Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Asian influence in Australia

I originally wrote the post below for my personal blog but I think it has enough general interest to post here too. On some estimates, the population of Australia is now about 10% East Asian

As a conservative, I treat people primarily as individuals, regardless of any group to which they may or may not belong. I leave obsession with race and class to Leftists. From Marx up until shortly after the Hitlerian catastrophe, Leftists were very pro-racist. Now they are very anti-racist but the obsession with race remains. They seem unable to treat people as individuals and can only talk about people in terms of broad and very oversimplified categories.

But as well as being a conservative I am also a sociologist. An Australian government (NSW) paid me a lot of money over a 12 year period to teach it. And as they are nearly all Leftists, what is the chief interest of sociologists? Race and class! So I still mull those topics over in my head quite a lot -- with always in mind the one piece of wisdom I remember from my mother's incessant chatter: "There's good and bad in the lot".

I am, for instance, very pro-Indian; I think that Indians tend to have admirable characteristics. And being the forthright sort of person I am, I put my money where my mouth is and have mostly Indian sharers living with me in my large house. Usually, I even fly the flag of the Republic of India from the flagpole at the front of my house and have been known to greet Indians living here with Jai Hind ("Long live Hindustan")! And that orientation serves me well in that I am very satisfied with the people that I have living with me. But I have also kicked two Indians out. Even though I think Indians are mostly fine people there are some pesky ones too and I have no trouble treating them accordingly. There is good and bad in Indians too.

So on to my thoughts about East Asians and the Han Chinese in particular. I never cease to be amazed at how well Australians of Asian and British ancestry get on together in Australia. One sees Anglo/Asian couples around the place all the time: Older Australian men with Filipinas and younger Anglo-Australian men with Chinese ladies.

And I myself am quite Sinophilic as well as Indophilic. It is in a way fortunate that I am as I have two old friends who now live in China with Chinese wives. And another old friend has a Japanese lady in his life. I myself however have never got involved with East Asian women, though I did once have an Indian girlfriend. My son however has a girlfriend with Han ancestry and has Chinese friends as well. There are all sorts of background differences and some genetic differences between Anglo-Australians and Chinese but at the individual level there is also often a great appreciation of one another. One can only applaud that. And my conclusion is that the differences between East Asians and Anglo-Celts are complementary: Each has strengths where the other has weaknesses and vice versa. But I might tread on toes all round if I went further into that thought.

The present revival of this theme in my thinking was provoked by a visit from China by one of my old friends, Croucher. He arrived in Brisbane yesterday with his Chinese wife and his two very impressive Eurasian sons. So we all went to dinner together with the Henninghams. Henningham, Croucher and I have a friendship that goes back many years. We always refer to one another by surname only, indicating a sort of jolly friendship, I suppose.

Perhaps in need of a change off Chinese food, Croucher wanted some Middle-Eastern food. So we went to a Turkish restaurant near where I live. Parking around there there is either very difficult or very expensive so I crammed us all into my 1963 Humber Super Snipe and delivered everybody to the door of the restaurant in that. The Humber has bench seats front and back so can transport more people than many modern cars.

I was feeling a bit depressed due to my upcoming minor surgery but fortunately everyone else was in good form with nonsense being talked for most of the night. We did however have occasional serious moments in which we agreed, for instance, that global warming was a great steaming heap of ... Henningham, Croucher and I constantly talk bantering nonsense to one another in emails -- which we greatly enjoy doing -- but it was best of all to do so in person, of course. All three of us are academics so there is also occasionally some academic talk between us but not much.

But it is still a little surprising to me that wherever I go there is a Han presence -- a presence that seems to be completely harmonious. At the classical music group I go to there are almost always Chinese performers giving renditions of Western classsical music to a very high standard; and at the recent annual gathering of my relatives on my mother's side there was also a Han presence: A cousin once removed is married to a Chinese lady and has attractive Eurasian children. I actually now have relatives with Han ancestry!

So if only all minorities fitted in as well here as the East Asians do! Australia is indeed lucky that its largest visible minority is East Asian -- people whom I see as generally patient, clever, flexible individuals who work hard and contribute greatly to the community as a whole. They are not saints (though their rate of crime is very low) but they do seem to fit in with the rest of us remarkably well. And anyone who values social ease and harmony will value that.



