Australians are mad about celebrating Chinese New year. It’s ironic, since Chinese men were fair game to the early white settlers; they prized every scalp they captured, preferably with pigtails attached. Chinese women too if there were any to be had but they were mostly refused entry, in case they breed. Now everyone is eating with chopsticks and learning Mandarin.
Someone asked me recently why the Chinese didn’t cut off their pigtails when they landed here. It’s true; when you don’t know history, you don’t know anything.
The funny thing is, Chinese men kept their pigtails because they all wanted to go home –something that the white settlers wished they would do, though never soon enough. China was under Manchurian rule from 1644 to 1912 and part of the Manchurian way of humiliating the Chinese was to force them to shave the front of their heads and wear a pigtail down their back or they were likely to be beheaded.
Anyway, back to Chinese New Year. The Year of the Fire Monkey starts next week, on February 8 but already you see red and gold decorations everywhere and in all the CBDs of every municipality they are staging festivals.
What did I see on my way to my Chinese Calligraphy class today? The Monkey and the Monk on their Journey to the West, quite lost, apparently. Then Sandy showed up and I asked them to pose for me. They were looking for a fair maiden to rescue, and as I’d seen her earlier, I pointed the way she went and left them to it.