The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I had a piece of fan-fiction dedicated to me!! Thank you so much talesofspike! As I commented to her, there are some days when I know that I have received more from the Buffy fandom than I could have ever anticipated. For kassto - winning by 2 runs is not a walkover. Our boys did good!!!!

I am pretending that the sore throat and blocked sinuses is just a sympathy thing for sick hubbie - I so can’t afford the time to be sick right now.

In regards to ‘terrorism’, our Prime Minister has told us that we have to be alert and alarmed – I’m pleased to see that people are taking this warning to heart. This afternoon I was on the way out of the local shopping centre, trolley full of groceries, when I heard a male voice behind me say "oh, look out, we’d better be careful". I looked around and saw a Muslim couple with a baby in a stroller - the wife had on a face veil (not a full burkha). I initially thought the guy behind me was having a joke – he then went on to comment to his wife "people who wear motorcycle helmets have to take them off in places like this, why should she be any different?" I was gob-smacked. John Howard would be so pleased – I can only cry in despair. We were once proud of our multi-culturalism, embracing the difference, now we are becoming racists, afraid of that very difference that was once celebrated. My pride in being Australian is being diminished a little every day .
  • Current Mood: infuriated infuriated
*sends virtual chicken soup and sinus medication*

Thank you, I've dosed up on Sinutab, it's eased the congestion slightly. I'm just hoping it doesn't turn into tonsilitis - only have to wave a cold near me, and my tonsils flare up.

need to be wary of a man and a woman and their child.

That was one of the things I found particularly appalling about the whole thing (that and the fact that I was so incensed but didn't say anything to them - I feel that I'm just as much in the wrong for not speaking out). It's one thing hearing about things on TV, it's another to experience it firsthand. We really are all now living in a culture of fear.
It's not just Australia. One of the forerunners for the leadership of the conservative party made some sort of comment about the time for multi-culturalism being over and if people want to live here they should assimilate themselves to the British way of life.

The right-wing is basically using everyone's fear and ignorance to relaunch their tired old jingoism. There are always going to be some who fall for it and there are also going to be those with a bit more sense.
I don't think it is jingoism to suggest there should be a certain amount of assimilation -- eg an understanding and appreciation of the laws, language and values. And I think it works both ways too. I've visited a Muslim country and been extremely uncomfortable at the mainly white Australian tourists there showing absolutely no sensitivity to local feeling by wearing extremely brief bikinis on the street. A little adaptation is called for.
I suspect that this is a subject that it's best just to admit that we're unlikely to agree on.

When you start to set standards as to what is "assimilated enough" then you start to impinge on people's basic right to be their own person.

If people can't dress how they want and follow the religion of their choice, provided it doesn't harm or cause offence to others, then it's not just the individual but society as a whole that loses out.
I'm sorry you think we're unlikely to agree when you know so little of what I do think! I think the whole notion of how ``assimilated'' immigrants should become is an extremely important one, and one which both Britain and continental European nations are really grappling with now. I know the Netherlands, in particular, is undergoing deep soul-searching in that direction, since the murder of prominent figures who have made criticisms of some aspects of Islamic culture.

I see you were telling Deb you agreed with Tony Blair's line in making sure British Muslims were not all tarred with a terrorist brush. I listened to Blair's speech the other day and heard him making statements about immigrants and their allegiance to Britain that sounded very much like he wanted them to become more assimilated -- to the extent that I mentioned above, ie having an appreciation and understanding of the laws, values and language of the country they were making their new home. If I were to emigrate, I would expect nothing less of me, that I would make an effort to ``fit in'' without compromising my individuality, religion or culture. I think trying to find the right place to draw that line is extremely important. Blair has decided to take a harder line, and in light of what's been happening in Britain, one can hardly blame him.

I also heard Pakistan's high commissioner to London say recently that even he thought that some Pakistanis in Britain should make more of an effort to assimilate. That's hardly knee-jerk rightwing jingoism.
if people want to live here they should assimilate themselves to the British way of life.

Ahh, that good old stand by. We went through that with Pauline Hanson a few years ago, except it was aimed at Asians (and as I've just learnt in one of my subjects, this term is applied to people from the Indian sub-continent in Britain - here it means immigrants from Asia proper - China/Vietnam etc). In her maiden speech to parliament in 1996 Pauline said in part "and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40% of all migrants into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist but if I can invite who I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country. A truly multicultural country can NEVER be strong or united and the world is full of failed and tragic examples, ranging from Ireland to Bosnia, to Africa and closer to home, Papua New Guinea. America and Great Britain are currently paying the price." Our governments are doing a great job of creating a culture of fear, and by doing so are also creating (or re-creating) nations fearful of the nominated 'other'.

Actually, one thing that I think Tony Blair has got absolutely right as regards this whole situation is that he has made a point of saying that the blame does not lie with the muslim community as a whole, who are as appalled by what has happened as everyone else.

He's done as much, I think, as he reasonably can to try to minimise any backlash against what we Brits refer to as Asian immigrants. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen.
Well we've just watched an interview on morning TV with a young leader of a Muslim group whose equivalent group has been banned in Britain for suspected terrorist activity. Apparently in our governments' eyes this includes speaking out against the war in Iraq and 'coalition of the willings' involvment in it - funny I could have sworn that was freedom of speech, not terrorist activity. The world is getting scarier by the minute.
But a lot of this argument here depends on how you interpret the word ``assimilation''. It's all a matter of degree. You can take Hanson's intepretation (which I would call an extreme one), or you can take a fairly mild one which countries like Britain are now starting to insist on, believing now that they have been harbouring a viper in their bosom, so to speak.
assimilation''. It's all a matter of degree.

