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Dear Frances

Here is a refreshing article for opening up your new year in KL.
It is about the world first, Chinese religious coin with HM the Queen in one coin minted by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra and a legal tender of the Solomon Islands, a member of the British Commonwealth.

from IpohBornKid

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Scanned images of the Ji Gong coin (above) and the insert giving a description of the coin in Chinese & English (below).
A legal tender ($1.00) of the Solomon Islands.

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The Ji Gong Story
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At 16, his parents passed away and after 3 years mourning, he travelled around the country. As his money ran out, he decided to become a monk at the Lingyin temple (靈隱寺)in Hangzhou. The Abbot accepted him as a disciple/monk and named him Daoji.
As the story goes, Daoji often disguised himself as an insane monk of boundless virtue and performed many miracles to help the unfortunate and punished the wicked and the unscrupulous as well as using his power to destroy evil spirits and monsters. There are many stories about Ji Gong and these stories reflect the social life and Zen doctrines of that time. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (AD 1368-1911), his stories became widely known.
Today, more than 800 years passed, the Ji Gong’s story has become an endless literary resource and was also was also made into novels, paintings, sculptures movies and TV plays. The stories can play a role in enhancing individual/national morals and ethics.
The Ji Gong Coin
In Australia during mid-October 2013, the Royal Australian Mint (RAM) in Canberra became the first in the history of the British Commonwealth, to strike a coin depicting the image of Master Ji Gong on one side and the HM Queen II on the other side.
How the coin projected came about:
Early in 2013, Mr Edward Terence Mason, Director of the Australian Gold Coin Pty Ltd and Ms Dongyu Xing showed a coin from an Asian country with the Goddess of Mercy (Quanyin) to Dr Tony Pun. As the RAM was minting the Chinese zodiac coins (the 12 animals) with HM the Queen on one side, the question was asked whether it would be possible for the RAM to make a coin with 1 oz silver but with Master Ji Gong on the other side. At that moment, the Ji Gong coin was conceptualized and Mr Mason was given the task to investigate whether the RAM would mint such a coin. The rational of making this coin was also discussed and the idea to use the proceeds of the sale of the Ji Gong coin to assist fund raising for Ji Gong temples was agreed. A positive response was received from the RAM. Permission was also obtained to use the Queen’s image on the coin. At that point, the trio, Mr Mason, Ms Xing and Dr Pun decided to give the first preference to the Ji Gong temple in Sydney to raise funds for their development. The Ji Gong temple in Sydney accepted the idea and raised sufficient funds to sponsor the first 1,000 coins. The net proceeds to the sale of the first 1,000 coins would go to the Ji Gong temple in Sydney. By October 2013, the coins were produced and 1,000 of these coins were in the possession of the office bearers of the Chee Seng Khor Moral Uplifting Society Inc. in Sydney The coins were then taken to be exhibited and sold during the Ji Gong Conference(October 2013) in Macao to international delegates.

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Production of this coin was also assisted by the Hon Consul for Solomon Islands, Sir Trevor Garland, former colleague of Dr Pun at St Vincent’s Hospital. This coin is the first of its kind with HM the Queen and a religious icon Master Ji Gong. It is of historical significance in the recognition of Chinese culture and religion by Westerners and including Solomon Islands and Australia.
Photo: from left to right – standing, Dr Tony Pun, Edward Mason, sitting Ms Dongyu Xing and Sir Trevor Garland.

The copyright of the coin belongs to the Australian Gold Coins Pty Ltd and the image of Master Ji Gong was designed by Mr Mason. The total mintage of this coin is 10,000 and hence, it will be a valuable collector’s item. The coin is also available in pure gold (99.99%).
The Original Purpose of the Ji Gong Coin
The concept, as from the beginning, is to use the coin for fund raising purpose for Ji Gong temples. It is expected that those involved in selling the coins would donate parts of the net proceeds to the Ji Gong temple. As charity comes from the heart, there is no coercion in how much people will donate and such donations should be natural, generous and purposeful, each according to his/her conscience and ability.
Note: Dr Pun and Sir Trevor do not receive any financial benefits from the Australian Gold Coin Pty Ltd nor did they take any commissions for the sale of the coins. Their efforts are completely charitable as they both donate their time and effort for the Ji Gong Coin Project.

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Written and reviewed by IpohBornKid

In Chapter 2, I brought to your attention about a milestone speech by Michelle Rowland, MP, who spoke in the Australian Parliament about the past discriminatory treatment of Chinese settlers in Australia. I am happy to further present another supporting parliamentary speech by Chris Hayes MP in support of Michele Rowland MP.

