Family, Cultural beliefs, Political decisions, Relationships, Social Fairness, Inspiration, Religious (alternate) views, Agnostic Views, Humour and Just Random Thoughts. So watch out for some fireworks laced with humour
Perched on a fence I view the world with curiosity. I see the good, bad and the ugly on both sides. In a world where inwardly we are ingrained with “Us and Them” but outwardly we are trying hard to mold it into a one big “Us”, sitting on the fence is becoming precarious. I get abused from both sides. You have to be either ‘For ‘ or ‘Against’. I am usually For or Against. But not always to the same side. I pick the side as per the cause or as per the matter in hand. I guess it’s normal for the chair umpire to get abused by both players.
Sitting on the fence is regarded as being weak and not able to take a stance. It’s not that I am not faithful to one party or side. I am more faithful than the barking dog. But that doesn’t mean I will not call out on the mistakes of my side. I understand that it’s not all black and white, I acknowledge the existence of grey, but it remains grey in my books.
Is sitting on the fence is really a sign of weakness? I think building a wall in the middle and living with assumptions of the other side is madness. But that’s the world we are living in. With advanced technology we are not educating ourselves, we are spreading rumours much faster than before. With one click of the “Share” button, you can share away anything. No one stops to think, or verify , they believe what they want to believe. Chinese Whispers taken to another level.
I am not for the far right nor for the far left. Thankfully I don’t get paid for my position if not I would have met the same fate as our former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. I too blamed him for not having a spine, but I guess he was forced to place his spine outside the party room.
If I speak up for racism or sexism, that’s because I don’t agree with discrimination of any kind and I will continue to call out whenever I feel that was present. I am not religious but I do feel others have their right to their believes (as long as their beliefs don’t interfere with our normal lives). I don’t accept people hiding behind religion to commit crime, discriminate and be hurtful. Whichever religion you belong to, I have no room to excuse you.
I was born a Hindu. One of the oldest religions with some amazing principles. But that doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the mistakes of my people throughout history and now. I am brown/coloured and I know the trials my people have gone through and are still fighting for. But that doesn’t mean that I am free to do anything and blame it on racism. I need to take personal responsibility for my mistakes. And more than anything I want to acknowledge the support I get from the opposite side for my cause. Throughout history there have been many ‘whites’ who have supported and stood by for the ‘black lives’. I doubt any stood by them eg: Zimbabwe.
I am a female from a Sri Lankan Tamil background. Yes, I know clearly about sexism. Slowly but surely I am making progress in my household. Our fights may not be as severe as in Saudi Arabia. Yes, we can drive, study and work. We had the first female Prime Minister. However, in society, culturally, we still have to kowtow to men. Just like using religion as a shield, culture is used to keep the women in their place.
However, we cannot deny that some women use unfair tactics to settle their personal vendetta. Main victims of rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence are women. These crimes are usually very hard to prove due to lack of evidence. The victims suffer a double tragedy when they hear the doubt in the person listening to their story. You can’t blame the person listening either, he/she listens to so many stories and some unfortunately have been nothing but false accusations. So each time one of our women use this as a weapon for their own revenge she puts the cause backwards and make it that much harder for the real victim. We the women hold a great responsibility in calling out those who perpetrate crimes against us, this includes not just the men but also the women who knowingly falsely accuse men of committing these heinous crimes. Just because I am a woman I cannot allow women to falsely hold that sexism card.
As a Tamil who predominantly lived among Sinhalese, again I was able to take that seat on that fence. I understood and lived with the gripes of the Tamil minority. However, I believe that some of our grievances were our own doing. The Caste system, Dowry and the unspoken killings by the Tamil militants of our own people. Until we clean up our backyard we cannot throw stones at the opposition. If I can’t discipline my own children, what right do I have in pulling up kids at the park.
I will never apologize for the colour of my skin. I will never apologize for my ethnicity. I will never apologize for my gender. Nor for the way I dress or eat. I am who I am because of all of that. The same way I will not ask someone of another colour black or white to apologize either. I will not ask a man to apologize for being a man. I will not ask anyone who is different than me to apologize for who they are.
I am happy to come down to the court and have a game. But when necessary I will climb on to that fence to get a better view. I see what I see.
