Posted in Australian Politics

What it is to be Australian

australian-flag-map

Today marks Twenty Seven years since we landed on this soil.  Today I speak/write as a Proud Australian, proud but sometimes sad and sometimes mad.  Before you start slinging stones at me for being ungrateful, please read on…(special note to Pauline Hanson some words may make you say “Please explain” fear not, there is a book called the “Dictionary”, no scratch that, just google it)

I like to visit why we left for Australia, my feelings then and now, what have I observed, and the big question What it is to be an Australian.

Why did we leave Sri Lanka? More importantly why would you leave if you were financially stable.  I am currently in the process of writing about the civil war in Sri Lanka and the main reasons for my departure from that country etc.  But a shorter version would be to say, due to the Civil war.

As a Tamil we constantly lived in fear.  Famous words were “If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time”, well there was no right place or right time either. Any place could turn into a wrong place.  For the Government forces you are a terrorist because you have a Tamil surname and if you are in the North and if you don’t comply or adhere to whims of the militants then you are a traitor. When your life is in danger having a healthy bank balance alone will not convince you to stay on. So in our case we didn’t move for the greener pastures, but rather for safer pasture.

The final nail was when I lost my dear friend, who happened to be a Sinhalese.  I was asked not to even attend his funeral, as our relatives feared that someone at the funeral might turn on us as emotions would be rather high.  I had lost relatives and some friends had lost their dad or brother to the war as well.  But for some reason my friends demise stirred something very deep within me.

A boy who was not a racist, the only boy/person who wrote to me apologizing on behalf of his people, for the mass killings of the 1983 riots, now lay dead.  The instigators of the war on both sides send in little pawns to be slayed while their kith and kin were sent overseas.  They stay out of harms way, while stirring trouble and use young kids to the fore front.  This country used my dear friend as a pawn.  He was posthumously awarded many medals.  He is probably hanging on a wall in a very important building.  Just mere ceremonies for Politicians to feel good and  earn those precious votes.

War Sucks People, Never invite it or instigate it

 I can tell you right now, I would rather have my friend alive rather than on a wall with pretty medals.

With all the unknowns still a foreign land seemed more promising than my own.  I could see corruption was only getting worse.  The gap between the have’s and have not’s were getting wider.  Future in this country looked rather grim.  Reluctantly dragging our feet we made the decision to leave a well paying job, house and all the luxuries, such as driver, aides and everything else and move to another country to start over.

Mixed emotions for me when I left.  My mum had just undergone a Kidney Transplant surgery.  She donated a kidney to her brother.  Timing wasn’t great.  I really didn’t want to leave when I left.  I would have liked to stay for a few more months. But then again when you are surrounded with relatives each one with their own view and everyone else view taken into consideration but just not yours, you have no choice but to pack your bags.  I left thinking okay let me get far away from all of you as well.  After I had reluctantly agreed to the departure date there was another group who thought I shouldn’t be leaving my mum behind and I was being a selfish daughter.  I had to keep reminding myself of, “The story of the father and son taking the donkey to the market”. I needed a new beginning.

We landed at the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on the 1st Sept 1990. It was a chilly morning.  Everything felt crisp, clean, new, overwhelming and exciting.

The day after we arrived, we went and registered for our tax file numbers, medicare and all other mundane official applications.  Twenty Seven years later, I now have the privilege to be annoyed and berate about the inefficiency of our Government Departments.  But at that time I was amazed that I was able to get all those things done within the same day.  And I didn’t need to ‘know’ anyone to get those things done.  No one jumped the queue, and no one said “Oh you are so and so’s daughter, come, come, come. have a seat”.  The guy with the tattoo was served the same way as the woman with the designer bag.  I smiled.

We also chose to migrate at a time when Paul Keating decided it was a ‘recession we had to have’.  This made hubby very anxious for the first time in his working life. With no proper working experience under my belt it was even harder for me. I enrolled in a TAFE program to get job ready.  I was so thrilled to have access to a public library for FREE.  We had a mixed group of students in my class.  Different ages, different race and cultures.  But we all got along really well.  No one shouted out “Go back to where you came from”.   I don’t know how I would have reacted if that had happened.  I don’t think I would have gone back.  I would have thought I did nothing wrong,  I am staying put.

