Friday, November 02, 2007

Ten Pound Pom

There was an interesting show on tele last night called Ten Pound Poms. I took a particular interest in the show because R is a ten pound Pom. Except he flew here, not sailed out on a ship, but it did cost him only ten pound.

The people in the show were a rather mixed lot. One was very bitter and although she returned to the UK, she came back and still complains about our country. Another returned home after living in Australia for fifty years. I suspect she wanted to relieve herself of family burdens and find some peace in her old age. The rest pretty well went on to become successful and happy Australians.

If you saw the show, you may have doubted the strength of the propaganda used to entice people to our shores, but R assures me it was typical. Lots of pictures of golden beaches and laughing and happy people.

R fits into that category of those who liked what they found and stayed on. He had plans to travel the world but ended up staying in Australia. He had the choice of Canada or South Africa, but he was concerned about South Africa being socially unstable and the weather in Canada did not appeal to him.

Interestingly R did not have a choice of which city in Australia where he could disembark, although it said otherwise on the tv show. It was Sydney or nothing. He said families went to Perth and Adelaide, single young men to Sydney and Melbourne.

He quickly found a job in a factory and diggs in Coogee. He lasted three weeks in the factory and then over the next fifteen years had more jobs than I have fingers, including working in mines in Tasmania.

R quickly learnt that life was easier if he lost his Geordie accent. People could actually understand what he was saying. There is the odd vowel sound that gives him away, but very few detect it. I only noticed after a few years. As soon as he talks to family back in the UK, his accent returns, although not quite as broad as it would have been.

He became an Australian citizen after a few years and has no regrets. While he will complain about Australia as much as I do, you will never hear him comparing Australia unfavourably to the UK. For all its woes, Australia is his country now.

5 comments:

  1. Translate Pom, please.

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  2. Pom equals English person in Australia. Origin not firmly established but could be Prisoner of Her Majesty. Can be offensive but widely used. Know the person well before referring to them as a Pom. Best kept to privacy of own home. Whinging Pom, Pommie bastard/bitch, Pommie mate and I have even heard Pommie dude, which amuses me as dude is such an American word....or it was.

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  3. Yes it was an interesting show. I was reading an article about it in the TV guide, and was surprised to find out that the narrator, John Waters was a 10 pound Pom himself and like R he flew here.

    As for the bitter woman, I think she would find something to complain about anywhere (grass is always greener...)

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  4. R was right about South Africa, and we see more and more people seeking refuge in our fine country from there too. They too stay on and adopt our lovely country as their own.

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  5. I read about John Waters too Ben, but I forgot to mention it.

    I tease him with details of all the hot black men he missed out on Cazzie.

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