(Photo by Edith Chen)
Early this year, COTA Victoria conducted a pilot program in Challenging Ageing for older Chinese living in the Melbourne area. The idea of this bilingual program, which was presented in English and Chinese was conceived by Edith Chen. As one of COTA’s Peer Educators, Edith updated and led the program. Other Peer Educators participated over a four-week period. The feedback from all participants was very positive and it was a great opportunity to discuss issues that relate to older people and share information and ideas concerning different cultural views. On completion of this program, it was decided that social events would be organised every couple of months so as to maintain this bilingual connection.
On one of our first outings, COTA Peer Educators (Edith Chen, Isabel Buchan, Mary Walsh and Margaret Thorne) and Xiao An HU, Shi Min CHENG, Ke Hui GONG, Mr ZHANG, Fei Fei QIU and later on with George Fang, Shi Qin GUO and I Lan Yie from the Chinese Community in Melbourne visited the ‘Robe to Chinese Fortunes’ exhibition at the Immigration Museum.
This bilingual exhibition was very interesting as it explored early Chinese immigration in the past and enlightened us all about the thousands of Chinese (mainly men) who arrived at the goldfields in Victoria and Australia seeking their fortunes and the conditions that they endured. One of the highlights mentioned by most of us related to the incredibly long walk by the Chinese miners and several families from Robe, South Australia to the Bendigo and Ballarat goldfields. During this time, the Chinese carried their goods while walking hundreds of miles. What an amazing feat! Other highlights mentioned were seeing the shoes and clothing of a Muslim during that particular period and learning more about Chinese immigration waves to Australia (photo taken by Edith Chen).
Just recently, as part of our bilingual networking group (that we hope to expand to multilingual), several of us enjoyed a High Tea at Straits Café in Melbourne. The food, ambience, company, and conversation were excellent (photo taken by Anne Heyes).
As a group, we are looking forward to more learning, fun, growth, and sharing different cultural experiences in 2018.