Migrant’s Night Speech at the WA Chinese Chamber of Commerce
I was honoured to have been invited to be a guest speaker at the WA Chamber of Commerce Migrant’s Night. This took place last weekend.
It was hallowing for me as it was to be a bilingual speech. I have never made a speech in Mandarin before in my life. Infact having failed Mandarin in secondary school, it has always been a hard slog for me to communicate with my Mandarin speaking clients. I do however survive.
I had also consciously made a decision about 9 mths ago to improve my Mandarin. To that extent, I have been having Mandarin lessons on the internet with teachers in Beijing and Harbin for over 9 mths.
The lessons are 1 on 1 and I believe I can say that I have made a vast improvement. However, coming back to the speech last week, I did have a bit of time to practise with my Teacher He who is in Harbin. She has been great in teaching me Mandarin and has gone beyond the call of duty many times.
I did survive making the speech. Here is the English and Hanyu Pinyin version of the speech.
Talk to Chinese Chambers members re migration
I grew up in Singapore, the ninth child in a family of ten. My father drove a taxi and my mother was a seamstress. Life was relatively happy although the family was quite poor. Some would say I was a street kid as I spent more time outside of my home than at home. Not much time for parents to care for 9th child.
wǒ zài xīn jiā pō zhǎnɡdà ，shì yì jiā 10kǒu de dì 9 ɡè hái zi 。wǒde fùqīn kāi chūzūchē，mǔqīn shì cáifénɡ。Suīrán jiā tínɡ tiáo jiàn bú tài hǎo ，kě shì wǒmen de shēnɡhuó hěn kaixing。Yǒu rén huì shuō wǒ shì yí ɡè jiē tóu xiǎo zi，yīn wèi wǒ huā le ɡènɡ duō shí jiān zài wài miàn。Fu mu dou mei you shi jian qu zhao gu wo zhe ge pai di jiu de xiao hai.
At 10 years of age I have sold bananas at a Singapore market as an illegal hawker, been a construction laborer at 12 years of age, been a flower delivery man, taught at a primary school, and worked full time as an office boy while attending night school. Served in the army. The list goes on.
10years wǒ zài xīnjiāpō shìchǎnɡ tou tou de màiɡuò xiānɡ jiāo，12suìshí zuò ɡuò láo ɡōnɡ，sònɡɡuòhuā，zài xiǎoxué zuòɡuò lǎoshī，zài dú yèxiào de shíhou yě zuòɡuò xiǎoɡōnɡ。Dang guo bing. Zhè yànɡ de lì zi hái yǒu hěn duō。
My grades were not good enough to go to a college before University as I failed Mandarin as a 2nd language skill. Hence, I had no choice but to work and study at a night school. At that time in my life, Mandarin, as a language, was not important. China was not yet a major power as Europe and America were then the world leaders. How times have changed.
yīnwèi wǒde pǔ tōnɡ huà bù jíɡé, Wǒde fēn shù bú ɡòu shànɡ zhongxué，suǒ yǐ，chú le ɡōnɡ zuò hé zài yèxiào xuéxí wǒ miéyǒu biéde xuǎn zé。Na ge shi hou，pǔ tōnɡ huà bú shì hěn zhòng yào。Nàshíhou zhōnɡ ɡuó hái bú shì xiànɡ ōu zhōu 、měiɡuó yíyànɡ de shì jiè qiánɡ ɡuó，xiànzài shídài yǐ jīnɡ bu tong le。Yīnwèi zhōnɡɡuó yě shì shìjiè qiánɡ ɡuó。
I was lucky enough to have my brothers and sisters support me when I was studying in England to be a lawyer. While studying in England, I first became aware of my lack of Asian identity. That was when I started to find my Asian roots.
wǒ hěn xìnɡyùn wǒde xiōnɡ dì jiě mèi bānɡzhù wǒ qù yīnɡ ɡuó dú fali 。zài yīnɡɡuó xuéxí de shíhou ，wǒ dì yī cì fā xiàn wǒ měiyǒu yà zhōu rén de shēn fèn 。nà shí wǒ kāi shǐ zhǎo wǒ de ɡēn。
When I first started practicing in Perth as a lawyer more than 20 years ago, there were maybe 3 other Asian law firms then operating in Perth. One was my brother Charles Tan’s firm. Asian lawyers were definitely not the norm. It was, however, quite common for Australians to use the services of an Asian doctor.
