Why I Didn’t Pursue A Career In Australia’s Media: Facing Racism vs. Chasing Passion

When it comes to talking about Australia’s media, the topic of racism is bound to come up. It’s no secret white, Western faces and voices are what we usually see and hear in this industry, ironically in a culturally diverse country.

Growing up, I wanted to be a radio presenter or producer. Live talkback and pre-recorded infotainment radio programs fascinated me – voices over the airwaves nimbly informing and entertaining at the same time. At university, I took communications subjects, learning about the Gutenberg press and the ins-and-outs of writing for online publications.

Sometimes we look at the media and wonder why we are seeing what we are seeing | Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle.

Sometimes we look at the media and wonder why we are seeing what we are seeing | Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle.

As part of my tertiary studies, I also completed a month-long internship as a journalist at SBS Radio (SBS is Australia’s largest public broadcaster providing multicultural and multilingual media services to Australians). But when I graduated from university, the last thing I wanted to do was work in a newsroom.

Cultural hierarchies saturate Australia’s media industry. Recently there has been talk public broadcasters are whitewashing their newsrooms alongside Australian mainstream media outlets. For someone of non-Anglo descent, why chase a career in Australia’s media when it seems impossible for us to make a mark here?

As an intern, I compiled segments on international affairs for SBS’s News and Current Affairs evening news bulletin. My supervisor constantly reminded me to incorporate Australian angles within the bulletins – quoting an Australian spokesperson typically did the job. But what intrigued me was the makeup of the current affairs radio team I was part of at the time: around eight reporters, eight Caucasian, full-time reporters hailing from Australia and Europe, speaking with Western accents.

Often, the familiar is comfort because it hits home and it’s what we are used to. More than likely this sentiment is what local media play on to get an audience; majority of Australians come from Anglo backgrounds. As Welsh academic Raymond Williams talks about emotional bonding and the notion of “structures of feelings”:

“We are talking about characteristic elements of impulse, restraint, and tone; specifically affective elements of consciousness and relationships…it is a structured formation.”

At times it's challenging trying to fit in in a place that we aren't comfortable in.

At times it’s challenging trying to fit in in a place that we aren’t comfortable in.

Then again, migrants are every part of Australia today and deserve a place in local media. But this isn’t so because white privilege has arguably dominated Australian society since the days of the White Australia Policy. During my internship, I was assigned a same-sex marriage feature piece to work on. Though I researched and wrote the whole story, it was one of my Anglo-accented colleagues who voiced-over the five minute piece – my supervisor commented my diction, to loosely put it, was all over the shop. Was it because of the tinge of a Singapore-Malaysian accent on the tip of my Australian tongue? Confused and feeling a bit worthless, I quietly accepted the decision then.

For some of us of non-Western background, why put on a persona at the expense of expressing our true cultural self for the media? Assimilation can very well bring us closer to others who then might be more inclined to get to know our background. Through the familiar, the unfamiliar can become familiar: for instance, Australia has embraced Chinese Australian Poh Ling Yeow after her stint on Masterchef where she served both Aussie and Asian cuisine. Also, why put up with unfavourable portrayals of cultural minorities on Aussie TV? Maybe we might be stereotypically shy and want to distance ourselves from these representations – less talk, less attention paid to such portrayals.

Every media outlet, every organisation, leans towards certain worldviews and values. When my supervisor handed me the same-sex marriage piece to work on, I felt humbled. Humbled at the opportunity to be a journalist reporting news of the moment and not “just another diverse face”, not just a non-white face reporting on non-white issues. It also took months to set up my internship; if I didn’t have the skills for it, unlikely I would’ve gotten it.

Perhaps this answers the question why non-white media professionals accept cultural imbalances in this industry. Perhaps it’s a privilege to be on TV or radio no matter how small our role because at the very least someone recognises our presence, culture, in the slightest of ways (even stereotypes hold true around the world). It’s a chance to inspire others no matter their background to follow in our footsteps – presence often speaks a thousand words. On the changes within inter-personal dynamics that something out of the ordinary brings, philosopher Marshall McLuhan writes:

“The medium is the message.”

The more we observe, the more we see how the world works and its flaws.

The more we observe, the more we see how the world works and its flaws.

Racism is a two way street. Sometimes watching or listening to a foreign language show on TV or radio, we wonder what’s going on. At university, I was interested in helping out on Mandarin pop-music community radio programs – but because I don’t speak Chinese, instead I was offered presenting/producing spots on English-narrated Asian pop-music shows. In Australia, at times minority communities, cultural cliques sharing similar traits, stick together in isolation.

Working in the media looks glamorous. Presenters on the frontline – being a part of history as breaking news unfold. Editors behind-the-scenes – fiddling with photos in Photoshop bringing out unsung stories. The harsh reality, though, is that often in this field, one puts themselves on a pedestal for all eyes and others will judge – assumptions about appearance, assumptions about culture.

Unless one holds a senior position, working in the media often comes with a pay packet leaning towards the lower end of the average wage bracket. I guess my Chinese-Malaysian parents were right about having a hard life studying the arts. Over the last two years, it has been a struggle finding a stable job and income.

During the last week of my unpaid internship at SBS, I felt weary. Weary of strict newsroom deadlines…and I realised I didn’t love news media enough to be a journalist for life.

Stepping out of the SBS newsroom for the last time on my last day, the chilly Melbourne winter night air slapped my bare cheeks. Stinged my eyes. Pinched my nose. Condensation vapour puffing out of my mouth, I realised observing the world enthralls me. Storytelling through the written word, enthralls me. Aren’t we all storytellers: we’re storytellers through every action we make, our own walking freak show – we’re our own media in an abstract sense.

Sometimes what we love doing is right in front of us.

Sometimes what we love doing is right in front of us.

Although the script is ours to set on independent and niche media platforms, not always we’ll be heard. There are millions of voices out there clamouring to be heard and often, many ideas have been said already. Blogging about cultural diversity on this blog: some posts resonate better with others; some agree and some vehemently disagree with what I’ve written.

Still, what many of us publish on blogs and other online spaces is art, art created from the heart for nothing in return. In the words of McLuhan again, “Art is whatever you can get away with.” However, every story crafted for mainstream media too is art…to a degree, perhaps. A racist opinion is still a perspective but one that’s discriminatory, and everyone deserves a right to express themselves.

Would I do the SBS Radio internship all over again if I had the chance? Certainly. Anything to champion cultural diversity. And would be a chance nevertheless to tell stories through words – second time round in the newsroom with less nerves and a stronger voice.

Did you give up chasing a certain career? Do you think Australia’s media is racist?

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195 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Pursue A Career In Australia’s Media: Facing Racism vs. Chasing Passion

  1. I didn’t think there was a country with media more white-washed than the United States, but you’ve convinced me! In our major cities, at least, the TV news anchors are pretty diverse — Caucasian, Latino, Asian, African-American. But that’s in the newsroom, where diversity can be seen. (The notable exception would be Fox News, FYI.)

    I think radio is much whiter, though our biggest market share in LA is probably a Spanish-speaking station.

    I haven’t given up on a writing career quite yet, although recent experiments/ studies have shown that submitting under a male pseudonym will increase the likelihood of a positive response considerably. A different study showed that male professors get higher evaluations than female professors. And just today a study in Israel showed that girls are graded lower/ more harshly than boys in math. So while I luck out in being white, I’m still missing the golden chromosomal ticket!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is so interesting to hear you say that the US media is incredibly white-washed. Australian media, especially online and print newspaper, often paint US TV as ultimately diverse – focusing on the fact that there are white and non-white presenters. However, I’m not sure if this is the case behind the scenes, and whether or not if there are culturally diverse stories on TV/radio there.

