Community Flowers  Linda Hua By Louise Smithers

Linda Hua exemplifies the sort of open-minded,  enthusiastic and clearly warm and welcoming person  that is the essence of Australian values of family and  community.

Living in Cherrybrook with three children  in school, it is hard to put in print what a wonderful  addition Linda is to the community.  S ince attending ACIA (Australian Community Inspired  Association Inc.) she has grown in confidence and language  and now does voluntarily bookkeeping., Linda also wields the  tongs and chops endless kilos of onions at regular fundraising  barbecues. Her daughters often lend a hand too. She is reputed  to be an excellent cook and as we talk, she reminds me how  central food is to culture.

How it wraps a family up and creates  a hub of sharing, no matter whether you are Chinese, Indian,  Korean or of any other origin.  Since coming to Australia from China many years ago,  Linda has totally embraced and loved the “Awssie” way of life,  as she says in her charmingly accented English. She found such  welcoming acceptance that she freely volunteers her time back  to our community with a wonderful spirit. “You must accept  the new culture as yours… understand it… You cannot change  it… just change yourself.”  As a member of ACIA, and her newly found confidence,  she now mixes with mayors and people of all cultures that she  wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. “People  even say ‘hello’ on a morning walk – that really makes my  day!” she says.

Linda explains such freedoms and sharing is not  experienced in China where your opinions cannot be freely  expressed. Even a choice of subjects in school is impossible, as  everyone studies the same curriculum. Her kids come and ask  “What should I study?” and she says cannot be much of a guide  to them… it is so different.  Give her half a chance and Linda will espouse the  extraordinary sense of being a role model to her children. Be it  study, attitudes or  moral responsibility,  she is adamant that  they will follow a  parent’s model and  she takes it very  seriously, in action,  dress, speech; in  attitude and work.  “You have to open your mind and your children will grow up  accepting too.”

A position working in a retirement village opened her eyes  to the cultural difference of how the Australians treats their  elders. She speaks of the reverence Chinese culture extends to  their grandparents and elders, looking after them always within  the family. She noticed it is always the daughter in Australia  that visits the elder parents if they are in care. “I tell my kids  they are looking after me!” she laughs… it’s the Chinese way.  ACIA was established to welcome participation of all  members of the community in events, mentoring, and  encouraging different cultural and community groups to work  together. This becomes a support for family and friends in an  increasingly socially isolated society, where careers mean work  is often far from home. This is relevant to Linda as her husband  has to work in another city for a major part of the month.

They  are very grateful for the freedom and way of life Australia has  afforded them. Meeting Linda as a member of ACIA, you realise ACIA is  a really independent, non-government, non-political, secular  group, dedicated to the unity and integration of residents in  all the different community groups within the Hills district. At  an ACIA event, you will rub shoulders with souls from many  countries, all embracing the freedom that we have in Australia.  Their greatest achievements in their short history include:  fundraising $3,000 at the Biggest Morning Tea; a community  Family Fun Day at Fagan Park, and the ACIA Open Mic Night  for students to perform. The support of varied community  and mental health groups,plus support for new arrivals from  overseas,. Everyone benefits from their charter to enhance  opportunities for interaction and integration. Julian Leeser,  Federal MP for Berowra, proudly patrons the group, endorsing  their unique all-embracing platform.

Linda keeps it all simple… she wraps it all up with a  beautiful heart full of love,acceptance and a keenness and open  attitude that’s exemplary.As Linda said…“Water can float a  boat… but it can also destroy a boat…!”

To know more, or come along to an event, contact  Bob Waller on 0438 410 030 or aciainc2016@gmail. com…Think about it! Then just come along and share an  “Awssie” sausage sandwich!