In the last 10 years, Asian lawyers have become more acceptable with an average of 3-4 Asian lawyers being called to the bar each month.
20duō nián qián，wǒ kāishǐ zài pò sī dānɡ lǜshī de shíhou，pòsī chà bù duō yǒu 3jiā yà zhōu lǜshī shìwù suǒ. Qi zhong yi jian shi wo de ge ge Charles Tan kai de. Yàzhōu lǜ shī jué duì búshì hěn liu xing ，dànshì ，dà duō shù àodàlìyà rén xuǎnzé yàzhōu de yīshēnɡ。Zài ɡuò qù de 10 nián ，yà zhōu de lǜ shī yǐ jīnɡ bèi jiē shòu。Měi ɡè yuè pínɡ jūn yǒu 3-4 ɡè yà zhōu ren dang shang lv shi。
As Asia becomes stronger, I am sure that Asian lawyers will grow in demand.
Yin wei Yà zhōu biàn de ɡènɡ qiánɡ ，suo yi wǒ xiānɡ xìn ，yà zhōu lǜ shī yě huì ɡènɡ shòu huān yínɡ。
We are so lucky to be in Australia. I understand why there are boatloads of refugees trying to enter the country.
hěn xìnɡyùn women neng zài àodàlìyà shenghuo。wǒ mínɡbái le wèi shén me yǒu hěnduō nàn mín xiǎnɡ lái zhè ɡè ɡuó jiā。
I still remember migrating to Australia in 1988. It was when Australians had seen a rush of
boat people from Vietnam. Naturally some Australians took a view against anyone who
looked Vietnamese. That covers most Chinese people as well. Jack Van Tongeren and the
Australia Nationalist Movement comes into mind. 。There were a spate of fire bombings of
Asian restaurants 。Different ethnic groups have often been discriminated through the
different migration waves.
wǒ hái jìdé 1988nián wǒ yímín dào àodàlìyà ，nàshí hěnduō yue nan, nanmin lái àodàlìyà。Zìrán yìxiē àodàlìyà rén fǎnduì suǒyǒu kànqǐlái xiànɡ yuènánrén de rén，dānɡrán yě bao kuo le zhōnɡɡuórén。Na ge shi hou Jack Van Togeren hé àodàlìyà mínzú zhǔyì yùndònɡ chūxiàn le。ANM yě fànɡhuǒ shāole hěnduō yàzhōu canguǎn。Bùtónɡ de zhǒnɡzú yìnwèi bùtónɡ de yímín bèi qíshì。
Italians have been targeted, Greeks have been targeted, Vietnamese Asians have been targeted, and now, refugees from the Middle East , Afghanistan etc.
Australia goes through these waves of discriminations as a natural response to a change in population change. We are after all, all migrants to Australia.
yìdàlì rén，xīlà rén ，yàzhōu rén yǐqián dōushì bèi qíshì de 。Xiànzài cónɡ zhōnɡdōnɡ，āfùhàn lái de nànmín yě yíyànɡ bei qishi。
zhèshì yìzhǒnɡ zìrán fǎnyìnɡ，mei yi ci yi min ren kou zeng duo dou hui you zhe zhong qing kuang chu xian，wǒmen bìjìnɡ dōushì àodàlìyà de yímín。
This brings me to work as a registered migration agent.
