Friday, October 05, 2007

An allegory

Well, I am not sure that allegory is the correct word and if I don't know by my age, I am not looking it up. I have written the same thing as below in the past but as the subject of race has reared its usual ugly head in our media and politicians are positioning themselves on the issue for political advantage, I will give it another run. It really is how I feel. Too many, too quickly and it is problematic.

My work place is large. There may be around three hundred people. They form themselves into groups during breaks. Older white people at this table. Sir Lankans here, Indians over there, Mauritians at another table, people with questionable sexuality at another. This was a bit in the past as it works a bit differently now. There are less people around during breaks.

I was seconded to another work area where it was equally racially diverse, but much smaller. It was quite some time ago, but it had such an impact on me that I have never forgotten it. Because it was a smaller workplace, different races did not have their own tables to sit at. They may have been the only person of their race in the canteen at the time. So, if they were of a sociable disposition, they were forced to mix with other people. I was so amazed at the mixing of races, older and younger, male and female, sexualities. It was like a big family.

I don't like our government and certainly not Howard or immigration Minister Andrews, but I think there is a case for not allowing into Australia too many from one area too quickly. There are deserving refugees in many countries. We need to mix them better and since we are choosing, why not start in our backyard. Burmese have integrated well into Australian society. They have been here a long time. You barely notice that they are around. I have a couple of work related but retired Burmese friends who are both around seventy now. They are great. I have another good work mate from Burma who is my age. He is very nice as he speaks perfect Australian. What higher recommendation could he have?

There are heaps of Burmese in refugee camps who have been there for eans. While I can't say our involvement in the Vietnam war has a direct cause to us to feel responsible as was the case with South East Asian immigration, our mother country certainly bolted with haste from Burma.

Stopping African immigration will play well with some peoples but surely it is all about the mix so that people are integrated into Australia.


  1. Yeah I am sure they said the same when my dad immigrated from Egypt in th 1950's to work on the Snowy Scheme because no australians would work on it.

  2. At work, I sit with everyone...and if I am the only Aussie born person I don't care..sometimes I sit with the people from the Philipines...and they speak their tagalog..and I laugh when they laugh, and we share our food and they share their language...I love the diversity :)
    I see many Somali people coming through the Health System of late..a big influx of these people must be coming into Victoria? With it comes difficulty in caring for these people..their history is hard to obtain, their English not very good..hopefully, just like past immigrants, they can assimilate with us, teach us about them, as we can teach them about us. I so wish I could do more when I care for them, but it is hard when you cannot understand a custom :(

  3. If there were no Sudanese in Footscray half the shops wouldn't have tenants. That was the case when an arcade of thirty shops was developed and sat empty for months -before the Council after pleading with locals to stop going to Highpoint, gave in and imported a ghetto.

  4. Last in Footscray a few years ago and I remarked to R about all these really dark people around. I had not seen them in Melbourne before. When I say dark, they are really dark........not that it is a problem for me.

  5. They are so dark there's no features.

  6. Yep. blue-black.

    I am in Colac temporarily and the Sudanese here are fascinating.
    I have been told they were brought here because locals would not work at the abbatoir or the sawmill.

    They dress really well - sharp shoes, CLEAN clothes, and new.

    I always feel scrappy in comparison.

    Chatting on their mobile phones adds sounding exotic to looking exotic.
    They do however, freak whitey out by congregating outdoors.
    They all drive down to Footscray for the foods they prefer, which are not yet available in Colac.
    One of them will get rich here from filling the gap in the market I guess.

  7. That's right. I feel scrappy too, maybe because I am. As a whitey I know my place, and will always let an ethnic person slip ahead of me in the dole queue.