Couple of days ago I started a conversation on Facebook about this cartoon. I started the conversation or opinion as following
” I am probably going to get slammed for this, but I don’t think this is racist nor sexist. If your argument is that men behave badly too, well I’m sorry that’s no defense. Did Mc Enroe behave badly, yes he did. Great player but bad loser. I don’t recall if he was reprimanded by the umpire the same way or not. But I do know that current players do get punished for similar offences. Actually I don’t think our two tantrum boys Nick and Tomic got this bad, their behaviour seem rather pale compared to this. I am sorry but Serena did no service in fighting racism nor Sexism.”
As expected I received mixed views and opinions on the subject. I realised for those who opposed and thought this was nothing but pure racism, one line answers were not going to suffice. They were pretty strong with their views I might add. I think I even have room to bring out the ‘Sexism card” or and “I was bullied card” out. However, that’s not me, even if I am going to lose, I will play fair till the end. Also wanting to know the wider communities views, thought I might open the conversation again, but this time with more research and ammunition.
I think I will start from the very beginning. My google finding for the word Cartoon or Caricature as follows:
So I guess, we can accept that this was a cartoon or a caricature. It is not very complimentary to the subject, however, that seems to be a common thread. I wanted to investigate how other Tennis players or others in the public eye in general were treated by various cartoonists.
Other Serena Cartoons:
For me Caption two is very disturbing.
So was wondering if such poor treatment was only reserved for Serena. Just maybe I am wrong, maybe the world is a racist and sexist place. (By the way I think it is in many places but my argument is that Mark Knight’s cartoon isn’t. Also Serena accused the umpire of being a sexist. And again my point is he wasn’t).
How did the others fair in the hands of the Cartoonists.
I then thought I need to see other Mark Knight cartoons to see if he has a racist streak. The following are Sample Mark Knight Cartoons.
I am only attaching two as most of them relate to Australian Politics. He seems to have a go at both Labor and Liberals. For those who don’t understand Aussie Politics, the female in the picture is Pauline Hanson who is considered to be a Racist, homophobic and extremely Islamophobic. So the two pictures are taking a dig at her. If Mark Knight was in fact a racist I wonder if he would have drawn these cartoons?
Is Mark Knight a Racist? I don’t know him personally so I couldn’t say if he was actually a racist in his personal life. If I am to make judgement on his cartoons past and present, it doesn’t appear to be so.
Do I see a resemblance?
I see a massive resemblance of her actual photo and the cartoon, actually the way she was acting up on the match was very similar to the cartoon. There was no hiding that she behaved like a spoiled two year old brat.
Honestly I have not seen such a display by any other sports person, I was rather young at the time of McEnroe’s early matches. I can’t recall him behaving this badly. Even if he did, the poor man couldn’t pull the race card because he was a so called privileged white male.
The only other person that I could recall is Muhammed Ali. But in his case he was really fighting racism. Whether his methods were warranted, if you agree with him or not is another debate for another day. But one thing we cannot disagree is that he did genuinely fight for racism and paid a very personal loss. Even the “baseball players kneeling during the national anthem’, however, controversial it maybe, it is still an act to showcase their grievances of racism. Who’s agenda was Serena fighting for?
Alize Cornet was fined for changing her T-shirt on court. The player as well the fans demanding that be changed is fighting for sexism. I remember as a young child a female player was sent back to change her skirt as it was deemed too short. I don’t recall the name of the player. But I remember the incident. We have come a long way from that. Still it is a constant battle.
I don’t find the word ‘black’ offensive, I don’t find the colour ‘black’ offensive. For me when you do that, it is a submission of inferiority. I am brown/dark, I am short and I have big bosoms. It’s not a necessarily a statement of pride but rather a statement of facts. And I am very comfortable with all that. I may want to change some of the characteristics, such as my height, but not a biggie. A step ladder and high heels does the trick anyway. So if a cartoonist wants to draw me I expect and demand the picture to be all of the above and not to a draw me a 6ft white blonde. I would find that very offensive.
As a woman, as a person with a permanent tan, as a woman who has passed the age of 50, do I face discrimination? Of course. Almost everyday I have to stand up for some woman or another, in my own house hold. Women are questioned on what they wear, how much they weigh, how they look. She has to excuse herself if she chooses a career over family. But then again she is looked down upon if she doesn’t have a career. She can’t win either way. How many failed relationships could she have before she is considered ‘loose’ or ‘easy’? A man is a play boy. then why can’t the woman be a play girl?
