PART 1 – A CULTURAL INTRODUCTION.
Abalinx 27 August 2019 Peter Adamis
Preamble. The Chinese connection for me has been an interesting one. Growing up watching television to see Detective Charlie Chan movies along with his numerous sons, was always a treat for me. He always got his man. Later in life Bruce Lee became a hit with most of us who were keen followers of Martial Arts. I was interested because in my youth I was a street fighter and felt anything that could enhance my survival skills could not be a bad influence. Last but not the least Jackie Chan that extraordinarily wonderful Chinese actor kept me entertained with his expressive and impressive acting skills. A copy of the article maybe downloaded by clicking on: THE CHINESE CONNECTION
First Face to face interaction. However despite the above, my first known interaction with the Chinese was back in 1957 as a young lad jumping on the back of dray driven by a horse. It was owned by a Chinese gardener who make the long journey from Victoria market to his market garden almost every day. He would shoo us away when we hitched a ride. It was but a game for us. In 1969 I interacted with a young chap called “John” of Chinese background who worked in a local Chinese shop in Chapel Street Windsor. I believe the shop was named Ging Wha. “John” was called up for National Service and we never saw him again
The owner of the shop was a kindly old man who was very good to us young teenagers coming for dinner after playing Aussie Rules Football. He would always make my favourite chicken and corn soup just for me. I would often drop in as the years went by and saw him for old times’ sake. The last time that I saw him was when I came down to Melbourne from Townsville on leave. I went in to see the old bloke and found him sitting in the corner of the shop looking very much older and not paying attention to his surroundings. When I reached out to him he looked up and smiled like he always did and nodded his head. I realised then that he did not recognize me at all but kept on smiling and nodding his head. A young man who worked in the shop approached me and advised me that the old man had retired and had Alzheimer’s. I thanked the young man and bade my final goodbye to the old man.
Negative interaction. There was only negative episode in my life with the Chinese and that was with another Chinese shop further down the road in Chapel Street. The owner of this shop did not take kindly to our youthful and boisterous nature and kicked us out. I must confess that we left because two of the patrons were local coppers and we were not about to tangle with them. Suffice to say the insurance company paid a visit to the shop the following day for reasons unknown to me.
Singaporean Chinese couple. In 1973 and fifteen months later I found myself in Singapore and Malaya with the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR). It was while at Kangaw Barracks that I met one of the loveliest and wonderful Chinese couple. They were known to us as Peter and Mama. They were A Company’s Cho wallah and had the contract to provide items of food and other items. Peter and Mama had previously worked for the British when they were stationed at Pulada Jungle Training Centre in Malaya. We also had the pleasure of being guests there at one time.
At Kangaw Barracks Peter and Mama would often give out loans to the diggers who were short and they would repay them back on pay day. At the time the Australian dollar was worth three Singaporean dollars. A lot of money for a young digger in those days. I have written of Peter and Mama elsewhere. Those interested may visit the following link: Mama and Peter.
In 1978 I returned to Malaya for my second tour of Rifle Company Butterworth with B Company 6th Battalion, RAR under the command of Bruno Wallis. A strong and fair leader whose previous SASR skills and knowledge certainly kept us on our toes and kept challenging ourselves
During second tour we had the opportunity to go on leave for about seven days. I decided to return to Singapore to see if I could meet up with Peter and Mama. I am pleased to say that I had kept in touch via letters and I soon caught up with him. Peter took me around Singapore and made sure that I was not being fleeced or taken advantage of.
At the end of the seven days I returned back to Penang in Malaya after telling each other we would keep in touch. As we all know, life takes us on many journeys and our different paths did not cross as we would have both liked. In 2004 I returned Singapore and made some enquiries about Peter and Mama. They lived in a block of apartments called Commonwealth Gardens which no longer existed. I never heard from the family ever again.
Political interaction. Later when I left the Australian Defence Force I joined the Liberal Party and met a wonderful Australian of Chinese background named Lee. He was also a former Melbourne City Councillor, an Australian World War 2 veteran, a businessman and a great family man. We were both on the Defence and Foreign Affairs, Multicultural and Immigration Policy Assembly Committees. Some very interesting characters crossed our paths in those days I must say. The Liberal Party gave me the opportunity to meet with many other Australians of Chinese background of which I am pleased to see that Gladys Liu is now in Federal Parliament representing the Electorate of Chisholm. One of my four sons was in a long term relationship spanning nine years with an Australian of Chinese ancestry which for reasons known only to them did not become permanent. Both have since moved on with their separate lives. The parents of the girl were students who were granted permanent residence by the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke after the Tiananmen Square debacle.
