Monday, January 26, 2009

Australians All Let Us Rejoice...

Happy Australia Day folks.

It's been a very quiet Australia Day for me.  I'm on energy-save mode at the moment, re-charging the batteries a bit as I've been really busy of late.  Instead I made sure I watched an Australian film today, and the one I watched was The Black Balloon.  An exquisite film, if you can, do see it.

There is something that bothers me a bit about the way Australia Day seems to be evolving over the past few years.  My case in point is the advertisement for lamb that can be seen here.

Does it make anyone else very nervous that this ad seems to be pushing that everyone should be the same in Australia?  That if you don't fit the "norm", you're un-Australian?

Then there is the growing habit of people wearing Australian flags, usually young guys wearing them as capes, to be hurling abuse at anyone that doesn't "look like an Aussie".  My case in point, this article from the Daily Telegraph about violence in Manly in Sydney, drunken young guys chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie" and other so called "patriotic" slogans.  It looks like the same thing happened in Burleigh here in Queensland according to the Courier Mail.

If the behaviour exhibited by the rednecks in Manly is Australian, I'm quite happy to be called un-Australian.  Because frankly this behaviour is embarrassing to me and I believe to the rest of the country.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, aren't we supposed to be the country that is proud of our cultural diversity?  Aren't we the country that promotes the ideal of the "fair go" for everyone?

I didn't celebrate much this weekend simply because I needed some time out, but when I did go out on Friday night I thought it fantastic to go to a Chinese New Year celebration.  I thought it was a great way to celebrate all that is rich and diverse in this country.  I loved that the Chinese community could put such a great party on that co-incided with Australia Day this year, and that it was part of the New Year celebrations to include the luck of living in this beautiful country.

I love that this country is so diverse that I can find food, music, films, art, fashion and all other forms of culture without having to look far.  I love that this country generally does have an open heart and mind when it comes to those less fortunate than us that decide to come here to make a better future for them and their families.  I love the ideal of a "fair go" for everyone, because in general, most people are good and only want a good life.  I also love that on this special day, we hold citizenship ceremonies to welcome MORE people to this lovely country.

But when it comes to these people who behave like this in the name of patriotism, and advertising like that for the lamb industry that I believe just incites more of it, I do feel a deep sense of shame.  I can't bear that anyone else in the world would look at this stuff and think that it's what we're really about.