A UNITED COMMUNITY; Its Effects, Potential and Opportunity

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A sign of discontent from minor party voters at the Martin Place Rally on May 1, 2016. Photo by: Hannah Ramos

On May 1st, over three hundred people gathered at the Martin Place Amphitheatre in protest against the Australian Government’s voting reforms for this year’s upcoming Federal election.

Starting at 2pm, the gathering was slow to rise as participants and passer-by pedestrians stopped to take a moment to listen to the protest voicing the discontent against the Government’s choice to change the voting system. The stands eventually filled with attendees made up of a number of conservative voters, alongside supporters of other minor parties.

In interview, Family First Senator Bob Day emphasised the importance of conservative voters participating on the day, stating that “[the rally] shows that people aren’t going to take lying down this taking away the voters rights,” he says. “These laws are taking away the voter’s right to delegate to their favoured minor party and preferences”, in what reveals to the government that there is social unrest with the decisions that will affect the future Australian voters.

This rally is just one of many that occur within Australia in response to governmental change, and one of a number that will surely grow.

Which brings about the question, what do events like rally’s against governmental reforms signify in the current Australian political climate?

And what power do communities have when they come together?

 

ACTIVISM; what & why

Although activism has varying definitions, the general consensus is that activism is focused on  consistent campaigning for a specific cause. This can be towards either social, political, economic, or environmental issues in effort to make changes or improvements within society through varying forms.

Activism, to most, is often viewed in negative terms. It’s either perceived as violent or aggressive in intent, what’s more is its effectiveness through its presence in the public arena. While in some instances that negative perception bears some truth, it is not always the case.

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Photo by: Hannah Ramos

For some, activism has become their way to express and fight for their right to express their beliefs. A right that many Australians maintain the ability to do without vilification or governmental restriction.

Within a political climate that is constantly changing, activism presents an opportunity to think about the potential that activism can offer the conservative community.

The Australian 2011 Census recorded 61.1% of Australians listing themselves as Christian, with denominations ranging from Roman Catholicism, Anglican and Protestant.

But when only a small fragment of that supposed population comes to rise against the conservative values that Australia is based on, what will government to but change laws and regulations according to the wishes of a more ‘vocal’ people?

 

 

A COMMUNITY IN ACTION

While a large number of Australian’s may step back at the thought of engaging in something so ‘extreme’, it’s important to realise the range of different kinds of pro-activism that conservative Australian’s can involve themselves in.

 

rallies & protests

Looking back upon the rally event on May 1, where conservative voters gathered in support of the protest paints a clear picture of the potential of the entire movement.

Whilst mostly subdued compared to the larger protests broadcasted on TV, the concept of a public declaration of one’s opposition to a governmental change is one of many ways that conservatives can work towards keeping their values and interests within Australian laws.

“All people should stand up,” says Family First Senator Bob Day, as he cited the importance of conservative Australian voters using the opportunity to support the cause. “Politics is just public morality. Public policy is just private morality writ large, a big version of people’s individual morality.”

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Senator Bob Day speaking at the rally against the Australian voting reforms. Photo by: Hannah Ramos

For people who find may find themselves reluctant to be proactive in making their voice heard, Senator Day says this,

“If you don’t engage, and don’t let your views be known… someone else will. And somebody else’s morality will take hold.”

 

the sydney easter parade

Earlier this year, the Sydney Easter Parade took to the streets of Sydney City CBD on the 28th of March in celebration of faith and the name of Jesus. With the tagline of “Unstoppable Faith”, close to 3000-4000 people joined in the event, a celebration that included live music, food stalls, and entertainment for the whole family.

Event Director Ben Irawan spoke positively of the event, emphasising the importance of “unity” in the conservative community and for “Christians [to have] a united voice in the city, no matter what denomination you are, as long as you believe in Jesus”

The Sydney Parade has been in existence in various forms over the past twenty years, but has now become a day of celebration rather than an outright protest. Irawan encountered the event six years ago, seeing its potential despite the small number of participants, and sought to help the organisers generate more ideas in attracting the larger community.

