Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Welcome to Australasia

Putting my house up for sale, the thoughts turn inevitably to the fact that there is a 99.9% chance that whoever ends up buying the house will be Asian. The real estate agents talk of nothing else but what appeals to the Asian buyer. In their minds, this is the profile of the potential buyer and the potential market group. The fact that my neighborhood is a popular area for Asian (read Chinese) people is in no doubt. The local shopping center is quickly being converted to Asian owned and run shops. There used to be a section of Melbourne called Chinatown. These days you can find a Chinatown in many suburbs. In many ways, this is good because the Chinese are fiercely competitive and sell goods at very low prices, CASH ONLY mind you. Great if you want to shop for a bargain.
Sometimes I think to myself, is it just my neighborhood or is the influx of Asians more widespread than just the local scene? The fact is you cannot depend on the accuracy of government statistics because they just don't reflect what I'm seeing.
So, when I read this news story, telling me that primary school children will be taught an Asian language (does anyone doubt it will be Chinese?) I'm left in no doubt that there are demographic changes occurring in this country that are profound.
I don't want to come across in any way as a racist. Consider that Melbourne has the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece and I am of Greek descent. When I was growing up there used to be suburbs that were characterized by large Greek populations. These were the inner city suburbs and most of those original residents would have sold their houses to the yuppies for a very handsome profit. There's not much left of the Greek end of Swanson street, famous for it's Greek restaurants and cake shops but never mind, you can find the Greek culture thriving in the suburb of Oakleigh.
These days there are suburbs such as Springvale, Richmond and Box Hill for example that are entirely Vietnamese. Similarly there are other ethnic clusters scattered all over Melbourne.
So in celebration of the new demographic makeup of Australia, I say welcome to Australasia.
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Anonymous said...

Sounds like California. ;-)

Jeannie said...

Things are getting more Asian around here too but part of it is because we've got 2 universities in town - big on math and computers - and they attract a LOT of Asians.

Anonymous said...

I love walking through Chinatown in San Francisco. It's the only place I can go and feel really tall.

I sat next to a Vietnamese man on the bus and a homeless dude yelled at me for not standing and letting anyone older take my seat. (I was pregnant at the time.) The Vietnamese guy...all 5'1" of him...yelled at the homeless guy, "Shut the f*@# up! Leave her alone!" He was an elderly man and I was stunned. We sat and talked about where he was from, where I was from, etc. It was so bizarre. He thought all Texans rode bulls and wore giant cowboy hats. Wow.

That homeless guy didn't bother me anymore.

(random story)

There's a major suburb of Dallas that has a huge Vietnamese / Chinese population.

Lexcen said...

I loved Clint Eastwood's movie, Gran Torino, there were so many precious scenes of cultural juxtapositions, too many to mention here.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that movie, too. It was heartwarming how the Hmong women honored Eastwood's characther with food. And more food.

I had to turn on the subtitles...Clint's voice is getting so grovelly.

Red Squirrel said...

Where are you moving to Lexcen?
I keep thinking about your plants :-)

Lexcen said...

I'm moving to tropical region of Australia, Port Douglas. The garden I consider my greatest work of art , and like any artist, I must let go of my creation and move on. There are infinite possibilities to create a real tropical wonderland in my new home.