So, it’s not just getting a job, or the right pay also in our personal lives we have to justify ourselves constantly. Some cultures/countries are progressing a bit better than others.
Let’s take a culture that is very close to my heart – The Sri Lankan Jaffna Tamils. They are the minority group of Sri Lanka who have been marginalised and have suffered enormously in the hands of the Sinhalese Government. But, there is another type of discrimination in this community, that no one fights for. Their own caste system. The world condemned the South African Whites for the Apartheid system. What happens in Jaffna (even to this day by many) is no different to that happened in South Africa. The main difference is, here it is not about Black/White. We are all Tamils, We are all of the same colour. But we belong to different caste. The higher class, will not allow their progeny to marry anyone from the lower class. Many have been disowned by the family for standing their ground. It’s not just the immediate family even the extended family has to disown them. They will not be allowed in to your houses. If they come to do any work in your property, they will have to consume their meals and water outside in the yard or on the back stairway. The main house will have separate plates and cups for such people. In some villages they are not even allowed inside the temple. Some of the so called ‘lower caste’ have got themselves educated and gone on to become doctors and Engineers. However, they remain lower caste, unable to marry into the upper class.
For me that is a bigger sin than another race looking down on me. My own kind are the bigger bigots. Is colour an issue, only for the white man? I am considered to be of lighter shade of the brown. I am almost considered to be white among my people. It is a desired feature, especially when it comes to marriage. In India some of the darker shade actors are demanding change in their industry. Fair and lovely a cosmetic product for skin lightning is now receiving a bit of back lash. When a new baby is born, one of the questions asked and discussed is the kid’s colour.
My point here is,
before we demand equality, we need to feel equal no matter are colour, race, religion, caste, occupation, gender and every other differences and uniqueness we may posses.
As usual I didn’t stick to my promise and I am few days behind from where I left off. Then again I am talking politics, so to keep with the theme of broken and abandon promises, I am doing my best here to match the theme.
Last week when I was writing, I had a lot passion and a lot of anger and frustration. But for now, just like our parliament, even though nothing has been resolved, but in our minds we have put the issues aside, at least for the moment. We the public are taking a break. At least until the next circus show starts.
Before I go further I like to advise to my readers that the following contents may not be politically correct and may offend certain highly sensitive people. You have the choice not to read it. The following are my opinions, they may be more closer to the truth than those of, who call themselves Journalists or Politicians, however I do not claim my comments as facts.
You are free to form your own opinion.
I am still angry. It is exacerbated by watching news on TV. A comment about Pauline Hanson – apparently she is saying what everyone is thinking but not saying. Obviously she is the Hero, the person with guts and glory. A woman responsible for murdering the Queens English everyday is our spokesperson for the nation. Shoot me now.
When did it become your bravery is measured by how rude and callous you can sound? When did it become your eligibility to rule a nation is measured by how racist you could be? Far right White Supremacists hold your horses, you don’t have the monopoly on this. This is a ploy used by most weak leaders of all races. Yes the same thing was used back in my mother country and it worked swell. These leaders may be weak, but you lot who vote for them are weaker.
Okay let me say what I am thinking and maybe the rest of Australia is thinking but not saying.
Democracy is great but has a problem. Idiots get to vote as well. Maybe we should have an eligibility test for voters (and maybe for the parliamentarians as well) – they need basic education. (Then again Tony Abbott is a Rhode Scholar).
The above test may eliminate our Queensland voter problems. The whole Liberal Leader Saga was due to the bloody Queenslanders.
Pauline Hanson, Bob Hatter, Barnaby Joyce and last but not least Hon Peter Dutton, and lets not forget our Final Solution man Fraser Anning that is our sample Queensland Politicians. Our Brains Trust. God save us PLEASE.
You want my tax dollars to help the farmers (mainly Queensland). I really do sympathize with their situation. However, most of them are climate change skeptics. Just like their leaders I may add.
Therefore I will humbly offer my “thoughts and prayers” and keep my money for myself.
The above rant is not exactly a continuation from last week. This was more of an outburst from last nights TV show.
I left off last week with the following line
Muslims/ Islam – well at present you cannot say that you are completely blameless.