      Don’t give up on a writing career! If what you are blogging about is anything to go by, I’m sure a book will be just as entertaining, if not more. Ahhh, the golden chromosomal ticket…life certainly is a battle of the sexes a lot of the time!

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  2. Hi Mabel,

    I would like to salute your maturity in handling this topic so well! No wonder you are so talented, so focussed and so passionate about writing…and so boldly!
    I have read a lot about racism all around the globe but never thought that a qualified professional too has to face discrimination, which to my mind is ingrained in human DNA. You are talking about prejudices against natives of other countries but I have seen such attitude against their own countrymen, sometimes on the basis of caste, religion or region and at other times just because the other person comes from an economically and educationally backward background!

    I fully endorse your decision, dear friend albeit with a heavy heart. I hope you would be pursuing a better career, which would be more satisfying and comfortable. Sometimes it is prudent to take a hard decision at the right time and abandon your passion for something less passionate. Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “prejudices against natives of other countries” That sort of reminds me of the phrase, “racist against your own race”. Though we are of the same race or nationality, we might also discriminate against one another unknowingly – maybe because of accents or as you said, educational level.

      Thanks, Balroop. I felt the timing was right to write this post now that I’ve decided to go it alone to be a writer. Your support – and so many other bloggers – means so much to me. I haven’t ruled out a return to media but it seems very unlikely at this stage. And I’ve got writing and blogging to focus on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Unfortunately, I see a similar thing happening with regards to English jobs in Taiwan as well. I know a few Canadian born Taiwanese who were refused jobs because the owner of the school preferred to hire a Caucasian person. Maybe it is to uphold a certain image, maybe it is because that it what the parents want, I don’t know. It is actually very sad when you think of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is so interesting to hear a Caucasian person would be chosen over a Taiwanese there for a teaching person, though both may very well have the same credentials 😦 Perhaps there’s the mentality that Western parents who teach their kids English, and Asian parents teach their kids their mother tongue…the mentality that the former group are “born with it (English language)”. Maybe the parents prefer Caucasian teachers because they “speak more eloquently”. It really is anyone’s guess.

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    • Constance, are you talking about international schools? When my kids attended the Manila International School, because of a strong teachers’ union, most of the teachers were Filipinos with Filipino accents. Some of the parents wanted native speakers of English. Interestingly enough, the students, no matter which country they came from, ended up with American accents. (And they fared very well after graduation.) In later years they negotiated with the teachers and were able to hire international teachers.

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  4. I agree with Autumn, the US is fairly diverse in its TV news anchors. And I know social media and the internet is where “non-Whites” reign supreme – in fact, we dominate alternative news sources and sites like YouTube.

    Of course, some are not satisfied with that, but things are changing with race being such a hot topic. (I just wish the environment and the massive inequality of wealth was up there. After all, we can bicker all we want over skin color, but if the world we live in is compromised to the point where it cannot sustain life, well…) I’m more keen to see more diverse representation in our government.

    TV news (at least in the States) is run by a handful (?) maybe two, media companies, so it doesn’t matter if you have an Asian or a Latino reading the news when we have to carefully gauge who is feeding us the news. Do you know what I mean?

    Now, I can’t speak for Australia’s media, but your PM is most definitiely racist 😛 among other things…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Autumn did bring up a very good point. And you too point out that cultural diversity on US media seems to be centered mainly around ethnically diverse presenters. But I often wonder, does the presence of diverse presenters equal more diverse stories on TV/radio/online outlets? As you mention, “who is feeding us the news?”

      I’m sure the States has satellite TV and that’s where a lot of minority groups get their fix of cultural programs, aside from the interwebs.

      Australia’s PM? Hahaha… 😀

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  5. A very important issue you’re holding up to the light, M. You’ve said it all on the racism.

    “Aren’t we all storytellers: we’re storytellers through every action we make, our own walking freak show – we’re our own media in an abstract sense.” Amanda P in the Art of Asking actually says she realized WE ARE the MEDIA. (Her words.) She’s speaking from a different angle than the one of race and culture you’re exploring but it’s a very interesting point she makes as an artist whose work and success depend on the media. She realized how powerful social media was. It was HER Media. She didn’t have to go through a middle-man, a record label, a producer. She spells out the potential of the dynamite we are sitting on as bloggers and tweeters to put ourselves out there with our story – through and to our own media. So I think social media is a sort of parallel force to (news) media, the “people’s” media where real stories in real time of people of all shades have a voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really should go and check out more of Amanda Palmer’s work. Sounds like a lot of it I can relate to.

      “social media is a sort of parallel force to (news) media, the “people’s” media ” No, you said it like the writer you are. Be it Facebook or Linkedin or blogs, there is no denying who you can reach and how many people you can reach. Making a name for yourself and do things your way seems possible all of your sudden.

      The other day someone said to me that if you have a strong voice, you’d be able to make a splash on the social media scene. I suppose this is true…social media is certainly something I have yet to crack. It’s a whole different ballgame compared to blogging.

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      • I don’t have much in common with her but apparently her TED Talk the Art of Asking (which preceded the book) resonated with many. Her music and overall style not my palate but I appreciate her lyrics. I just happened to relate to her experience with her supporters, as you would too.

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        • “the Art of Asking” That rolls of the tongue so nicely. And I like the sound of it – speak up and chances are you will be heard. Love how you don’t judge someone for their style, D. It may not be our palate but at the end of the day, Amanda is human…just like each of us.

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  6. As a non-white Australian who walked away from an 18yr career in the mainstream media, I have a couple of observations to add:
    – it was easier for me to withdraw and live in my Asian Bubble than to continue pushing sh*t uphill.
    – I haven’t missed anything.
    – Effecting real change begins in the lowest places; lower than you may anticipate. Two months ago I was asked to put a Chinese man on the front cover of my magazine. “We talk about them so often; it’s about bloody time we had one on the cover,” was the reason I was given. I wanted to give her a very big hug, but it wouldn’t have been proper 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great pointers adding to the discussion. I wonder how long the mainstream Australian media scene will stay the way it is. Probably for a long time to come since very rarely are Australians critical of the way the media is run at the very top (respected) levels and corners.

      Good on you for the magazine cover. Way overdue. Hopefully more to come and good luck with all that 🙂

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  7. Awesome post. My son just graduated in conjoint degree (journalism and international business). Perhaps the reason why he hasn’t yet got a job yet is racism (hope not) or perhaps he is just too laid back in his job search. This is an interesting topic. Mabel, you write very well and very differently now and I can see you being a professional writer soon (or already). Not only that, I am so amazed by your photography skills. 🙂

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    • That is an interesting degree your son has done. Congratulations to him, big milestone. Best of luck to him in the working world. I’m sure he will find his own way. Being confident and upbeat often helps you overcome anything, including racism.

      Thanks, Jess. Now that I’m doing more photography, I find that I have less time for writing 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You have hit the nail on the head!
    Do not give up hope, things are changing slowly – look at the Channel ten’s “project” and wallid is shinning through.
    Observe programs at younger age group such as Playschool, Wiggles which have introduced multiculturalism.
    BBC current affairs/news programs have many Indian origins taking the leading roles.

