twenties when it felt like the world was at my feet and anything was possible. It is going to take time to re-group and I am feeling for our stretched health workers who are still doing the hard yards for all of us. They are the unsung heroes of this pandemic continuing to treat the sick or injured without fear or favour.
As kids go back to school, travel returns, businesses open up and live events come back – it’s an exciting summer ahead and it’s been interesting to see the news and media narrative switch gear to issues other than COVID-19 including climate change once again, and diversity and equity. On the latter, I’ve really enjoyed watching both Summer of Soul (Disney+) on the 3rd annual Harlem Cultural Festival held in 1969 (with previously unseen footage) featuring luminaries such as Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder as well as Hitsville: The making of Motown (on ABC ivew) narrated by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson who were instrumental in the success and machine that was Motown music.
I’ve also really enjoyed watching the fascinating documentary Step into Paradise (also on ABC iview) on fashion designers Jenny Kee (more on her below) and Linda Jackson – definitely one for the fashionistas and art lovers out there, which captures the heady times of the 1960s, 70s and 80s in particular in Australia and the UK. I’ve missed watching New Gold Mountain (SBS On Demand) set in Ballarat during the gold rush era which is when my forebears started to arrive in Australia from See Yup in China. My Dad’s been watching it and was a bit disappointed the actors spoke in Cantonese rather than our See Yup dialect.
I am yet to visit the See Yup Temple in South Melbourne but have been to the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo. The Chinese Museum in Melbourne also held a Chinese Australian Achievers 2021 launch and online talk last Thursday night featuring people such as Tony Ayres, Elizabeth Chong AM, Jenny Margaret Kee AO, Lee Lin Chin, Li Cun-Xin AO, Benjamin Law and Alice Pung (to name but a few) to accompany the One Million Stories: Chinese Australians 200 years permanent exhibition. It’s inspiring to not only see but hear my fellow Chinese Australians and their voices. Despite these more progressive times that we live in, I am still often the only Asian in the room at an event, at the table (or on screen these past two years!) although I think this is rapidly changing and I hope to see more of my contemporaries in leading roles and positions in modern Australian society.