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2016’s Sydney Easter Parade marching through the city. Photo by: Paper Cranes Productions

Whilst the parade is not wholly evangelistic in intent, Irawan speaks of the parade as an opportunity to show that faith and belief in Jesus is still very much present in Australia, stating that the event is an opportunity to “celebrate the name of Jesus in our city and show to the City of Sydney that Christianity is alive and well”.

Events such as the Sydney Easter parade afford the conservative community a platform in which they can proudly engage with a community-wide expression of their beliefs and values in the public arena.

 

the power of social media

Another change in the world of activism is its transition to the online sphere of the internet, in what most would recognise as “social media activism”.

This method of campaign has what physical campaigns don’t; it allows for the sharing of information at immediate speed, allowing readers to be up to date with current events in real-time. This also allows for citizen journalism to truly flourish with just a click of a button.

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Photo by: Public Doman Pictures

What most individuals may not realise is that the mere ‘sharing’ of links to web articles, videos and photos can act as a method of activism in its support for whatever cause or news issue that interests them.

Social media has even allowed for the use of ‘#hashtags’ to be used as a way of users to express their opinions and support of current issues in society in what is now recognised as ‘social media movements’, such as the #IceBucketChallenge that swept the online sphere in 2014.

Just last year, following the shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College began the #YesIAmAChristian movement via Facebook and Twitter that marked the final words of some of the victims that were shot due to their Christian beliefs; a hashtag movement that is still being used today.

 

 

 

While Australia has not encountered such tragedy, one cannot deny the power of the social media to impact a greater public. Activism is no longer a thing for everyday conservatives to be afraid of, rather to opportunity to use social media as a way to communicate and share with ‘friends’ as well as show a community united by their beliefs.

 

THE POWER OF UNITY:

So what does this all mean for Christian and conservative Australians?

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Photo by: derek*b

Activism comes in all kinds of forms and possibilities that are all within the means of Christian and conservative Australians today; whether it be through participation in public events, rally or protests, or even social media.

Just like the voting reforms that may affect conservative values within Australia, in order to keep values within the Australian government the conservative community need to look forward and be more proactive in the opportunities presented to them. And through that, can they make positive changes in our nation.

 

[Hannah Rae Ramos, SID: 312068735. Word count: 1250]

 

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How One Inner Sydney Night Market is Building Bridges With Food

By Tam Allenby 

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For a moment I’m transported somewhere else, though I’m not sure where. With the smell of grilling meat and ground spices carried by the cooking smoke and steam wafting through the air, it could be India or Sri Lanka; Cambodia or Vietnam; Lebanon or Iran.

Really I’m in the Inner West of Sydney- Marrickville to be precise. But at the night Street Food Markets, held at the Addison Road Community Centre each month, it feels like you’re in all these places at once.

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Crowds enjoying the second Street Food Markets at the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville. [Photo: Tam Allenby]

You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse selection of foods in such a small area anywhere in the world. Walking through the crowd, stomach rumbling, I face a tough decision. Should I try the arepas from Colombia, grab a Sri Lankan ulundu vada, or tuck into a plate of Cambodian lod cha?

I decide to make peace with my inner glutton and settle with all three.

Besides, any regret I might experience half an hour into a self-induced food coma would be easily offset by the fact that at these markets, you really are stuffing yourself for a good cause.

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Vietnamese rice paper rolls being prepared by the team at Mama Made Caterers. [Photo: Tam Allenby]
How so, you ask? Well, the event is a joint project between the Addison Road Community Centre Organisation (ARCCO) and the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). In a nutshell, the aim of the market is to “bring cultures together and support the small businesses of recent migrants and refugees”.

Judging by the good vibes and large crowd that turned out on a cool Saturday night for the second edition of the markets, it was certainly a success. Feedback on the Facebook page was similarly positive.

Having missed the first event held the previous month, I contacted Alex McInnis from ARCCO to ask her a few questions about the aim, history and future of the markets.

She told me that while the last edition hadn’t run so smoothly due to some “teething issues”, with long lines and the stallholders selling out of food, this was more a result of the huge level of support that the community had provided.

“It was just an overwhelming level of support, and stallholders just simply couldn’t cater to so many people… but that’s a good thing. Everyone was really understanding, for a lot of the stallholders it was their first time time trading”.

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Stallholders from the Lakemba Community Market. [Photo: Tam Allenby]
She also pointed to the real value that an event like this brings to the community and to the stallholders themselves.