    A joke which I heard many years ago was “When a Patel becomes a PM in United Kingdom a Ching will be the counterpart in Australia”

    Saba

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    • The Project on Channel Ten certainly has been making strides in the right direction in terms of multiculturalism. Lovely to see Waleed Aly on the panel each evening. However, I’ve heard whispers that he leans towards expressing “white ethnic” or “assimilated ethnic” opinions…I really don’t know what to make of that. Might be true, might be not.

      Hahaha. That’s a stereotypical joke, but hilarious nonetheless! The world really is a multicultural place and it’s time we all accept each other for who we are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the jargon “Assimilated ethnic” – this is how all immigrants to any country should balance with their own identity. Isnt that referred as ‘when you go to Rome do as a Roman do…..
        The other factor is that the immigrants also have to have a “balance thoughts” They cannot use the flash card of ‘racism’ when things dont go their way. Have to prove that they are capable to handle the job. In other words Ace with the “brain- power” – this earns the respect. This cannot be competed at all!!
        Examples are USA President: Obama
        Google new CEO? : Sundar Pichchai.
        Our own Senator Penny Wong!!!

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        • Ah, “assimilated ethnic”. Thanks for bringing up that term. I remember hearing it at university from my lecturers. There certainly is a fine line between what is racist and not racism – a fine line between racism and ignorance/naivity. I suppose when we take into account multiple accounts of a situation then maybe we seem less racist and are not racist…

          Go Penny Wong. Pity she has copped quite a bit of flak for being in politics over the last few years.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Not many paid jobs in the media but lots of people looking now so I think you need to be careful about explaining the difficulties in terms of race rather than supply and demand.

    That said, the media face is chosen to reflect the pro-typical community ideal of the target market and since Caucasians are the largest racial group in Australia, the face that appeals to them is preferred. In the past, Australian accents were banned on the ABC as newsreaders (as were female voices) so ABC news readers came from England. As identity has changed, so have opportunities for men who don’t speak with an English accent and for women.

    For opportunities to develop for non-Caucasians, we need a post-racial Australian identity. Ironically, I think the SBS stand in the way of this because the broadcaster associates the non-white face with being ethnic rather than Australian. In that way, it reinforces a kind of racial consciousness.

    I have found in art that when I showed paintings that had a European influence, they were basically assessed as if I had had no cultural influence but paintings that had an African or Asian influence were seen as ‘folk” and elicited questions/taboos about cultural appropriation. Basically, Asia and Africa were seen as ”other” cultures while Europe was ”our” culture. This sense of other and our was really defined solely on race.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an excellent point. Certainly a finite number of jobs in the media and these days with more and more attention turning to online media, traditional media jobs are on the decline. Margaret Simons wrote about this:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-03/simons-there-are-plenty-of-media-jobs/4991956

      Anyone can be regarded as ethnic, or foreign. From non-white’s person point of view, a Westerner can be deemed as ethnic. I don’t think the majority of Australians can grapple this concept as of yet, especially local media.

      Interesting feedback you received on your paintings. it’s almost as if your paintings with an European influence were deemed more progressive than those with an African/Asian influence…and the latter something to be shunned.

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      • I would say that being in the American abstract expressionist tradition or YBA (Young British Artists) conceptual tradition carries a progressive connotation in the arts. I think there also a tendency to define the Australian artistic tradition within that European tradition. For example, I once read a promotion for a Canberra design company that went

        “Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre marvels at the talent resident in this city and finds that the most exciting projects and riveting practices are right here on our doorstep. Emerging from the European skilled crafts people and artisans of Canberra’s history, F!NK + Co. continue to renew this tradition.”

        Then we have Andrew Frost criticising Brett Whitely on the grounds that being influenced from Asia was a negative:

        “On top of all that is Whiteley’s various period affectations, such as his penchant for collage, assemblage and an appropriation of “Asian” art forms that are now so resolutely un-PC they are a little hard to take.”

        So I think both the visual arts and the media sort of combine to create the “face”of Australia and that face shapes how the majority of the audience wants to be seen but also who they want to receive their messages from. Take a look at the contributors to the Artlife http://theartlife.com.au/contributors which is the ABC’s port of call for information on the arts. It is even whiter than journalism.

        That closes opportunities for those inconsistent with that face. I would say that there is desire for a physical resemblance to those faces (eg Caucasians) but also an ideological resemblance (culture of European descent).

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        • Have to agree with you there. The European tradition certainly seems to still be steeped in Australian society today, especially among the older generation. It sort of reminds how Victorian architecture is ever so prevalent around the country.

          Certainly an interesting batch of regular contributors to the Artlife. I’m sure a number of them have been around for a while, and I wonder when will we see more diversity within our public broadcasting.

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  10. This post has been the most interesting I’ve read in awhile 🙂

    Was the byline of the same sex marriage yours even though you didn’t ‘speak’ it?

    I remember reading an academic theory that Australians’ accents actually were influenced by five different things – one being migrant culture, another being distance and space, for example country versus city, and also education. I haven’t heard Australian news for awhile, but we do have many nuances in our accents in real life at least.

    It is surprising to read that everyone was Caucasian in the SBS news room, as I remember my classmates complaining that it was almost only possible to get a job at SBS if you had a non- Anglo background, because they really prized that. Plus, the anchors I remember have all had Asian / Subcontinental backgrounds.

    Nice to hear your story Mabel, keep on writing!

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    • Was the byline of the SBS story mine? Oooh, now you’ve got me trying to remember. At that time, the story was also published as a podcast on their website, and I am pretty sure I was given joint credit.

      That is a fascinating academic theory and at some point I will look it up 🙂

      I’m sure you’re aware SBS has many, many languages programs. From my time there, I saw these programs consisted mainly of presenters/producers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. But, the makeup of my team was certainly eye-opening.

      Thanks, Tanny. Hopefully work doesn’t consume me entirely so I can write on!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. First of all even though I consider you to be a good friend I love learning more about you so thank you for sharing about your time on radio with the internship. It makes me ashamed to say it but I do believe Australian radio can be quite racist and exclusive. I feel sad that someone took the credit for your work with their voice. I like you was set to major in Journalism at Uni and after a couple of weeks I changed to History as I realised it was actually a very confronting profession that thrived on badgering people for stories even after a tragedy struck. It just wasn’t for me just like this wasn’t for you. I think you’ve found your true calling. Observing the world around you, writing stories and sharing them with us all 😍 its a gift and one to be nurtured. Thank you! X

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    • This is my first time talking about the internship. Writing about it has made me reflect on it more, and looking back I don’t think I quite understood what (casual) racism was at that time, or that it happened to me. In fact, I only realised this last week writing the post.

      If I remember correctly, I was given joint credit for the story on SBS’s website. That was cool…but I wonder when Australia will be ready for accented voices on mainstream media.

      I am sorry to hear that journalism didn’t work out for you, but so happy for you that you’ve found a much happier path. Funny how sometimes the things we think we love doing go against our values – but usually because of that we find what matters to us ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Another pertinent topic adressed. Very well written Mabel. Racism is prevalent everywhere – I have seen it in India, the UK and now South Africa. Whites have been treated as demi-Gods, and still are, at least in India. It’s sad to see how, despite not having the requisite skills, a lot of companies in india have promoted them just on the basis of their skin colour. Indians have this white-fetish and I don’t know when they will realise that their own people might be far better at the same jobs.

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    • I suppose where there are different cultures living side by side, there is bound to be miscommunication and misunderstandings. Didn’t know racism was prevalent in India too, such a shame to hear.

      “white-fetish” – haven’t heard that word in a while. The Indians I’ve met in person and in the blog world are very, very proud of their culture. Sad to hear Indian culture is being put down at times in the workforce and hopefully there will be an end to this.