 I would have become resentful rather than thankful as I am.  

Hubby had to wait till October/Nov to get his first job and that was in Sydney.  So we moved to Sydney.

Slowly started to learn the lingo and the accent.

aussie-slang-570x411

 I still remember, I was working at my hubbies office. I used to run errands and had to stop at the Post Office everyday and so I became a regular.  One of the ladies one day said “How you going?” I was rather perplexed.  Office was just two blocks away and you’ve seen me walking here everyday, I was like a stunned mullet (for non Aussies refer above).  They all had a good laugh.  I felt rather embarrassed until later listening to an Interview with Michael J Fox, where he was thrown the same question and he thought “thats a strange question by Plane of course”. Again for Non Aussies “How you going” but when saying it you have fuse all three words into one and what ever that noise is, means how are you.

I got used to the Taxi driver, the Newsagent, the random guy at the bakery and anyone else addressing me as “love” – yes love, no love, here you go love, No worries love.

For me that is very Australian. 

We bought our first unit in 1991.  I was studying Accountancy and working.  It was tough. But, I was loving the fact I had less family interference and I loved this world where everyone was an equal.  But Hubby was struggling.  Hubby had a job, but it didn’t pay him or treat him anywhere near what he was used to. He persevered.  But I am sure at times he wanted quit everything and go back.

We became Aussie citizens in January Australia Day 1993. I fell pregnant. Hari was due first week of May 1993.  We just had the one car.  Hubby was working in the South of Sydney while we lived in North West.  One day, I find a note stuck under my door.  One of the old guys who lived in one of the other units had left it. We’ve met him and his wife once or twice at the Body Corporate meetings.  They’ve seen me waddle around towards the end of my pregnancy and knew that hubby worked far away. He has put that note saying if I needed to get to the hospital and Hubby wasn’t there I could call him.  I shed a tear seeing that note.  I was feeling rather emotional, as this was going to be my first child and I was missing mum.  But seeing that note made me think I am not alone after all.  I smiled and I cried.

For me that is very Australian. 

I think it was 1994 my mum arrives and later we buy a house and move out of this unit. First day in our house, a very tall gentlemen arrives at the door and introduces himself as Ken from the opposite house.  Let’s us know that if we needed any garden tools we were most welcome to borrow his.  Yes, just like that.

Once again I am pregnant and it is now 1996.  Keith my neighbor sees me agitated, I had rung for taxis and none were coming.  He gets his car keys without hesitation.

I think the year was 2005, we decide to have a sea change and move to South Australia. Hubby was starting his new job in November.  I wanted to wait till the school term ends and join hubby in January.  Hubby just mentions to Keith that he is leaving for Adelaide and “Uma and the boys will be here, just keep an eye on them Keith please”.  Saturday morning dawns and I hear a noise outside.  I look through the window and I see Keith mowing my front garden,  I yell out to Keith “what are you doing Keith?” He yells back “Open the side gate, so I can do the back”.

For me that is very Australian. 

Views on what it is to be Australian seems to be taking center stage in the recent times. Unfortunately by the wrong people (most times).

I love the fact that a plumber and his lawyer could sit at the pub next to each other have a beer and call each other mate.  I love the fact that someone could hurl a shoe at the Prime Minister and he wasn’t put to death for that.

Patriotism and Racism share a fine line.  Very easy to merge across but there is that fine line.  When Donald Trump Said “I will make America great again”, many were up in arms about it sounding like Hitler.  If we take that resemblance out and just focus on that sentence alone, it sounds okay. Nothing wrong with that.  But then to continue on about Mexicans being rapist etc is where he loses credibility and walks from Patriotism to Racism.

Sometimes change is scary.  But that doesn’t mean it is bad.  Think about the migrant, change is all he has.  You help him out, he will be ever so grateful.  You push him, push him to a wall, what else can he do other than to fight back.  There is nothing wrong with Patriotism but know the difference before you start the slogans.

If in doubt watch the movie “The Castle”.  I think we should throw away the citizenship test and show every migrant this movie.  Take them to a game of Cricket, Rugby or AFL. There are more ways to become an Australian than on an exam paper.

