Saturday, 15 August 2009

It Won't Be Long Now

Nothing could have made me happier than to see that sing outside of Kmart that read "Kmart hours now, Monday to Friday, 8am to 9pm". Either this is a new thing, or I haven't been paying attention, but I am overjoyed to know that (aside from Thursday nights in the suburbs and Friday night in the city), there is more open after 5pm that just Bunnings and the supermarket. I've never been much for the blue light special, but pickers can't be choosers in Australia. I hope this means Target and Big W will be soon to follow, then the entire shopping centre, and in years to come, all businesses in Oz.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Patriotism and Identity

I've always felt that there was a lot of truth to the supposition that if you don't know who or where you come from, then you can't know (entirely) who you are. To that extent, if you don't know how you fit into your own environment, you can't identify with that culture, and once again, you don't know who you are. A result of misplaced patriotism, racism, and a lack of acceptance of multiculturalism, is the creation of a nation of people who don't know who they are. With each wave of immigration in the US, there has been a corresponding wave of discrimination, and therefore a lack of integration by each new culture into the existing one. America is, to some extent, a nation of teenagers trying to figure out who they are. Australia is quickly following suit.

As mentioned in my last post, I spent some time the other morning reading an article in The Australian Literary Review section of The Australian called Seizing the Sauce Bottle. Tim Soutphommasane speaks to the topic of progressivism in politics, and patriotism as an ideal that should be upheld not as a hindrance to change, but rather the opposite. Too often, we think of patriotism as something that is held as a conservative or racist value rooted in ignorance. As Tim states in his article:
"Loving your country does not mean adhering
to unquestioned myths or mindlessly repeating slogans
but being prepared to contribute to the improvement
of your community or culture."

It raises the questions, what can we, as immigrants, do to contribute, and how have our perspectives on patriotism changed in respect to our views on both oour home and new country, after the move.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Daily Paper

I never read the newspaper when I was living in the US. The two local papers held no interest, and it often seemed to me that too much emphasis was placed on which paper you were meant to be reading, based on your ethnic background and/or where you lived in the Chicagoland area. I was also young and uninterested in what was going on locally, which seemed to be the focus of those two papers. Even though world events and travel were more of a focus, even if only in a more general sense, god forbid I think about reading anything from New York, which might have provided a larger world view. The first time the newspaper grabbed my attention was when I was living in the UK. I'd often grab The Guardian on the weekend, and sit reading it for a few hours. I was fascinated. This English paper seemed much more interesting, offering a more socially conscious, and less biased view, than anything I'd read before, on a broader range of topics. The problem with the Australian newspapers, according to what Aussie history and political perspectives I'd read about before arriving here, was that all the media in this country appeared to be controlled by one man, Rupert Murdoch. As a consequence, I haven't bothered much with the paper here, until today. The Advertiser seemed too local, and The Australian too gloomy. This morning, however, a caption on the front page of work's copy of The Australian grabbed my attention. The Battle for Patriotism, it reads, with a subheading of 'Rethinking Oz literature'. More to come later, but if you have access to The Australian today, I encourage you to read the article, Seizing the Sauce Bottle, in The Australian Literary Review. It's the best bit of Australian journalism I've come across in my time down under.