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  13. I only read Australian news when they mentioned Indonesia, and sometimes it could be pretty harsh news and sometimes it became popular news topic in Indonesia as well. I am afraid I could not judge Australia’s media 😦 in the Netherlands, the TV anchors are pretty much varied, here, we do have multi-race news reporters and I think in terms of gender also relatively equal.
    For career wise, I would suggest to do what you feel the best for you and you know you will enjoy it utmost..I am sure you will do great for the path that chosen!

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    • That is great to hear there is diversity in the Netherlands on TV. It sounds like a very friendly and welcoming country – rarely have Australia’s news published racism going on over there. However, where there is diversity, at times there are cultural misunderstandings here and there.

      Thanks, Indah. Follow your heart and hopefully it will lead you in the right direction 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well…journalism in the Netherlands is quite mature and also to the point, it’s part of the Dutch character who are majority very direct in expressing their opinion 🙂 Trust me, sometimes, their news could be annoying 😀 but for gender and race issue, so far I noticed, they were in balanced..

        I am wishing you the best Mabel! I was an intern too and I realized too that working in certain business would not be my ideal preference 🙂

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        • Mature and blunt journalism…I suppose then locals in Netherlands show no shame in hiding who they are and are very opinionated. Always good for discussion.

          Interning is always a valuable experience. As you inferred, you come to realise what you really like doing and probably walk away with a new set of skills.

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  14. Interesting, I found myself divided over your internship. Partially happy that your tried it and discovered you didn’t like it, in that it is good to know that sort of thing. Sad, that it made you feel like your voice didn’t matter. I can’t comment on Australian news overall, because I am almost never exposed to it. Media here seems to divide itself along political lines, so good luck finding something that is both diverse and accurate here. It’s frustrating.

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  15. Sure, the regular established media have a tendency to be….afraid. They think they are being bold by reporting awful events, photographing, videotaping..and yet feel the media broadcaster should be ..white as some sort of having more “authority” in their news reporting. In the big cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary there are the occasional non-white broadcasters. (less so in Calgary.) Here in Canada, yes, the firms try to ensure they choose people who speak Canadian English. 🙂 Meaning that IS an accent but not adulterated with Chinese, Punjabi, etc. accents.

    I would suggest reading the autobiography of David Suzuki, a Japanese-Canadian geneticist researcher, now national tv broadcaster on a weekly popular science show in Canada for the past….3 decades. His personal family experience as one of the thousands Japanese-CAnadians who were stripped of their possessions and relocated into internement camps during WWII….a racist act by the CAnadian federal govn’t ….gave him enormous courage:

    *public speaking, speaking out on environmental issues on tv, in various activist national and international groups….

    His father insisted to him as a boy, to fine tune public speaking ..to go against the tendency of being humble, quiet.

    I think you will find resonance how his life, career, family and how personal experience with racism..actually gave him courage during his career and gave him an unique edge over some other broadcasters here in Canada.

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    • The media, afraid? Quite possibly in order to maintain the current status quo within the industry. I’m sure there is a sizable community media sector in Vancouver/Toronto/Calgary and around Canada in general, and probably this is the platform where you might here marginal voices regularly.

      David Suzuki – thanks for the introduction. It so heartening to hear of such a diverse face on national TV, one who is outspoken too. It’s great to see stereotypes being challenged in the media…but then again, we have to remember stereotypes have their place in our society and history. It’s something I reckon the media doesn’t get quite often.

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  16. Hello Mabel! Thank you for writing about the issues ethnic minorities face in a predominantly white media, these are also some of the worries I think about since I’m also an aspiring asian journalist hoping to get a job in the future.

    I faced a little difficulty when talking to family about pursuing journalism, they all agreed that it was going to be more difficult as an asian girl and they didn’t see or know many asian journalists out there. But times are changing as more and more people from different backgrounds decide to pursue this type of career, and I say do it!

    If this is something that you are really passionate about then it doesn’t have to be facing racism vs. chasing passion, it will be facing racism AND chasing passion! The world needs to see more people like you in media 🙂

    Have you thought trying other areas in media? Maybe magazine journalism? Or working on documentaries?

    Good luck 🙂

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    • Good on you for going after a dream career in journalism. All the best with that. If you keep practising writing and researching stories, I’m sure I’ll see you on TV or hear you on radio some day. Or read your work in a magazine 🙂

      It is interesting to hear you say there aren’t that many female Asian journalists. Living in Australia, I can certainly see that is the case with the media here. When I was living in Singapore, I remember seeing a lot of Asian female reporters and news readers on Singapore TV – all speaking good English and they outnumbered their male counterparts.

      I’ve pitched articles to magazines a few times. Some pitches have been successful, but there are more rejections than I can count. I feel that my style of writing is simplistic and many outlets aren’t keen on that. Don’t know whether I should adapt and change my style…I’ve certainly tried but at the end of the day, the style I write my blog in is the style I love. And it’s my voice. Thank you 🙂

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  17. I actually never chased any dream career as I somehow never had any :p
    Though German and Finnish media is also pretty white washed (ok Finland got barely any immigrants thus far) it ain’t that racist there (yet). For example the case of Adam Goodes has also arrived in German news and people are shocked how he is treated I the stadium by many people (monkey sounds. Booing etc…). Similar happened back in the 80s in Germany when the first foreigners arrived in the bundesliga, especially with players from Africa however teams got heavy punishment according to their fans behavior and thus it got less and less. I remember some time ago there were again some idiots making monkey sounds towards African players and they were chased out by other spectators and brought to police station…

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    • I always thought your dream career was to be a gold medal swimmer, Crazy 😉

      Now, I am really, really surprised to hear you mention Indigenous AFL plater Adam Goodes and the booing he has received of late :O Then again, I suppose this behaviour doesn’t happen often in sport in Europe or the States as often as this – these days almost every week something is said about Adam Goodes in the media and racism.

      I hope those silly people making sounds towards the African players were reprimanded by police. Certainly such behaviour comes across as rowdy and aggressive and I think that’s why many don’t like to speak up about it for fear of something happening to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist but I never saw it as a career but I guess when I started getting shoulder injuries with 16 years I somehow realized that it won’t work out to make it to the top.
        Racist behavior is always something I will never understand. When I see such things in TV I am always wondering what is motivating those people. For example Germany is taking in tons of refugees but there are some stupid Germans who are against it and even go as far as burning down the camps. They say that the foreigner will take everything away which is just stupid. A famous German singer said in an interview about something like this “how can they take anything away from you? In order that they can take anything away from you, you must first haves achieved something but all the people I see demonstrating against foreigners are the ones who have achieved nothing, the ones receiving social welfare from the state so in the end those people are the real blood suckers of the nation”

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        • You sounded like a very serious swimmer and I’m sure you did well in some competitions in your younger days. And I’m sure part of the fun in that involved cheering on your friends 🙂

          That is such an interesting quote. Australia is also one other country who take in refugees and asylum seekers, and there are people against that. Our current government is against that and the media always reports this along the lines of “turn the boats back”.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I had my fun during my active days and miss them sometimes but my time is over now (though with 100% commitment and time I could do a comeback to compete again at European level) and now it will be time to find the proper sport for Nathan which he will enjoy.
            I heard often about the turn the boats back etc in the news about Australia. At some point I read that a indigenous Australian said after yet another racist comment by Abbott that foreigner are not wanted and should be shipped away that “great so when are you living mr Abbott?” Or something along those lines, don’t remember it completly anymore

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            • Never say never, Crazy. You are still young…if not, maybe one day you can compete in the elderly Olympics if there is such a thing…

              Today on the news I heard Germany and Austria are accepting quite a number of asylum seekers – the Australian media are jumping all over this piece of news and you get the feeling it’s a jab at why the Abbott government is not doing enough to help asylum seekers.