I carried the Australian flag rather proudly when I went for the Sydney Olympics.  I carry the flag whether it has the union jack or the boxing kangaroo, as long as it is the flag I will honour it and carry it with pride to the Cricket, Soccer or any other sporting event.  But when I see it used at racist rallies, it really breaks my heart.  It makes me sad and makes me mad.

My 75 year old mother tirelessly works as a volunteer five days a week. Sometimes on the weekend as well.  She was married off rather young, I think by the age of 17.  So she didn’t really complete her formal education.

amma council
Her story and volunteer work is hanging in the Woodville Council

amma sewing

She teaches sewing to migrants at the Junction Community Centre.  She also does similar work at the Cheltenham Community Centre, St Vincent de Paul, World Vision, and so many more.  She also takes part in many Charity events such as Biggest Morning Tea, Cooking for the homeless the list goes on.  For all these events she will take multiple forms of public transport and get there whether its rain or shine.

As per the first picture you see, she does wear the saree very often, she does wear long skirts and sometimes pants.  Now is she an Australian?

I will write more tomorrow.  But just for tonight hope you see Australia through my lenses.

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Posted in Australian Politics, India, Jobs, Jobs going overseas

Aussie Jobs Going Overseas

why-australian-call-centre-jobs-are-going-offshore
The topic for today is Aussie jobs going over seas.
 
While we gripe about those coming on 457 Visa to work in Aussie Businesses, we are losing much larger amount of jobs to overseas companies and not realising it, just giving in without much complain. IT Call centers was I guess the beginning. We’ve all experienced the feeling of annoyance when we ring our Telco companies. Our mood is already at breaking point because the internet is not working or the phone, and add to that to be answered by someone who from the get go you know is not going to fix the problem. He/she has an answering sheet, same solution “after you pull the socket out of wall, press it with a ball point and say “Ohm Shiva” (sorry I am not being a racist here, I am just peeved to the core). Anyway, what have we done about fixing that issue, Well nothing, more and more Aussie companies are establishing their call centres overseas.
 
