As a mature masters student one of the top aussie university, I was appalled by the behaviour of some PRC course mates. Not all of course but the few who have really embarrassed their fellow countrymen and as well the school for accepting them. For the record, my best friends here are PRCs. Even they told me these so called “富二代” (rich 2nd generation) are a big disgrace. In my course, 90% are PRCs and all of them are 24 years old and below. It is understandable that some may not be mature enough, mindset wise. I was no different when I was 24 but not to this extent:
We had this group project to design an Information system. We had 3 PRCs, 1 Vietnamese and me, the Singaporean in the same group. I joined the group late so took the backseat letting the Vietnamese dictate leadership and tasks. My role during discussion was to translate the English spoken to mandarin and replies back to english. I believe their English was below the standard of a primary 6 student. Soon, discussion descended into disagreements, then arguments and finally hatred. I had to take over, mediate and reallocate tasks. I had prior management experience so they elected I take over. I told everyone I was going to be unbiased and aiming to finish the work as priority instead. All agreed and were very happy that I could make huge progress in the work done. However, there was this PRC “富二代” who contributed very little, lay blame on the Vietnamese for being unreasonable (eb=ven after he was no longer in charge and they never talked) and gave all sorts of reasons for missing discussion or being late and leaving within 30 minutes. The reasons:
1. For avoiding tasks: I gotta propose to my wife again. Even though I got married in China, we’re not married here yet. I got the whole cinema booked for this event.
2. For being late (for 5 hours): Project work started at 3pm, he arrived at 8pm claiming bad traffic and had to observe a restaurant business because his family is interested in buying it. Left as soon as I entrusted him with a small task.
3. For being absent: He claimed his father-in-law came and he had to bring him around for leisure activities like fishing trips and buying cars.
4. For his substandard work: he claimed he followed exact instructions and just did what was told. I.e. I told him which page to look out for the template for help. So he simply copied the template wholesale w/o any relation to the work and submitted in 5 minutes. Then I knew he was useless, but not before entrusting him to a few more tasks which similar things happened.
Initially I wanted to report him to the lecturer for contributing nothing but he pleaded me and tried his best to carry my balls like calling me (in mandarin):
“you should help me as a big brother”
“little brother don’t know much, only know how to cling on to your leg, you must not neglect me”
And then this, “WE ARE ALL HAN CHINESE, WE SHOULD HELP OUR OWN RACE INSTEAD OF SIDING THE VIETNAMESE”
That is categorically racist. I didn’t expect him to say that knowing full well that my wife is a Vietnamese. I was really offended. Nobody should make that kind of statement especially in Australia, which could be criminal.
He made no apologies for his comments and claimed his personal stuff was important and that we must accommodate him. There was more…
I realized the situation was out of my hands when the other 2 PRCs surprisingly decided to defend him after I decided to report him to the lecturer. They said I should keep quiet, not make things ugly and sour our friendship. Normally, I would have closed both eyes but the Vietnamese was not agreeable and that “富二代” PRC began insulting me, my intelligence, and claimed we were no longer friends because he said I wasted everybody’s study time. Luckily I had experience in conflict management and avoided any retaliation or getting angry. He even suggested we should see the lecturer instead and resolve the problem (because he thought the lecturer would understand and side him). I agreed.
The Grand Finale:
During the meet up with the Lecturer, I showed everyone a printout of what he had done. Even he agreed the few pieces of “rubbish work” was exactly what he had done. Based on contribution itself, the lecturer said he deserve nothing but he claimed that the Vietnamese fucked him up by assigning him no tasks, never keep him in the loop and could not communicate with him. When I said I took over later to assign tasks and accommodated him, he said I gave him the most difficult tasks of all. For that task which we submitted as his work, we got zero, even after his PRC mates edited and made it relevant to our project. The lecturer realized that he copied wholesale from the lecture and workshop slides with no changes. Shockingly, he was unapologetic and said “I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE COURSE. THIS IS A SMALL MATTER AND YET THEY WANT TO BRING IT UP. I HAVE NO TIME FOR THE PROJECT AND YOU MUST UNDERSTAND I HAVE SO MANY OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO. I HAVE TO GET MARRIED, TAKE MY FATHER-IN-LAW FOR CRUISE, BUY MANY THINGS. WE BOUGHT AN AUDI AND A RESTAURANT NEARBY.”
He took out his car keys and showed he had 2 different car keys, seemingly to prove he really did buy the car. Then he started making accusations again:
“I TRIED TO DO THE PROJECT BUT THIS VIETNAMESE KEEP SAYING I DO THE WRONG THINGS. HE IS A BAD LEADER. AND THIS GUY (me)VERY SELFISH AND DID NOT HELP ME. I KEEP ASKING WHAT I HAVE TO DO AND THEY NEVER GIVE ME ANYTHING TO DO. I KNOW I DIDN’T DO MUCH BUT IF YOU WANT TO CUT MY MARKS I CAN ONLY GIVE UP 2% AND MY FRIENDS SHOULD GET IT.”
I could see the lecturer in a state of shock, speechless and clearly offended. Later the PRC claimed he will never accept more than 2% cut or he will complaint (to the dean). Whoa!!! He really got the balls, really!
In the end, he got his wish… 2% cut on his project mark because of the communication problems from me and the Vietnamese. It was an eye opener for me and I couldn’t believe that the lecturer gave in. I was disappointed but later on a separate occasion, lecturer told me he was clearly offended by the PRC’s remarks and that his behaviour will mostly likely go against him in future. He said judging by his knowledge of the course, it may be difficult for him for the final exam. A valuable lesson for us anyway…
So was there justice after all? Oh yes definitely…