“They’re just so excited to do something that they’re passionate about. Employment opportunities aren’t always ample and they don’t want to just sit around, they want to do this: earn a living, and be part of something.”

“Beyond the financial aspect of earning a real income, they’re sharing their food, sharing their culture, getting to know other stallholders, getting to know the visitors…”

With the 2016 federal election now less than a month away, and asylum seekers and refugees one of the issues that will define the campaign of the major parties, events like this one can help with the often negative portrayal of refugees in the media.

A 2013 study by the University of Queensland found that asylum seekers and refugees are portrayed in a visually dehumanising manner by mainstream news sources, usually as large crowds or groups rather than individuals or families.

They argue that this “reinforces a politics of fear that explains why refugees are publicly framed as people plight, dire as it is, nevertheless does not generate a compassionate political response”.

Alex from ARCCO would certainly agree with this sentiment.

“Refugees are talked about so much, it’s such a big topic… they’re being talked about all the time but do people really think about who they’re talking about? Someone’s grandfather, someone’s son, someone’s daughter.”

I spoke to Alex only days after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton hit the headlines for his controversial remarks concerning the “illiteracy and innumeracy” of potential asylum seekers, who he argued would “take Australian jobs” or “languish” on the dole.

When asked about this, Alex’s response was insightful: focussing on the qualifications or education level of asylum seekers is missing the point, and can even be considered classist.

“These are people – some of them educated, some not so much – but they’re still contributing and sharing in such an amazing way, and employment is not always the measure of that”.

The third edition of the markets will be held on Saturday the 18th of June, the evening before Refugee Week kicks off for 2016. With more food vendors, craft stalls and a live band all in the pipeline, Alex is firmly positive about the future of the event.

“I think it’s just growing every time”.

Though its easy to let your tastebuds get carried away when confronted with so many delicious treats, a recent update on the ARCCO Facebook page cements the underlying importance of the markets in the current political climate.

The theme for Refugee Week is “with courage let us all combine”- and that’s exactly what we do! In the face of an election campaign targeting asylum seekers and refugees, we believe coming together and supporting new Sydney-siders is one of the most powerful things we can do as a community to break the racism and classism being displayed.’

Coming together through food. It may be a cliché, but in the case of the Addison Road Street Food Markets at least, it’s also a reality.

Gallery: Street Food Market #2 (May 21, 2016)

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Do international students volunteer more than local students?

Volunteer is an important social group in developing countries. More and more people prefer to do some voluntary work for no financial gain and many different types of voluntary organizations have been developing fast.

With the experience of doing voluntary work in Sydney, I found international students seem to volunteer more than local students. To know more about the truth of this situation, I made several interviews on people who in charge of an voluntary organization in Bankstown and two volunteers who work there

Karina Yewdall, who is in charge of MS organization in Bankstown, works on voluntary for many years. At the beginning of the voluntary activities, Karina always tell volunteers some main points should be pay attention to and give some guidance on practice, such as, how to communicate with and how to serve the patients.

She talked a lot about the reasons and meaning of doing voluntary work. She said, “Members in our organization do some works for community without any payments. It’s our responsibility to help others and give kindness back to this society.”

After this week’s work, she told us the achievements of last project.

“Thank you for your support during our Wrapping project. We have raised totally $37817.25 from Bankstown, Chatswood and Strathfield. Your generous time and hard work will enable people, who suffer from multiple sclerosis, get help from an occupational therapist and help bring back some normalcy to them.”

 

I have joined this project before. We volunteers wrapped gifts for people in supermarkets and made donations for people suffer from MS. The wrapping was free for people, but they always give some money into our donation box. It was exciting to check the box at the end of activities because we tried our best to raise the money to help people in needs.

After that, I found a chance to talk to her about the doubt if international students volunteer more than local students.

“During my 3-months experience of volunteering in Sydney, I saw more international students do voluntary work than local students. How do u think about this situation?”

“It’s hard to say this is true or not because every voluntary organization has different kind of works, and has different requirements for volunteers. Some of them would prefer to use local students because they need local cultural background. Some of them want to create an international environment for some projects, so they prefer international students.”

