About this project //
These are my responses to online news on China from the vantage point of Australia.
Wandering China maps the Overseas Chinese 海外华人imagination of China from the perspective of a Singapore-born, Australia-based, second-generation overseas-born Chinese. It is part annotated biblio, part diary of my information consumption on most things China.
It has been most intriguing observing and making sense of China’s rise from where I am. Australia balances the economic and strategic imperative in its great and powerful friends dilemma between the increasingly binary opposition of the US and China. Born and raised in Singapore, being able to speak and read Mandarin as a second language helps in getting access to news that foreign news sources usually take 3 or 4 days to catch up to.
To supplement what I read in the news I also keenly travelling around China, its SARs and Taiwan to understand China with the primacy of first-hand experience.
My goal? To help find a middle path between the polarities of East and West. This I try to do by attempting to bridge the gaps and distortions of media representation on China news.
This project focuses on online reports from from state, local/regional/ foreign / overseas Chinese mainstream and social media news sources on China’s relations with the world. Of primary interest to me are China’s relations to its political binary opposition of the US; Australia, Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.
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Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org.
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About Me //
Leap and the net will appear!
That nothing beats first-hand knowledge resonates. Traversing the media tsunami in a time-poor networked society (arguably one consequence of the developed world) can mean that knowledge is a most valued commodity. The interest in sharing, via this open source platform stems from a desire to bridge the increasing distortion between media representation and true events.
A Singaporean of Chinese ethnicity, I am currently a graduate researcher in Australia who counts himself part drummer, part digital content producer traversing both sides of the equator.
A 2nd generation Overseas-Born Chinese 华裔 , of Teochew descent, my grandfather and his long line of people come from 潮汕 Chao Shan region, 潮州 Chao Zhou prefecture, Chao An 潮安 ’zhen’ (town) in Guangdong ‘shen’ 广东省 (province). A social ‘construct’ of post-colonial Singapore and of Chinese ethnicity, I spent the formative years in an utilitarian education system that prized the Western paradigm for economic reward and social mobility – the name of the school I spent more than ten years is revealing in itself (Anglo-Chinese School). As such I grew up being not particularly strong in Mandarin. It has taken a few years of catching up to now be able to read Chinese newspapers. Nevertheless in a sense, an East/West hybrid global villager with ancestral roots in the northern hemisphere, born along the equator and now working in the southern hemisphere.
So – I am rediscovering my roots amidst China’s growing use of public diplomacy from base camp in Victoria, Australia; some 11,000kms south from where my grandfather was born. Here I learn the collective noun ‘Chinese’ is an increasingly huge misnomer unable to represent the vast divides, ethnicities and stratas of China’s ‘official’ list of 55+1 peoples (1 being the overwhelming han majority) spread over 1.3 billion-plus individuals.
In terms of living life, the great outdoors appeals most. A great deal of spare time is spent mapping out treks and campsites to share on Google Earth, with travelling djembe strapped to my back. Steel citied skies and concrete jungles can have a bad habit of making one myopic to the grandeur of this vast planet. An advocate of using media for good – I have thus far led community-learning Youth Expedition Projects to Northern Thailand with Singapore’s National Youth Council. Inspired by my father, music and the excitement of air particles is also another lens of focus. I like to tinker out soundtracks to accompany my visual and textual documentations of China.
Bashing out funk drumming patterns rock my my boat, and ‘Animal’ from the Muppets is my musical hero! You can check out my work on music here (Singapore) and here (Melbourne). If you have some spare time, you can even vote for my music on an international chart here.
To contact me, please write to bob.epic(at)gmail.com. Thank you for visiting!
- Wandering China