Hear me out before I get branded as Islamophobic. I have no issues with those who practice Islam or any other religion. However, I take religion with a pinch of salt, again I believe each one to their own. Until, they shove down their ideas to everyone else. And please don’t bring religion into the Parliament. Many countries have tried and are left with it’s disastrous out come.
Abrahamic religions have been forefront of shoving down their religious beliefs to the world for many centuries now. Christians probably are the front runners of this exercise, now Muslims are trying to catch up and it is upsetting the Christians.
Those of us who are standing on the side line are thinking the same thing. Just take a chill pill, or better still read a science book. Take your bible or the quran as a guide. When you read your holy book, if your interpretation makes you a hurtful, rude, unkind human being, ask again is that really what your god wants you to be. Religion is meant to make you a better human being, not an ass.
I have nothing against what anyone wants to wear. If it be the Burka or the Bikini. Neither of them are my choice, and feel there are places that both should be avoided. The courts, The Parliament, The Airport to name a few. To some the burka is offensive in such places. As a woman in her fifties with not so perfect of a body, the Bikini is more offensive and threatening than the Burka. I doubt that I would lose my husband to a woman in a Burka. Just saying, just think about it.
Seeing a woman in Burka for me is similar to standing next to a obese person in the lift. A lift that has a mirror. Oh yes, I am not that fat. Just admit it, you’ve done it too.
I understand for many the Burka is offensive, because of what it stands for, another religion taking the reigns. If we were to go by history and understand what happened when Christians went around the world converting and setting up missionaries, well I guess we have reasons to be concerned. History has a way of repeating. Blood shed seems to be inevitable.
My only final solution is ban all religions. I am who I am, not because of my religion. I am nice to my neighbor because I feel good when I am nice to them. It’s not because the bible said “love thy neighbor”. What I am saying is I don’t believe those who hide behind a religion for their actions. Unless religion can do good to this mankind I can’t see a place for it.
Coming back to the real world, so this my call to the Muslims and the rest of the migrants who enter this beautiful land Australia. We’ve all come from troubled lands to start a new life. The earliest boat arrivals, most of them convicts, kicked out by their own country, had a tough journey to come here and then set up life. The convicts were the good ones, the one’s who came on the first fleet did a lot bad things to the natives. Let’s hash that story another day.
I am not a native and I don’t have the right to say “that’s all, water under the bridge”. However, I think we need to move on. We are all here. Let’s leave behind the baggage and start anew. We all left our lands because they were burning, because there was bloodshed, because there was corruption and because some of us were marginalised. Let’s not start all that all over again.
If you see a Christmas tree at the shopping center don’t be offended, is just a decoration of a joyous time. If that is your biggest concern for the day, it’s a sign that you are far from harms way. It is time to enjoy your stay in Australia. If you want others to accept you, it is time you accepted them too.
If you hear about the ‘Sudanese Gang Violence’, don’t join the band wagon and don’t panic. Again grab that pinch of salt. Find out the details before you cast your stones. Each time a new set of migrants came in we had issues. It was the Vietnamese gangs of Cabramatta, Lebanese from Cronulla (Bob Hatter’s relo’s) and the list goes and at present the flavour of the month seems to be the Sudanese gangs in Victoria. I am not saying that we don’t have issues with these youth. Teenagers can be a handful in any home, but definitely from displaced and marginalized homes and environments it is going to be a bigger issue. So new communities and it’s leaders have to tirelessly work with these youth to make sure they don’t veer off into the wrong paths.
By marginalising them you would feed them directly into radicalization.
Let’s build our great nation, let’s not divide and feed it to the hyenas.
This is a continuation of my rant from a couple of days ago. I am trying to decipher, analyse what went wrong in my beautiful country. Feels like Deja Vu. I have been here before.
Life is good, life is peaceful. But I slowly feel the undercurrent. Makes me uncomfortable. Still, the fully loaded optimism in me refuses to notice the change, change for the bad. I fail to recognise evil. Most times you have to bring me kicking and screaming to notice evil in others. One failure passed on from my father. He always believed that everyone was born a nice person, he vehemently believed that it was the society and its pressures that makes some to take the wrong path. He likes to give the benefit of the doubt and say you never know what decision you would take unless you are at the same cross roads. I guess he hadn’t read the bible. As per Christianity you are born a sinner. My ignorant dad believed the other way. I am not a saint like my late dad to forgive everyone, I claim not to be as naive as him as well. But time to time I am given a rude awakening to realise maybe I am too much like my late dad.
