Upon first hearing about the coronavirus, the first thing I said to my daughter was,
Just what the world needs – another excuse for racism.”
Education is my passion. I have devoted my life to it. I consider there are few, if any, problems in this world, upon which a good education system, does not have a significant impact. I admire the similar passion, numerous Chinese families, also have for education. Many families invest a large portion of their resources, into ensuring their children have the best education available. (I have travelled through China, but that story is for another day.)
Education is a pillar of the Australian economy. As I understand it, it is second only to our mining sector. (My son and I have just been debating whether it is ahead of tourism.) We need to get behind our Chinese students. It is great to see so many universities doing their bit to help. Many have extended holidays and made extensive resources available online.
Beauty Beyond Bones has just written a powerful post about the treatment of many Chinese people in connection with the coronavirus. https://beautybeyondbones.com/2020/03/05/coronavirus-or-apocalypse-now/
When I saw the graphic on her blog, my heart broke a little.
I have attempted to reproduce a similar version here.
There are many lovely, hardworking students stranded overseas at the moment, unable to return because of the necessary and important quarantine measures which are in place.
It must be a very challenging time for them. I recognise the zeal these young people and their families have for their education. I strongly suspect they (the students) are doing everything in their power, to continue their studies online, as I write.
Australia has good reason to be proud of the quality of our university education system here. It attracts students from all over the world. We need to continue to nurture our student population from overseas.
If I may send you (our stranded students) all a virtual hug.
You have a bright future ahead of you.
Thinking of you. Take care of yourselves. Hope to see you again soon.
Latest update on travel restrictions from the Australian Government.
It is my hope that some day our humanity will overcome our instinct to condemn, to hate, and to fear. It is only through compassion and cooperation that suffering can be eased. It is a shame that the easiest and least productive response is to find blame – not cures.
This crisis has touched our lives on a personal level. My children have many Chinese friends at university. I dislike racism at the best of times. At the moment my children are unsure whether they have any stranded friends. The sad thing is, I predicted much of this. Instead of the internet being used to bring us all together, it often feels like it is driving us all further and further apart.
The only people I have a problem with, is those who seek to set us deliberately against each other. “Divide and conquer.” It starts with us, I guess. I know the truth. I have experienced the hospitality and kindness of the vast majority of people from all over the world. I have a few funny stories about my journey through China, but probably not the time for them right now. There are some truly wonderful young people, studying here in Australia. One of my son’s Chinese friends, is studying to be a doctor. Who knows? Maybe one day, one of them will find a cure for cancer, as well as ways to protect us all from so many of these viruses.
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