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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Because once they get here we don't expect them to learn our languages do we?

Should we let foreign powers assist in encouraging our supposed new New Zealanders to remain foreigners forever? Manukau City Council is a keen advocate of suiting "the needs of the diverse communities." Well maybe what they need is the space to integrate instead of the insistence from the political elite that every immigrant be firmly rooted in their foreign culture rather than in ours. Maybe we really need that to be a successful nation instead of a nation of permanent immigrants:


12 December 2005

Taiwanese Donation to Manukau Libraries Helps Youngsters Learn Chinese

Generous multimedia donation enhances foreign language learning

A generous donation from the Taipei (Taiwan) Economic and Cultural Office will give Manukau youth the chance to be exposed to the Chinese language.

Bilingual books and DVDs were presented to Manukau Libraries on December 9th at the Pakuranga Library.  The books, in Mandarin Chinese and English, will be distributed through the Manukau library system and available for all to enjoy.

The books are a fantastic resource for those wishing to discover Chinese or to become familiar with their mother tongue.

Manukau Libraries has a growing collection of Foreigh Language titles and hopes to further relationships with groups like the Taipei (Taiwan) Economic and Cultural Office, to ensure the collections suit the needs of the diverse communities.

When shops and businesses all over Auckland have mostly or exclusively Chinese or Korean language signage the question is 'why are some immigrants unable to communicate in our languages?' The question is certainly not 'why are some of our people unable to communicate in the languages of the new immigrants?' as seems to be the case with the people at the Manukau City Council.

They don't need hand-outs from Taiwan and Council patronage to support their bloody culture. China has a base of 1.2 billion people, the internet, TV stations - and radio stations in Auckland - to help foster the Chinese culture; so what does the Manukau City Council think it can possibly add to that? Their problem isn't speaking and reading Chinese - it's speaking and reading English! We have two official languages in this country - none of them is Chinese.

In Indonesia they ban Chinese language material from entering. I think maybe the Singapore secession made them hyper-sensitive to the interests of the Chinese in that part of the world. We don't have to ban anything - we just shouldn't be encouraging it.


At 29/12/05 4:50 am, Blogger Psycho Milt said...

In any Moslem country they ban all kinds of things from entering, it's one of the few things their govts are actually good at.

Don't discount the usefulness of having books in Mandarin and English when it comes to Mandarin-speakers learning English. The best thing I had when I was learning German was books from the Hamburg Public Library with German on the left page and the same in English on the right - real easy to check that you've understood it, or find out what the fuck it's on about if you can't follow it.

At 29/12/05 11:08 am, Blogger stephen said...

The books were donated, Tim. Why are you blaming the library for accepting a donation? Should the library have refused the donation? When the Goethe institute donates books in German, should the library refuse them?

"The books are a fantastic resource for those wishing to discover Chinese..." Why are you ignoring that part?

"...the needs of the diverse communities."

One need is for older people who want the comfort of their native language, perhaps because they don't speak English. I think of my great grandmother, who survived for decades in Leeds with no more English than sufficed to talk to the milkman. (Numbers, "how much?", "too much!", "yes", "no"). How pleased she would have been if the local library had books in Yiddish!

Another need is for our monoglot English-speakers to learn Mandarin. Trade demands that sellers learn the language of buyers. Asian countries are determinedly educating their children to speak English; if we were smart, we would return the favour.

I think you should stop beating around the bush and articulate more clearly your concerns about sinister plot to turn New Zealand into a Chinese colony, you silly old racist.

At 29/12/05 1:51 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

There's many problems here:

1. Libraries as language schools for immigrants. Isn't that the central government's job? Isn't that the role of language schools? Isn't this a sign of failure on those scores?

2. Other countries pushing their agenda through "donations" to libraries. I remember the South African magazines we used to get at Takapuna Grammar School library in the mid 80s - on no they weren't racist propoganda they were just information... like the "homelands" in the foreign affairs section etc. Same thing with Taiwan - we are getting their version. Why would we let others determine cultural influence in our own country? Should we accept "donations" of books about the glory of subduing Tibet from the mainland Chinese government? This isn't the Goethe Institut or the British Council - this is a party to a Chinese civil war.


3. "One need is for older people who want the comfort of their native language, perhaps because they don't speak English" - Fuck them. Why don't they speak English? What the hell are we doing letting them settle here if they can't speak English?! We want their young people not their bloody elderly - the only thing they will do is educate them to be foreigners, and they certainly don't need support from abroad. That is my point about what the "donation" will be used for: not for education purposes or so immigrants can learn English but for immigrants who don't want to - now they don't have to - they will have books in their own language aplenty - supplied directly from the foreign powers to their foreign readers.

4. "Another need is for our monoglot English-speakers to learn Mandarin. Trade demands that sellers learn the language of buyers. Asian countries are determinedly educating their children to speak English; if we were smart, we would return the favour." - Yes we should return the favour by making sure our children learn English too. And the "Trade demands" argument - that one's always a laugh. We export logs to China therefore we should all learn Chinese! And if we exported widgets to Timbuctu we should all learn Tinbuctuian? Haven't you grasped the corollary of what you are saying? If we all learn Chinese and make it possible for them to live here without having to learn English then they never will - there would be no point in them learning English. In the same way that by exporting Chinese to NZ means that China can trade directly with NZ Chinese. And this isn't a vague hypothesis of what might occur: it is a process underway now and backed by people like you.