I have helped business people migrate to WA. I have helped partners stay in WA with their loved ones. This is some of the work I am most happy to deal with being, a migrant myself.
zhè rànɡwǒ zhǎodào wǒde ɡōnɡzuò，zhùcè yímín dàilǐ。
wǒ ceng jing bānɡzhù yìxiē shang ren yímín dào WA, bānɡzhù fūqī zài WA hé tāmen de àirén yìqǐ shēnɡhuó。zhèshì wǒ zuì ɡāoxìnɡ zuòde shì，yīnwèi wǒ yase yímín。
I am now helping a number of migrants with assets of $5 million under Visa class 188 as a significant investor. And guess where most of them are from? That’s right, China.
Xiànzài wǒ zai bang yi xie you 5bǎiwàn ao bi zīchǎnde shang ren tou zi yi min dao aodaliya. Cāiyìcāi dàduōshù shì nǎɡuórén? duìle ，shì zhōnɡɡuó。
A question constantly asked is if migration law is boring.
To me, no area of the law is boring. In my years of practice I have seen all aspects of human nature. I was recounting to one of my junior lawyers today of one of my most memorable experiences as a lawyer.
Jing chang you ren wen wo yi min fa shi bu shi hen wu liao.
wǒ juéde suǒyǒu de fǎlǜ dōu yǒuyìsī。Zhe me duo nian de ɡōnɡzuò rang wǒ kàndào le rénxìnɡ de měiɡè fānɡmiàn。Jīntiān wǒ shuō yíɡè cónɡ wǒ zuò lǜshī dào xiànzài zuì yǒuyìsī de kusu。
I was asked to represent 3 overseas clients who had all been arrested and detained by the Immigration department as their visa had expired and they were illegally in Australia. The Migration Act allows a detainee in the detention centre to apply to be released on the agreement that the detainee will make arrangements to leave the country. To allow the detainee to be released, the Immigration department usually requires a surety to sign a bond to say that if the detainee fails to leave as agreed, the bond will be forfeited. The bond amount can range up to $20,000.
wǒ dàibiǎo 3ɡè kèhù，tāmen yīnwèi qiānzhènɡ ɡuòqī bèi jūliú。rúɡuǒ tāmen bǎozhènɡ líkāi zhèɡè ɡuójiā，yímínjú kěyǐ fànɡ tāmen chūlái。búɡuò tāmen xūyào dānbǎorén，hé 20000 ao bi de bǎozhènɡjīn。rúɡuǒ tāmen měiyǒu líkāi bǎozhènɡjīn huì bèi chōnɡ ɡōnɡ。
The 3 clients I saw at the detention centre informed me that they had been on the run for over 2 years. I also found out that the snakeheads (the “people smugglers”) would arrange for their clients to arrive in Australia on a valid visa. Upon the expiration of the valid visa, the client will disappear underground. For the privilege of the snakeheads making the arrangements, the clients would pay up to a year’s wage. Upon paying up the debt to the snakeheads, any time spent in Australia earning an income is a bonus. That bonus, for many, could mean the funds to buy a home in their home country.
wǒ zài jūliúsuǒ jiàndào de 3ɡè kèhù tāmen yǐjīnɡ fēifǎ zài àodàlìyà liǎnɡnián duō le。wǒ yě zhīdào shétóu bānɡzhù tāmen dédào qiānzhènɡ，qiānzhènɡ ɡuòqī yǐhòu tāmen huì mìmì de xiāoshī。kèhù hé shétóu shuōhǎo，kèhù xūyào fù yìnián de shōurù ɡěi shétóu。Chúle ɡěi shétóu qián，qítā zhuàn de qián shì jiǎnɡjīn，hěnduōrén kěyǐ yònɡ zhèxiē qián zài damen guochia mǎi fánɡzi。
For us privileged residents in Australia, it makes you appreciate what we have here.
Neng zai ao da li ya sheng huo, wo men dou shi hen xing yun de.
Coming back to these 3 clients, 2 of them were brothers. They all filed an application to be released on their undertaking that they would make arrangements to leave Australia. Their applications were rejected as the Immigration Department did not believe they would abide by their promise to leave Australia. However, the decision is appealable to the Migration Review Tribunal.
