Southern Tasmanian Badminton Association — Sport bridging cultural divides


Badminton is like a language. You know, we
talk languages but this bridges languages, it bridges cultural divides. This sport has given me an opportunity to
know many friends and also many other cultures to. The idea is to allow people to pursue their
interests and the things that kind of make them tick as a human being. It makes me more confident to talk to other
people – to locals I just love training people, coaching people.
The CALD group brings a whole new perspective. They’re selfless people. They give and they
give and I think we can learn a lot from their culture and I think they give us so much more
than what we give them. You open up yourself to different things.
It makes you more worldly They may have come here for a particular reason
around study but there are a whole lot of aspirations they have and experiences that
they want to have while they are here so we help them to network into the community to
help find those When I first came to Australia I only started
in the university gym. It wasn’t really enough. One day we were driving
past, we saw the badminton centre. We thought it was going
to be a multi-purpose hall but when we came here we saw 12 courts dedicated
to badminton the sport itself and we got really interested.
So I got a lot of my friends to come along and soon the badminton
club also came here Badminton being a universal sport, in Tasmania
in particular, it has been very very centred around Caucasians.
Very few Asians were playing. It was thought that there was
an ideal opportunity, with many international students at the university,
that there was an untapped market, so we encouraged them
to come in. Its expanded our competition, given it more depth.
Its just been a much better experience for everybody. I improved my English because I have met a
lot of locals. Yeh that helped me a lot with badminton It’s also been good because people have been
in administrative roles, so they have learnt skills in terms
of organisation, communication and planning. Some of those
skills that they have learnt in our program they have been able
to translate into other aspects of their life. Individuals who are settling in Australia
who are better networked, are safer, we know that. We know
that they feel safer and that they actually are safer to
any of the issues that they might come across, be it whether
its safety in the street or people taking advantage of them
in employment Many people think that when they play singles
they are only alone but it’s always the team effort that
makes that person feel well. So it’s always the inspiring, the
communication and the feedback between the team that is
very important When they are playing and improving they are
getting better technically. They are getting better mentally
and they think to themselves if I can do far better than
I’ve ever done on the badminton court why can’t I do it in other
aspects of my life. In Australia they normally put you into a
team and then you play as a team. That’s what was very different.
When I first came here I didn’t really understand how to
actually play in a team. Obviously the biggest challenge is communication.
Quite often you get people whose English is limited so
it’s a matter of being able to get the message across about
what I’m trying to tell them. People have different prayer times so we have
to try and accommodate hitting times that will suit them.
They have difficulties in terms of transport. I think it’s a little bit expensive. Some
of the new students who have come to the hostel where
I’m staying, are very interested after last night’s CALD
Come and Try event but, when they heard about the price,
they got quite a shock To start with, when we looked at the program,
we thought well what are the challenges that we need
to overcome. So what we did, we were very fortunate to
engage Ernest and he has done a huge amount of work in terms
of engaging communities. Ernest has been out talking to
the communities, trying to understand what their needs are,
help them achieve what they need to do in terms of playing our
sport. So he has been out engaging them and it takes about
a three or four month turnaround. Its developing a sense
of trust. For me it’s about getting on the coattails
of those (international) students with the gregarious
personalities and supporting the students who find it a
little more intimidating. The committee at the Southern Tasmania Badminton
Association, they always ask us what we think needs changing.
(They ask us) do you want to play our rosters? Do you want
to play our state tournaments? The manager set up event Facebook pages to
invite people that he knows and hence people he knows will
invite their friends and things like that. So I would say
that there is a strong back up from our social network. If you say it to me that’s one thing but if
say it to me and the person who has just helped me find
a house says it to me, then I just go actually this sounds
like a good idea. I think we need the double check. So
if you find your way to market through someone or organisation
that people already know or already trust, then
I think that makes the process a lot easier When you engage them, don’t engage them only
one time and don’t follow it up. You need to have the
momentum to actually keep it going Speaking with the CALD group you need to be
a little bit more articulate, you need to explain yourself
a little bit more clearly. So you’re actually
putting a lot more into it and you get a lot more
back Firstly I would tell them that we have a very
structured place to play. We have a place to play, we
have rosters to play, we have fun people to play with,
and definitely we have events with food. So yeh Malaysians
love food so if there are activities plus food we’ll come You can come and play and enjoy yourself.
It’s fun. You get to meet new people so you don’t get bound
to your own community. You can improve yourself – communication
skills and confidence. When people are part of something together
they have this amazing bonding experience which remains when
you walk away The confidence that they develop in their
game in terms of improving themselves and their self confidence
transforms into other aspects in terms of their study
and their ability to achieve results at university but
also in their ability to be able to seek work and earn
money and feel comfortable in our local community. By hitting their soft spot – the things that
they like, they actually (respond). Basically talk sense
to them. Try to pull them in for once at least and
then when they actually like it you don’t need to do
much they just come.

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