On reflection my interaction with our Chinese connections has been far more positive than negative and as a result I am of the belief it has helped in my development in understanding other cultures. This concludes my introduction and Part 1 of the Chinese Connection series. Special mention to Tom Bere, Clinton Breeze, Larry Laliffe, Graham Tucker, Vi Hurley, Col Bishop, Col Goodwin, Warren Payne, Maurice Barwick, Ray Lundberg, Barry Daniels, Sandra Mercer Moore and Chris Fenner. As always stay strong, be vigilant and never give up.
PART 2 – “CHINESE WHISPERS”
Abalinx 27 August 2019 Peter Adamis
Preamble. Are the Chinese the “Persians” of Asia and the Pacific? Are the Americans the “Romans” of old and are Australians the “Spartans” of a bygone era? Students of History may agree or disagree on the above but they will see the similarities.
Disclaimer. Part two deals with China in the modern era and the views are mine and mine alone. The article is based on my life experiences, personal knowledge, skills, and cultural interaction, research and media outlets. I do not have access to information other than what I have stated above.
Therefore readers should note that if I can come to these conclusions, I am confident that I am not alone. Some 20 years ago when I posted to 5/6 Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment, I had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting characters who today would be certainly considered legends by those who knew of them. I cannot name them but I can say that they went onto bigger and better things in life.
I can but describe these two chaps who brought to my attention the rising power of China. One went to China as a consultant and the other as an employee of a large Australian firm who won a humungous contract. Like Marco Polos of a time long ago, they too came back with wonderous tales of great high rise buildings, huge long highways, entertainment centres and the improved standard of living. Being a lover of history and its impact on mankind, my curiosity got the better of me and I began to take an active interest. As a result of my research I came up with the following observations and conclusions which readers may or may not agree with.
Lessons from history. Some observers of China may say that the Chinese are past masters of diplomacy, deception and opportunists, manipulating all three to overcome their adversaries with the minimum of loss. I do believe that China with all its resources, networks, alliances and population is working towards influencing the rest of the world towards its own brand of philosophy. If you look back on the past 40 years you will notice that it has mirrored the political and geographical strategies of Japan between the two World Wars
Avoiding the errors of Japan and using diplomacy, deception and opportunities to overwhelm, influence or charm their alleged adversaries. They know that despite all the rhetoric and sabre rattling within their own people they are fully aware that they cannot match the power of major powers like Russia and the USA, or a combination of major and minor powers. Thus the importance of diplomacy and deception playing a major role in their mission for global recognition as a major superpower.
Cultural philosophy. Chinese Philosophy has been around for thousands of years and although it has a communist form of rule, one is led to believe that elements of Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism and Taoism still exists within the Communist system. Added to the above philosophies are the latter or modern thoughts of Marxism and Stalinism introduced by Mao Zedong. These communists’ ideologies did not gell well with the rise of the neo Chinese elite and subsequently have been shelved if you like and used when it is necessary to clamp down or control the masses. As an outsider we could say that China has become a quick learner using the past, copying the present and creating a future that is a blend of ancient Chinese philosophical thought with a Marxist form of government.
Military build-up. It is a fact that during WW2 the Communists under Mao Zedong did not take an active part against the Japanese but rather let their opponents the Nationalist Chinese to do battle. It is true that there was some cooperation between the Allies and elements of the Communist party but they were insignificant compared to the Nationalist forces. Mao Zedong was clever enough to build his forces throughout the War years taking advantage of the Japanese invasion of China and finally routing the Nationalists post WW2. The Nationalists fleeing to Taiwan and creating another China according to Western ideals but not philosophy. It is also a fact that millions of Chinese lost their lives under the regime of Mao Zedong and his companions. Many died through the Stalin form of enforced harsh programmes, Labor forces and eradication of the elite, the academics, and the learned and potential community leaders.
Over time China began to re-establish itself in the region by annexing lands believing it was theirs by ancestral right. Other forms of annexation was by the use of diplomacy, intimidation, Debt re-engagement/reconciliation, forced resettlement programmes and in some cases by stealth alone. Today we see the use of stealth in the South Pacific shipping lanes where a series of islands have been “appropriated” and developed into arcs of military island forts that have the potential to disrupt the shipping lanes. If the Chinese exercise their muscle and become belligerent neighbours they have the potential to starve their regional neighbours of oil supplies, air traffic, commerce and trade.
Already alliances against the Chinese are being created and we see the results of those alliances in the form of military training exercises and cooperation with the United States leading the “Alliance of the willing”. Cyber warfare against other nations has increased, ideas, concepts, theories and military secrets pirated, stolen, captured, bought, reversed engineered, copied, enhanced and embedded within the Chinese system.