She also said that, “Actually, we don’t have to pay too much attention to this problem. Even though there are some statistics about volunteering, we focus on the number of participants and the time of the volunteering.”

According to the data researched by the National Volunteering Strategy, the growth in volunteering is obvious. It seems a good trend that more people would like to join in the voluntary work. However, from 1995 to 2006, the number of adult volunteers and rate of volunteering have increased while the median hours per person per year has been decreasing a lot. For this situation, I made interviews on two volunteers working with me.

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“I’m a international student and just been here for several months. I want to try my best to do something to help others. About this problem, I think it probably because people don’t have enough time to do voluntary work. Just like me, I can’t too much time here because I have a great stress of studying and just come here occasionally.” Said by Jacky Lee.

Another local student Amber Yewdall said that, “I have been working here for 2 years. There are more new people volunteering here but they can’t keep doing it. Most of them prefer to try voluntary work, and they just do temporary work. Less of them can volunteer for a long time.”

I started this interview with the purpose of knowing more about the facts, that if international students do more voluntary work than local students. But now, it is more meaningful to care more about the volunteering. No matter how much time people would like to spend on voluntary work and no matter if international students are more or not, it is a good beginning for everyone to volunteer in different organizations and it’s a good trend that more people to join in volunteering to help others.

Primary sources:

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006, (cat. no. 4441.0) <http://www.abs.gov.au>.

[2] Australian Government, National Volunteering Strategy, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2011, p. 8 &12

[3] Volunteering Australia 2010, National survey of volunteering issues 2010, available at http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reliving trauma: Sexual harassment and assault reporting system at The University of Sydney

by Patricia Vera [ID: 450422030]

Nina Funnell, former University of Sydney student and tutor, was brutally assaulted on the day of her honours presentation. After going to the media, other students learnt about her and reached out to her with their own stories of rape, gang rape and sexual harassment. Are Australian universities doing enough to support victims of sexual harassment and assault?

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The University of Sydney has been heavily scrutinised and criticised by the media lately, due to recent sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. [Photo: Patricia Vera]
It is already dark at The University of Sydney (USYD) when the screening of The Hunting Ground is about to begin. There are several female students filling half of the seats, as the moderator introduces the event. The students seem to be avidly interested in the documentary and the panel discussion that will follow it.

A group of experts is sitting in the front row too. Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sydney, is one of them.

The screening is a USYD’s Women’s Collective initiative, in cooperation with The Hunting Ground Australia Project (THGAP).

Promotional picture and Facebook post for The Hunting Ground screening and panel discussion and The University of Sydney. [Post and photo: The Hunting Ground – Australia on Facebook]

When the lights go up again, the audience is silent. Some people seem to be in shock, some angry, but most of them seem to be resigned, as if the experiences shared in the documentary are part of a reality that they know well.

That is probably the case.

The moderator, Allison Henry, THGAP’s Campaign Director, breaks the silence by inviting the panellists to the stage. They talk about the documentary, about similarities to the Australian context, about definitions of sexual assault and consent, and positive attitudes that help victims of sexual assault to recover.

All panellists have already intervened when Ms Henry asks a simple, but important question to Nina Funnell, former University of Sydney student and tutor:

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience here at Sydney Uni?”

Nina Funnell, former University of Sydney student and tutor, telling stories sexual harassment and assault that happened at USYD, and also her own experience with violent assault.

When Ms Funnell finishes, she is shaking and her voice is trembling. The auditorium is silent once again.

Being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted is something that thousands of students around Australia have and are going through, and it is the reality of some USYD students as well.

Sexual harassment and assault surveys

The National Union of Students (NUS) women’s department 2015 study, Talk About It, says that more than 27% of respondents have experienced some form of sexual harassment while enrolled at their university, while 14% of respondents have experienced sexual assault.

On the other hand, USYD’s 2016 sexual harassment and assault survey, Safer Community for All, says that 24.7% of respondents have experienced sexual harassment, and 2.6% of respondents indicated that they have been sexually assaulted. 25% of them said that their assault happened on campus.

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Comparison of sexual assault and harassment percentages in the NUS and USYD surveys. [Graphic: Patricia Vera]

While the USYD numbers are lower than the ones in the NUS survey, Anna Hush, the Women’s Officer at the University of Sydney’s Students’ Representative Council (SRC), thinks that the reason behind this is that victims of sexual assault do not want to share their experience with the university.

