Imagine this…

16 Jan

There’s a world championship lawn bowls “grand slam” happening in Melbourne with teams from Germany, Japan and Australia. Incensed by what happened to their grandfathers or great-grandfathers, hordes of pumped German-Australians, Japanese-Australians and Anglo-Australians descend on Melbourne to “Come to the lawn bowls and punch on.”

“We hate those German and Jap c—s,” he said. “We want to smack their heads in after the game. We knew they were coming. Tomorrow there will be more. There’ll be 2000 Germans and Japs, but that doesn’t matter. We’ll bring shanks and stab every one of them.

“I’m not from around here. I flew 22 hours to come to be at this game from Perth. I swear on my life I’m going to stab two of those German and Jap c—s.”

No? Well Serbs and Croats don’t just imagine such things. Click the picture if you don’t know what happened.


Testosterone-addled fans exchange blows in Melbourne. Not all the bystanders appear either pleased or participating. Does the shot seem strangely posed?

At least they are all “Christians”, so our current paranoia about Muslims misses out this time.

If you are a regular here you know I support cultural pluralism, but within a framework of harmony and mutual respect and tolerance — the salad model rather than the melting-pot model. In the salad the tomatoes and lettuces have their own identity, but they don’t attack one another, unlike the veggies above. Some things just have to be left back in the homeland — the reasons our grandpas may have been so bloody miserable, for example, like my own mad Orangemen ancestors whose bigotries that may have seemed sensible in an Irish bog in County Cavan seem pretty bloody stupid here at the other end of the earth. Serbs and Croats, we really don’t care. In fact, what you do just pisses most people off. Get over it. Save it for the Balkans, even though even there it probably doesn’t make much sense any more.

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4 responses to “Imagine this…

  1. Marie-Annick Verguet

    January 17, 2007 at 8:12 am

    I am a French teacher of English who needs a well-written autobiographical text dealing with multiculturalism in Melbourne to study with my year 10 class…………Can you help?

  2. ninglun

    January 17, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta comes to mind but deals with Sydney. Thoughts, anyone?

  3. Jim Belshaw

    January 17, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Neil, I think that this question is worth running as a main post although the way Marie-Annick posed the question may be too narrowly defined.

    Just what books are there – fiction and non-fiction – that show the Australian experience through migrant (original, first generation) eyes?

    I say migrant because this is most likely to yield the type of results that Marie-Annick wants. If we just think about multiculturalism I think that’s too broad.

  4. ninglun

    January 17, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I think there are many books by migrants that deal with aspects of the migrant experience in Australia. I may look further into this, though the results may appear on the English and ESL blog. There used to be a literary magazine, Outrider (ed Serge Liberman), that specialised in such stories. One writer whom I have met who definitely deals with this from a Chinese perspective is Ouyang Yu. Immediately one thinks of poets like Komninos (Melbourne) and Peter Skryznicki (Sydney) — both on the HSC. This article by Sabina Hussain from Macquarie University tells of an Indian Australian work I had never heard of. Then, seeing I compiled a book on Chinese and Australian literature myself in 1994 (From Yellow Earth to Eucalypt) I immediately think of Beth Yahp, Brian Castro, so many… William Yang too.

    Must look into it more.

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