Huílái shuō zhè 3ɡè kèhù，qízhōnɡ liǎnɡɡè shì xiōnɡdì。Tāmen dōu shēnqǐnɡ bǎoshì hé bǎozhènɡ tāmen huì líkāi。yímínjú bù xiānɡxīn tāmen huì líkāi。Tāmen juédìnɡ shang su。
That was where I came in. I was instructed to file the appeal on behalf of the 3 clients. Upon receipt of my fees (yes, of course for such cases, you need to make sure your fees are paid up front) I filed the requisite appeals. The Migration Review Tribunal then set a date for the hearing of the 3 appeals for the 3 clients. I attended the Tribunal hearing that day for the clients.
Yu shi wo shang chang le ，wǒ bānɡ zhè 3 ɡè kèhù shànɡsù。Shōudào qián yǐhou wǒ qíchū shànɡsù。（zhèzhǒnɡ ànzi yídìnɡ yào xiān shōu qián）
fa ting jue ding kai ting。wǒ dàibiǎo ta men chūtínɡ。
Prior to the hearing, the clients had all arranged for sureties who were willing to put in a cash bond to confirm the clients would not breach any conditions for their release to freedom. This is just to allow them to make arrangements to leave the country.
Zài kāitínɡ yǐqián，kehù yǐjīnɡ ānpái dānbǎorén jiāo bǎozhènɡjīn ，bǎozhènɡ tamen shang su chenkong hòu yídìnɡ huì líkāi。
The hearing is heard by video link as the Chairperson for the appeal hearing is based in Melbourne. We attend a court room with television screens for us to communicate with the Chairperson in Melbourne. Now as there are 3 different cases, there are 3 different Chairpersons for each different hearing.
Yin wei fa guan zai mo er ben, ta shi yong shi pin gen wo men jiao tan de。Yīn wèi shì 3ɡè bùtónɡ de ànzi suǒ yǒu 3ɡè fǎɡuān。
My clients were brought to the court by security guards. The guards are tasked to bring them from the detention centre to the court and then to bring the clients back to the detention centre. In this case, as there were 3 clients, there were 3 guards, one for each client.
Wǒde kèhù bèi bǎoān dàidào fǎtínɡ。Bāoān shì cónɡ jūliúsuǒ bǎ tāmen dàilái ，ránhòu zài bǎ tāmen dài huíqù。měiyíɡè kèhù yǒu yíɡè bǎoān。
The hearing started and I represented the 1st client. He was not convincing as his record showed that he had been evading the Immigration department for over 3 years before he was caught. The Chairperson for his hearing gave a clear indication that he did not believe the client would leave the country if he was released. The Chairperson reserved his decision and the client was released from court and brought back to the detention centre by his allocated guard.
di yi ge an zi kai ting le，zài tā bèi zhua zhu yǐqián tā yǐjīnɡ fēifǎ le 3niánduō。fǎɡuān hěn qīnɡchǔ de shuō tā bù xiānɡxìn wǒde kèhù huì líkāi 。fǎɡuān méi zuò juédìnɡ ，qǐnɡ bǎoān bǎ zhèɡè kèhù dàihuí jūliúsuǒ xiang。
I then had to attend the hearing for the next client, who as I mentioned was one of 2 brothers. The hearing commenced before a new Chairperson. The Chairperson, as expected, raised questions as to why he should believe that my client would leave the country voluntarily. I told the Chairperson, we had a surety who would place a bond of $10,000 if needed to ensure my client left Australia voluntarily. The Chairperson was not moved and indicated so. Upon seeing that the Chairperson was not likely to grant my client his temporary freedom, he stood up and said, “I guarantee I will leave the country with my life”. This was of course stated in a foreign language.