Along with that we are losing more supporting industries such as accounts departments to overseas as well. Yes, I have a vested interested in it as I am losing customers. But my annoyance goes further than my own personal gain/loss.  If these overseas establishments are doing a good job, I wouldn’t care so much. Not that I wouldn’t care but at least I will have to acknowledge that if a company could perform a task for half the cost but with the same efficiency, yes I will have to bow down and accept it.  But, my outburst today comes from having to deal with these companies on behalf of my local clients.  Whether it be Philippines or India, it is the same drama.  I am not sure who they employ in these places, if they actually have an accounting background or not.  Even if they had, whether they are familiar with our practices, laws and overall business culture.  
I have had payments made regularly minus the GST amount.  When you send them an email explaining this, it will then go through a million chain email from one person to another.  You wonder if it is worth the drama to be chasing for $14.97 for three months.  How should I write it off as, along with “Bad Debts” as account category, should have another one called “no understand GST”
Today’s outburst comes from an issue that I have been dealing with for a client of mine.  This clients’ client was an excellent payer.  I never had to pick up the phone chasing payments.  Like clock work the payments arrived on time along with a remittance advice.  End of last year I saw a new pattern emerging.  Suddenly I had to start sending emails and even phone calls chasing for payments or remittance advises.  Payments started coming in late and sometimes late and short paid.  Then since March nothing.  Client slowly revealed that they’ve gone overseas for the final stage of processing the invoices.  So, I would be sending the email to my clients office in Adelaide and then he would send it to Melbourne and then it goes to India.  Between May to date I think I have been through roughly 20 -25 emails, and god knows how many phone calls.  Each email gets more interesting than the previous.  I had dates given to me about payments made for the March and April invoices.  Again this email would have gone through five people before it comes to me,  I would then go back to the original bank statements to see if any payments had come through, that I may have mistakenly allocated to someone else.  Nope, so I would start the next chain of emails, saying no such payment has been made to our account on that day, before that day or after that day.
I received an interesting email today.  It came straight from India.  It started apologising for the delay in payments, they have identified that payments were not made since March. “Hallelujah”, finally I thought.  Anyway, I stopped reading there, as I wanted to finish the normal routine stuff first and then to come back to this email.  Anyway, if they’ve made the payment, I don’t really care for the rest of the fairy tale. So I went back to finishing the mundane stuff.  End of the bank reconciliation to my disappointment I realised that there was no payment from them.  So I went back to read the email to see if and when the payment would be made.
Mr Rahul Blah Blah Blah has sent me the email and has cc’d the email to another billion pen pushers and starts off by saying that they give their sincere apologies and after reconciling their accounts have found invoices dated after March have not been paid. “Finally” I thought, we are on the same page. He has given detailed information of the past invoices and when they were paid etc.  Advising me that I should reconcile my accounts according to that.  I felt like “Asterix” and “Oblix”
oblix toc toc toc
Well the email continues on to advise me that after I reconcile my accounts as per THEIR advise to print out a current statement and to send it to him directly and he will make the payment the following Monday.   I have sent him a very polite email cc’ing the rest of the Rahul’s, Gupta’s  and along with the rest of the Australian entourage.  So in short, the saga continues.
But this is a serious issue to think about.  More and more jobs are going overseas. Whether it be accounts departments, IT or Manufacturing.  I understand that our wages and other wage related expenses are slightly on the upper bracket leaving businesses with a smaller margin of Profit (in theory).
In my opinion I think it is mainly the medium to small businesses are the ones who are most affected by our high award rates and workcover, super and other industrial awards obligations, and receive the least amount of assistance from the Government.  There are many obligations (including financial payments) that needs to be met by businesses that venture into employing staff from overseas on the 457 visa.  Most locals are not aware of these things and the Governments don’t explain this either when they go for their vote grabbing slogans.
I wonder if there are same or if any requirements for companies that go overseas to subcontract their company functions? When we lose jobs to overseas, aren’t we then losing the PAYG revenue as well.
Talking about IT call centres going overseas, I had an interesting conversation a couple of weeks ago with the Tax departments IT help centre.  Guess where that call went to?  I am some one who is skeptical about “Cloud” servers so imagine how I feel about our ATO going to India.
Politicians constantly talk about job creation.  Before we talk about creating jobs, we should think about not losing the ones we have.  Each year University students find it almost impossible to find internships in Australia especially in Engineering and medical fields and some have no option but to go overseas.  Some even have to pay for their internships.  Same predicament once they graduate.  They have to go overseas for the jobs.  All this for the CEO to have fatter cheque.  I am not suggesting a Communist or a socialist policy here.  But there has to be a balance.  Total Capitalism will ruin the core social structure.  We still need some parts of the societies needs to be owned/met by the Government.  Governments shouldn’t be influenced by big businesses nor by the unions. Unions are a necessary organisation to keep businesses accountable, and could be a very important body for negotiation of the two parties.  But bullying by either party should not be tolerated/condoned by the Governments.
My blood pressure has come down.  Time for a refill cuppa.
Please Note: I have nothing against Indians or Phillipines or whoever else from the rest of the world.  But completely against our jobs going to whoever else other than Aussies (who are paying taxes in our country)
Posted in Australian Politics, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

If Only, I Could Turn Back The Clock … (part 7)

dad lab

Even in the hospital Dad couldn’t help himself. He was still the same old man, who hated the societies preferential treatment to the have’s and the have not’s.  As he had “Dr” in front of his name all the attendants and nurses treated him well.  Unfortunately,  his neighbour was not privy to the same, sometimes even the basic requests were ignored. The guy next to him related to us that couple of nights ago, he had no water and the nurses had just ignored his several requests, Dad almost had a tumble trying to give him water from his jug.  Dad had even shared some of the food that mum had taken him. That guy was so grateful. But dad was annoyed and a tad bit ashamed that he was treated well and the other not so. If Dad was alive and living in Australia now, he would have been so happy.  So, happy to note that there was a society where you are an equal in a Public Hospital.  In fact you are an equal in most places.

I wrote letters to my uncles who were living far away, telling them that Dad has pulled through, that Dad was coming home tomorrow.  What a whirlwind of events.  But, we knew, it was a long way from us returning back to TRI (Tea Research Institute) or to a normal life.  There was suggestion that he could do light duties in Colombo with the Tea Board.  We knew he was still fragile, but he has pulled through the biggest hurdle. We will make sure that he doesn’t set back in his old workaholic habits.  We will take care of him. Dad’s 53rd birthday was coming up at the end of the month.  We will celebrate it, as we never have.  I saw a funny birthday card in the shops, something about old age, so I bought it then and there.  Life was good again.

