I have a piece in Liminal’s second anthology and it’s my very first collage, a sort of annotated time capsule from Chinatown, Melbourne in the 1880s, 1930s and 1980s. Pre-order here to get 200+ pages of Asian Australian excellence including art, poems, essays, fiction, comics, conversations & more.
Chinatown podcast | Recess x Rising
I made a short podcast about Melbourne’s Chinatown for The Hearts of the People are Measured by the Size of the Land, an exhibition curated by Olivia Koh (Recess) for Rising.
Sadly the festival is paused while Melbourne goes into its fourth lockdown so I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to see the exhibition currently, even the outdoor projections, but you can listen to the podcast in the meantime. Hoping events just get rescheduled.
In this podcast, Jinghua Qian offers a broken, bite-sized history of Chinatown and its role as the epicentre of a fractured and evolving community.
Nikki Lam, ‘Anchor and a Loose Thread 錨，和懸絲’, two-channel video installation, 2019. Sound design: Supina Bytol and Conor O’Hanlon.
Jay-Dea Lopez, ‘Chinatown, Melbourne’, Sounds Like Noise, 8 October 2011.
Peter Luck, ‘Chinese Australians ambivalent about revolution | RetroFocus’, ABC, 1969. (Accessed via YouTube.)
Cantonese with Brittany, ‘Cantonese vs. Taishanese (ft. Inspirlang)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.
Inspirlang, ‘Taishanese Tones and Pronunciations (a complete guide to learn how to speak 台山話/Toisan/Hoisanwa)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.
Nahuatl Tlahtocan, ‘Episode 2: A Linguistic History of Nahuatl’, YouTube, 20 June 2020.
Jess Ho, ‘The End of Chinatown’, 7am, 4 May 2021.
Daniel Keane, ‘Protesters call for wage theft crackdown in Adelaide’s Chinatown following alleged assault’, ABC, 6 February 2021.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Chinatown: Melbourne’, Culture Trip, 29 June 2020.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Yellow peril isn’t what it used to be’, Meanjin, Summer 2019/2020.
Liam Ward, ‘Radical Chinese labour in Australian history’, Marxist Left Review, No. 10 Winter 2015.
Jinghua Qian, ‘Things and their makers: from “European labour only” to “ethical consumerism”’, Right Now, 8 September 2015.
Full references available on request.
Yellow peril isn’t what it used to be
My Meanjin piece from the Summer 2019 issue is now online if you’re interested. It’s a review of The Chinawoman, a book about a white woman sex worker who was murdered in 1856 Melbourne, and it’s also a reflection on Chinese-Australian history, Aboriginal deaths in custody today, who is worthy of protection, who is disposable, and how that’s shifted.
Chinatown Melbourne is a one-way street that took a turn
‘Between Australia’s hunger to spin its immigrant communities into a simple, palatable narrative, and the PRC government’s mission to absorb the accomplishments of overseas Chinese into its own national history, the richness and complexity of Chinese Australian life can get lost.’
Read my feature on Chinatown and Melbourne’s Chinese communities in Culture Trip.