Ránhòu wǒ dàibiǎo dìèrɡè kèhù chūtínɡ ，jiùshì liang xiōnɡdì qi zhong yi ge。fǎɡuān wèn wèishénme tā kěyǐ xiānɡxìn tāmen huì líkāi àodàlìyà。wǒ ɡàosù fǎɡuān ta yǒu dānbǎorén huì jiāo 10000kuài de bǎozhènɡjīn。fǎɡuān bù tónɡyì，méiyǒu shìfànɡ tā。Wa de kehu zhànqǐlái shuō “wǒ yònɡ wǒde sheng mìnɡ bǎo zhènɡ wǒ huì líkāi zhèr” dānɡrán tā shì yònɡ pǔtōnɡhuà shuōde。
Before there was a chance to translate to the Chairperson, this client took a razor tìxūdāo (God, knows where he got it from and how he sneaked it past security) and proceeded to slash ɡē his wrist in front of everyone.
Hái méi fànyì zhèjùhuà yǐqián，tā náchū yíɡè tìxūdāo (méirén zhīdào tā shì zěnme dài jìnlái de) zài dàjiā miànqián ɡē tāde shǒuwàn。
There was blood everywhere. There was blood on the table, on my file and on the floor of the court. There was pandemonium as the Chairperson screamed out in surprise and the guards rushed to my client. An ambulance was called and the 2 security guards present tried to stop the client from bleeding but he refused to be helped. It took at least 30 minutes before the ambulance arrived and removed the client. However, during all this commotion, his brother managed to make an escape by leaving the building. So, it was all pre-meditated. Let’s sacrifice one brother to return to their country. The other brother can still make some money before he is caught again.
Zhuōzi shànɡ ，wǒde wénjiàn shànɡ ，dìbǎn shànɡ dōushì xiě。2 Bǎoān pǎo ɡuòlái ，jiàole jiùhùchē。2 Bǎoān shìzhe bānɡ tā zhǐxiě tā bù tónɡyì。jiùhùchē lái yǐqián
fēichánɡ luàn，zài nà shíhou tāde xiōnɡdì táopǎo le。suǒyǐ ，zhèshì tāmen yǐjīnɡ shuō
hǎo de。Xīshēnɡ yíɡè xiōnɡdì huí ta quochia ，lìnɡyíɡè hái kěyǐ zhuànqián。
Yes, that is the extent that people will sacrifice to be in Australia. I can tell you that I faint at the sight of blood. I had always wanted to be a doctor. I always (for egoistic reasons) wanted to be in a situation where a patient would say to me “Thanks, doctor, you have saved my life”. However, this desire was never met, due to my aforementioned [pause] condition. Hence, I thought the next best thing was to be a lawyer. That is where I am today. Still happy to know I have helped a client, whether to save jiùtheir business, their life if it is a criminal matter or their children.
méicuò rénmén kěyǐ xīshēnɡ yi qie liúzài àodàlìyà。wǒ kěyǐ ɡàosù nǐmen wǒ yūnxuě，wǒ ceng jing xiǎnɡ dānɡ yīshēnɡ。niánqīnɡ de shíhou wǒ kàn diànshì ， bìnɡrén ɡēn yīshēnɡ shuō ，xièxiè ni jiùle wǒde mìnɡ ，wǒ yě xiǎnɡ zuò yīshēnɡ ，dànshì wèntí shì wǒ yūnxǔ ，dìèrɡè bànfǎ shì zuò lǜshī。zuò lǜshī wǒ kěyǐ bānɡzhù tāmen de shēnɡyì ，jiù tāmen de mìnɡ ，bānɡzhù tāmen de háixī. Ze se wa chingtien ta ming.
I thank the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to talk about my life as a migrant. Yes, we are a lucky country. However we are lucky because of the people who have migrated from all over the world to make Australia their home.
wǒ fēichánɡ ɡǎnxiè zhōnɡhuá zǒnɡ shānɡhuì yāoqǐnɡ wǒ shuōshuō wǒde ɡùshì。zhè shì yíɡè xìnɡyùn de ɡuójiā，wǒmen yěshì hěn xìnɡyùn yīnwèi women cong bùtónɡ de dìfānɡ lai, rànɡ àodàlìyà biànchénɡ women de jiā。