It was that one decision that brought me to this beautiful land Australia – I’ve had enough of my birth place and it’s politics when my dear friend was killed in Sri Lanka which made me finally pack my bags. Until then many of family members and friends demised by a bullet, being burnt, shells, land mines and other means of torture. None of them were my own brothers or sisters. But uncles and friends brothers and parents – people I personally knew. People I spoke to a week ago. The suspects were the Sri lankan Army, Indian Army and some inside killings by the Tamil militants. But no one was investigated and no one was brought to justice.
I feel strongly about this subject, because I know first hand what racism does to a country. I will be damned if I am going to let my chosen country to have the same demise. My voice may not reach many, it may not reach any, but I have to try. I owe that to this country. This beautiful country and it’s people adopted me with open arms. I owe this country so much and I love this country very much. I would argue that I love it more than those who claim to have the best interest of this country.
Currently Burma is on the radar for similar atrocities as was in Sri Lanka. But makes me wonder why Burma has caught the eye of the world, while atrocities in Sri Lanka and the likes escaped world scrutiny. I came to these shores twenty eight years, long before the so called end of the Sri Lankan war. It was at this point Kevin Rudd struggled with the ‘boat people’ and Tony Abbott came up with “Stop the boats”. I guess politically it was far better to use these refugees for your political gain than to question or show your displeasure of the then Sri Lankan government.
Have you ever wondered why no one from Australia gets on a leaky boat and sets off to another country. Because this is a great country. Our lives are not in danger. Instead of waging war at the refugees, why don’t the big nations and its powerful leaders put sanctions on those corrupt governments. It’s not like we have not waged war with another country before for the same reasons. I recall the hunt for Sadam Hussain was such a noble cause. I know it’s not your responsibility nor jurisdiction to interfere with another country and it’s issues.
I understand that as a leader of a country you have no choice but to shake hands with another countries leader, even if you suspect him to have blood on his hands. I guess as a politician they are always on cross roads, but as citizens we hope that they would take the right turn at most times. There is no evidence of that in the recent times.
War is never pretty, most times it is unnecessary. My plea for my Australia is to avoid war and conflict like the plague. We know how to fight bush fires. I would think it would be similar methods to avoid war and conflict. Keep a tight eye on the known arsonists. Keep the public up to date with any signs – smoke, weather etc. Prevention is always better than a cure. In fact if we need to look for cures, it’s already too late. So prevention is the only way. Who comes under the category of Arsonists – there are from both sides inciting violence, I don’t really care if they Muslim or Christians, religion is for peace, if you want to wage war in the name your religion
PLEASE PISS OFF. Obviously you are unhappy in this peace loving country, so PLEASE PISS OFF. I humbly ask this of Rupert Murdoch and his crony’s as well.
In all this argument it may come across as I am mainly angry with our right wing ideologists. Well, I am no big fan of theirs. However, I always believe that there is two sides any issue.
I acknowledge that language is a very powerful tool. In order to change the way the society thinks and acts, many changes have been made. This has definitely helped us deal with race bias, religious bias, gender bias etc. However, I think the pendulum has gone too far to the opposite. The word ‘black’ has become a taboo word. It’s just a colour. People just take a chill pill. You don’t need to go to the extreme of changing the lyrics of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to Rainbow sheep. This is where I think political correctness has taken a ludicrous turn.
Extreme of anything is bad. Whether it be religion, even when fighting for a good cause, you can lose your way when you fail to see the other sides issues. Most of us believe that the weather is changing and the humans are a major cause of this. Most of us are happy to contribute towards a solution, however our ‘Greens party’ goes way over board.
Muslims/ Islam – well at present you cannot say that you are completely blameless.
I prefer to usually leave my blog at a cliff hanger. So I am going to do the same today. So tune into my next blog if you want to know what I think.
What a week it has been for the Australian Parliament. Many words got thrown around. Fiasco, Circus, insurgency – yes it was all of the above.
We the tax paying citizens are scratching our heads, while the master minds rejoice- I am not referring to Tony Abbott, I will come back to him later, in my opinion the real vermin no the eroding termites are Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt. Maybe lets give some credit to Ray Hadley as well.