I was thinking this was going to be our last evening visit to the hospital.  Dad was coming home tomorrow evening.  How sweet does that sound.  Dad had worked out what needs to be done.  He wanted mum and Cuz Sulo to come in the morning with several cakes from “Green Cabin” a popular cake shop and some good tea(leaves)from Tea Research Institute.  He had a list of doctors, nurses and attendants to whom he wanted to give gifts.

He asked Velu (a man assistant given to us by TRI), Thangamma (our long time maid) and myself to stay back and clean the house,  as he expected many visitors.  He told us the number of people he had invited to our house in TRI.  Not just for a meal, these invitations were for them to come and stay with us and have a holiday. He was in an elated mood.  So were we.  Much better than him confused and disoriented.  I shake that memory off, just celebrate girl, that was just a bad dream, I said to myself.

*Note: for the benefit of those who have not read the first 6 parts of this story, at present we were living in Colombo in one of my cousin’s house, our usual place of residence is Talwakelle (upcountry 4.5 hr drive) where TRI is situated).

The driver was a touch late to pick mum and cuz Sulo.  My cuz wanted to be in the Hospital before the surgeons finished their rounds, so she could speak to them.  So she asked to be first dropped off in the hospital, before the cake purchases.  Mum, decided to follow my cousin to the wards, so she could pack dad’s clothes, toiletries etc and take it with her before going for the cakes.  Her thinking was so when taking dad, their hands would be free to concentrate on taking dad to the car safely.

The clock had turned back again.  The blaring horns of the traffic outside my window sounded the same that night. It was humid, hot and uncomfortable as always.  There was no signs to say that the clock had wound back sixteen days.  There were no signs at all to say that the roller coaster was now on free fall.

Cont…

 

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Posted in Australian Politics, Daily post, Sri Lankan Politics, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

My Uncle, My Surrogate Dad

frail skantha

It’s now four years since we said goodbye to my uncle.  Just recently we had a prayer, remembrance and a family dinner filled with many chuckles on his behalf.

I like to share something I wrote for this day.

I wanted to utter these words at his funeral, but I didn’t.  Is it because I was overcome by sorrow?  Is it because I felt that I was saying goodbye to my father all over again?  Is it simply because, I didn’t think my words would be good enough? Or is it because I knew I should have told him these words when he was alive?  I guess it was all of the above. 

For whatever its worth, I need to say them now.  Today is a good day as any other. 

I will start with the funeral.  I was filled with much sorrow as well as guilt.  Periyya (uncle in Tamil) passed away the day I returned from Singapore.  When Ganesh picked me up from the airport, he said, “your Periyya is not well, we will go and see him once you have a bit of a rest”.  I didn’t think it was that serious.  I thought here we go again; the Old man is pulling another one.  He waited till I got back from Singapore, but it wasn’t that important for him to say goodbye to me in person.  He passed away that afternoon. 

I felt guilty that I didn’t go straight from the airport to see him, I felt guilty that I took that nap.  I felt guilty that I didn’t go to see him more often.  More than anything I felt guilty that, I never told him that he meant so much to me than he will ever know. 

As each eulogy was being read, I was reciting my own in my head. Deja vo, why am I saying goodbye to my dad again?

It’s taken me nearly four years to make peace with myself and get the courage to speak up.  Knowing my Periyayya, he would have been utterly chuffed with any word that I had grouped together.  The card that he sent me for the first Depavali after my dad’s passing, just signed “Periya (appa)” two words, that’s all.  He didn’t need to quote me Shakespeare or Nietzsche, it told me in abundance that, he loved me, he missed my dad, he wishes my dad didn’t die, and more than anything he has got my back. 

I am not sure if I totally believe in the possibility of spirits, souls and after life.  But, I take comfort in the possibility of Rasam and Skantha having a chuckle, and keeping watch from up there.  Or it could be down there.  There are more magnets down there than up there. Who knows.  

I am not sure if it was fate or a just a mere coincidence that the two families in tandem decided to move to Adelaide.  But it feels as if, it was the grand plan of the man up there.  Whoever, or whatever the reason for the reunion, I am truly grateful. 