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Comparison between results of the NUS and USYD surveys regarding reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment to an official instance. [Graphic: Patricia Vera]
“Less than 2% of even the most serious cases are reported, which I think says that, if you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, it’s likely that you’re not going to do the survey because you don’t want to talk to the university about it,” Ms Hush said.

The survey, in fact, indicated that only 1.4% of the respondents reported their harassment or assault to the university.

What becomes clear from sexual violence statistics is that sexual assault is a real and severe issue that students have to deal with. While not ever case happens on campus (only 38.53% respondents reported that), universities need to be prepared to offer support, resources and appropriate reporting processes that will help students to deal with their trauma.

Sadly, this is where most universities fail.

The University of Sydney’s reporting process and victim support system

To report an incident of “unacceptable behaviour” at USYD, students need to fill an online complaints form that asks them to give personal details such as full name, student ID, phone number and email address.

Ms Funnel said that she does not know survivors who would feel comfortable using a complaint form like that because the university does not specify how it is going to use that information.

The lack of an appropriate reporting system is something that came up in the panel several times.

This issue is, in fact, something the survey recommends to “review”:

It is recommended that there be a further review of the incident and complaint handling mechanisms to clarify and simplify points of contact and procedures for incident reporting.

The USYD survey is part of a larger campaign, Safer Communities, which that encourages people to “speak out about unacceptable behaviour on campus.”

In its website, the university explains the process to follow in case of an emergency, which consists on dialling triple zero (and contacting the NSW police), calling campus security and contacting counselling services.

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The Safer Communities portal on the USYD website, which is located under Campus Life > Emergencies and personal safety. This is all the information available regarding sexual assault besides the Counselling services page. [Screenshots: Patricia Vera]

“The Counselling and Psychological Services team are able to assist students who wish to talk confidentially about an issue. This, occasionally, includes sexual harassment, assault or uncertainty about behaviours in relationships,” said Jordi Austin, Director of Student Support Services.

Dr Spence pointed out that campus security is being trained on how to manage sexual assault cases. Ms Austin added that “campus security teams are all undertaking first responder training, as well as ALLY and Pride in Diversity LGBTQI training.”

Student Support Services is also collaborating to increase awareness of the issue. “Sexual assault services posters have been in all bathrooms on campus, and we will continue to promote sources of assistance to students at orientation, through the student news and on the Safer Communities website,” Ms Austin said.

While the university is trying to improve its initial response team and the problem’s awareness, the main problem lies on the reporting process itself.

The implementation of the survey’s recommendations is, apparently, on its way, according to Ms Austin.

However, there is more that could be done, and USYD students seem to have a few ideas of what could be done to improve the system.

Ms Hush would like the university to do some kind of research on best practices to handle sexual assault cases. For the reporting process, she also suggested: “knowing that the information that you provide is kept confidential, knowing that the person who handles your complain is specially trained in responding to sexual harassment and assault, [and] providing a really clear time frame in which it’d be resolved.”

A student in the audience also criticised that victims do not get information about the outcome of their cases. Dr Spence explained that there are “legal restrictions” on what they are able to tell students, but he still thinks that “knowing what happens is a very important part of helping people.”

Karen Willis, Executive Director of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, agrees, but she also said “the process is just as important in many instances as the outcome.” She believes that when survivors are included in the process, when they are listened to, informed and supported, they have a better chance at recovery.

***

The University of Sydney has started taking baby steps towards the improvement of its reporting and support systems now, but it is not enough.

Going through a sexual harassment or assault experience can be devastating for the victim. People who have gone through it have already been failed by the system. The crime should have not happened, but sadly, the reality is that sexual harassment and assault are part of the everyday lives of some students.

Universities cannot and should not allow being part of the system that has failed them.

Survivors will have to live with their trauma, and the least that a university can do is to ensure they do not worsen the victim’s trauma through the reporting process, and to support them with appropriate resources.

It is time that the university does more and works harder for survivors because if it is not now, then when?

If you have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence, and you are seeking for support, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or NSW Rape Crisis (1800 424 017). These services provide 24/7 professional counselling over the phone. If you are feeling unsafe right now, call 000.

