Is housing in Australia really too expensive?





Australia has been recognized as one of the best immigration destinations in the world for a long time.

Yep, everything’s wonderful here, the beautiful scenery, clean environment,  friendly people, well-built infrastructure…They all make me jealous, for I just escaped from my motherland, China, currently one of the most populated and polluted country in this world.

I thought most Australians should be happy about this situation, until one day I heard  on the tram that a young man complained to his girlfriend about the rising housing price.

“Hey, the agent just told me the price of the house we went to last week in Reservoir has increased by 10% to $400k,” he said. “Fucking foreign investors, i have to ask my parents for money…”

Their conversation went on like that, all about how expensive the houses are, and how he could not afford a house.

Well, in my point of view, the housing price here in Melbourne is expensive, but not as expensive as he said.

The average price for houses sold by auction in Sydney was $1.08 million, while in Melbourne this figure was $810,000, according to the Property Observer,

These figures seems indeed very high, but take a second though: there prices are all about houses, what about apartments?

Take a quick search on, you will find plenty of apartments priced around 200 to 300K in Melbourne, and in suburbs this price can even get you a small house around  100m².

Actually Melbourne’s average house price is about the same in Beijing, which is approximately AUD$6000 per square meter in 2013. But the income of an average Beijinger is AUD10,000 in 2013, they have to save every cent in order to pay their loan.

Oh, one more thing. Australian house owners have permanent ownership to their house and land, but the Chinese can only keep it for 70 years. After 70 years, the government will take it back.





Slough of Despond 2: Embedding video


25 years have passed since this video was taken but it is still one of the most stunning video to me.

This video footage is a raw material that CNN took during the 1989 Tiananmen Protest, when Chinese citizens gathered, protested and pleaded for a more democratic political system. Army fired during the protest, and many people were killed.

I first watched this video six years ago, when youtube was still not banned in China. I used to believe that army belongs to the people and they are destined to protect people, but that video throughly overthrown that pink illusion.

After watching that video i tried to find more materials about the 1989 protest, but few of them were available in China. Most of them were banned domestically, and even today it’s kind of political minefield to talk about publicly.

This video is simple and raw. The position of the camera never moved, and people can hardly tell if there is any sense of artistic beauty within this unpolished video, which was taken by a tape camera made in the 1980s.

But the power it conveyed overwhelms anything. It not only shows the courage of that man, who dared to stop a squad of tanks by shopping bags, but also the braveness of the journalist, who dared to risk his life to record fact, and that, to me, is the beauty of news and journalism.

I made up my mind to be a journalist then.



‘Transformers 4: Revenge of the Chinese’



This article was written last year when i first heard “Chinese elements” would be added into Transformer 4.

BY Zhang Zihan

Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures recently announced that sci-fi epic Transformers 4 (2014) will be a joint China-US production starring Chinese actress Li Bingbing. I suspect she will help Autobots’ leader Optimus Prime overcome mechanical mishaps and upgrade his weapons for a highly anticipated fight against rival robots Decepticons.

I caught a sneak peek of the screenplay, so brace yourself for the following spoiler: “Li (to Bumblebee): China can help the Autobots in many ways, just tell me should you need any assistance. Don’t forget he has not been properly fixed. (Close-up on Li as she sips Yili Shuhua, the same brand of milk featured in Transformers 3).”

OK, so maybe I’m just speculating. But it’s easy to make such an assumption based on the Chinese version of Iron Man 3, which included cameos by Chinese stars Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing.

Wang had a five-second scene with Iron Man’s alter ego Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) at the start of the film followed by a one-minute dialogue with JARVIS (Paul Bettany) along the lines of, “China can help Tony in many ways, just tell me should you need any assistance. Don’t forget he hasn’t recovered yet.”

Fan, China’s answer to Kim Kardashian, played a nurse who uttered something unmemorable. Both were so irrelevant to the storyline their cameos appeared painfully forced.

In light of the Iron Man 3 “Chinese experiment,” I’d rather see Hollywood films that don’t kowtow to Middle Kingdom audiences. Historically, our men have been depicted on the big screen as villains with Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) queues and Fu Manchu mustaches, while our women have been exotic, oriental seductresses.

In a bid to tap the Chinese market, Hollywood tycoons are infusing “Chinese characteristics” into their productions: one or two Chinese sirens who speak broken English, several die-quickly yellow faces, token shots of Chinese landmarks and shameless domestic product placements.

But if studios believe adding Chinese walk-ons or advertisements into their films will yield box office hits in China, they are sorely mistaken. Instead, they appear stupid and transparent to educated domestic audiences.

No longer will we be entertained by fickle cameos or Hollywood stars butchering Chinese in awkward lines. But we might be willing to make an exception for Optimus Prime, provided his robotic diction perfects Putonghua’s tones.

As an avid sci-fi fan, I have some suggestions for Paramount ahead of Transformers 4’s release in China.

Firstly, make Bumblebee fall in love with Li. I know such a romance might seem unlikely, but we don’t really care for heartthrobs Mark Wahlberg or Brenton Thwaites.

Secondly, let their love nest be a quaint hutong in Beijing; it’s far more romantic than any American condo or log cabin.

Thirdly, allow Bumblebee to learn bad habits from Beijing’s taxi drivers, including refusing to take customers and stinking of garlic and sweat in summer.

Finally, depict the Decepticons’ downfall at the hands of Beijing’s notorious traffic, and make Megatron’s engine come to a sputtering end due to “beyond index” levels of PM2.5.

Brace yourself, Transformers. Beijing welcomes you.