Carrot or the Stick. If China is to be taken seriously on the world stage and be treated as an equal, it should find the balance between its philosophical and ideological outlook with that of Western ideals and values. All this can be achieved by diplomacy, trust and toleration without either China or the West losing their identities or culture. With the modernization of China, the middle class increased exponentially and as such the Chinese bureaucrats learning from the errors of the Stalin years in Russia, took an opposite approach. The Chinese people were free to create wealth and share the profits. The need for goods, materials, vehicles, appliances, new technologies and the acquisition of assets became an obsession. With that obsession for Western goods also came corruption and fraud which were ruthlessly cut down by executing those responsible.
On the other hand the world is observing China to see how it manages Hong Kong and its people. A people of Chinese ancestry who have lived side by side with Chinese and Western cultures. If China manages the Hong Kong issue responsibly without a repeat of the Tiananmen Square then it truly will be welcomed into the brotherhood of nations. If on the other hand China fails and acts irresponsibly by using force, those in Taiwan who want reunification with China will think twice about doing so.
While China is still just ahead of India in population it is still struggling to keep its people within the ideological umbrella. A huge population brings enormous challenges and within those challenges solutions are required. Therefore it should not come as a surprise to see that China is using technologies to identify, control, reward and change behaviours through their face imaging programmes.
Not only within its own borders but also for the Chinese who live overseas. Take for example the university students who being educated overseas, are they not being monitored by their own Chinese overseas students are harassed, photographed, spied upon, intimidated, threatened, and exposed if they appear at protest rallies or any demonstration of being anti-China.
The universities are in fear of losing their subsidies, grants, donations, sponsors and reduction in Chinese student numbers. As such some Universities allow certain groups of Chinese students to roam free creating cells of influence and infiltrating academic and political institutions.
Effects on Australians. If Australia is to survive in the South Pacific pool of sharks it must learn to be like the piranha. Small but deadly when aggravated. By that I mean Australia will have to create its own policies independent of the influence of China, Japan, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and those of the South Pacific rim. Doing so does not mean alienating or with-holding support to its traditional allies such as the USA, Pacific Rim and nations to its North. Australia must steer its own course if it wants to become influential in the region. Trade, commerce, business alliances, sharing of knowledge, climate shift support, education, skills and infrastructure projects should not become objects of barter, blackmail, intimidation or deceptive practices such unrealistic loans and repayments.
Unfortunately some nations are practicing this type of behaviour right now on our doorstep by playing one nation against the other. China is taking advantage of such opportunities and thus another Chinese defensive ring of influence is strung out further into the pacific ocean It is not something new to be advised that Chinese investors have acquired vast tracts of land to our North, obtaining long term lease of our strategic Northern port of Darwin, influence in the Kimberley, attempts for land acquisitions near our Woomera rocket sites, bids for our gas pipelines, control of our water ways, and buying up industries.
Recently an Australian writer has been charged with espionage by the Beijing authorities. While this is not the first China has accused ordinary Australians of spying against China, maybe it’s time Canberra took action against the Chinese Embassy for manipulating students and spying at university campuses. The distribution of millions of dollars towards Australian political parties and influencing selected political representatives by showering them with gifts, free trips or providing them with high powered jobs after they leave parliament . These political parasites are the worst vermin I can imagine were elected to represent us.
In retrospect, I must add that in this country we all call home – Australia, we have certainly dodged the political bullet that would have brought us closer to China at the demise of our alliance with the USA. Not only did we dodge the bullet, we gave ourselves some breathing to strategically withdraw and take stock of our standing on the world stage. For that, we can thank Scott Morrison and his brilliant colleagues and advisors for steering the good ship Australia through some stormy weather.
Having said all of the above, I have found it of interest that Mandarin is the second most spoken language after English in Australia. Is this because of Bob Hawkes decision to grant all Chinese students permanent residency post Tiananmen Square. Will China handle their Hong Kong issues responsibly and if not, will Scott Morrison emulate Bob Hawke and would this change the Australian society as we know it today? Questions such as these can only be answered should Australia be called upon to take sides.
Conclusion. I do not believe that we should fear the Chinese, but it is important that we have policies that safe guard our way of life, our institutions, utilities, legal system and control of our assets whatever they may be. In fact our policy analysts need to review our trade, military, education and commercial interests with India as well. Another super power in the making and the World’s largest democracy. Buts another article for another time. Conversely China should recognize that Australians are resilient, tolerant to a point and not easily influenced like the ancient Athenians who were bribed by the once mighty Persia.
Australians like the Spartans of old need to find the correct balance in our sphere of influence if we are to remain a sovereign nation without the fear of external influences. In closing I wish to state that I make no recommendations, provide no solutions, nor condemn those in power and responsible for our economic security and longevity. This is merely an article based on my observations and research. This concludes part two of the series on the Chinese Connection. I welcome constructive criticism.
