Reaching the new Sydney

Andrew Lim

I'm back…

Which reminds me of a funny thing happened in the Asian ministry I'm involved with here in the centre of city.

Many of our newcomers/visitors come from overseas, with English as a second language. As we were going round the group - doing introductions, asking people's names and countries of origin and so forth - we got to a young Korean guy.

"So, what's your name?"

"I'm Bak."

"Well, that can't be right. This is the first time I've met you." boom, tish

I’ve been reflecting more about my place in this Emerald City.

I’ve been specifically thinking just how multi-cultural our city of Sydney has truly become. If you happen to work in the CBD like myself, that multiculturalism here has an unmistakably Asian flavour - Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Nepali, Sri Lankan, Thai, Malaysian - and I'm not even starting to talk about the food.

In the last few years, I've been surprised to discover:

"¢ Little pockets of Korea Town clustered around Pitt Street, with some amazing secret-location/hard-to-find eateries known only to the local Korean community. The Korean-language-only menus are not exactly a 'Welcome' mat to most non-Koreans.

"¢ An invisible but vast Indonesian community living in the city. (According to the Bureau of Statistics, in the last census, 78% of the people living in the city were born overseas, with the vast majority coming from Asian countries. Number 1 country of origin? Indonesia.)

"¢ A wealthy Chinese super-class of young (but not necessarily bright) students hoping to make their life here in Australia, replacing what was once the bulk of Chinese students in Australia - the crème de la crème of China - very intelligent mature-age post-graduate students here to merely further their career prospects back home.

The tragedy?

A teeming city of people living in boxes, working in boxes, watching boxes.surrounded by a crush of human flesh, but often devoid of human contact. A city that feels the isolation and alienation of urban living, and longs for genuine relationship.

Thousands of people from all over the world walking by, and statistically speaking (and far worse off than the rest of the country I might add) without belief in God or Jesus Christ.

The challenge?

To create a city within a city (yes, I know I've pinched this), or better yet a Christian community within the city, to reach out with the saving message of Jesus to the walking dead.

How to minister to this New Sydney?

Well, that's something I'll be back (couldn't resist) to chat about in this column in the coming months.