Issue 2 - 4 March 2013 enews home

Great scholar's descendant studies English in Alice


By Patrick Nelson


David Kong reads up on his homeland in the library at Alice Springs campus

A descendant of the Chinese philosopher Confucius is continuing his English language studies at Alice Springs campus.

Kong Xianwei (David Kong), who says he is a 72nd generation descendant of the Chinese teacher, had been a restaurateur in China’s Shenyang city before migrating to Australia six years ago.

Mr Kong said a large company had wanted to build a tall building on the site of his restaurant. This was the catalyst for a sea change, which brought him and his family to Alice Springs, where he has worked mainly as a chef.

“We came to Australia for a better quality of life and because my son will find it easier to get work here,” he said.

“Australia is a beautiful country, the people are friendly, the air is cleaner, the food is safer and there is not much pollution,” he said.

Mr Kong said he knew little English when he arrived, prompting him to enrol in the English language program at Charles Darwin University.

“I have been going to class once a week for four years.”

Mr Kong is enrolled in the Adult Migrant English Program, which offers nationally accredited Certificate I, II and III courses in spoken and written English.

While it is accepted that there are more than 2 million registered descendants of Confucius throughout the world, Mr Kong believes he is the lone descendant of the ancient scholar in the Northern Territory.

“There is family in the United States, New Zealand, Taiwan and Korea, but mostly in China,” he said.

“I have been to [Confucius’] palace, temple and cemetery in Qufu (Shandong Province) to see my family history and culture.”

Mr Kong said he would visit the Confucius Institute on Casuarina campus next time he visits Darwin.

It was opened last year to strengthen education cooperation between China and Australia and to provide a focal point for teaching Chinese culture and language in the Territory.