Yes I refer to them as termites. Termites/white ants are the cause of the demise of many imposing structures and buildings. They start the erosion from within the structure, rather quietly. They do it slowly, one nip here and another bite there. Slowly gathering momentum. Racism and hatred evolves the same way. It doesn’t happen over night. It is slowly and carefully fueled. Until they know the frame work is under threat, then they come out guns blazing. By then it’s too late to save that building or structure. Same goes for our country and its progress. Just like, termites never build anything other than destroy perfectly good structures, racism and hatred never builds anything either, just destroys a perfectly good society. Sure, the society may have it’s issues but racism is never the answer.
Media plays a very important role in having a fair and successful democracy. In some countries their is no free press. Journalists in those countries and even from our country put their lives at risk to bring the truth to the public. My youngest son who aspires to be a foreign correspondent in the future holds such views in spite of my fears and reservations. I wonder if all this is worth it when you have the likes Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt undoing all the great work and sacrifice of true journalists.
I feel Democracy is in serious crisis. It’s not about what’s good for the country anymore. It’s about big businesses making deals and running the country the way it profits them. They have become bullies and politicians have become their puppets. Hide everything behind – politics is the art of compromise. You can only stretch that BS so far. And why are we the one’s who have been compromised at all fronts?
If a Muslim Mufti got on the airways and spoke the way Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt spoke could you imagine the back lash. If they had spoken the way that idiot MP (no one knew him before and I am not going to aid him to get publicity being a racist) spoke about the final solution, well the mufti’s final solution may have been the Sharia Law – the punishments for criminals would be arms being chopped off or worse. That would certainly bring down the crime rate. Unfortunately these people are great orators (both the likes of Alan Jones and the Mufti) they have the ability to steer people to listen to them and slowly convert them. They are vultures who are similar to cult leaders. Why is it when the Mufti speaks that’s hate speech, and the like of Andrew Bolt speaks that is freedom of speech?
Don’t be fooled people. None of their cries are for your benefit. It is purely for their own benefit. I come from a country where it was torn apart because our leaders decided to win the elections by playing the race card. Pearl of the Indian Ocean is now battered and torn and it’s citizens leaving it in drones. Once you have witnessed war, you will not invite it again. And this is why I am more than eligible to say what I am saying and going to say to both sides (to the far right white Supremacists and the new migrants).
I love this country so much. I have nothing but gratitude and I feel indebted to this country forever. I will do anything for this place. I will watch cricket at the wee hours of the morning. I wept when Steve Smith wept. I have watched so many reruns of the movie ‘Castle’ and many references are played out quite frequently at home. Still recovering from last nights Wallabies game.
But on a serious note, I pay my taxes, maybe grudgingly and yes I do everything I can to minimise what I have to pay. Well just like Kerry Packer said, I don’t think the Government is doing such a great job that I need to give them so generously. My 76 year old mother works 5 days as a volunteer. She takes multiple buses and trains to get to her destinations and spends her own money at times for these activities. The reason she says is that this country is so good to her and this is her small way of saying thank you. I have met so many others with the same attitude.
Let’s Mathias Cormann as an example, he was born in Belgium and migrated to Australia and became a Australian Citizen in year 2000 on Australia Day. My husband and I became Australian Citizens in year 1992 on Australia Day. So in terms of seniority I have 8 years on him. Then why would he be more of an Australian than I am just because he is a tad bit lighter in shade than I am. So this is my answer to the Right wing dinosaurs,
“sorry mate, I am here to stay”
I will do everything in my power, even if it is a small voice to keep this country as pure as it was when I reached it shores twenty eight years ago. I know mine is just a muffled voice compared to that of Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt. But, It is still a voice and if I could get the support of a few other muffled voices we may gather momentum. Who knows. But we can’t keep silent forever.
So above bashing is mainly about the issues of racism whites over black or Christianity vs Islam.
As person of colour, as person who is rather tanned, as person who might be considered brown or what ever other politically correct or incorrect way to refer me I would say I have earned the right to say the following. (In my next blog)
There is never a one sided problem. The other side, the new migrants, Islam, Burka are all issues that I will talk about in my next blog.
I leave you with the song from the Rolling Stones “Nobody wants yesterday’s papers”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.