Chinese-Australian hero portrayed by director’s own white son

Apparently, there is a shortage of Chinese people in the world. That’s according to Geoff Davis who has created a film, “The Legend of Billy Sing”, which is about a Chinese-Australian Gallipoli hero.

Unfortunately, Davis has resorted to casting a white man in the role of Billy Sing’s Chinese father. He then went on to cast his own son, Josh, in the role of Billy himself. Why did he do that? Well, it’s because he couldn’t find a 60 year old Chinese actor for the role of the father and if the father wasn’t Chinese it was okay for the son to be Caucasian as well.

Here we are, Downunder, with a substantial Chinese community in Australia, not to mention the substantial choice of Chinese actors to the North of us. Hasn’t Davis heard of make-up? Of course, that shouldn’t even be necessary!

No wonder the Australian Chinese community is upset that one of theirs has been wrongly depicted. Former Senator Bill O’Chee has commented that he is “deeply disappointed” by the production. “We’ll now have people growing up thinking that Billy Sing was white.”

The Chinese community have every right to complain about this misrepresentation. Anyhow, if Davis can’t get the heritage right how can we believe anything else about the mini-series?

This misrepresentation reminds me of the early film depictions of Jesus who was usually played by some Swedish-looking actor. He certainly stood out when he walked among his Semitic people. I thought we had moved on from that sort of thing.


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