Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Well all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Nothing like a bit of Van Morrison to get anyone in the mood :)
Currently, I am in the process of attemting to put together a presentation for uni about Australian culture. Yes - both words are placed in the one sentence and have left me quite stumped. Everyone at work has suggested I write about the aborigines, but to be honest, I know as much about the aboriginal culture as the people in Belgium do - sad hey? So I have spent my lunchbreak on the internet searching for somethings Aboriginal, which could have been done by anyone in the world, really! Thought I would mention a bit about our barbecue culture as well, but is that really culture, or an excuse to go outside and have a beer? Oh well, it should prove interesting... at Christmas time, everyone had to give a presentation over what happens in the festive season from their own country - again, as an Aussie, I was a little lost for words. Of course, there is the obvious Santa, but what is his real history, except for a fabricated fat man, dressed in red, loosely based on Sinter-Klaas/Sint Niklaas when no doubt an American discovered him and couldnt pronounce his name properly, creating Santa Claus. Not much of a nice historical tradition to tell a class! Yeah, he comes from the North Pole, has elves, reindeer and a fat wife, buy why?! So clearly, the culture presentation will prove very uncultural. Who knows what they will ask for next? Independence wars... Australian food... differences in lingual dialect... (apart from FNQs, I cant tell if someone is from Kalgoorlie or Hobard). Should prove a challenge!

3 comments:

Lyn Christiansen said...

Ingrid, you said that it is good to see other Aussies occasionally as you all understand one another and I don't mean the common language. The reason is the culture. Yes, we do have a culture. It may not be as deeply rooted as European culture but we have one just the same. We have a oneness, a linkage that is very strong. Maybe it's because our nation of white people stems from criminals and we still go for the underdog and suffer the tall poppy syndrome. Aussies have the 'She'll be right, Mate' and 'No worries' attitude. We believe in a 'fair go'. We laugh at ourselves and I refer here to the attachment I sent to you re Australia Day. I don't think any European country would compose something like that. This is us, our culture, the way we are. We don't have a long history re white settlement; we don't have historical events that go back hundreds of years but we have a people who are unique. For many years we were regarded as second class citizens by the Poms but we have grown above that and who we are, what we are, is our culture, We were isolated for so long, being a western society in the eastern world and an island continent that we developed a strong bond amongst ourselves almost to the point of being too insular. We are very laid back and open. We say 'G'day' to strangers and joke with people we don't know in the supermarket. No, we don't have many of the social niceties that Europeans practise but that is not us. That's Europe. Australians are different. Our culture is the people!

Ingrid and Tom said...

I think you are correct, but not entirely. Yes, we are a million times more laid back, and yes, people were all pleasant towards Tom, but I cant tell you the amount of times that we would meet people (particularly of your generation, mum) and they would say 'g'day mate - nice to meet you' etc. etc., but often throw it 'Belgian are ya mate? Just as long as you go back'. And I am not kidding, and neither were they! Usually mumbling about too many foreigners, as though people arent human beings... so while I do like our culture, I think it's a little ambitious to assume we are so understanding. Could you imagine how much worse it would be if Tom practised Islam?...

Ingrid and Tom said...

I just want to use a really easy example. While I was in Australia I heard lots of people saying that there shouldn’t be any more foreigners “invading” Australia. People usually said this while I was standing there, not considering me as a foreigner because I was Ingrid’s boyfriend. But, and I told Ingrid this at the time, they don’t realize that there ideas and consequences would affect me as well.
I just think it’s pretty narrow saying nobody can invade the country anymore unless we know them and they are approved but unfortunately this happened more than once and even in Emu Park. But I have to add as well that Ingrid’s vision might be a bit too harsh. In every country as in every race, every gender and every nationality you are going to have all kinds of people. And also a lot of people that don’t always see things your way. The only thing is too learn from different opinions and views even if you don’t agree. Which lesson you learn is entirely up to you.