I thought it would be interesting to have Anthony on the podcast because of his rather unusual reason for coming to Tasmania and his experience of having strong roots in Hong Kong, but having spent most of his life now in Tasmania. I thought this would lead to some interesting perspectives.
Anthony came to Hobart with his family when he was 12 years old. His parents had become aware of a famous Buddhist teacher who had come to live in Tasmania in the 1980s as a result of a vision, and were drawn to his teachings and philosophy. As a result of this, Anthony has had a long engagement with the Buddhist community of Tasmania, and has participated in community and charity events as a member of the famous Lion Dance. The group has performed the dances all around Tasmania, including some of Tassie's more rural towns such as Oatlands.
From my own experience of teaching Chinese students over many years, I can say that there are many large cultural gaps to overcome on both sides, though these are a bit smaller with Hong Kongese who have experienced some elements of British culture through their schooling. Being a large community, compared to other migrant groups in Tasmania, as Anthony points out, it can be easy to stay within the comfort of the Chinese-speaking community rather than engaging more deeply with the general community. So events like dancing and other cultural events are not just expressions of community pride in their culture, but also an opportunity for mutual connection between the local Chinese community and others.
Although Anthony admits to being a fairly shy person, growing up here and becoming very familiar with the local culture has also made him more confident with navigating between two both the Chinese and Tasmanian culture, and feeling like a local while still maintaining a good part of his Chinese identity. At least that was the strong sense that I got from our conversation for the podcast