To contact the author of this story, email Patricia Vera [veram.patricia@gmail.com].

How social media is redefining what it means to be Miss China

The controversy surrounding beauty pageant contests have always been in debate since the organization such as Miss Universe was founded decades ago, with an increase in intensity on new disputes.

Yanliang Hu (Karen) was one of the dispute two years ago.

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She was the first runner-up of Miss Universe China 2014 for a month, until she replaced the original winner Nora Xu who cannot fulfill her duty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Hu

http://www.missuniverse.com/members/profile/661313

http://www.missuniverse.com/photos/index/gallery_id:4/year:2014/gallery_category_id:15/page:1

Karen Hu Yanliang – New Miss Universe China 2014 (1st runner up)

Karen Hu is the new Miss Universe China 2014 ¡Breaking News!

MISS UNIVERSE 2014-2015 PRELIMINARY COMPETITION – CHINA

For the case of Miss Universe 2015, we as audiences witnessed a dramatic incident at this year’s Miss Universe final, the mistake at the crowning moment of Miss Universe was widely publicized. Was it a truly unintentional mistake made by an innocent host? Or was it a publicity stunt which aims to create public interest?

Karen shares her experience and views when she was in Sydney in the following interview:

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“I think it’s a mistake, like the host I think he is really stressful about that. Luckily, he realized that he made a mistake and he told everyone that’s his fault. Well anyway it’s not a good news, I don’t think they need to sell it, because a lot of media and people are talk about it, it’s like 50/50.”

 

The similar thing happened to karen since she was not crowned straight away as someone else was, Karen said she understand Miss Philippines’ emotion whilst she was on stage.

Karen:”Yes similar like my experience. But it’s different because they didn’t crown me on stage.”

“I felt I’m really lucky but I also felt big pressure. Like I said, things have different side. That’s why I think Miss Philippines, she did really good job.”

As one of the organizers of the regional Miss China contest in Beijing, Karen said she will be open to recruit homosexual contestants or contestants had cosmetic surgery done.

“Honestly, I’m lesbian. The point of to be a Miss, that is what you have: You have your own mind and you know how to love people, It’s doesn’t matter if you’re gay or not.”

“For some girls, if they did surgery on their face or their body, I think it’s not a really big surgery, like you just put some Botox or just to make yourself look better, if you think the outside look will approve your confidence, I think it’s a nice thing, why not.” Karen said.

As China is getting more liberal compare to the past, we can be sure that the country will be more accepting as time goes by and Miss Universe is one of the many ways where it can remind the public of people and beauties can could come with confidence and love.

 

Deregistration aborted: religious clubs resurrected

by Winmas Yu (SID: 450536382)

Reflecting on the recent potential deregistration from the University of Sydney Union, the President of the Catholic Society has cited misunderstanding as the major reason that caused the incident.

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The University of Sydney Union retracted after calling religious clubs to remove “discriminatory clauses” in constitutions. Image: Winmas Yu

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Five Best Kept Secrets of Sydney’s Chinatown

Strolling in Sydney’s Chinatown can be an intriguing experience no matter for tourists or Sydney residents. Put traditional Chinese architectures which may stimulate foreigners’ curiosity aside, Chinese cuisine, specialty gift stores and the night market rendered with Chinese alive and festive atmosphere are possibly the common hobbies that bring people to this rewarding place.

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The gateway of Chinatown (Photo: Yan Xu)

A glance at Chinatown

Historically, the large-scale migration leads to the increasing development of Chinatowns in Australia. Nowadays, Chinatown has experienced a great change compared with the past, a “bridge” that connects the trade among the countries and regions, which should be owed to the rapid pace of globalization in the past few decades. One can say that this antique tourist attraction has gone through and witnessed the historical changing. Sydney’s Chinatown was initially located in the Rocks in the late 19th century. It did not establish its current location until the 1920s, namely Dixon Street, close to Central Station and Darling Harbour, which has become Australia’s largest Chinatown. There are two apparent traditional Chinese ‘Paifang’ at each end of the narrow pedestrian street, which separate the traditional street with metropolitan bustling streets. As a heritage that mixed diverse ethnic groups as well as past and contemporary Chinese cultures and several businesses districts, there is a lot to explore. In particular the unexpected popularity of Chinese food like steamed meat filled buns, pan fried pork buns, fried dumplings and Sichuan hotpot has made Sydney’s Chinatown be home to multi-culture and food paradise.

