May 25, 2007

History of Japanese Bashing in Queensland

Today I was teased for "thinking too much", which is true, IT HURTS! This was followed up with, "How do you know all this stuff?" To which I answered "Reading". Seriously. Reading makes you learn stuff. I read it somewhere.

And it's not just wikipedia. Though I've got to admit, wiki-technology and the internet in general makes it all so much easier to access information. But I read lots of things. I've read the Bible, Shakespeare, National Geographic, Australian Geographic, Childcraft, Newton, textbooks of various kinds, Tolkein, Fiest, Rowling, Laurel K Hamilton, Mercedes Lackey, news@nature... and since about mid-way through high school I've grown into an ever increasing multimedia whore, embracing video, DVD, documentaries, mp3s, avi downloads, watching the news, Media Watch, The Glasshouse, Warcraft, The Chaser, South Park, Eat Carpet, podcasts, vodcasts, rss, technorati... really, all you have to do is get literate and pay attention: the world is your smorgassboard of information.

I love it.

And so I'm going to present a nice essay that combines some interesting facts about recent Queensland history, politics, intolerance, racism in Australia, Japan, economics and Asia-Australia relations:

Last Post for the Gold Coast: Heart of a Nation and the Japanese "Colonization" of Queensland. by Narrelle Morris

Basically, Back in the 80s, with post-WWII Japan becoming a large economic power, much investment came to tropical Queensland way. Being moderately closer, and certainly a lot larger than tiny tropical Hawaii, the Sunshine State was made all the more appealing by old-school (some might say corrupt) government under Sir Joh. Concern mounted in 1988 with "Heart of the Nation" a community concern group that was totally not-racist in its economic proposal which was simply getting all those foreign influence back where they came from. Heart of the Nation's hypocrisy in character was outed rudely when its primary proponent, Bruce Whiteside, was shown to actually be a foreign investor himself - from New Zealand. One hasty citenzenship ceremony later, and a clarification that Kiwis are Oz's little cousin, whereas Japanese are totally different, HotN continued on its merry little agenda. Media involvement didn't exactly do much to prevent excacerbation of the situation, which resulted in attacks on Japanese education in Queensland schools, misleading figures about Japanese ownership, and even the Japanese media retaliating against the Gold Coast tirades against their country. Despite several attempts to clear itself of any racist agenda, Heart of the Nation was gradually subsumed into Queensland One Nation and Pauline Hanson support to protect against the "yellow peril" of Asia.

Hooray Queensland! Seriously, this is an odd story. Particularly that the entire movement against foreign investment was stirred up by a foreign investor himself, under totally non-racist motivations.

The poor thing about all this is, while Labor Federal has been pushing for Japanese to be brought back into schools (though I don't think too many Queensland schools dropped it), as a Japanese guy I recently met mentioned to me, China is the new asia-pacific superpower. I think it's a bit sad that Japanese language missed the boat - while still fairly complex, it's nowhere near as complicated as Chinese language. I suspect Chinese (Mandarin) will become an Asia-Pacific language more so than Japanese unless the Japanese government pulls some swift manouvering. Mandarin definitely has numbers, area, and political power on its size.



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