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
This blow has come out of left field. Not a complete KO, but it has definitely shaken up the ground below. I find myself in an unusual territory. Logic is refusing to stay put in my head. I keep pleading it to stay put, but unknown to me it keeps escaping leaving a stuffed dummy in its place.
Well, I know I am genetic mess. But, the realization that I could have passed on this mess to my kids seems very hard to swallow. No one is blaming me, especially my kids. But I wish they would just scream at me. Show me that they are angry for what I am going to put them through. But they joke and carry on like nothing.
It is probably going to be nothing. And I am worrying over nothing. Why am I being such a pessimistic heap of mess? I know the logic, let’s do the test and then worry if we have something to worry about. That would be the advice I would be giving someone else in that situation. I am no stranger to waiting for test results. It has never worried me, but this time I am a mess. I have to be strong for the boys. I will be. Just give me today to rant and rave.
I was supposed to be a miracle for my parents. When I survived the horrible cancer, once again it was considered a miracle. Yes, I could either be called “special”, “unique” or another apt word “weird”. I am a genetic error. This is not me blurting out in anger. That is the scientific word used in my report, I have a genetic error.
All I ask for is to leave my kids alone. I will go through anything, I am happy to say “Que sera sera” and deal with absolutely anything, I will endure anything, just leave my kids out of it.
To the man up there, just in case he doesn’t get it. A mother goes through nine months of pregnancy and then hours of horrid labour, she endures it all, so that her child will be born unharmed. From day one her model was built to protect that child. She was programmed to fight for her child no matter the size or might of the opponent. She has no turn off button.
So a word to the man up there, you are lower than a tadpole when you do this to a mother. Ask any mother, they will happily take the plague or worse, if that would save her child.
Final words to the man up there, “leave my kids alone” – PLEASE.
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 blackman /woman stood by the whites eg: in 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. Sri Lanka 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 or false victim 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 own 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, eat, drink, laugh and live. 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.
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.
So I thought it is only fitting that I talk about some of his monumental “putting his foot in it” moments. Not that he is the one who feels embarrassed or awkward, I am usually the one left to cover up the situation.
I could write a book about these incidents but unfortunately some of them might be far too politically incorrect. Almost all of them are politically incorrect but if I avoid them I won’t have anything to write about.
Before you judge him, yes he is politically completely incorrect. However, he has the most amazing heart. He will help anyone with any colour, race or religion, but don’t ask him to recite Baa Baa rainbow sheep.
Here we go, with one of the gems.
We had been invited to another Aus/Sri Lankan family for dinner. There were many people there and we didn’t know many of them. That has never been a deterrent for my husband to completely take over the conversation. While he was holding the fort in the lounge room I went into the kitchen to help the host. Suddenly the host rushed in and frantically starts to talk to me.
She goes “Uma, you need to hurry, your husband, he is talking about religion(anti)”, and she points to a couple and says, “they are very strong Christians, you need to make him stop”, I tried to get his attention without raising others attention, but to no avail. The man was very impressed with his audience and he wasn’t going to give up the floor any time soon. The said couple kept quiet and didn’t voice their opinion or objection. The long night finally ended. And each guest was now finally leaving one by one. We were about to leave and my husband notices ‘The couple’ waiting. They make eye contact and they answered to a question we never asked “we are not from Sydney, we are just about to call for a cab”.
All night, I have been trying very hard to avoid them and to keep my husband away from them as well. But alas, my husband asks them where they were staying and announces that it in fact, that place was on our way and would love to offer them a lift. My heart just sank. I have no idea why but the couple accepted the offer. It was a long awkward drive back home.
“I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we’ll call you on the 19th and we can talk more. How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise…”(Cont.. from part, I suggest that you read part 1 before you proceed.)
I am back at work after all the New Year celebrations. It was the 7th of January, our office was relocating premises. I was busy coding all the computers and its wires and extensions. I was under the desk when the phone rang. I just let it ring, as I wanted to get this done. Sherrie who was at the reception popped in at the door and said “Uma why aren’t picking up the phone? it’s your mum on the line” Mum never rings me at work. Immediately my thought goes to Arj my four year old, he was not the healthiest of kids. I grabbed the the phone, mum started to slowly speak. She said “Uma it’s not good news…” and she paused. My mind starts racing and my hearts joins in too. Mum continues “In Canada..Rama…”, I thought it was my uncle, she finishes the sentence. My dear cousin had met with an accident and they believe he had passed away.
My racing heart came to a complete stop. So did my mind. It went blank. Other than that one voice that just kept interjecting “No way, Not true”. Brian my boss realised that something was wrong. So did the others. They made a cup of coffee and sat and talked me, they wanted to me to calm down before I started driving.
