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In the dusty Ballarat gold fields, a group of Chinese miners found the body of a white woman dressed in Chinese clothes. Knowing what the fatalities could be if authorities think a Chinese man may have killed a white woman, they hide the body. So begins “New Gold Mountain,” a new historical drama on SBS that has become popular with its fresh take on a familiar element of Australia’s past.
It’s always hard to figure out what resonates on the show, but during a pandemic era when anti-Asian racism has flared up, and as relations between Australia and its largest trading partner continue to deteriorate, What ever seems to have been defined by Chinese Australians stuck between two countries, an eternal question with us. And the “New Gold Mountain” provides a new – or rather an old – lens to look at the question, reminding us that uneasy race relations are nothing new, nor are Chinese people contributing to Australia for more than 200 years. are doing.
The four-part miniseries, which premiered this week, is inspired by the real and untold stories of the goldfields of Australia in the 1850s: the 24,000 Chinese miners primarily who came to Victoria to try their luck, but also the newspaper-running Women’s too, indigenous trackers and more. Although at its core it is a murder mystery, race and social roles are the undercurrents that inform the characters’ actions and interactions, and the story has drawn interest from those who have traditionally not represented themselves in depictions of Australia’s history. have seen.
“Gold Rush is such a powerful and classic Australian story, and in many ways that moment was the origin story of multiculturalism in this country,” said show director Corey Chen.
“The Chinese people are part of Australia’s foundation story,” said Ms. Chen, who was born in Taiwan and raised in Australia. “We have been here since about the same time as the white settlers. We should have left almost the same impression on the Australian psyche, but we have not.”
The history of Chinese miners is usually best known – if it is known at all – through the racist attacks they suffered on goldfields such as the Buckland and Lambing Flats riots. But, as “New Gold Mountain” Highlight, they were actively lobbying against discriminatory policies, navigating complicated relationships with their supporters in China, and wearing cowboy hats and being spies – the main character in the play, Shing, before Victoria. Chinese detective, based on the real life Fook Shing. .
As on the show, on the actual goldfields, Fuk Shing acted as a bridge between the authorities and the Chinese community, as well as running a successful theater and brickwork. According to one historian’s account: “Wealthy, connected and well represented at court, he kept a pistol under his pillow when additional methods were needed to protect his followers.”
When Chinese miners left the gold fields and settled in Melbourne, which would eventually become its Chinatown, Fuk Shing went with them, was appointed a member of the Victoria Police and was responsible for policing the Chinese community.
It would have been a situation that came with status and identity, but what Ms Chen envisions would have been horrifying: “I just think in that role at the time – you must have become an outsider to both of you, and someone must have seen you as a traitor to the country of birth you are from.”
In the show, it comes across a morally ambiguous character whose desire for recognition and acceptance by the British upper class sometimes comes up against the urge to defend his community. More broadly, “New Gold Mountain” is a story of people trying to carve out a niche in an unfamiliar, often hostile environment – from throwing together cultural festivals in poor imitation of the real thing, sometimes at the expense of others. But gratifying oneself with those in power for moving forward.
“What was very relatable and the driving fuel of the show is the ambition and desperation of the Chinese miners who come here,” Ms. Chen said.
“I think for Shing, and one of the big questions of the show is, how do you fit into this country and how are you in this country? It’s something that migrants have to navigate throughout their lives. Is: How do you capture that dichotomy between your desire to actually belong to a community?”
Now for our stories of the week.
Park bench is an endangered species. In a world that wants you to pay for everything, public meetings are becoming a luxury.
The meteorite that fell through the roof fell on the woman’s bed. Following a fireball in the Canadian sky, Ruth Hamilton of British Columbia found a 2.8-pound stone the size of a large man’s fist near her pillow.
Deadly clashes in Beirut raise fears about Lebanon’s plight. The fighting further struck the small Mediterranean country, a patchwork of sectarians that have fallen into the abyss of devastating political and economic crises.
The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Now. Countries are gathering in an effort to halt the decline of biodiversity, scientists say could equate climate change to an existential crisis.
Best Health Care System in the World: Which Would You Choose? To better understand one of the hottest US policy debates, we created a tournament to decide which of these countries has the best healthcare system: Canada, UK, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and America
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