Ah, there's the rub - deciding on the degree, and agreeing on it. Assimiliation can be very close to absorption - you don't need to be subsumed totally by the dominant culture to respect the country you choose to live in.
The words ``walkover'' never crossed my mind. Why would they? I aint blind! I thought it was a fantastic match.
The words ``walkover'' never crossed my mind.

Just pulling your leg, my dear! Did you see the spin on that ball from Warnie - it really is hard to be proud of him as a cricketer when he's such a prick, but he can bat and he can bowl!
That spin was amazing -- my father kept going on about it on the phone -- reckoned the Aussies couldn't lose with that sort of spin.

Yeah, I thought that about Warne too -- such a big dork, but boy he's still got it, the big slob. That batting at the end just drove me nuts -- you'll see in my post, I was too chicken to watch it and went to bed. Britain's Sun newspaper had the perfect headline: ``We thought we'd cocked it up!'' (quoting Vaughan).

Sorry if I sounded snippy. I don't make the mistake of ever underestimating your team!

You know, all nationalistic posturing aside, what I really like is a good contest. I'm not interested in walk-overs by anyone, even the Black Caps. And this was a bloody fantastic contest, at a beautiful ground, with a wonderful crowd (did you see all their fab dress-ups at the weekend) and great characters and sportsmen doing their damndest. Couldn't ask for more. And being drawn one-all just sets the whole thing up for a great series.
We came in when there were 32 to get (had been catching up with Dr Who from the previous night - how much do I love this show!!), and then couldn't move away. As you say, walk-overs are boring. It looks like the third test will be a humdinger! The crowd was a riot - wonderful dress-ups ;).

I just wish people could accept others for who and what they are - and that means EVERYTHING. Culture, sexuality, politics...all this stuff. I just don't understand why the world has to be this way. I mean, obviously, it's just human nature. But I still don't get it and it makes me sad. :-(

Right there with you, Emma, and in some ways it is human nature, but I also think a lot of it at the moment is being actively encouraged by our governments, and that not only makes me sad, but also mightily angry.
That's it. :-(

I think Rodney King said it best when he cried out, "Why can't we all just get along?".



Don't really have a view myself about assimilation and the like, apart from hating Pauline Hanson, I don't really have an intelligent argument against her views other than "she's racist!", but being racist seems to be acceptable to many people nowadays, so. *shrugs*

But being an immigrant myself (came to Australia from Hong Kong 12 years ago), I have to say that I don't see how the degree of a person's assimilation is necessarily a reflection of their sense of belonging or respect for the country.

I mean, I would consider myself fairly assimilated - hell, I basically grew up here and I love Australia - but till this day I still get comments that ultimately are trying to say, "oh, I'm really surprised that you can speak English well" which really irks me because - bloody hell, what's it take to be treated like everyone else? Of course I can speak English well, I've been living here almost all my life. My English is far from perfect, but I am not a foreigner. :(

Thankfully, I have never gotten negative comments, and generally the comments I refer to above are mostly subtle and positive (and it never happened in a professional or academic setting), but the feeling is not always nice, even though they mean well. I know, my reaction is probably irrational and a bit unfair, but fighting that "Asian = foreigners = not Australian" preconception is starting to get to me. Or, at least it feels that way to me, that that's how people view me.

That said, I do know that many of the immigrants keep to their community, for example my parents read Chinese newspapers for news from Hong Kong, eat Chinese food most of the time, and watch Asian tv/movies mostly. They simply like that better because it's their culture (mine too), and as long as that's not offensive to other people, I honestly can't see anything wrong with doing what they feel most comfortable with.
I agree with all your comments. I've never really understood the whole assimiliation thing (to me it smacks of what the government attempted to do to Indigenous Australians) - why should you have to forget about the culture that makes you who you are, and allow yourself to be taken over by the dominant culture of the country you have chosen to live in - it's a nasty dose of Star Trek's the Borg, if you ask me.
Oh blargh. Re: politics, I had another knock-down drag-'em with my lovely mom last week over the internet. She shared with me her newfound belief that Muslims were the only religion that preached hate: I brought up Jewish and Christian and Hindu fundamentalism, all of which tends to believe that they know what the one true way is, and that the ends justify the means. I suggested that I've actually read the Koran in English translation, which she hasn't, and that I didn't actually see more hate than the Bible (which for us is the Old Testament, of course), which is full of nonsense. Interestingly, I read a very good commentary this week about political terrorism wrapping itself in religion, using as a case study the Zealots, Jews who were trying to get the Romans out of what is now Israel 2000 years ago, and who had lots of good bible phrases to support terrorizing the innocent. I think we are entering another era of crazy talk, and not just in Australia. Alas.
I was only making a passing observation, and it turned into a bit of a thing - LJ's a funny world. The real one, not so funny.
Well, yes, LJ is a funny world. On the other hand, if I heard some idjit making an unfunny racist hurtful comment as a matter of course, I would mention it as a significant fact in my journal.
Didn't mean to imply it was insignificant, just that it always surprises what types of feedback you get from a comment.