I start driving, I start planning my thoughts, I will go home and give a call to my sister in law to confirm the news. This news came from other people not directly from the family. They were still at the hospital as per the sources. I was convinced he has somehow pulled through. There was no way he could be gone. No Way. No Fricking way. He is only forty years old, his wife/my buddy is only thrity five. He has two small kids. No Way, No He Can’t Go. I just spoke to him to seven days ago. No Way, Not True”. My mind kept chanting those words.
I am in one of the back streets. I hear a big thud, I look through the rear view mirror. A big Gum Tree branch just falls millimeters behind my car. One millisecond earlier I would have been under that gum tree. Same, same slightly different. Force of the twins now attacking the kids?? Just a mere coincidence?? Maybe.
Between my cousin and me, I am the noisy one. He was the calm, passive and quiet one. He broke all those rules when he went. He sent shook waves through the entire nation, the family and extended family. No one could fathom what had just happened. But apparently that is life.
It just took one momentary lapse of concentration for that woman to drive through a red light and take out my cousin who was taking a left turn, to cause such carnage and misery. Some of us felt angry, some of us felt some kind of empathy but overwhelmingly all of us felt lost. I felt robbed. I didn’t have a sibling of my own and even the one that I treated as my own brother was now taken. I had to shun my emotions to soldier on Jan’s (my sister-in-law). I hope God wasn’t listening to me then, if he was he was he would have rather shocked at the language I was using at him. My personal observation here is that he screwed up well and truly on this case.
Time passed, his wife (my sister in law and friend) had accepted the sentence that ‘The Life’ gave her and of the sentence the court gave the other woman, the best way she can. His kids grew with the remnants of the memories of their dad, and his parents struggled on, watching their grand kids to get a glimpse of their late son. We blamed FATE for their destiny and moved on.
I had turned Forty the previous year in June. So I was forty and six months on the 7th of January 2006. I was on my way to my mum’s house with some essentials, bread, milk etc. She was returning from Sydney that night and I wanted to put these things in her house before her arrival. I was at the intersection waiting to turn right ( For those from the Americas, this would be like taking a Left turn for you), the lights change to green. After a quick flick of the head to the right I start to move. I hear someone’s horn, not sure which direction it came from. But there was a car coming at a speed from the right. It all took just a split second. I saw the other car driver right front of me. I was sure I was gone that day, that very minute. I felt jolt at the front, but the car drove off and I was still alive.
I was frozen for a few seconds. I am not sure how I managed to brake in time, how/why the car behind me didn’t hit me. I pulled into a side road to inspect the damage to the front of the car. My number plate was screwed up. That’s it nothing else. Not another scratch. But can you imagine how close the other car was if it had touched my number plate.
Both cousin and I meeting with a similar accident on the 7th Jan and we were both at the exact age seems a little bit more than a coincidence to me. Then again I don’t know if I am reading too much into it, to feel the connection between him and me.
I survived he didn’t, my uncle survived my dad didn’t. Same, Same but different seems to be the theme in our lives. It all has to be a mere coincidence.
The Universe is a one big question mark. Do we have all the answers? I guess in the scientific world most things can be rationalized as a mere coincidence and in the world of Mystic and spirituality it is Fate or a Miracle.
I ponder where I sit with those words. I straddle between Agnosticism and Spirituality. I say spirituality and not religious, because my practice of religion is slightly different to the norm. I do make the occasional visit to the Hindu temple. I would kneel down at the chapel and same at Buddhist temples. It is just a place where it is peaceful and quiet to gather my thoughts, my fears, my appreciations, my hopes.
I do believe in the possibility of a God or a higher being. But do I believe in total submission? I find it hard to believe that “God” would be so vain that he needs your prayers/praise. I would think he is above all that. If I was God, I would rather my disciples live peacefully than create wars on my behalf. Hence the reason for me to give up on religion but embrace the creations of God, fight to preserve the good and pray for the ultimate miracle “chocolate to lose weight”. Maybe I should start a religion. My slogan would be “For the love of chocolate”. Gone off track again. In my last birth I must have been a Gold fish. Promise some serious epiphany in the next paragraph. So please read on.
I believe in doing good simply because it is the right thing to do. And what feels right to me, not because it was written in some book. I do sit on the cross roads of gray at times. Educate yourself and thy neighbor. If it is a subject that you don’t know much about (eg Islam, LGBTQ and what ever else that you have not grown up with), Educate before you swallow in assumptions and rumors.
So do I believe in Fate? Whether it be a great outcome or it be a disastrous one, I/we tend to lean on the word “Fate”. It is fate that two people met and fell in love. It is also fate that their love didn’t last forever. I think in the latter we would say “it wasn’t meant to be”. Someone meets with an accident and dies, well that was fate. He survives that’s a miracle.
Questions, confusion… well then is blind faith the answer, but then again not everything can be answered by Science either. So what is the answer. Most times chocolate seems to do the trick.
The following are a trail of incidents that happened between my dad and his twin brother, not just the two of them, but by all of us in their circle.
