China and Australia a world closer through AFL

Chinese-born Australian Jamie Pi has told SBS of how playing AFL helped him to understand Australian culture.


Source: SBS

Jamie Pi is a Chinese-born Australian, and his love for Aussie Rules has seen him develop his passion as a part-time Mandarin-language commentator for a Chinese Radio program in Melbourne.

Because of the sport's idiosyncratic terms, nicknames and rules, it's difficult for new audiences unfamiliar with Australian culture to pick up.

Jamie's mission is to do all he can to help the sport become more accessible.

"It's a very important game in Australia", says Jamie.

"For Chinese Australians or Chinese living here, we need to learn Australian culture and sport. If we can learn this game, it is easier to acclimatise to Australian life. I think it is an easy way to learn how to live in Australia."

AFL's historic agreement with Shanghai Media Group has ensured matches will be broadcast once each week to a potentially far larger market than it receives here in Australia.

"I think if the AFL intends to promote the game in China in a conscious and structured way, if that's what the AFL plans to do, they'll have a promising market in China", says Jamie.

"But the most important thing is to have a comprehensive plan to enable Chinese people to understand the game and to try and make them learn to love the game. It won't be simple and easy, but it will be promising."

Jamie enjoys playing the sport as well as commentating on it, and he's an important player for his local football club. Yet it's the friendship of his team mates he values the most.

His contribution is also highly valued by the AFL, which is keen to broaden the appeal of the game amongst Chinese Australians.

"It's great for us to have someone like Jamie, who is a great case study himself- a reflection of themselves", says David Matthews, the AFL's General Manager for National & International Development.

The AFL now has the opportunity to introduce the game to the biggest audience in the world.

2 min read
Published 8 December 2010 at 6:33pm
By John Baldock
Source: SBS