In the speech by Chris Hayes, MP, he mentioned the 1855 Committee. This committee did a lot of hard lobbying to get a preliminary result, a good one start, I may add. According to reliable sources, the Committee is made of individual members and some of them are members of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (CCCA). They are members of the 1855 Committee in their private capacity,

Dr Anthony Pun, the National President of CCCA also said in a response to Mr Chris Hayes speech. “We are indebted to Mr Chris Hayes, MP for his speech in parliament . His speech showed strong empathy to the early Chinese settlers as well as to the Australians of Chinese descent.”
A good start in a conciliatory process between the Chinese community and Australia.”

Read more :
Chinese Community 25 June 2013

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Written and reviewed by IpohBornKid

The book review of Vivienne McWaters’ book “Beechworth Little Canton” previously published in this blog, laid an important foundation for stimulating a parliamentary speech by a Federal Australian MP, Ms Michelle Rowland. This speech is now published in Hansard, which is a Parliamentary record. It would appear that her speech is a catalyst, in the near future, for the acknowledgement of the past wrongs or some form of statement of regret by the Australian Parliament, The full text of the Ms Rowland’s speech is enclosed. Her recorded speech in parliament is also available as shown in facebook under Erin Chew, the Vice-President of CCCA Inc. (NSW). Who wrote:

Michelle Rowland sticking her neck out for the Chinese Australian community and for the Asian Australians who suffered under the White Australian policy!

A response to Michelle Rowland, MP, speech in the National Parliament, Canberra.
By Dr Anthony Pun, OAM, National President, Chinese Community Council of Australia is shown below.

The Chinese Australian community is indeed indebted to Michelle Rowland MP, for her courageous statement about the “bad” old days of legislative discrimination against the early Chinese gold miners in Australia, commonly known as the White Australia Policy. The acknowledgement of past wrong doings is a prerequisite for the nation to look forward to a future of harmonious, cohesive and united multicultural society where all communities contribute to the development and future of the nation. On behalf of the Chinese Community Council of Australia, I wish to thank Ms Rowland for her kind remarks and in the future, she will be warmly remembered by the Australians of Chinese descent for her milestone parliamentary speech.

It is interesting to note that Ms Daphne Lowe-Kelly mentioned in the speech is also the National Secretary of the Chinese Community Council of Australia.

The author hope that Australia would follow New Zealand, Canada and the US in acknowledging the past wrongs in discriminating against their Chinese settlers.

Read more :

Adjournment Debate – Chinese community

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Written and reviewed by IpohBornKid

“My friend Vivienne is a humble librarian in a small Victorian town, but she has written well on the history of the Chinese Gold Miners in Australia during the 19th century.”

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The book “Beechworth’s Little Canton” tells a 19th Century Story about Chinese gold miners in Australia.

Beechworth is a country town in the State of Victoria, Australia. You can find its location when you go to Google Map and type in Beechworth, Victoria.

My friend Vivienne McWaters, is an Australian country girl of Cornish extraction and had lived in the town of Beechworth for many years. Eversince she discovered artifacts of Chinese porcelain in her backyard, she continued to dig and research the Chinese settlement in the town of Beechworth for many years.

Being a housewife, and between caring for children and husband, she spent most of her free time digging and researching Chinese settlement history. She was a humble Librarian in the local town and through her patience, perseverance and commitment; she managed to put her research into little stories of the Chinese community in Beechworth during the 19th century.

As you read her book, you can find a lot of unintended humor despite the anti-Chinese euphoria, the White Australian Policy and legislative discrimination against the Chinese gold miners. These are simple stories and yet they contain so much historical facts about the early Chinese settlers in Australia. There is no cover-up in these stories as they tell the truth, no matter how ugly it was.

It is a recent phenomenon in Australia where a number of academic historians have begun to write the true history of the treatment of Chinese gold miners without the slightest intention of “sweeping” these ugly facts under the carpet. It is healthy for a nation to acknowledge the past wrongs and move on.

As a humble librarian, Vivienne has shown herself to be a powerful illustrator of a piece of “not so pleasant” Australian history and to tell it to the world as it was. Her story telling style beats reading volumes of “boring” history textbooks. The efforts of Vivienne and others like her, has made it possible for the inclusion of Chinese Australian history in the curriculum of Victorian high schools. It is hoped that this example will also be taken up by other States in Australia.

I wish to thank Vivienne for her contribution and courage to tell the truth by writing true history without distortion and denial. For her efforts, the Chinese Australian community, and particularly those descendants of the affected families, will be greatly indebted to her for bringing out the truth about their ancestors who came to Australia in the mid-19th century.

Extract from Vivienne’s book Beechworth Little Canton

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