Blending In Without Losing One’s Self
Review of attending the 5th New Zealand Going Bananas International Conference
The fifth New Zealand Going Bananas International Conference was held at the University of Auckland Business School in May 2014.
This is a very successful conference, such an amazing one. The professionalism, efficiency, completeness, simplicity, the quality and quantity, the active communication and interaction, yet this was solely organized by the local community – New Zealand Chinese Association Auckland Branch. In other words, this international conference is the fruit of labor of a group of passionate volunteers. From the volunteers, young and old, working selflessly to Mr Kai Luey who held onto the megaphone to usher everyone into the next session on time, I was moved. This not only gave me a strong admiration for their dedication and talent, as well as hope and confidence for this ancient nation.
We are blessed to live in this era full of challenges and opportunities to change one’s destiny. This also means that there is a lot to learn and ponder on, the need for exchange and dialogue, the need for conclusion and reflection. One could look at the world via a country and a nation, as global citizens, we are interconnected and interdependent, but we are still not mature or wise enough. We need to learn how to be kind to others, as this is the only way to be kind to ourselves. Fortunately, the concept of “Harmony” in ancient Chinese culture gave true meaning to “Harmony” culture in the today’s world where everyone collaborates together to work towards protecting and sharing peace and harmony.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Diverse Bananas, Global Dragons”. Through development of time to the modern today, it is time to reconsider a new term to replace the terms “Banana” and “The Descendant of the Dragon”. With increasing localization, the International Chinese no longer represents one with yellow skin and a completely westernized attitude and behavior. In fact, Overseas Chinese could now be defined as one who is willing to accept and connect the cultures of both east and west as the basis to be a global citizen in today’s world.
I am confident that New Zealand will continue to host international conferences centralized around the Chinese as its theme in the future. I hope that the younger generation could fully learn from the rich experience of the past five conferences. With a more open, inclusive, innovative and collaborative approach, I hope they could create a platform of higher influence and dynamic to encourage equal dialogue and discussion, open to criticisms, debates and suggestions.
I also hope that future Chinese related conferences could adopt a bilingual approach to encourage participation from new Mainland Chinese migrants and representatives of other ethnic groups. Throughout the event, we could display the Chinese, or even other ethnicities’, traditional and cotemporary art. The multi-cultural dance during the Going Bananas conference opening reception is a good example of this.
All in all, Overseas Chinese should integrate into their respective local society and actively take part in local community life to learn and adopt the best of both worlds’ cultures. At the same time, they should actively display the excellent qualities of our nation and promote the essence of traditional Chinese culture. If every nation and country can be so open, embracing, innovative, collaborative, and inclusive without losing its own unique characteristics, "in harmony yet different", then this world will be a much better place.
Ellen Chuan Yang
|Kai Luey||David Wong|
|Co – Chairman Organising Committee||Co - ChairmanOrganising Committee|
|Phone +64 9 522 1840||Phone +64 9 375 9525|
|Fax 649 375 1010|
|Mobile 6421 333 125||Mobile 6429 243 2252|
|Email email@example.com||Email firstname.lastname@example.org|