You have a virus!go back to your country!”It broke the hearts of most of the kindness Chinese people

There had been a outbreak in northwestern Tasmania in the

Mid-April, which worried a lot of people,including the Chinese community here. As early as this March, they have been collecting masks and other medical supplies among Tasmanian Chinese people and donated to hospitals and communities. In late March, Geng Song flew back to Hobart from Sydney. At that time, Tasmania, which had already seen dozens of new cases, began home quarantine. As soon as he landed and went through the security, he saw three airport police officers on duty, giving instructions to new arrivals. While filling out the health registration form, Geng Song started a conversation with them, asking something about isolation. Then he suddenly realized that he had been wearing a mask since before he got on the plane,and had not dared to take it off. But the policemen were not wearing masks, exposing their mouths and noses to the travellers from all around the country. Mindful of cultural differences about masks, Geng Song gingerly asked them, "I have some extra masks. Do you want them? To his surprise, they nodded their heads quickly. Then he gave them two boxes of P2 masks. The three policemen thanked him and put on their masks at once. They said they knew it was necessary to wear a mask, but they had been to all the pharmacies nearby but got nothing. From then on, Geng Song set up a mind. “Support our second hometown” Back in Hobart, Geng Song found that most of the Chinese people on the streets were wearing masks, as were a few local people, or in other strange ways, such as hanging handkerchiefs by rubber bands over their ears. He runs a coffee shop in Eastland, and keeps some of his surplus masks in the shop for customers to get free. Some customers told him that many of them wanted to wear masks now, but could not buy one. " Australia is our second hometown, can we do something? "As the chairman of Tasmania Shandong Association, Geng Song together with a group of Chinese people in Tasmania, launched an action of Defending Tasmania by donating materials to help fight the pandemic. Without any public media publicity, they used the most original way as Chinese do to raise money. They sent the messages through We-Chat groups among Chinese communities in Tasmania, and asked people to sign up what they can offer. They did not expect that there were more than 70 people registered in just one week.

Chinese and Masks When one is in trouble, others should help.

This is a tradition in China. However, in the matter masks, the Chinese in Australia face a complex situation since this year. A lot of people tell me to stop, that its too risky. Geng Song said that when he began to set up the action, he was opposed by his friends and families. What if they don want it? What if someone with a mask comes back to you with allergies? What if the media misrepresent the story?

The worries of his friends were not groundless. In fact, since the outbreak of the pandemic in Australia, the images of Chinese and masks have been burdened with too many misunderstandings from the Australian society. As early as the outbreak began in Australia, the Chinese were probably the first to wear masks. When the production of masks began to recover in China, they got the masks posted to Australia through their relatives and friends in China. Many Chinese-Australian international transshipment companies have been busy posting masks from China to Australia for several months. However, due to cultural differences and other reasons, some Chinese wearing masks in Australia suffered discrimination and even violent attacks. Last month, two Hong Kong students from the University of Tasmania were out shopping when they were attacked by a local Australian who punched one of them, dropping his glasses and injuring his forehead. The man continued to abuse the student while he was beating him:You have a virus!go back to your country!” It broke the hearts of most of the kindness Chinese people. Eliminate Prejudice and Misunderstanding

In the second week of April, Geng Song finished the coordination and distribution of the first batch of medical materials. The first batch has more than 4500 masks, 11 pieces of sanitizers, over 160 boxes of disposable gloves. The second batch of more than 6000 are still on the way. On April 8, the first supplies of hundreds of masks were donated to Hobart royal Hospital, through UTAS Medical School. All the materials add up to over ten thousand pieces. During last week, the first masks were donated to other community services such as nursing homes, churches and children centers.

A lot of these materials were sent by their families from China, so maybe each person could just donate a small amount, but they squeezed it out of their pockets little by little." Song said. A UTAS alumnus Liangliang, who has been away from Australia for four or five years, heard about this activity from WeChat. He sent 1000 masks from China to Australia, and asked for 700 of them to be donated to UTAS and the rest to Tasmania community. A community care center in Launceston, posted a message on Facebook last week asking for help of masks. They said because no masks were available at local pharmacies and asking for mask donations even by sewing of someone’s own. The Chinese volunteers contacted them immediately after they saw it. A few days later, the center received 50 masks donated by Chinese volunteers. From initially fearful of being misunderstood, Song now received positive comments from various communities and public welfare organisations. And recently he received a phone call from a Tasmania Home Affair official, praising the Chinese community& kindness, saying that they would report this to the state government and recommend to more communities. Every step of this process is not easy for Geng Song. After the first donations, he sent a message to the volunteers: " Sincerely thank you for all in this. We hope Australian could understand that Chinese people in Australia were dedication and sensible of responsibility. We are also part of Australia and want to help. Bias and misunderstanding should be eliminated. We just want to build a culture of mutual respect and contribute to a more equal environment.” “I hope it would have a profound impact on the building of a diverse society in Australia.

Written by Xiaowen Xing

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