              When we insult one another, we don’t get very far in bringing about a diverse society, though.

              Liked by 1 person

  18. I must say, you take amazing pictures! And you are an incredible writer.

    Growing up in South Africa, I kind of have the mindset that I will not be chosen in my dream career due to my race. There is a law here that states that 70% of an organization must be of black South African heritage. Even now, at my current job, I am one of three people out of around 30 who are white… I guess there is always going to be the race issue around, which really does suck 😦

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    • I have never heard of that law in South Africa. While I suppose this law is in place to give a certain race employment opportunities, it pushes aside those who are outside of this group but have skills for work. It must be competitive then to get a job there if you are white, to an extent. Good luck with it there 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words. Really appreciate it. Also, you have such an interesting blog and I’ll come around soon 🙂

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      • The law was implemented around 10-15 years ago! I will admit, it does benefit some people, but with this law, there is obvious discrimination involved which can potentially stop someone from reaching their full potential. Aww, thank you 🙂 You also have an amazing blog 😀 I read your posts all the time! 😀 Keep up the great work!

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        • Hopefully there will be more diversity there in the workforce where you live some time soon. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and we each have different skills and cultures to contribute to our teams at work.

          I feel so slow. Only discovered your blog but I am already enjoying it heaps 🙂

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  19. I read your article, but not all the comments, so maybe this is covered.

    Mabel, do you have any solutions to the problem of Asian women being passed over for opportunities and positions in media?

    I’m willing to help. I’m not very good at marching, as I have arthritis. I am pretty good at boycotting. though.

    In the US, 5% of the population is Asian but it varies by region. You would expect more Asian reporters in California and Hawaii. There is a sarcastic viewpoint of the situation on the American TV show “Family Guy” . There is a running bit they always do where the TV anchor cutting to a story says “… and now we take you to our Asian reporter … ” The joke being that the reporter is an ASIAN reporter — not just a reporter. If you have not seen the show, Google “family guy asian reporter” or such.

    Network television entertainment is pretty bad too, and it irks me a little. There is a paucity of Asian characters. The numbers may actually be less than the 5% national average. I for one would love to see more heroic stories about Asian women with their magnificent faces on TV drama and sitcoms. (Trouble is there is no way for me to express those feelings without it sounding creepy/dirty.) Sorry.

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    • I actually don’t expect anyone to read the comments – though very, very interesting – nor the entirety of the posts I’ve written… 😀

      Your question is particularly intriguing: solutions to this problem of representation in the media. The most commonsense solution would be to simply give opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds a chance to be a part of the media – but then again you have to take into account how this will be received by the targeted audience…which brings us to the whole idea of how can we combat direct/blatant/casual/everyday racism. It’s certainly a very complex question and I don’t think there’s an ultimate solution as of yet…I would love to hear ideas, though.

      I do watched Family Guy from time to time. Never noticed the Asian reporter in the storyline and I will keep my eyes peeled for that. It sounds like a very stereotypical joke.

      Over the last few years, there seems to be a few more Asian faces in Western TV series (correct me if I’m wrrong. I don’t watch TV much these days). Think Lucy Liu in Elementary. Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park in Hawaii Five-O. This is a start.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Reading this reminded me of this article that released earlier. American television is still “white washed”. Yes there are “diverse” news anchors over here, but it’s funny how people still get upset over silly things like the pronunciation of words. This Latina news anchor was getting bashed online for pronouncing Spanish words properly instead of white washing them.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/a-news-anchor-had-a-great-response-after-she-was-criticized?bftw&utm_term=4ldqpfp#.mbDjWGGlAp

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    • This is such an interesting article. Thank you for sharing. Oooh. Pronunciation of words and accents. The two tend to go hand in hand. Sometimes pronunciating words in a different way you feel as if you are speaking a whole new language altogether.

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  21. I don’t know, reading this piece, it makes me feel that it sucks to be in your shoes. You don’t get a fair shot in Australia due to racism, but I don’t think you will enjoy it if you move back to say, Malaysia or Singapore. I’m sure you can find a stable and high paying job as a presenter here, Chinese lady speaking with a western accent is definitely going to be a hot commodity here. But the the media here is so controlled and restricted, you would probably soon find yourself depressed for having to tell twisted truths or outright propaganda lies.

    That is probably why Youtube and blogs are so popular, the online platform is the only platform where racism is more or less thrown out the window and everybody can share/present anything.

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    • You hit the nail on the head. I live a very mediocre life here in Australia putting up with the “bamboo ceiling” in many professional sectors. I’ve thought about moving back to Malaysia but it’s just not practical money and lifestyle-wise. Haha, to be honest I speak more Malaysian than Aussie. When I read, I have a Malaysian voice reading the words back to me…and that is the same voice I use when replying to blog comments 😀

      I wouldn’t say racism is thrown out the window on YouTube and blogs. Probably more diverse opinions you can find on such platforms and we can choose what we want to see and hear.

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  22. I’m sorry you had that experience in SBS, I wonder if they had treated you differently if you would have had more enthusiasm for the media as a career. Its a pity because as you say the media certainly need more diversity. But you certainly would have to cop a lot of flack, being in the public eye as a non Caucasian 😦

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    • During the first week of my internship, my supervisor asked me why I wanted to do the internship. I still remember my answer crystal clear: to try working in the media environment, gain professional experience and see where it takes me – I was testing the waters and was very green back then.

      The question really is how can we overcome this problem of representation in the media. And I don’t think there is one straight answer to that. In order to answer that question, I think we all need to answer “how can we combat racism” first. Then again, where there is diversity, there is bound to be cultural miscommunication and misunderstandings.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. It really is hard to take when someone else use your story… I’m sure it’s very frustrated. I don’t know much about radio media hiring here. I listen to PBS a lot while driving, they are all Anglo descent.

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    • I remember feeling more disappointed than frustrated when someone else voiced-over the article – I had worked on the article the whole week, finding subjects to interview and then editing their interviews.

      I’ve alawys thought PBS in the States offer more diverse stories and opinions regardless of their presenters…

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      • Did they acknowledged your contribution?
        PBS does provided diversified stories and interviews, but the news reporters are Anglo descent. so are the tv news anchors. There are a couple Asian reporters here and there, but they are the second or third generation in US… I understand you disappointment and frustrations.
        Great bird shots! 🙂

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        • If memory serves me correct, I was named as one of two reporters who worked on the piece (at least on SBS’s website when the piece was put up as a podcast then).

          It’s certainly one thing to showcase diverse stories, and another to have diverse faces presenting stories on-air.

          Thanks, Amy. The first shot where the bird is pulling up from drinking is my favourite 🙂

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  24. Love the photographs, the first one really being one of those perfectly timed shots – and the captions on the photos bring out both a strength in the words you write (as well as a story the photo can tell). Important too, as this post definitely is one of those powerful stories that you write so well ~ the depths of racism will always confound, and the fact that each different race views it from such a different perspective. Keeping the dialogue moving is the key and you do this well. Enjoy the coming weekend Mabel ~

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    • The first shot: the bird was just pulling up from a refreshing drink. Right place, right time, right settings. The water splashing upwards was quite startling.

