I was invited by Lucy Lieu from Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) to participate in a public forum in Balwyn for candidates across Boroondara to meet local Falun Dafa members. This is one of the very few chances I have had to speak at a public event and meet local residents in a forum in the run up to the Boroondara Council elections.
Falun Dafa is an advanced self-cultivation practice based on Zhen that espouses the admirable principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.
I spoke my first words of Mandarin - Dàjiā hǎo (welcome).
I provided an overview of my background and life in Boroondara, then briefly covered several issues in Maling Ward and across Boroondara such as inappropriate development, improving public transport, a plan for the Hawthorn to Box Hill shared trail and the delivery of important local community services.
I had a couple of excellent questions. I was asked why international students cannot get a student concession card for public transport and have to pay full fare. I said I thought that this was not appropriate and that Boroondara Council should advocate to the Victorian Government for international students to get concession cards.
Another resident asked if train services could be increased to Canterbury Station. I replied that there are too few trains stopping at East Camberwell, Canterbury and Chatham stations in Maling Ward, and that I thought is was appropriate for Boroondara Council to also advocate to the Victorian Government for increased services. You can sometimes wait up to 20 minutes between trains during peak hours. There should be a service every 10 minutes during busy periods, and every 30 minutes on weekends and during off peak periods.
After the formalities we shared a nice afternoon tea and chatted further about local issues.
It was a pleasure to see so many people interested in local issues and opportunities throughout Boroondara.