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Continuing to take advantage of the Asian century will no doubt have a positive effect on Australia and its economy. Australia has been involved with Asia for quite some time but now more than ever and it is vital for Australia to maintain this relationship throughout continuously changing its cultural identity so that Australia as a nation can see successful economic progress. The best way, I believe, to achieve a cultural identity that will link us to Asia stronger than ever is through “Asia literacy” which is the “study of skills, histories, cultures and geographies of the Asia region” (Leong 2017). In the following paragraphs, I will further explain why Australia should continue to change its culture identity and how.
Today, Asia, being home to two thirds of the world’s population has a very strong influence on the world and especially on Australia. With time Asia will surely rise to become the largest producer and consumer in the world (Australian curriculum). About 70% of Australia’s exports are from Asia which is what has linked us so closely in the past. But now we must make more of the Asian century, according to henry (2012) the global centre of the world is steering to Asia and Australia, the lucky country, happens to be exactly in that region. However, in order to take advantage of Asia’s economic rise Australia must firstly strengthen its relationships with Asia which can be done through the changing of our cultural identity. A key requirement to be taught is the Asia literacy concept (Australian curriculum) In doing this Australia will be able to come forward with a strong ground to the Asian region which will in turn allow Australia to take advantage of the opportunities present in the region (ABC 2012). Through the use of education the government can be certain that the youth will learn about Australia and Asia’s past history together but also be able to see the similarities instead of differences of “us” and “them”, through education the government will be able to create a shift in cultural identity that will occur through advanced knowledge of Asia and what benefits we can gain by being located in the Asian region during the Asian century which will increase the chance of successful participation in the Asian region (Australian curriculum) as the population will feel more comfortable being linked and part of a nation that they understand.
Many Australians may not support changing our cultural identity to further take advantage of the Asian century due to our negative perceptions of the people of Asia in our history. However, the benefits Australia will gain due to its close relationship with Asia is significant and due to where Australia is located, it will forever be linked to Asia (Henry 2012). For this reason, being part of the Asian century is surely a path to future success for the nation and it is very important that Australia does not get left behind in the Asian century (Johnson 2010). When we change our cultural identity, we are able to become more included into our region, after all we are in Asia, we may “look” different and speak languages that are black and white in their differences but we must look to include ourselves more to our region, Australia must create ties with Asia that are even stronger than its ties with the US. Recently Australia’s attitude towards china Is growing increasingly friendlier with china than it is with the US, especially with the youth, the Australian government should take advantage of this shift in attitudes and combine it with better learning opportunities to enhance the populations knowledge of Asia and see Asia as more than a trading partner but a neighbour.
Also, Australia’s link with Asia isn’t just a one-way road. China also invests plenty in Australia with over 200,000 thousand students enrolled in its universities each year and in 2016 1.2mil Chinese tourists visited Australia (ABS). Australia and china are no doubt already interconnected whether through trade, tourism or immigration so why not make this relationship stronger for our own advantage. therefore, not only must we change how we are taught about Asia in schools but we must also teach Asian languages so that we are able to take advantage to our full potential (Henry 2012). By learning Asia literacy, the youth of Australia will overtime acquire enough information about Asia and language to then be able to implement these teachings and skills to communicate, understand and even work in Asia (Australian curriculum).
It is no secret that Many Australians have a negative view of Asia and although Australia’s knowledge of Asia has drastically changed in the past 40 years there is still a very long way to go before Australia is seen more than an Economic opportunist trying to take advantage and creating allies only with the strongest nations as simply just being in the same location doesn’t mean in any way promised relationships with neighbouring countries Australia must push through and change its cultural identity. It is the only way and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for Australian youth to be taught about Asia, currently most of the information taught about Asia is outdated, due to new circumstances and Asia’s rapid economic growth and how it affects us Australia needs new ways of teaching about Asia as in the past and still a fair bit now the way we are taught about Asia is that we have zero to no similarity to “them” and you would think we aren’t even in the same region! and due to our now stronger relationship with Asia we need Asia interpreted in a different way to Australia’s society.
Therefore, we can come to the conclusion that Australia should continue to change its cultural identity to better take advantage of the Asian century. Because by doing this Australia will enable great benefits for its economy as our economy and even our security is linked to our region (Australian government 2012). Australia must change its cultural identity and become more “Asia literate” (henry 2012). Australia is extremely involved in the Asian market already and is almost completely relying on the Chinese economy. This is why it vital for us to continuously change our identity to fit our geographic location, we must look around us and take advantage of the opportunity that lies ahead. Though the process of changing our cultural identity is easier said than done, as surely many conflictions and angered older generations may come forth about further changes to how Asia is portrayed in our education system, it is still very vital to the economic success of our nation. The Australian youth must be prepared and ready to not only learn Asian literacy but also be a part of the Asian century. Asia is bringing change to the world, it is rising faster than ever and we must take this opportunity and grow with Asia, if these steps and changes are not conducted now Australia will face challenges in the future economically, politically and in terms of security.
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