      Compared to the newsroom, I find that I am able to talk about anything under the sun. Best thing about it is that it’s people like you and so many other bloggers who are the ones who “keep the conversation moving”, in your words. Most of us hear don’t judge by background, but by the words and photos we share here.

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  25. I think it takes some guts to write words like this so close to your heart, Mabel, so congrats to you and your writing. Good luck in what you will be doing next, and I’m sure you’ll be able to do great things with your writing. xx

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    • Thanks, Sofia. Racism is never easy to write about, and when I write about it, I often think about how others will react to it. It really is a loaded topic. Blogging and writing – technically I still work for the media, just independently 😀 To be honest, you look like a journalist in your profile photo 😉

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  26. Hi,
    I met you on Hugh’ site and wanted to come by and introduce myself. I could relate to some of the comments you wrote on his Email post. I , am visiting Australia next summer, and am also interested in photography having blogged about it twice and am planning another.
    Nice to meet you.
    Janice

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    • Thanks, Janice. It is certainly nice to meet your acquaintance. Hugh certainly writes brilliant posts. And so do you – I’m looking forward to checking out some of your posts on blogging soon.

      I hope you will enjoy Australia. There is certainly lots to do here, from visiting the country to enjoying the sights of the cities 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I can’t believe you experienced that…I was cringing when I was reading that part where you worked on a story about same-sex marriage but “voiced-over” by someone of Anglo descent.

    Anyway, I know you’re someone who can well tolerate that, for lack of a better term, experience. And, I’m sure you turn it into a meaningful story like this that is worth the read for everyone who’s into your interest (i.e., multiculturalism). The kind of subjects pertinent to multiculturalism make us better understand the whole idea of the word.

    Now, straightaway to your questions. Yes, I’ve given up my teaching career for a greener pasture overseas.

    See, I come from a third-word country. One that is, at this point, still struggling to get back on its feet after many years of dictatorship. A country where every citizen still hopes for that great economic progress. Truth be told, we have thousands of workers who are underpaid in the sense that they certainly have skills–exceptional if you may. I’m one of them. I did two jobs for almost seven years but none of my long-term goals was realized. Believe me it’s really hard to stay that way. Teaching is, without a doubt, a noble profession. Nothing feels better than helping the young minds shape their future. But I have a family to support to. I have plans under a time frame. This explains why I opted to become a secretary here in Saudi Arabia instead.

    Much as I want to answer the second question, I just can’t. I’m not in the right position to answer. If I were though, I will just say yes. Everything you wrote here would serve as answers for the “why part”.

    I’m looking forward to reading your stories that will focus on your second time round in the newsroom with less nerves and a stronger voice.

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    • You don’t have to cringe for me, Sony…SBS certainly has an image they want to project. And yes, I did felt like it was a good experience. But it certainly hurt and it was part of the reason why I decided to start this blog a few months after the internship.

      I feel very sorry for you to not be able to pursue your true passion that is teaching. Reading your posts on grammar and pronunciation, I can see that you like educating us on all things English language. At the end of the day, there is something called reality and survival and that’s why passion has to be put on the backburner. It is incredibly strong and admirable of you to put family first, others before self and I’m sure that brings to you gratitude in more ways than you’ve ever imagined. It also sort of makes me feel guilty for taking time off from work a few months ago to draft my book…the experience of which I will write in an upcoming blog post soon.

      “Why” is always an important question when it comes to talking about why racism exists. The more important question, I believe, is “how” can we minimise racism in society – and this warrants its own post altogether.

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  28. Personally, I don’t care about the looks, age, sex, sexual orientation, accent or race of presenters on tv (or radio). But if they can’t speak clearly without misreading (the text) that’s a big turnoff. I will change station. Because news shouldn’t be a chore to listen to. If as you say, you’re diction is everywhere, that is something to consider and work on, not necessarily related to racism. I go to conferences and the bad speakers are the ones whose voice quivers and is unclear, regardless of the accent.

    Same with spelling mistakes in adverts and written news. Can’t stand it.

    But yes, more variety in the media would be good.

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    • “Because news shouldn’t be a chore to listen to.” That is spot on. News is already hard enough to understand at times. Then again, we’re all used and accustomed to hearing certain patterns of speech.

      I find it particularly interesting that newsreaders in Malaysia and Singapore drop local lingo and accent when presenting the news. Probably as you said – to make the news more palatable to the masses.

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  29. Mabel,

    I went back to college to get a degree in journalism, it is part of a midlife career change for me. I’ll be finished with school in December.

    I don’t intend to use the degree to pursue a traditional job in the media, I can’t see myself writing copy in a newsroom either, even if I were a bit younger.

    I am going to freelance, and fortunately it doesn’t matter to me if I make much money doing it or not. I’ve got enough savings and a small pension to live off of.

    As you said earlier, I’m going to be doing art for the sake art, for as long as I can get away with it.

    For someone your age, you’ve got to be concerned with making money, at least a little bit. I can’t remember if you speak Mandarin or not, but if you do, you’ve got a lot of options.

    Being bilingual with a media degree should allow you a great many opportunities should you want to go explore and work in China for a few years.

    Even if you stay in Australia, I’d think there are many ways for you to leverage being bilingual to your advantage in the job market.

    I’m betting that you’ll find your dream job, be it in a traditional media outlet or in one of the many emerging media markets.

    Chris

    PS

    The photos of that seagull you used to illustrate this post are excellent!

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    • That is so nice of you to hear you pursuing what you like doing, Chris. Congratulations on finishing the degree at the end of the year. It will certainly be a big milestone for you, and perhaps throw the graduation hat in the air during the ceremony 🙂

      You touch on a very important point there: that sometimes we study a certain area to learn a skill; not study to get a job but to gain skills applicable within various fields. The workforce is changing so fast these days – due mainly to everything going online – and it’s important to be flexible.

      No, I am not fluent in Mandarin. I speak basic Cantonese, and am fluent in Bahasa Melayu (or Malay as some call it, having studied the language for ten years). For many people my age in Australia, it’s hard to get a stable job. So many people I know are going from contract to contract. The job market hear, not just the media, is awfully competitive.

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  30. Another excellent written article about an important topic, Mabel! I just love reading your blog!
    I am sorry about your experience during your internship, but at the same time I am happy to hear you would do it over again.
    I have not know much about the australian media, this is the first time I have read about the topic. But I do think it is the same issue many places, also here in Norway. Unfortunately. I know people that do not get a job, due to their last name is not western. It is really sad. because I mean that the more diverse a team is, also related culture, the better it is!
    I hope that everything also will be easier for your parents in the future!

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    • Thanks, Hanne. I try my hardest to write the blog posts, and am very touched that you enjoyed them.

      So sad to hear that there is some discrimination against those who are not Western in Norway. Hopefully that will change as more people come to visit and more move there to make a living. Then again, I suppose with different people from different backgrounds living together, there will always be some cultural misunderstandings…that can be resolved through getting to know each other.

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      • I also think that is often the problem. That people do not know each other – they are afraid of people from other cultures. But when they do get to know them, then they understand that afterall we are more alike than different, and you stop being afraid and discriminating 🙂

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        • It takes courage to get to know someone because what we don’t know, we are often scared of. It’s probably a natural defense instinct we have within ourselves. If we find similarities, maybe we can bond over that and get to know each other 🙂

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  31. Sorry to know that Mabel. I had no idea the media in Australia as like this. I find it so interesting, since the country is sooo mixed with different cultures. It should be different.
    I hope you weren’t sad for giving up this career.
    I too gave up on a career… with the UN. For probably similar reasons… one of them being the fact that they prioritise American nationals, then European nationals, which makes very difficult for a Brazilian to get anything there. Also, because it doesn’t matter if you have experience and great grades on your master degree, having the right connection on the inside is what will get you the job. 😦

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    • It is so funny, right – Australia has so many people from different backgrounds but the media doesn’t reflect this. Perhaps someday.

