On proofing this, I see that I have thrown in a lot of “Aussie lingo” to this post. It seems Lee has brought out my little bogan country girl that lives in my heart. Should you require translation, let me know! 🙂
Lee Lin Chin has been reading the news since before I was born. I guarantee if you are in Australia and you own a TV you have flicked across to her on SBS more times than you can count.
Lee migrated to Australia in 1980. Her media career was already underway in Singapore and after working as a translator in Chinese movies (Cantonese, Mandarin and Fukien) she had become a newsreader for SBS by 1988 (source).
Lee doesn’t have a mobile phone. She has been Australia’s spokesperson for Eurovision. She is cheeky, she is strong-willed, she makes jokes about sleeping with men and going out to get drunk.
Australians have a rubbish culture of pulling women down that act like I’ve just described. So how does she get away with it?! I am truly fascinated by this idea. We interview her and watch her on TV and she says things like “Hello Australia, this is your Queen”. Imagine if someone like, oh I don’t know, Jennifer Hawkins tried to do that – people would be throwing a fit!
Is it because Lee is unapologetic? Is it because she is non-threatening in how she presents herself? Is it because she has flirted so perfectly with that line between taking the piss and pushing the limits of fashion? Is it because she came to Australia as a skilled migrant, then earned her place in media by slogging it out as an interpreter first?
Lee is a serious, deep-voiced, stern newsreader. Lee also happens to enjoy outrageous fashion – I still remember turning on the TV one afternoon to a full screen of her face in fluro coloured glasses. And perhaps this is the key – Lee is Lee. She just is. She doesn’t apologise, she bites back when challenged in a cheeky and light hearted way. She does a damn good job in the newsroom and then brings amazing colour to her other projects.
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