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.

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The Challenges of Blogging, And How To Overcome Them

A lot of the time blogging is a challenge, even for bloggers who have been blogging for a while. We all blog about different topics and blog for different reasons. But what we have in common as bloggers is sharing stories on our blogs – and so much effort goes into it.

This is the 100th post that I’ve written for this blog, excluding reblogs. Next week marks two years since I’ve started this blog, this blog about Asian cultures and being Asian Australian. It has been a bumpy blogging road and as writer Jeff Goins said, “All things creative are hard. Blogging is just one of many”.

When it's a nice day outside, it's a sign for us to stop blogging, get outdoors and enjoy the finer things in life. Flinders St Station | Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs.

When it’s a nice day outside, it’s a sign for us to stop blogging, get outdoors and enjoy the finer things in life. Flinders St Station | Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs.

Creating Content

There can be days when we simply don’t know what to blog about or don’t feel inspired to blog. Maybe we feel like we’ve run out of stories to fit the theme of our blogs. Blogging about something we don’t often think about tends to get ideas flowing, keeping us motivated. Early this year I felt like I had written all I could about being a cultural outcast and racism, having written a lot about these topics over the previous year. After some thinking, I asked myself: why not look at what it means to be Asian every, single, day?

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Do Asian Stereotypes Get Old?

Last week, the YOMOMF Network’s YouTube video “How To Be More Asian” began doing the rounds on social media. In this video, we see two Caucasian entertainment managers attempting to persuade two Asian actors to act “more Asian”. Accompanied by a catchy tune, the Asian actors try to do so and in the process show their affection for Hello Kitty tattoos and eating sushi off naked bodies. At the end of the video, the Caucasians walk away fazed by such “bizarre” behaviour.

Yet another piece of media that showcases Asian stereotypes in a humourous manner.

Is the video racist?

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Natalie Tran: The Un-Stereotypical Asian Australian On YouTube

One notable Asian Australian on YouTube is Sydneysider Natalie Tran.

With over 400 million channel views, Tran’s communitychannel is the most subscribed YouTube channel in Australia. She uploads videos in the form of short skits pointing out the intriguing banalities of everyday life, scripting each one and playing all the characters herself. Reality TV drama, racism Down Under and the frustrations of finding dropped food on the floor are just a few of the topics Tran has addressed.

Natalie Tran typically begins her videos with a friendly "Hi". Screenshot from "Where Did It Go??".

Natalie Tran typically begins her videos with a friendly “Hi”. Screenshot from “Where Did It Go??”.

Just why are so many (young) Asian Australians drawn to Tran, whose parents were Vietnamese refugees? Why are so many non-Asians, Caucasians drawn to her and her rather humorous videos as well?

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Asians In Australian Media. Or Rather, The Lack Thereof

Fact: Australia is a multicultural country, a multicultural country where roughly 2.4 million of the population today comprises residents of Asian – Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino etc. – ethnicity.

Fact: There is a lack of Asian faces in Australian mainstream media.

Billboard in Melbourne's Chinatown. Caucasians tend to be featured over ethnic minorities within local tv & radio programs, ads, magazines etc,. Photo: Mabel Kwong.

Billboard in Melbourne’s Chinatown. Caucasians tend to be featured over those of ethnic background within local tv & radio programs, ads, magazines etc.. Photo: Mabel Kwong.

Given Australia’s ever growing Asian population, it would be expected for Asian faces and representations to be constantly featured in local media, showcasing the true make-up and diversity of Australia to the public and the rest of the world.

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Psy’s Gangnam Style: This Isn’t Really Multiculturalism

If you haven’t been living under a rock these past couple of months, you probably would’ve heard of Psy and watched the viral music video that has racked up over 500 million views and counting for his hit song Gangnam Style.

You might have also noticed the more than generous media coverage Psy and his ‘horsey-dance’ have been attracting.

With Psy hitting the headlines in Australian mainstream news of late for his satirical tune that pokes fun at the lavish lifestyles of South Korea’s Gangnam district and his signature dance proving a hit with locals, one can say Koreans (Asians) are finally receiving much deserved representation in Australian media and that multiculturalism is well and truly alive Down Under.

However, many media companies are essentially profit-driven businesses buoyed by advertisers and it is exactly this reason that we should question whether the media genuinely advocates for a diverse society through Gangnam Style – and leading us who are passive media audiences to believe that Asian music/culture is really making its mark in the ‘multicultural’ Western world.

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