 

What to expect?

Emperor’s Cream Puffs, Meet Fresh, New Chilli House, Golden Harbour Restaurant and the night market in Sydney’s Chinatown are extremely salient among a variety of restaurants and scenic spots. What makes them mysterious and keep attractive for long, and how they help to make Chinatown an appealing place to go?

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Traditional Chinese food. source from: http://sydney-chinatown.info.

 

the New Chilli House

When I walked into the New Chilli House, it was early morning, there are few customers. However, the waiters and waitresses have already started to clean up the restaurant, with Chinese pop music played. Then Vic came over, with a kind smile. Vic, one of the owners of the New Chilli House, when understood my purpose for coming here, felt so proud and patient. As he talked about the history of the restaurant, it only with a two-year history in Sydney’s Chinatown, but it has been one of the most popular restaurants in Chinatown, in particular in the evening, customs sit outside the restaurant, eat the food, chat and enjoy the night scene. Vic seemed quite pride and confident with the food. As he said that, “the majority of the restaurants in Chinatown are actually Cantonese cuisine, only our restaurant is the most traditional and authentic DongBei cuisine. I guess in the entire Sydney, you cannot find a much more authentic DongBei cuisine like in this restaurant”.

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the New Chilli House. (Photo: Yan Xu)

When I asked about the special dishes in this restaurant, Vic said, “there are so many tasty food here. Steamed meat filled buns, pan fried meat filled buns, chicken and prawn dim sim and fried pork chives/cabbage dumplings. In order to meed different needs of the customers, we also have crystal prawn dumplings, although it is actually Cantonese cuisine, and steamed meat filled buns is Shanghainese food. But the most important is that we have hand-made steamed dumplings, which are the very traditional North food of China”.

“There is a little different of both Chinese and Aussie taste. We found that the majority of foreigners are actually quite fond of diverse kinds of Chinese dumplings, and also, our sizzling hot pots are quite welcome and popular among them. But for Chinese, they are more willing to choose simple home cooked food, special DongBei cuisine such as stir fried eggplant in mild spicy sauce, stir fried eggplant with potato and candied sweet potato are most Chinese choice”, Vic said, “that’s why we made two menus, one specifically designed for foreigners, the other is for Chinese based on such a difference, just for their convenience”.

“Why do you want to operate a restaurant here?” I asked.

“Haha, it’s a good place, isn’t it?”

“It may hard to say which can represent Chinese cuisine, I think the north and south of China food are quite different”, Vic pondered for a moment and said slowly.

Close to the mysteries 

In this narrow street, many seemingly unimpressive restaurants are unexpectedly with quite an impressive history. Precisely as the owner of the Golden Harbour Restaurant said with a proud tone, “we’ve already have a history of more than 27 years here”, with such a long history, this restaurant provides all kinds of traditional Cantonese dumplings, customers prefer enjoying them and siting outside the restaurant, blending with the vivid atmosphere just for a relaxed afternoon or evening. Emperor’s Cream Puffs, which merely provides one kind of desserts but quite popular here. Everyday, no matter Chinese or Aussie queue in line waiting for the oven-fresh sweet dessert. As a staff working here said, “almost everyday, since the early morning we open the store, people are already queue in line for buying the cream puffs”. Most of the time, foreigners are much more fond of the cream puffs. Diverse dumplings for foreigners are recognized as the representative Chinese cuisine. The night market gathered many people in Sydney’s Chinatown, people who come here may not consider too much, but precisely there are not much to think about, just the diverse food and a vivid and lively atmosphere that separate people with daily busy life.

 

Not the end 

After experienced a short “trip” lost in Sydney’s Chinatown, a real enjoyment for your stomach and mind. It may hard to generally conclude the characteristics of Chinese cuisine, in this narrow street filled with diverse food and scenes. Without too much concern, perhaps just lost in the place, that’s what we have fun and then enjoy the diverse life and the pluralism of culture behind.

 

(Yan Xu, SID: 460132848   Word count: 988)