a multicultural Research Library

Making multicultural Australia

Search the complete site: ... Sitemap » ... Links to other sites »

This document is a mov (Quicktime) file. To view the document click on the link below. To save the document, right-click on the link and select 'Save target As' from the context menu. View/download the document here.

Defending multiculturalism

Jeannie Mok.

Community activist Jeannie Mok tells about the recurring challenges to multiculturalism over the years and of her involvement in defending the principles it represents.



Date Added:

15 February 2006


Jeannie Mok


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

4.1 MB


2 min 32 s


Jeannie Mok

Jeannie Mok

Author, community worker, Christian activist

Director, Brisbane Multicultural Community Centre

I'm volunteer director at the multicultural community centre, and I'm totally involved in the multicultural scene, have always been, just because I am from a CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) background myself…

Community activism

And then there was that Blainey debate in '84. And of course I had to be vocal about it. And I started writing and wrote some things for the Courier-Mail. And at that time, there was a certain group that got agitated and they asked me to be their spokesperson. And so that started a career of being a spokesperson for some sections of the multicultural community in Brisbane…

Becoming very vocal when we had the Hanson thing. And that was when I started organising rallies, got invited to Sydney for an SBS debate with One Nation. That was a time when we felt – I think a lot of the communities, multicultural communities, felt - it's a do or die situation, that unless you really did something, then the die was cast…

What is multiculturalism?

Not the cosmetic song and dance.. the dance syndrome. I think a lot of people think – oh wow, we're having this wonderful, integrated unity and everybody's happy, because we're singing and we're dancing and we're showing off our costumes. I think that's necessary, I think a lot of people start warming towards multiculturalism when you have that song and dance, and the festivals and the food. That, I think, is the initial doorway into appreciating what multiculturalism is all about…

It's just accepting. 'Cause I think sometimes I hear the word tolerance.. tolerance.. tolerate people - it's from a position of superiority. But it's like a total unreserved, unconditional acceptance. And it's more than an acceptance – it's like: we need to do extra because it's not a level playing field. I'm the one that always shouts out: "we're not starting from the same line, you've got to give us that catch-up thing and we need to catch up". And I think the government has been very, very quick to say yes, they need that extra helping hand.