I got a chance to spend quality years with this larger than life personality.  More than anything, my kids got to enjoy a surrogate grandfather. 

I like to wrap up now but with a special request for a visual.  Can you just imagine if he had the farm in Australia and the two monkeys?  We would have ended up with monkeys named Barnaby and Joyce. 

Here’s to my Periyayya.  To a man who was the biggest pain in the Ass and but had the biggest heart as well. 

I will give you a little bit of a background into who this man was so you understand some of the references.

I was very fond of this man, who was a larger than life personality. He was dad’s older brother.  In a family of extreme academics, he was not one of them.  He was probably dyslexic or suffered from a learning difficulty.  But nothing was diagnosed in those days. Just considered as a problem child by the teachers and maybe even by the parents at times. Still he achieved a lot more than any academics in the family.

He joined the Agriculture Department and was rising through the ranks as he was coming up with novel ideas to solve the problems of the region.  Also he was a stubborn pain in the ass to all who didn’t have a vision.  He didn’t mince words when he had to say something. Once after a heated discussion with the then Minister for Agriculture he came home and named two of his monkey after the Minister.  At a later date when the said minister and his yes men visited his Farm, he introduced the monkeys to the group, without skipping a beat.

He was also big on yoga and magnet therapy.  He used to carry a big block of magnet in a back pack.  Once leaving a restaurant, he walked away with a good number of cutlery.

My dad was the youngest of eight kids.  But unfortunately he was the first to depart at the young age of Fifty Three.  The day after the funeral my uncle sat me down and explained a tamil word. “Periya appa” means Big uncle.  “Periya” means Big “appa” means Dad .  He said just remember that and he left back to his farm.  For the outside world he comes across as this rough and tough guy.  But in reality, he was the biggest mush.

In his latter days it was really hard to see him so frail and reduced to a small child.  Even then you would witness his personality pop up time to time.

Rest in Peace big man.

 

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Posted in Australian Politics, Daily post, Sri Lankan Politics, True Story, Inspirational

My Island Paradise

Sri-Lanka (3)

The pearl of the Indian Ocean, once the envy of the east, now torn and battered, gasping, clutching at the last straws to survive another day.  Is it the end of the civil war or just cease fire for another eruption, for another day for another cause?

A lot has happened since the start of the civil war, loss of my friend and then my departure to Australia.  Before I go any further I like to dedicate this story/writing/rant to my late friend Lalith Gunesinghe.  This is not all about Lalith.  But Lalith’s passing was the main reason for me to analyse what happened, what went wrong in my place of paradise.

I have no illusions of changing the mindset of the Sri Lankan’s, but I do hope that I make at least an iota of difference in someone’s thinking, especially of those from Australia, or at least amongst the young generation to make them think, make them aware of what actually happens in a war.  More importantly when you hear it on the news, it is just data and that of distorted data, words such as “casualties” are thrown around, just a mere number, their names are not important, I understand that there are too many of them, but there lies a real person, he is a dad, a son, a brother or even a friend. This person is going to be missed by all, and not just for that moment, but for years and years to come.

My name is Uma Sivapalan. To a Sri Lankan this name would explain that I am a female of Tamil origin and most likely a Hindu. My friend Lalith Gunesinghe was a Sinhalese male.It is, if the name was Mc Donald it is very likely the person is of Scottish decent, likes the bottle with the walking man and has a good command of the“f” word. Lalith’s name doesn’t really stipulate that he was Buddhist, but most likely.  Some of those who converted to Christianity during the English  colonisation  did not change their surnames.  But Lalith was a Budhist from the Kandy region.  Upper Class.  My forefathers came from the North of the country Jaffna.  Again from the right class and stock.

History is usually written by the victor.  But what saddens me most is not that History could be biased.  But, we use history for the wrong reasons.  We should learn from our mistakes, but preserve the good.  We constantly do it in reverse.

Sri Lanka is a very small Island with a big population. Most of us are not even Christians, but we believed in “go forth and multiply”.  It is made up of Sinhalese (majority), Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Languages spoken are Sinhala, Tamil and English.  Not sure why we did not adapt Portuguese and Dutch. We took their surnames and cooking but not their languages. Thank god we didn’t look to the English for cooking tips.  We stopped at sipping the tea.  We copied a bit of the singing and dancing from the Portuguese as well.   Budhism and Hinduism came from India.  With the invasions of the west, some of us converted to Christianity.  Islam came from the Arab traders.