Baby chimps are as bright as human infants: "Chimpanzees have long been known for their ability to mimic humans. Now scientists have found that baby chimps' mental development can even be more advanced than children of the same age. At nine months, the animals are just as curious and capable of recognising carers and familiar objects as the average baby. When compared with infants kept in isolated conditions in orphanages, the animals are even more advanced. The scientists who carried out the research believe their research also provides valuable evidence that chimpanzees, like humans, thrive on social interaction. The more intimate their contact with their carers, the faster their brains develop. Chimpanzees share about 96% of their DNA with humans. An adult chimp's level of intelligence has been likened to that of a three-year-old child. The new research shows that in their early lives, they develop along similar lines to people before humans race ahead." [I have looked at some of the more embarrassing aspects of this previously]

`Jimmy Carter' tag has Obama wincing: "Less than two weeks into his administration, President Barack Obama is being portrayed by opponents as a new Jimmy Carter - weak at home and naive abroad - in an attempt to dim his post-election glow and ensure that he serves only one term. The charge has stung because it was made privately by Hillary Clinton supporters during a hard-fought primary campaign and plays to fears about Obama's inexperience. He is engaged in early trials of strength with Republicans in Washington and critics of the United States around the world - not least Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president. Obama faces battles to talk Wall Street into giving up its addiction to large bonuses and US banks to start lending again. "Barack Obama thinks he can charm his adversaries into changing their ways but his personality can't change the dynamics," said Tom Edmonds, a Republican consultant. "Carter [president from 1977 to 1981] had the same belief in naive symbolism. Their styles are very different but the political similarities are there." The Republicans are in fighting mood after Obama failed to secure a single vote on their side for his $819 billion financial stimulus package in the House of Representatives, despite intensive wooing. The bill came laden with spending on Democratic pet projects, including $50m for the arts and $400m for global warming research that critics said had little to do with boosting the economy. It also contains "buy American" protectionist provisions that have alarmed trading partners, including Britain."

$646,214 per government job: "House Democrats propose to spend $550 billion of their two-year, $825 billion 'stimulus bill' (the rest of it being tax cuts). Most of the spending is unlikely to be timely or temporary. Strangely, most of it is targeted toward sectors of the economy where unemployment is the lowest. The December unemployment rate was only 2.3% for government workers and 3.8% in education and health. Unemployment rates in manufacturing and construction, by contrast, were 8.3% and 15.2% respectively. Yet 39% of the $550 billion in the bill would go to state and local governments. Another 17.3% would go to health and education - sectors where relatively secure government jobs are also prevalent. If the intent of the plan is to alleviate unemployment, why spend over half of the money on sectors where unemployment is lowest?"

An interesting statement from a former Leftist: "Why am I no longer a Leftist? Because - in my advancing age - I have become responsible. And honest. And true. And unafraid to stand alone alongside anything else in the universe. Nobody is going to tell me - ever again - what to think or how to think it. Nobody is going to speak for me - on my behalf - without my explicit permission. Nobody is going to make me run away, except myself. Nobody is going to plant guilt upon me, except myself. And nobody - but nobody - is going to overpower me. Some of us are far more susceptible to conditioning than others. I have often thought how pleasant it must be to be one of them. But some of us have no choice. We are stuck with our ability to perceive, to be aware, to know our own hearts and minds. We do not stay outside the herd by choice, but because there is no place for us in the herd. And herds can be dangerous places, even for those that inhabit them. It is so very easy to get trampled underfoot as they hurtle towards - and over - the cliff."

Obama grants CIA permission to retain right to carry out renditions: "The banner headlines greeting President Obama's decision to close the detention centre at Guant namo Bay and secret CIA prisons may have concealed how he has retained one of the most controversial weapons in the War on Terror. Under executive orders signed on January 22, the CIA appears to have preserved its authority to carry out renditions - by which hundreds of terrorist suspects have been abducted and transferred to prisons in countries with questionable human rights records such as Egypt, Morocco or Jordan. The measure, disclosed by the Los Angeles Times yesterday, gives some indication of how Mr Obama's promise of change may be slower to be realised than once hoped, with the new Administration coming under concerted attack across a range of issues. An administration official was quoted yesterday defending rendition. "Obviously you need to preserve some tools. You still have to go after the bad guys," said the official. "It is controversial in some circles. But if done within certain parameters, it is acceptable." The European Parliament has condemned renditions, some of which have involved flights with stopovers in British territory, as illegal under international law."

The right stimulus : "What the Democrats have done is write down every single item on their liberal wish list, append dollar amounts next to the items seemingly at random, and call it 'stimulus.' The president wanted the bill to be free of pet projects and include business tax cuts. But no one told Pelosi's appopriators. They are using the current troubles to push through a decades-old domestic policy agenda. The spending - $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $400 million for global warming studies - demonstrates that the bill has no overarching logic. Which makes it a major disappointment. Almost everybody agrees that the economy is a mess and that fiscal policy might help tidy things up. But $6.2 billion for `home weatherization?' The problem with the House plan is that it is ineffective even on Keynesian grounds."

The optimum government : ""Over the last few decades, many economists have done studies on the `optimum' size of government. A new study just completed shows the optimum size of government is less than 25 percent of GDP. Optimum is defined as that point just before government becomes so large as to reduce the rate of economic growth and job creation. Governments are created to protect people and property. A government too small to establish the rule of law and protect people and their property from both foreign and domestic enemies is less than optimal."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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