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Road show brings Spring Festival cheer to Australia

Updated: 2013-03-01 14:05
By Lin Shujuan in Adelaide, Australia ( China Daily)

Road show brings Spring Festival cheer to Australia

A Chinese man living in Adelaide, Australia, examines the poster for Thursday night's gala performance in Chinatown. Lin Shujuan / China Daily

Peter Yang says he tries to avoid showing up in his food store at the Chinatown in downtown Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, these days.

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"I hate to be confronted with my customers asking for tickets," Yang says, referring to the sold-out performance given by a group of China's finest singers and dancers, who have been on an annual one-month global tour to entertain overseas Chinese during the Chinese Lunar New Year season since 2009.

This is the second time the tour, launched by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of China's State Council, has reached Adelaide, a city of about 1.2 million people including around 50,000 ethnic Chinese.

Yang says he had previously worried about the performance's ticket sales, considering the small population of the city's ethnic Chinese - less than one-10th of that in Sydney's - and the fact the most of them are actually overseas Chinese who have migrated from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.

Among the small portion from China, many left to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with their relatives back home, says Yang, who moved to Adelaide 15 years ago from Taiwan.

But it turned out that he was very wrong. Adelaide has "a tightly knit Chinese community", he says.

"Here in Adelaide, we ethnic Chinese meet regularly," says Yang, whose ancestors were from Hunan province.

With little advertising except for some posters in Chinatown or on the street-side glass walls of some Chinese restaurants, all 1,200 tickets were sold out days before, Yang says.

As an active volunteer in promoting the performance among local Chinese, Yang says he became an easy target to blame when no more tickets were available.

Guo Jinling, an official from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of China's State Council who led the performance tour to Adelaide, says she was very impressed by the way the local Chinese community worked to ensure the show's success.

"Our office has always aimed to be the home of every overseas Chinese," Guo says. "We are glad that our performance, which aims to bring seasonal greetings from our homeland, is well-received. And we are also touched by the hospitality shown by our overseas Chinese compatriots here in Adelaide, be they young or old, businesspeople or students."

Wang Jiale, a 27-year-old Cantonese, moved to Adelaide three years ago, first as a student and now a member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce South Australia.

Wang, along with many of his former Chinese classmates from the Adelaide University and current Chinese colleagues, volunteered to receive the performers on their arrival and help with many other related logistics.

He says he considered his involvement an honor for being able to help and a tribute to what the performance has brought to him and his family.

"A performance like this is a comfort not only to us, as homesick as only we know we are, but also to our parents and families who are still back in China during such an important festival for family reunion," Wang says. "With a performance from our homeland arriving here, they would definitely feel better seeing that we are not all alone"

The performance - a selection of Chinese classic songs by top singers, including Dong Wenhua, Yan Weiwen, Wang Xiuwen and Cai Guoqing, and Peking Opera masters Yu Kuizhi and Li Shengsu, as well as some traditional folk dances - took place at the city's Entertainment Center on Thursday night.

The next and final stop in Australia is Perth on Sunday night.