I think what baffles most of the westerners who have visited the island is that, if you take the individual Sri Lankan, he is a very peaceful and lovable person. They are renowned for their generosity and friendship, how can such a lot then be involved in a terrible war, where they killed their own. Yes, we killed our own. Yes, you can separate them as per their language/dialect they speak.  But, we are really the same.  Some Tamils, who are now residing in different countries, have taken a stance to say that theyare not Sri Lankan’s.  I understand their reasons, but finding it hard to condone it fully.

We look the same, brown skin, black hair, dark eyes etc. Act the same way when someone asks you “are you from India?”. I am still to witness a Sri Lankan, who takes more than two seconds to say, “NO I AM FROM SRI LANKA ”.  We respond as if we’ve been called  a pariah. In this we become SriLankans.  It may be a tiny isle, but it has its own identity, New Zealand is not Australia.

As a Tamil, I understand why some of the Tamils have disowned their birth place.  I sometimes wonder if I am a Sri Lankan or an Australian.  Am I being unfaithful to Australia, when I secretly wish Sri lanka doesn’t lose badly in the cricket?  Am I being unfaithful to Sri Lanka when I support Australia over my birth place? For some Aussies they can’t understand why I don’t support Sri Lanka, for some others it definitely has to be Australia, I have adopted this country that means I should support everything Australia.  If not I am being unfaithful.  It’s not that easy or simple.  It’s like when you get married, now you have another set of family and an extended family.  Just because you love your husband doesn’t mean you hate your parents or siblings.  The love and affection you have for you’re in laws will depend on each ones experience.  And hence the reason why migration either works or doesn’t work.  The answer is not one size fits all.  It depends on both parties as well.  And if you love or hate your birth place will depend on your individual circumstance.  I will revisit this area again later, why for me I cannot join the collective hate nor love for Sri Lanka.

It is now over 25 years in Australia, most of it spent in Sydney and the last ten years or so in Adelaide.  Altogether I have lived more of my living years in Australia than in Sri Lanka.  Does it make me an Australian or Sri Lankan? Legally yes I am Australian, but within me who do I want to be? More importantly what does the rest of Australia accept me as?

I feel like an adopted child who is extremely happy with her adopted parents.  Have the same anguish and disappointment of my birth parent Sri Lanka.  I did nothing wrong, but she still let me down.  I don’t really care, I am in a good place, in fact I am in a better place, the best place, but it still hurts.

Cont…

The above is a story I am currently in the process of writing.  I was not going to publish this until I completely finish it and analyse it, as I have a feeling I am going to annoy a lot Tamils as well as Sinhalese with I say and reveal.

The reason for me to publish some of it today is because My New Island Paradise Australia is showing signs of falling pray to racism.  I am really upset and annoyed.  Every time a foreign celebrity, accuses Australia of being racist, I keep defending and say “Nah” they are just open about what they say, absolutely amazing people.  Just a small minority is spoiling it for everyone.

I am posting my story because I want you numb nuts to know that there is nothing amazing about going to war.  Not within your own country.  You may not know it, but this is just a paradise.  Please don’t spoil it because your kids wants Kung Pao Chicken for dinner and not your pot roast.

A vote for Pauline Hanson is a vote for racism.  Come on guys we can do better than that.  I am not saying we don’t have issues with refugees and migration. But we need to address them in a democratic way.

Imagine if your child is born being hated.  Where do you think he will end up.  That’s exactly where you are sending the Muslim kids to.  Straight to ISIL.  In my view anyone who engages in hate speech/rally is also a Terrorist.  Well, if you see a bunch of Muslims gathered and say bad things about Christians what would you call them?

I am skeptical about churches and priests after, what I’ve heard of the horrors that happened behind certain doors.  Yes, I am angry with all the churches and priests.  As in my mind even if you didn’t commit the crime, you allowed it to go on, so you are guilty too.  You don’t want to know what I think of Cardinal Pell.  But do I then go on to hate my neighbor who is a Catholic too?

