Sydney Chinatown Controversy: Lunar New Year Decorations 2022

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Sydney Chinatown Controversy? White & Blue "Death Themed" Decorations

There was some global media attention this year with Sydney Chinatown’s Chinese New Year decorations as it went against the traditional red & gold scheme.

Being someone who grew up in Australia, I was unaware that blue & white are used in Chinese funerals and I decided to head out to Chinatown to see what people actually thought. You can read more about the controversy here:

Overall, most of the interviewees liked the colour scheme but felt that a bit more red could have been used. I found it difficult to interview some of the older folks & local business owners but I suspect many would have been negative/disappointed… definitely a bit of a generational divide when it came to this topic.

Like me, many were unaware that the colours represented “death” and thought blue and white well represented Chinese porcelain, famous for the blue pigment (cobalt oxide). Many also felt blue was representative of the Year of the Water Tiger (1 of the 5 elements as part of the Chinese Zodiac Signs).

Despite the controversy, it feels like the decorations have not kept the general public away from Chinatown, with crazy crowds filling the streets over the last 2 weeks. However, can totally understand why some people would be upset. Hoping that we can all move forward and keep Chinatown thriving as it recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.

Thanks to everyone who participated! Shout-out to the many young Asian-Australians that voiced their opinions. And special thanks to Tingting Hu made this possible and who helped out with pretty much everything! Follow  her here:

Hopefully I can get out and about more often. The focus this year will be more video work over the podcast but let’s see what happens. Hope you all have a prosperous and happy new year!

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