It’s Australia Day today. A day when we’re all supposed to feel patriotic and celebrate our ‘Australian-ness’ together. Cook up ‘snags (sausages) on the barbie’, eat meat pies (which have a dubious amount of meat content), shrimp (which we actually call prawns anyway) and generally be ‘Aussie’. We are supposed to beam with pride at being a part of this great nation, and remember (selectively) where we came from.
Unfortunately I do not feel this way, therefore this post will once again win me very few votes (but possibly more than our knob-jockey Prime Minister Tony Abbot).
To begin with I am not Australian. My Father was, but my Mother was not, and I was not born here. Despite the criticism and taunts which I have received for many years about it, I was born in New Zealand, and am proud of where I came from. It’s beautiful, green and NOT Australia. I had a good childhood there, walked safely to school and back every day until age 8, enjoyed the lush scenery, and have never felt ashamed to tell anyone such. We moved to Australia when my Mother passed in 1985, to be closer to my Fathers family, where I became the only female child among 11 cousins and a brother. Not super fun to begin with. We ended up in a relatively small North Queensland town, where I went through schooling and University, and then managed to escape.
Anyway, personal history aside, the whole point here is not that I am not FROM Australia, but more that…I am un-Australian. I don’t think I actually identify with anything from here, and I am glad of it. When you get down to brass tacks, I don’t much like any of it. The vulgar slang, disjointed drawly accents, sexism, racism, bogan culture, fashion, traditions, politics and history. It all leaves a bad taste in your mouth, right from the original settlement and treatment of indigenous people, to the way the country is run today.
Among my favourite dislikes are:
-The authority positions on Breed Specific Legislation for dogs, and the inconsistency of these laws through each State, or willingness to change.
-The succubus style, of drawing on other countries to try and establish an identity, rather than finding one of our own, yet at the same time presenting an image to the rest of the world that we are somehow uniquely Australian and wonderful.
-The huge amount of discrimination and small minded, bigot, loud-mouthed haters.
-Thongs (flip-flops), stubbies (awful shorts), nasty cheap beer (all of it), cringe-worthy abbreviated language (Straya Mate!), Bundaberg Rum.
-Lack of variety, progressiveness and vision.
-The useless cotton wool lined laws in place to quell fun and protect those who are prime candidates for Darwins theory.
-The abundance of poisonous, flesh-eating, man-eating, fast moving creatures.
-The lack of emotion, empathy, thought, or intelligence that is associated with being typically Australian.
Australia day rolls around each year, and we are told it should be a time to celebrate, yet people feel compelled to engage in racist slagging battles, warn each other of the dangers of drinking related physical violence, and reminders not to get behind the wheel are administered. Barbecues are fired up and whatever meat products (or by-products) that are regarded as ‘Aussie’ that day, are promoted and eaten. Nasty beer, spirit or wine is swilled and the main thing that is actually celebrated is just a day off work. That may be the most authentically ‘Australian’ part of the whole day. I’d take a fairly educated stab at the fact that not too many people know what else they are celebrating, and the ones that do, don’t agree that it’s a good reason to celebrate. Conquest, oppression and slaughter. In stark contrast to our parties and firework displays, our nations indigenous people call it ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Mourning Day’.
And then there’s the outdated anthem…Advance Australia Fair. At best an oxymoron, because I fail see how we have either advanced greatly or become (or ever been) fair? Sure, some of the living conditions and perks are good for some, but the equality and positive reinforcement for success and progression in most everything, business and otherwise, leaves a lot to be desired. It is still very much a Sheriff of Nottingham styled system, where the rich feed the rich, and take from the poor and/or hard-working to do it.
Sure, there’s a few nice places to see and we do have some pretty cute native animals, but unfortunately, it’s just not enough to weigh out the rest. Not by a long shot. For me, the only saving grace is that I’ve met some amazing people here. Ironically, at least half of them are either not Australian, or of the same mind as myself on the topic-or both.
So for me, today was simply a day where some of the shops were shut and my Facebook page was littered with a contrasted barrage of fighting, food, fun in the sun, and nerve-frayed parents thankful that school starts in the morning. Tomorrow is business as usual and Valentines day cards and Easter eggs are already on the shop shelves.
Tonight, I am not raising a dirty dishwater tasting beer to the day, but enjoying a smooth delicious coffee to the fact I stayed clear of it all.