5. "...sinister plot to turn New Zealand into a Chinese colony" - Not so much sinister, as that would require some sort of intelligence, but of ignorance and credulity on the part of the complacent population which is itself largely immigrant (esp. in mind-set). What your comment shows is that you are removed from the reality of the situation - probably in Wellington. When you go down some streets in Auckland that have Chinese and Korean language everywhere where only 10 years ago there was not one and many of these places are exclusively devoted to the demands of foreigners you would not make that remark so glibly - if at all. I'll lay it out for you:

We have 4 million, China has 1,200+ million.
We let in 50,000 immigrants per year and have 100,000+ foreign students pa.
We let in all family members once an immigrant gets residency regardless of whether they can speak English, are elderly and economically redundant or anything else.
We have a government that encourages immigrants to attach themselves to their old countries.
So in context:
"We let foreign governments "donate" foreign reading material direct to libraries." may not be much - but it is another rung in that same ladder.
Colonies arise because we create the setting for it.

Stats Dept says:
"the Mäori population is projected to increase 29 percent from an estimated 590,000 in 2001 to 760,000 in 2021; the Asian population 145 percent from 270,000 to 670,000; the Pacific population 59 percent from 260,000 to 420,000; and the European population 5 percent from 3.07 million to 3.23 million."


"The Asian population is projected to increase in all territorial authority areas. Almost three-quarters of the growth in the Asian population during 2001–2016 is projected to occur in the four cities in Auckland Region. All are expected to more than double their Asian population during this period. The Asian population in Auckland City will increase by 100,000 (from 77,000 in 2001 to 177,000 in 2016), in Manukau City by 52,000 (from 46,000 to 98,000), in North Shore City by 37,000 (from 26,000 to 63,000) and in Waitakere City by 27,000 (from 20,000 to 47,000). These four cities will be home to 67 percent of New Zealand's Asian population in 2016, compared with 62 percent in 2001.

In Auckland City, over one-third (36 percent) of its residents will be of Asian ethnicity by 2016, up from 20 percent in 2001. The Asian share in Manukau and North Shore cities will be about one-quarter by 2016, up from 15 and 13 percent, respectively."

And in twenty years, fifty years hence? The last thing we need is to encourage huge chunks of the population to continue to be foreigners when we have a policy of extremely high immigration. It remains the easiest, laziest option for economic growth that the government has. We have a sad history of it.

At 30/12/05 7:27 am, Blogger stephen said...

I do live in Auckland. I like those streets. I do not regard permanent residents or naturalised New Zealanders as foreigners.

We've had this argument before, so I'll leave it there.

At 30/12/05 12:50 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Well you're going to have to like a lot more of those streets if the Stats Dept. is correct - those increases are by immigration. All the talk of a "Pacific" nation and Auckland as a Pacific city is fast becoming a hoax - we will be an "Asian" nation and Auckland will be an Asian city based on the current projections. Remember those stats above are only for the next 10-15 years!

As for classifiying people as foreigners: Pieces of paper issued by the government only tell half the story.

At 30/12/05 11:50 pm, Anonymous jeff said...

After one generation, the immigrants' children would forget their own language. They will speak and write in English as a result of NZ education they have in NZ. They may just preserve the spoken language, not the written one. In any migrant communities in the English speaking countries, only the old people or new comers still speak their own language. Besides, there is no such ways for the immigrants can control the countries they have entered. It's logical.

At 31/12/05 12:39 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Jeff: You are incorrect because you have underestimated the numbers involved and the links they have back to their own huge cultural and linguistic base.

"there is no such ways for the immigrants can control the countries they have entered." - What language are we conversing in now, Jeff - it isn't Maori is it. That's because of immigration. Look at Fiji and the Indian immigrants and their influence and culture on Fiji. It's called democracy: if one group has enough members in one place they can make the rules. That's logical.

At 31/12/05 2:37 pm, Anonymous jeff said...

In NZ and Maori case, in my opinion, it's a result of a sophisticated colonisation system and process in the beginning. Then, the decolonisation system makes that all NZers are just about the same under the NZ and All Blacks flags.
I believe as long as NZ govt manages to break the immigrant links with their mother countries politically, decolonisation may also apply to the Asian immigrants. "break politically", it doesn't have to be "culturally".
Does NZ have some kind of particular doctrine? Doctrine is such a classic approach, but I think it still can be a useful source to overcome fear of being outnumbered.
There's nothing wrong with "doctrine and democracy". Teaching the immigrant kids "the NZ doctrine and democracy" is a good way of reconciliation. Even in their language.
"Wishing you health, prosperity and much happiness in the coming year."

At 31/12/05 7:40 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Jeff: "Wishing you health, prosperity and much happiness in the coming year." - likewise.

A discussion on doctrine is right up my alley. Will perhaps do that after tomorrow's hang-over.

At 4/1/06 12:31 am, Blogger t selwyn said...

...or perhaps later. Indonesia has a state ideology, Pancasilla (sp?) expressing unity, same goes with Turkey and the USA too. It can so easily slip into the wrong sort of nationalism however.


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