This one was from my British Studies class. I talked about the Chinese British community in England. This was an article for a magazine (a project for my final exam) called C.B.M (Chinese British Magazine) created by me and my group members.
The topic about Chinese British living in Britain and their struggles to adapt and be accepted in a new society and culture can pique some interesting questions regarding the multiculturalism in Britain. Does it really work? Or is it simply just a nice, big word but no realization? Will these Chinese British people survive in this country? What makes them go to Britain in the first place? And why is it important for us to know these things. United Kingdom’s current Prime Minister once said that the multiculturalism in UK has failed. Why? This statement comes from his point of view that sees the injustice that the natives get because of the treatment given by the government to the immigrants. He sees multiculturalism from the natives’ point of view. He sees the gap between what the immigrants contribute and what they get. However, this Chinese British topic brings us back to the classic problem of multiculturalism; the ‘attacks’ against immigrants or minorities.
Chinese British is the fourth largest minority ethnic group in United Kingdom, but they are quite literally ‘invisible’ to the public eyes. When we talk about the minority groups in Britain, usually we think about the ‘Black’ British or the Pakistani. We often think about the problems, the conflict happening between White British and the two minorities that I have mentioned before. However, the conflict or the discrimination against the British Chinese is often overlooked. One actress, Elizabeth Chan, wrote for guardian.co.uk about her experience regarding this matter. In her article, she quoted from a study done by The Monitoring Group and Hull University. The study suggested that “British Chinese are particularly prone to racial violence and harassment, but that the true extent to their victimisation was often overlooked because victims were unwilling to report it.” She also stated the reasons why do the British Chinese prefer to stay silent. She said that they simply lack numbers and that racism is a very bad experience that they want to forget about it. She said, “So we tend to brush it off, pretend it never happened, or laugh along with the rest rather than come across as bad sports.”
This article of hers has gained several reactions from fellow British Chinese. According to a blog owned by a Catholic priest named Father Stephen Wang, he does not say clearly that he supports Elizabeth’s sentiment about British Chinese. But he does not say that he is against it either. He simply said, “I don’t know enough Chinese outside my own family well enough to judge whether this description of British Chinese reticence is accurate or not. But it’s certainly good to broaden the discussion about racism to include the experience of British Chinese” This article in his blog is then commented by several people and become some kind of a discussion board regarding this matter.
How the Chinese British deals with the problems is really something unique and different from others. They remain silent whereas the thing that we heard most often about minorities group is how they try to defend their rights against racism. However, these people remain silent and subdued. Now, why do we need to know these things? What makes them so important? I think it is because by learning these things, we can be more open minded towards the issues surrounding the multiculturalism happening in our own country, Indonesia. There have been some occurrences of conflicts between the minorities and the majorities in Indonesia. The biggest one concerning the Chinese ethnicity in Indonesia is the 1998 incident. Chinese Indonesian people have this racial problem as well. By learning and knowing about the facts, the Chinese Indonesian can be more open to the possibilities of reacting to the conflicts.