Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Bad Australian

It strikes me that when an American comes to Australia, they think it is quite English, certainly when they visit Melbourne. If an English person comes to Australia, they think it is very American. Is our identity planted firmly in the centre of the Atlantic? Not anymore it isn't, if it ever was. Yet the US and the UK do dominate our culture. Just musing as I try to write something about Australia Day.

I am am not going to criticise Australia here. It is not a bad place to live, in fact quite good for the haves. I suppose I am, a have.

People have clipped Australian flags in their car windows and trams have an Aussie flags at each end to enthuse us to celebrate Australia Day. But the older I get, the less I like the day. There was perhaps a time when I was a bit sentimental about the day, but that is not the case now. I now associate it with the 'uglies' who wrap  an Aussie flag around themselves, the Cronulla riots, it being the day in Victoria where there are  the most physical assaults for the year.

But that is just me. Enjoy your Australia Day.

16 comments:

  1. Hello Andrew:
    We always have mixed feelings about days such as this, Australia Day, which are a celebration of a nation and are therefore, by definition, rather inward looking. The same is true of Hungary on August 20th. but the United Kingdom does not really have anything truly comparable.

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    1. JayLa, that the UK does not have a similar day did occur to me as I was dashing this off. Interesting to think about why.

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  2. Oh Andrew, be more positive. While agreeing that we do have unsavoury characters with unsavoury values within our shores we have much to celebrate on this day. Compared to many other countries we are way out in front when it comes to civil unrest, the economy, starving populations, persecuted women, civil rights, standard of living, gun laws and the weather. Ask yourself, "Is there anywhere else in the world you would prefer to live?"
    Happy Australia Day-Go Celebrate our great country.(Written by an immigrant)

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    1. Diane, generally you are right of course. Off the top of my head I can't think of anywhere I would rather live, but I might if I thought a bit harder.

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  3. Maybe I should have written "Much better off" rather than "way out in front".

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  4. I'm with you Highriser - I cannot 'celebrate' the anniversary of a day that an English buccaneer planted his country's flag into another country, occupied for 40,000 years by a different nation, and declared it to be the property of his.

    I would be happy however, to celebrate federation or the people's/miner's rights won by the Eureka Stockade.

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    1. Federation might be a good one to celebrate Ann. Yes, we invaded, but several generations on, I guess we are here to stay and all need to be accommodated.

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  5. Compared to other countries Australia is an island paradise in my books.

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    1. Windsmoke, but we should never become self satisfied or think that it will always be like this.

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  6. I'm rather "meh" about Australia Day.
    Every year I think about getting one of those tiny flags and hanging it by the front door, but I never do. I love my country, love living here, but don't feel the need to make a party about it.

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    1. I am with River. I look Australian, sound Australian and love being Australian, but there is no need for wild partying and no certainly no need for hysterical flag waving.

      What we should have on Australia Day each year are
      1. Naturalisation ceremonies, to welcome new citizens
      2. Public debates about what projects need to be created, in order to have no unemployment and more inclusiveness in this country
      3. Celebrations of beach culture.

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    2. River, rather like I feel about it.

      Hels, 1 and 2 are ok, but not everyone lives near the beach.

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  7. Indigenous Australians have contributed a great deal to our national character and wealth, so any day but invasion day would be a better day for celebrating how lucky we are to live in this wonderful country. 26 January is an insult.

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    1. FC, yes, it is the wrong day to celebrate.

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  8. I feel the same, but now that I'm out of the country, it was rather nice to meet up with some other Aussies and enjoy some homemade pasties and sausage rolls, vegemite scrolls, pavlova and a packet of Tim Tams. And the table runner was a beach towel with the flag on it!

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    1. Kath, for an expat, that would be a ripper Australia Day. Was there some McLaren Vale too?

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