Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What makes Australia so great? It definitely isn't the quality of journalism.

As I was about to leave my criminal law lecture today (a lecture which I paid no attention to), I randomly asked the two people sitting on either side of me:

"What do you guys think about Australia?"

"Can you give me a context to that?"

Why yes Peter, I can:

According to the latest OECD Better Life Index, which analyses 34 of the world's developed economies based on categories like income, health, housing, education and life satisfaction, Australia is the happiest nation in the world, a title we've won three times in a row.

In general, Australians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 84% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 80%.
In addition to this, I told Peter and Alex that when asked what made Australia such a great country, answers generally reflected a shared appreciation of multiculturalism and fairness in our society.  People on Yahoo ASK (because that's a totally reliable site) said:

-          The fair-go attitude and the help-your-mate spirit as well as the relaxed she'll be right way of looking at things.

It is also the most beautiful land.
I was not born here but I call Australia home
The multi-culturalism here is true-blue. (Sure, there are few idiots who ruin it for most ofus - but then again, every country has them.)


It is also the most beautiful land. I was not born here but I call Australia home The multi-culturalism here is true-blue. (Sure, there are few idiots who ruin it for most ofus - but then again, every country has them.)

  It means a lot to me. Australia is a secular, democratic humane nation where human rights comes first. I am proud to call this great nation my home.
born in sri lanka and been living in Australia for over 30 years

In my 55 years I have never been hungry.I am educated freely.Should I take ill, medicine and health care is available and free.I am allowed to go where and when I please without hindrance of any kind.I am able to eat 3 times a day , more if I want to.I can vote for my Leaders.I can become one of those Leaders should I so desire.I am FREE.I have always had a roof over my head but should that change, my country will provide for me.I am welcome anywhere in the world, because the wonderful ANZACS that protect me make it so.And I am damn bloody grateful for all that.

With his eyes still firmly glued onto the Google images gallery of a bikini clad Home and Away actress ("Oh my god, Cindy look, she's so hot, homggg"  "Wow she could almost pull off that mixed-race Asian look" "What the heck are you on about?"), Alex simply offered a "no way" before Peter said something like "Really? Wow.  What sort of study is this.  I'm surprised - the Australian media is so racist."

"Racist?"  I asked.

"Yeah - A Current Affairs, Today Tonight?" he looked at me expectantly.

Ahhh yes.  Not since my ignorant days as a socially inept 5 ft 2 year seven student have I watched an ACA or TT program, and thinking it was actual news.  I do miss those subtle thematic jabs of 'yellow peril'/'Asian wave'.  And Tracy Grimshaw's hair.  Always ahead of the soccer mum trend.  I hope no-one forgot about this fiasco:

All-Asian mall?! ACA beat-up exposed by local rag


Anyway, the fact that Peter and Alex's immediate reactions were ones of uber scepticism actually surprised me.  I mean, I think Australia's pretty great even compared to Canada (too cold) and New Zealand (too New Zealand and the only thing that makes up for this is Flight of the Conchords).  On the issue of racism, perhaps I haven't taken the Frankston line or hung out with Collingwood supporters enough to see how badly entrenched racism is in some parts of the community.

Personally, I still think the issue of racism in Australia has been fairly exaggerated by the media.  While some subconscious discrimination might still exist among the older generations, I'm sure that by the time my peers have entered the workforce and some of them becoming employers themselves, job candidates won't be rejected simply because they have the surname Wong or Jayasinghe.  Or not be given promotions because Caucasian employers think it's better to have Caucasian faces fronting the company.  If people say 'racism' is still a big problem in Australia, then I think this sort of implicit discrimination is much more prevalent than old women on the trains going "MY GRANDFATHER FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY. NOW YOU FOREIGN FUCKERS HAVE TO COME AND SCREW IT ALL UP."

Then again, I grew up in the suburban sprawl of Monash, which is considered one of the most multicultural areas in, like, the world.  I don't know whether this means my judgment is biased because I've been stuck in this enclave for too long or whether it actually means I'm right, because of Monash being a heightened example of the multiculturalism that already exists across Melbourne.

Regardless of shitty mainstream journalism and Collingwood supporters and racists on the Frankston line, Melbourne is still a pretty awesome place to call home.  Have you guys ever noticed the massive number of artsy festivals we hold here?  We've got the International Coffee Expo that just happened (or is still ongoing, I haven't checked) and the Emerging Writers' Festival and the St Kilda Film Festival happening right now - at the exact same time.

Also, ask any international student what they think about Australia and I'm sure the verdict is usually very positive.  Ask any Chinese international student what they think and it'll be:

- more relaxed, laidback
- clean environment e.g. "WOW I can actually see BLUE SKIES."  "NO PIGS IN DA YARRA. HURDUR."
- greater social mobility
- no toxic baby milk powder
- less homework, school is easy, maths is especially easy :D   No Gaokao craziness
- fairer society
- more considerate community, meaning one that is more willing to help strangers
- crap Chinese food

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, I agree to some point that racism is probably exaggerated by the media but I still think it's a good idea to raise awareness about it so people continue to push acceptance and equality :D

    Also, I really this post Cindy LOL super interesting. Just sayin'