Covid and tricky politics between China and Australia have dampened our lunar new years of recent memory; the lack of students and tourists adding to our malaise.
But it has been a very positive start to 2022 for our Chinese relationships. Not only are students returning, but the borders will reopen to tourists soon.
Sport and Culture
The ninth year of the MSO (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) Chinese New Year concert was staged on 5 February 2022 to an almost full house at Hamer Hall. A marvellous program (translated to Chinese) mixing Chinese and western classics to an audience of regulars and newbies which will surely bring converts to our concert halls regularly and may even encourage some to take up musical instruments.
But if symphony music is not your thing, a couple of kilometres away, the roof on the John Cain Arena was lifting off as another packed house cheered on South East Melbourne Phoenix (and Perth Wildcats) and introduced Chinese basketball star Zhou Qi to a new, enthusiastic crowd – all 7 feet 1 inch of him. This was the Chinese New Year showdown and the Phoenix gave us another great example of cross-cultural synergies.
To a crescendo of “加油jiāyóu” with lion dances and fireworks, the crowd was fortissimo (最强音zuìqiángyīn).
Chinese Cross Cultural Awareness
A hard choice if you love sport and music, but a true sign that Chinese engagement is strong, the Chinese community in Australia is active and, we believe, interactions will accelerate this year. It is also a timely reminder to us all to be aware of both cultural and language imperatives and be welcoming to Chinese guests. MSO and Phoenix go to great lengths to ensure language and culture. are considered in their activities. The results are like music to the ears (悦耳之声yuèěrzhīshēng)!