      So sorry to hear that you had to give up a career. It sounds like a big dream of yours, but so competitive. Then again, maybe sometimes there are bigger things waiting for us than the dream we are dreaming of. You are such a great travel blogger now, and I have learnt so much about Germany and Brazil from you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am very surprised with this, as I had no idea! Hopefully it will change someday!

        Yes, it was a big dream, and I guess it will always be… let’s see, we never know how things will go 😀
        Awnnn thank you so much for saying that Mabel, I can only tell you that you are a great writing and you have a brilliant future ahead of you. And I have also learned many things about Australia because of you 😀

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        • I won’t be surprised if one day you will write a travel book. We’ve talked about this before 😉 And I am amazed at how you are growing your Packing My Suitcase blog and it looks like you are going places. You really are a great travel writer and I am so honoured to have connected with you!

          Awww, haha. I don’t know if I will make a living out of writing. Times are tough but I am just happy to have time to actually blog these days while I still can 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Awww Mabel, you always find the words to make me smile 😀 Thank you so much for saying that, it means a lot. I also think your blog is growing, and if right now you put together all your posts, you might already have your book.
            I find it awesome how creative your topics are, and how you can engage people in a discussion. This is awesome.

            I can only wish you lots of success, and hope that you don’t stop blogging. I am also very happy to have connected with you! ❤

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            • So kind, Allane. I feel that my blog is at the same where it is last year in terms of people coming and going – but I am very thankful for every single one who comes by and read. Words cannot describe it 😀

              Online media is tricky to get an audience because readers tend to read quickly and jump from page to page. With a travel blog like yours, you can certainly put what you want to say in dot points and put up photos to attract people’s attention. With a writing blog like mind, I usually have to rely on words to grab attention 😀

              Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my, that is so amazing. Your friend must have worked hard to get that job as a Chinese news anchor. Inspirational. I hope one day you get to be a famous chef and open a Michelin star restaurant. You can do it!

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  32. Mabel, if you give up on a radio career, you can be a best-selling writer 🙂

    realities in Bg are quite different, so I am afraid I can’t contribute much to the discussion… we are pretty much a very closed community, not culturally-diverse, we do have one major ethnic minority – the Roma, who are not integrated tho mainly because they do not want to be integrated… so except in the criminal news we don’t get to hear much about them in the media… :/

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    • To be honest, I wanted to be a radio presenter for ten years and it was quite crushing to give up a dream – I loved doing radio in community radio, but it wasn’t meant to be. As for best-selling writer, that’s a long way off 🙂

      That is interesting to hear of Bulgaria. Sad to hear it’s mainly criminal news coming out of the Roma. I’m sure their culture is beautiful, and maybe it’s just in their beliefs to stick together.

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    • Thanks, Sandy. It is hard juggling writing on the side with a full time job – and now photography seems to want some attention too. Who knows what the future holds.

      “golden chromosomal ticket” – such a great phrase, totally agree with you on that one.

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  33. Hi Mabel, there was so much clarity in your post. And this is what I like most about your writing, you are able to handle even the toughest and most diverse topics so gracefully. I’m astounded !

    As your title of the post said, I guess in the end you are chasing passion, Despite of the hard time you’ve faces you are still optimistic and chasing your dreams, you are an inspiration Mabel ❤

    My favorite line from this post was "we’re storytellers through every action we make, our own walking freak show – we’re our own media in an abstract sense." There is so much depth and meaning if we look into it. We can be our own best supporters and if you ever run out of support for yourself, I will right here cheering you on!

    Much love to you,
    Zee ❤

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    • “in the end you are chasing passion” So well said, Zee. I do think that if I didn’t get to do the internship, I wouldn’t have realised I loved writing and I probably wouldn’t be typing this right now.

      Racism is a hard topic to write about; culture and our heritage are very personal elements. I’m sure you can relate. On the subject of dreams: it’s about what we do with our time and opportunities that come away that turn dreams into reality. Love you too, Zee ❤

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  34. Living in the US, what I have seen is racism lurking in the background but not way out in front so often. Sure, there are still those rare situations when racism is slapped hard on everyone’s faces, but for the most part, difference in looks, color, and cultures isn’t a concern in the public eye, even in small incidents. We have all races and cultures in the media here. Yes, Caucasian still is in the majority but not by much.

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    • I suppose there will be racism anywhere we are. Living with people of different backgrounds there are bound to be miscommunication and misunderstanding. But it doesn’t give us the right to be discriminate another race.

      Though there are seemingly more diverse faces on American TV (from what Australia media seems to report), I wonder if there are diverse stories told across the media there.

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  35. Hi Mabel,

    Your post is both educative and thought-provoking.

    My experience of Racism in any domain or form has been that it arises from an intrinsic insecurity. The insecurity of losing what we possess. This could be in terms of a lifestyle but could also be aspects of what we have become familiar and / or comfortable with. This being so integral to our ‘self-centering’ mindset, Racism remains fairly all pervasive. And really not restricted to ‘White, western’ background as you say. The reason why the ‘White, Western’ profile manifests in aspects of Racism is because of the post Industrial era history which led to west dominated colonization in all continents….

    Shakti

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    • This is such an excellent point, Shakti. Insecurity of where we stand can drive us towards discriminating against a particular race. So true – the industrialised era in the 19th century saw countless modern inventions from the Western corners of the world and put these nations in the spotlight, nations seen as almighty leaders.

      These days, each and every country and culture have their own strengths and individualities, and we should all respect that.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I haven’t been to Australia yet, but know that they have Racial bias a lot (based on nasty Incidents with Indians)…so i am with you on your story!
    I guess they fear losing Jobs to foreigners (like in US, which is already a gone case here)…so want to fight upfront (or at least dare to).

    My job is in IT and i haven’t given up on my ambitions yet or even made to do so.

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    • You are right about the racially nasty incidents against Indians in Australia. It’s embarrassing for a first-world country with so many migrants and cultures. The job market is certainly competitive here, so your thought on why migrants receive hostility here at times might very well hold true.

      Good to hear you got a stable job in IT.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Mabel reading through your well written post it seems an absolute shame that you are not in the media. Your article has left me reflecting on Canadian media but just at quick reflection I believe at least from what we see diversity is embraced. I will be watching more closely in future.

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    • No need to feel sorry for me, Sue. Though it did hurt when I did the internship, I feel that I’m not cut out to thrive in such a viewers and deadline driven environment. And you can’t rush creativity.

      Canada has always struck me as a very diverse country and I am sure that is reflected in the media there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry Mabel i don’ think I came across clearly. What I meant was that it is Australia’s loss not to have you in the media. Hopefully the tide will turn and they can see that diversity is important.

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  38. What a profound post, one that is truly of utmost importance in this world, regardless of what career a person chooses. When, when will this world accept others for their talent, for what they can contribute, regardless of skin color or race? To me the most important aspect is what a person is all about and whether that person is willing to not conform to the standards of this world by listening to his or her own Heart. I encourage you, Mabel, to keep walking to the Beat of your own Heart. Your writing is excellent and should be recognized outside of blogging. You have real talent. Don’t give up on your dreams. Your photography as well is par none, excellent and every picture went perfectly with the captions and the substance of your post. I wish you only the very best. Recognize how talented you are and keep Hope high in your Heart. (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

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    • You are so right. A lot of the time what we are capable of has nothing to do with our race – what we are capable of can be learnt and nurtured if we put put mind to it. “keep walking to the Beat of your own Heart.” Haven’t heard that phrase in a while, but it’s such an inspiring line.

