White on black

  • 14/03/1994

Although about 4.5 per cent of Australia's population is of Asian origin, local whites know little about Asia's economy or culture. But today, growing economic ties with southeast Asian countries have made it imperative for Australians to understand the East.

Changing Times, a series of film clips, examines Australian assumptions and attitudes about Asia in areas like tourism, trade, human rights and the environment. One of the series, Through the Looking Glass, takes a look at Australia's education system and criticises its western bias, which completely ignores the rich diversity and knowledge systems of Asia.

Australia's aid programme emphasises commercial and foreign policy concerns over humanitarian needs, argues Aiding and Abetting, while Seeing the People Behind the Trees reflects the growing divide between the North and the South.

Tread Lightly Through Paradise captures the disastrous effects of unplanned tourism in Thailand. A major industry, tourism has led to drug abuse, prostitution and displacement of people. Asian Affairs discusses Australia's growing economic ties with southeast Asian countries.

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