People talk about Sydney and Melbourne, sometimes Brisbane. Not a lot of attention is given to Australian Capital Territory, and Canberra, our national capital. As the home of Aussie decision-makers, ACT cannot be more neglected when it comes to modern urbanization and regional economic impacts.
Dr Fuxin Li, an independent candidate for Yerrabi electorate ACT, believes there are solutions in language education and multiculturalism.
Early Career as a Language Educator
Dr Li started his Australian dream as an overseas student at Monash University in Melbourne. in the year 1995, he started his study for a PhD in Education.
“I appreciate Monash Uni’s endeavour in assisting overseas students, still. My English was not adequate, my Chinese cultural background is different from the local Aussies. I am grateful for the language exchange program initiated by the University. Even my Italian tutor Rosemary helped me with my language for essay-writing.” Trained as a prospective educator, Li loved his experience as an education beneficiary.
He wanted to pass it on.
Celebrating his 40th birthday, Li decided to set up his very first language school. “I simply hoped to build a school for my kids; I knew they would have no problem with English but the language school would enable them to study their ethnic language (Mandarin Chinese) here.”
Today, ACT Community Language Schools Association (ACTCLSA) Inc, which Li chairs, has accommodated 39 community languages for kids from a varied range of ethnicities in the ACT. “If children can pick up their ethnic languages and maintain their cultures, I believe community can be more harmonious.” Li said, the more community language education is implemented, the more passionately he and the team push it even further, to make it even stronger.
Community language education, although in the past he never expressed the goal in public, is becoming a life-long career for Dr Fuxin Li.
Embrace a Globalized Canberra
Glocalization means globalisation plus localisation. The balance between identity and commonality could be one of the key issues for Canberra’s sustainable prosperity—- in terms of international education, tourism, trade partnership, even retirement lifestyle for local residents. Dr Fuxin Li, the independent candidate for Yerrabi, believes education and connection are the answers.
During the tele-interview with Australia China Business Circle, Li mentioned a few times his concern about the COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria. He suggests if the non-English speakers in ACT could be more aware and precisely briefed about the ‘Stay at Home’ order in their languages, the second wave of community infection might be put down faster. However, the efforts do not necessarily have to come from the government.
“If our youth are more comfortable to talk with their parents, some of those do not have a good command of English, in their mother tongues, there will be a better chance that everyone could understand the life-saving rules.” Dr. Li believes community language education will, therefore, function as one of the practical solutions in future crises. Along with this, SBS is making a useful contribution in this field for TV watchers.
“If I am elected, I will continue to strengthen this section.” Dr Li added.
Under the depression brought about by COVID-19, ACT’s international education sector suffers from the wash away of overseas students. A difficult time for the universities needs to be terminated, Li thought, and he acted on this.
To bring back the students stuck by a closed border, Dr Li actively met with international student representatives of ANU and Xiamen Airline. They were about to work out a feasible charter flight plan for the return of overseas students other than 350 government sponsored to Canberra. Unfortunately, the second outbreak of COVID-19 pushed away the ‘pilot program’ and the timetables had to be reset.
Despite all the uncertainties, Li remains a firm believer in a globalised Canberra. “We will need more direct flights from more Asian countries, more than current flights with Singapore and the Qatar Airlines. If I am elected, we will explore the possibilities with local service providers.”
The last piece of ACT’s globalisation process, Dr Li considers, is an international school to attract more high school students from overseas to study in Australia’s capital city. “I hope the school will be in the electorate of Yerrabi.” He said.
A Liveable And Vibrant Yerrabi
This is what the international school looks like for Li. Firstly, Yerrabi should be considered as an ideal location since Yerrabi suburbs are the hubs of multicultural communities in the ACT.
Secondly, within ACT, there are around 800 overseas students in the local primary and high schools, accounting for about 1.6% of the total pre-Uni student population. The prospective international school will attract 70% of new international high school students as well as 30% of local Australian students. They will all be accommodated in a boarding school set up.
Thirdly, the new school will aim to preserve as much as possible the students’ ethnic identities in languages and lifestyles but to apply an Australian standard of curriculum. The arrangement will ensure enrolled students to achieve academic excellence for Australian University entries.
“The international school, if approved, will result in an economic boost for Yerrabi, creating jobs and new businesses that fulfill the newly-generated needs,” he added.
As a side-project of this initiative, Dr Fuxin Li, the Independent Candidate for Yerrabi, promised to work on increasing the government grant community language study, from the current 90 dollars per capita per head to at least 130 dollars.
Apart from the international school, Dr Li proposed placing a new multicultural library in Yerrabi . “This is not only for students, but for every single member in Yerrabi communities. A library for the communities where almost everyone would find literature in their own languages and appreciate the cultures of his/her neighbours.”
Even before he stood as a candidate for the 2020 Yerrabi campaign, Dr Li had already been an activist in helping people in fighting against coronavirus. In April, he managed to get tens of thousands of masks for the ACT.
When he received the supply, DrLi donated more than 10,000 masks to the residents in Yerrabi and suburbs in Canberra and Queanbeyan. By driving a van, he went around the city to give away the masks. “I care. Happy to see the vast majority of the businesses and people happilyaccepted my face masks.” He smiles when recalling the 4-week journey of distributing masks.
Li’s undertaking to the electors of Yerrabi: “As an independent of Yerrabi, I will listen to you, stand for you to make a fairer and better Canberra and Electorate Yerrabi Community. Please vote for me and ask you and your friends to give me an opportunity to work for you. Thank you!”
2020年堪培拉大选共有5个选区，其中Yerrabi选区包括Kaleen, Giralang, Gungahlin District和Hall村庄。 李复新博士在接受《澳中商圈》杂志采访时指出，自己竞选Yerrabi选区议员最首要的愿望就是代表华人社区和主流社会沟通。而沟通是双向的，有政策听取，也有民意传达，上传下达，下传上达。
Authorized by Dr Fuxin Li Independent Candidate for Yerrabi