      Thanks, Amy. So kind of you to stop by and say these kind words. I’m humbled but feel that my best writing and photography are yet to come ❤

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      • Mabel, keep on striving, pushing your limits, doing those things that you are shaky on, take risks, experiment … keep on creating in ways that make YOU sing! You will also find, if you have not noticed yet, that your life experiences will very much influence your work. Since the passing of my Dad, my work has soared in ways I knew not existed. In other words the pain of that circumstance is actually igniting within me dormant places I didn’t even knew were there. Keep on shining, and don’t let this world defeat you. Things have just got to change one day, sooner then later, hopefully. I encourage and dare you to be different, even more then you are now. 🙂 (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

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        • This year has been a challenging one for me, and the experiences have certainly influenced the way I’ve written and blogged of late. And the photography. Glad you enjoy my stuff…and you are right in so many ways. So thoughtful, and so kind in and around Petals. Once, a blogger said this to me and I will now say it to you: “You are a force to be reckoned with” ❤

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          • Dearest friend, it is those forces that are to be reckoned with that are the very catalysts that ignite change. It is so far from easy walking the independent path. Just recently I almost conceeded to a situation wherein I experienced ruthless, relentless misery all because of my beliefs and actions directly as a result of those beliefs. It became so bad that I felt myself caving in, almost to the point of saying, “I give up.” Then, deep within my spirit, I remembered one last option, and with not much hope left, I made the phone call that led me to a place, that not only recognizes and honors my beliefs, but will not resist me. Mabel, I almost gave up and then I was SHOWN a way out of hell. The horrendous push from this world to conform to THEIR way in order for you to succeed, is at times brutal. One must be so strong in convictions and nature, so to be able to stand firm without backing down. We who are the forces to be reckoned with, must stand strong together, for that is where we will gain our every confidence and addtional strength to keep on insisting to BE OURSELVES. Bless you, Mabel! You will see miracles, I promise you, when you do not compromise your own integrity and BEing. You can do it. And if you must take a job that is not you but will put food on the table, do not give up on your Dreams, but keep striving towards them. It is too easy to get lost in the muck of this world. Keep shining!!! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤ ❤ ❤

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            • I am sorry to hear you went through hard times recently, Amy. But very glad to hear you have pulled through and are back in the blog world sharing what you do best and encouraging all of us through your art. You’re a beacon of light 🙂

              Miracles? Maybe one day I will find out. After all, it is always darkest before the dawn 😀

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              • We are always learning, Mabel, especially during the dark times. And OH does it feel wonderful when we break through to the Light once again. You as well are a Beacon of Light … as you see me, so are you. (smile) Better days are a’coming! Hang in there! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

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  39. A bold move, Mabel. Sometimes. It has to be done.

    I always thought International Schools tend to hire White, NES from UK, US, Canada, NZ and Australia.

    Not too long ago, a BBC guy complained that he had applied for 100+ teaching jobs in China and failed to find one. He claimed he has a CELTA, DELTA, PCGE and teaching experience in the UK. His best friend, White guy has a regular degree, no teaching experience but managed to secure a plum teaching job at a good Beijing university. Another BBC girl could only get a teaching job in a small school in Northern China run by a retired White Canadian guy.

    Earlier this afternoon, a Jamaican lady told me that banks in the West Indies tend to favour employing people with fair complexion. She said things are changing but it is still the case.

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    • It is unfortunate to hear that certain cultures are favoured when it comes to teaching positions in China. I suppose one reason could be because there’s the assumption that if you’re white, then the sentiment goes that you “speak English straight from the horse’s mouth”. Or it could be the fact that some reckon Westerners are more trustworthy than other races.

      For a long time many countries like Australia say they are becoming more multicultural. True, but we still have a long way to go before cultural equality is perpetuated here. There is always the question of how to stamp out racism, if it’s possible.

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  40. I have see a lot of Australian media trickle here in Canada (good on you for quoting McLuhan — twice; an impressive Canadian mind) but I wouldn’t say that I’ve seen enough to judge Australian media as a whole.

    BUT!

    It was Stokely Carmichael who coined the term “institutional racism”. It’s real, and it’s not just there, it’s everywhere. It’s not just in White Australia, it’s in Asian countries, majority black African nations, majority black Caribbean countries and North America.

    I’m a black guy born in England and raised in Canada. From before I was still in my mother’s womb, there have been people making negative assumptions and decisions about what I was destined to become, how far I could go on my own esteem and how far I ought to be allowed to advance. About to turn 45 next month, this bigotry has not ended. Although it has hindered me at times, apart from the few times that I have foolishly allowed it to, it has failed to stop me in my tracks. I refuse to be overcome by it.

    Will it it ever finally go away. I don’t think so. If I’m wrong, then I’m sure that it will not happen in my lifetime. I do believe that it can diminish; nevertheless. In my lifetime, I’ve already seen improvements where I live, and those improvements shout that considerably more improvement is inevitable even though a total elimination of bigotry is impossible.

    Hang in there, Mabel. Don’t let the little bastards get you down! I have faith in you!

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    • McLuhan’s work stuck with me throughout university. His theories might seem easy enough to grasp at first glance, but delving deeper you’d always find that there is more than meets to eye to his thoughts.

      Institutional racism is certainly everywhere, and all over of world as you mention. Sadly it has become the new normal, a kind of hierarchy so many of us have come to accept – alongside casual racism and everyday racism. Such racism is often always fleeting, and I suppose many of us go “why bother speaking up when no one else feels the same way”.

      I like you attitude, Allan. “I refuse to be overcome by it”. We have to keep fighting the good fight. There is this quote, I can’t remember for the life of me how it went or who said it, but it went something like this: so many things have already been said, but we forget so we have to say it again. Which is one reason why we have to keep speaking up against racism.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. I don’t feel equipped to answer your question about media bias, Mabel, but you obviously have a talent for and an interest in news-style stories. What job are you doing at present? I hope you’ve found something that suits you.
    I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the news industry. They prey too much on innocent victims. My husband would watch news 24/7 but I find it hugely depressing the way we focus on the worst aspects of mankind. I know- head in the sand! 🙂 🙂

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    • I’ve always loved researching and writing academic articles at university, and I guess that has translated somewhat into most of my blog posts. Over the last few years, I’ve been in and out of various jobs in various industries – but they’ve all been desk bound jobs, including m y current job. It’s something I’m hoping to talk briefly about in a couple of posts 🙂

      The media can certainly can be ruthless, especially when it comes to “chequebook journalism” – paying innocent victims and greedy ones too for interviews at times.

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  42. Mabel, it’s a topic not many of us are comfortable discussing and you put it across so very well. I guess racism exists everywhere, sometimes in pretty direct forms and at other times in more subtle ways. I am so glad to know you haven’t given up on writing, Mabel. Doing that would be a crime, given the kind of talent you writing 🙂

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    • Racism is certainly a sensitive, loaded topic. Each and everyone of us are proud of our culture, or at least a part of it. It’s the subtle forms of racism that I reckon are talked about less – and I suppose it’s because they are harder to spot, or thought of as harmless jokes at times. Hopefully the future permits me time for writing 🙂

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