The question of whether Islam is a religion of Peace or not is another ludicrous argument.  All religions are meant to be peaceful, But every religion or it’s followers manage to make it as vile as possible.  Every religion, at one time or another has been the cause of some misery.  Because religion is in the hands of the man, he will twist it and turn it to suit him. Let’s stop blaming religions and blame the actual culprits.  Let’s stop generalizing  a whole group of people and address the individuals who commit the crime.

I think I have vented enough.  World Peace seems far away.  But, ever the optimist, will sign of demanding for one.

Daily post word prompt: Island

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

Posted in Australian Politics, Daily post, Word prompt

Remember it’s water not oil to calm the Burning Fire

bushfire

Tree by tree the flame takes over

The shrub tries to reason, but scorched away.

Smallest little ember now spreading at a rate of thousand trees a day.

Despair and misery,

All a common scene every summers day.

 

Blame and anger fills the town

Is it Arson or it just the horror of nature

Is it back burning gone wrong or the “Greens” non action

 

As a nation we all pull together

We look for answers but never forget the suffering

Even the Koala gets a drink

bushfire-koala

As a nation we mourn together

It’s water not oil to calm the burning fire

 

My fellow Australians

Leave racism to the Yanks and the Brits

Remember it’s water not oil to calm the Burning Fire

 

Daily Post word – Burn

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/burn/

 

 

 

Posted in Australian Politics, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

A Tourist- On Your Own Land

tourist sl

We returned to Sri Lanka after nearly 16 years since coming to Australia.  The boys born here in Aus.  Other than a brown skin, there was not much Sri Lankan in them.

This was not due to any conscious planning on our part to disassociate with our culture.  We had no issues with our heritage, nor did the boys.  They knew of our food, and enjoyed many of the delicacies, but so did the rest of Australia.  In fact many of the Aussies could handle a fair bit of the burning Chilly.  Where as my boys, especially my eldest struggled with even a hint of it.  Once again before I get judged for not ramming down the chilly,down my kids throat, was simply because he struggled with it.

I have many theories or may be just two, one of them being that I suffered severely with re flux when I was pregnant with him, so I avoided the chilly and then again when I was breast feeding,  and voila he has no tolerance to the gun powder.  The second reason being he doesn’t really like it.  Which is okay.  My husband doesn’t like sweets, and no one says no he needs to learn to eat everything.

The other major hurdle when we returned to the mother land was that the kids didn’t speak the language.  It’s not really a major hurdle as most speak very fluent English as we were once an English Colony.  Even before our migration to Australia, hubby and I mostly spoke in English.  That was common practice by many.  However, you are meant to know your mother tongue.  Either Sinhalese or Tamil.  We were Tamils, so we should have sent them to Tamil School (which is held on the weekends) and made them speak Tamil.  Even if it meant that they spoke it like a Russian speaking Mandarin.

Again no major reason for them not knowing our language. Simply we had bigger issues to worry about and this took 2nd place or unfortunately no place.

The reason why the 16 year absence from the mother land was due to these bigger issues. Our youngest since the age of two, preferred regular visits to the Hospital. Due to two bouts of Pneumonia, his lungs were scarred and needed surgeries. Our Eldest around the same time not wanting to lose his place in the special considerations, lost his hearing.  I was running between two different hospitals.

It took years before the youngest was fit enough to even attend a birthday party. My eldest eventually got 80% percent of his hearing back.   Their early years were very challenging due to their ill health, our mortgage, and both parents working full time.  So, sorry, but teaching them Tamil was not a priority.  We were surviving each day at a time.

We finally made the long awaited trip to Sri Lanka after 16 years (nearly not exactly sure, but it was after a loong time).  This was extremely important to us, this was the first time they are going to meet my father – in -law, their only living grandfather.  It was time for them to see where we grew up, our schools, our extended families and friends.

It was all that when we got there.  They had a wonderful time there.  So, did we.  But they stood out like a clown at a funeral.  No one understood their accent. And even when we ordered a burger from KFC, thinking this would be safe without the chilly, no we were wrong, every bit of chicken was already coated in chilly.

It was a great adventure that they will never forget. But the two young brown skinned tourists were rather happy to come back home.

 

Daily post word – Tourist

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tourist/