Last week, as we do every year, we went into the city to watch the Chinese New Year Parade.
We typically catch a train and make an afternoon of it.
My son seems to enjoy it, but it seems to be more important to me and my wife. My mother-in-law has of course seen it all before, and I get the feeling that she simply tags along just to get out of the house, rather than having a special connection to the event.
For me and my wife however, we both feel a sense of pride in this event, for different reasons of course.
We get to see the normal characters and events one expects on such a day, including the lion, the dragon, the fireworks and of course the dragon boat races.
For me however I get most enjoyment in watching the parade, where I see a procession of Chinese in many glorious outfits, all representing some unique group or ocassion, and many of whom seem to have come directly from China, who walk with their chest out and their head high, and an obvious sense of pride in their heritage.
This is really lovely to watch.
The pride is contagious, and I also feel proud on behalf of my son and my wife.
This is a really important distiction between the Chinese in this country, and possibly around the world, and other ethnic groupings.
The Chinese seem to have a genuine desire to intergrate and fully engage in the country and community that they are part of.You in fact see a real over-representation of Chinese when you visit the local swimming pools, RSL clubs, children's sporting events, some entertainment venues and educational facilities. This is not necessarly the case with some other ethnic identities, so it seems that the Chinese really try and embrace all the opportunities in life that comes their way.
But importantly, they do not abandon their own identity or heritage in the process.
So rather than remain isolated in their own identity on the one hand, or lose their identity completely on the other, they seem to manage a balance which is both of best worlds.
I hope very much that my son will also adopt this view of the world, which I believe is not only healthy to the individual, but also a blessing to the broader community as well.