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!