PART 3 – VIGILANCE & GLOBAL STEALTH
Abalinx 25 November 2019 Peter Adamis
Preamble. Since Late August 2019, much progress has been made the nation of China. The Chinese like the Mongols of a long past era have recreated the ancient Silk Road using modern technology. The new modern Silk Road stretches from China across Asia, by passing India, a world nuclear super power, under the belly of the Russians, another world nuclear superpower through Turkey and into the heart of Europe. Is the Premier of China another Genghis Khan or like his grandson Kublai Khan. That is the question.
Top Ten Spy Agencies. Once the mighty Russian communist bear was considered the main threat and one of the best spy agencies in the world. Today the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world 2019 are as follows in rank order: 1 – Mossad, 2 – Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 3 – Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), 4 – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 5 – Federal Intelligence Service (BND), 6 – Research And Analysis Wing, 7 – Directorate-General for External Security, 8 – Canadian Security Intelligence Service or CSIS, 9 – Australian Secret Intelligence Service and 10 – Ministry of State Security.
Dragon Methodologies. Attempts by the Chinese government and their associates of using IC (infiltration concepts), humint (human intelligence) AI (artificial intelligence), FICA, (Finance, Investments, Cultural and Academic), CW (cyber warfare) and methodologies and technologies known only to those nations who use them. Infiltration of Political parties, organisations, communities, finance corporations, real estate are merely tips of the iceberg. The Chinese learning from their communist brethren have increased their surveillance methodologies by targeting nations for their military and asset value. Small nations, though poor may have strategic value in the overall Chinese long term outlook. It has been mentioned previously of small Pacific nations who have been gobbled up so to speak through loans and infrastructure projects that can never be repaid and their islands used as potential bases.
In Africa alone the Chinese practiced their methods of infiltration some twenty years ago and now are influential amongst some African nations. The Chinese learning from the errors of colonial cultivation by European nations, (mentioned previously in Part 1 & 2 ) ensured that they left behind infrastructures that could be utilised by the African nations. Unlike their European counterparts who removed structures once they left. In Europe, the Chinese have already made their mark with their experiments with Albania and other nations and realised the significance of port facilities into the heart of Europe. Greece and Italy are two nations being cultivated. In years to come, the Chinese presence will become unwelcome as the Americans found their presence no longer welcome in France post WW2.
Today the Chinese focus has no changed but their pendulum has swung towards the Pacific to challenge the mighty USA in its backyard. A backyard once considered to be the realm of the USA and its strategic partners. The USA and their Chinese counterpart realising the strategic value of the island continent to the South, (Australia with its mineral wealth, rare metals, agricultural assets, industries and other real estate land value; are both wooing Australia using means as discussed above. Thus where once Australia appeared safe is now a land of opportunity for nations seeking to develop at the expense of Australians.
Political tentacles. Prominent Australians of Chinese ancestry being coerced to enter the Australian Parliament. The good name of Gladys Liu (Member for Chisolm) has been unfortunately been caught up in this sorry debacle. But no mention of Penny Wong who is a Labor Senator. On reflection this all smacks of domestic politics rather than any association with the Chinese government. Recently media reports of car dealer Bo “Nick” Zhao, 32, was allegedly cultivated by Beijing to run as a Liberal Party candidate. Zhao allegedly told ASIO about the deal.
He was then reportedly found dead in a Melbourne hotel room in March. Sam Dastyari is another perfect example of a member of parliament being wooed by a foreign nation. How many others one wonders have fallen under the spell of foreign governments? I could name a few who have left the corridors of power in Canberra and then to find them operating under the auspices of a foreign power. What a disgrace our politicians have become.
Hostile foreign activity. The other has been the self-confessed Chinese spy who came out of the mist to tell all on television. “ASIO has publicly acknowledged it was both aware and was investigating an alleged attempt to put a Chinese spy into parliament”. ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess said in a statement the agency was aware of the claims but would not comment further. However, “Australians can be reassured that ASIO was previously aware of matters that were reported today, and has been actively investigating them,” he said.” “Hostile foreign intelligence activity continues to pose a real threat to our nation and its security. “ASIO will continue to confront and counter foreign interference and espionage in Australia.”
Vigilance and the need for a Fourth Force. Vigilance not complacency is the answer to what we are faced with. Empires and great nations in past have fallen as a result of complacency, disunity, erosion within, loss of cultural identity and failing to heed the signs of internal decay. I am of the belief that there is room for a fourth force within our society that can act as a backup and reinforcement to current agencies who are tasked with the responsibility of Australia’s security. Our (1) Australian Defence Force, (2) Intelligence agencies (3) domestic law enforcement/State Emergency agencies do a fine job, but a Fourth Force raised from all past serving members of the three forces mentioned can be a backup deterrent and support the government of the day in the midst of a crisis. More to come this later.
Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Social Media Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), and Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Website: abalinx.com Contact via Email: [email protected]