My dad and my uncle aren’t Identical Twins. In fact they are polar opposites in their looks and behavior. All their lives they had things happening to them which are similar but opposite as well. Yes I note the oxymoron, but read on…
My dad – Tall, Studious, funny, passive, pretty ordinary in Sports
My uncle – short, Studies – questionable, funny – more questionable, passive – definitely not, amazing in sports
My dad – One Daughter
My uncle – One Son
So here starts the explanation for the oxymoron similar but opposite. One kid each but one had a girl and the other a boy.
Now both these kids (ie the daughter is thy self) without prior thinking or planning ended up marrying into the same family. Please concentrate Sri Lankan Family Tree being explained, My husbands sister(my sister in law who happens to be my bestie) married my first cousin. Again we didn’t plan it that way. We were all living in different parts of the world at that time.
Now these two men, my cousin and my now husband share the same first name. They both worked on ships. Here comes same but opposite. My hubby joined as a Deck Cadet and ended up as the ships Captain. My cousin joined the engine room and ended up as Ships Chief Engineer. Coincidence?? I shrug my shoulders.
My sister in law and myself both studied Science subjects but ultimately ended up in banks. She was in retail banking, I was in Corporate Banking, foreign exchange and financial markets. Same same but slightly different. I got out of it after sometime but remained in accounts based jobs. Coincidence?? I purse my lips.
My Aunty and my mum were both heading for a Hysterectomy. My aunt’s surgery was scheduled for September and my mum’s was in November. It was school holidays so mum decided to make a trip to her home town so she could be of assistance to my Aunty. The day of surgery dawns, my dad, mum and my uncle all accompany my aunty to the Hospital. Once my Aunty was wheeled back from the surgery mum and dad decided to head back home. It was rather late in the evening. On their return journey my mum broke her leg while getting off the bus. She had to be taken back to the hospital and had to undergo emergency surgery for her leg and was on the next bed to my Aunty. So the wives of the twins were attacked by the”Twin Force” too. Coincidence? Yes okay, I am happy to put that down to coincidence. Read on.. spooky stuff on its way.
Life wasn’t meant to be happy all the time. I am not sure if its not meant to be but it never is. My dad said good bye to us at the age of Fifty Three. My uncle was living miles away in a farm felt a pang in his chest on the night of my dad’s passing and the next morning he was delivered with this shattering message. The funeral rites are usually done by the son. My cousin was out at sea at that time, my uncle was then asked to do the rites. The priest chanted the mantras and was instructing uncle how to do the various rituals. I have never seen my uncle so subdued. Tears just poured down his cheeks as he was performing the last rites for his twin brother. I thought it was almost cruel to have asked him to do the rites. He later told me that it was really hard but also felt it was fitting and was his privilege.
A few months later. My uncle was about to catch a bus to another village. Just before he boarded the bus, he had an informal chat to this shop keeper/friend/acquaintance. I am just picturing the scene, uncle with a cup of tea or coffee, having a chat with this other bloke, knowing my uncle, he was probably complaining about some one or something. Finishes his cuppa and says “anyway I am off” and gets on the bus. A few hours later the shop keeper hears that the bus that just left had met with a horror accident. So this man rushes out in his car looking for the bus. These are remote areas. So I am guessing they just had the one ambulance, which had already left with injured survivors. They had left the deceased on the road to come back for later. The shop keeper found my uncle on the road left for dead. His nose and ears ripped off, with multiple fractures but somehow this man felt that he was still alive. So he rushed my uncle to the hospital with all the bits of pieces that were beside him. He was patched up and came out good as gold. So he had a near death experience but he survived.
We had our kids and settled in Australia and them in Canada. I was very close to my cousin. Both without any siblings of our own considered each other to be brother and sister. When we were young, my cousin would spend most of his school holidays at our place, he could accompany my dad to the lab and study with dad. At younger days he would teach me Caram (a board game played in most parts of the sub continent). We did sometimes fight especially when I get caught cheating in card games. It progressed from Caram to tutoring me Physics as I neared year 12. It is really bizarre how we both happened to marry into the same family. Fate, coincidence… what ever it was, it made us very close.
I think it was year 2000 or 2001, I think it was just after the Sydney Olympics, the four of them came over to Sydney for a holiday. We celebrated my cousin’s 40th at our house. Jan (my sister in law) and I were being are normal selves. We raided all the shops and made our husbands shiver. Life was beautiful. This was in May. Clocks strikes 12.00 on the 31st Dec and we receive a call from the two of them. Excited as ever wishing us Happy New Year. We didn’t talk for long as both of us wanted to ring other people as well. It’s our wedding anniversary on the 19th of Jan. I remember my cousin telling me clearly, we call you on the 19th and we can talk more. How was I to know that he wasn’t going to keep that promise.
I am going to leave it at that for the moment. Promise to continue soon. Keep pondering Fate or coincidence.
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.