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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Are you multicultural or are you Australian?

Topic: Are you multicultural or are you Australian?

  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    845 posts
    6 August 2018
    Our Land

    We climbed the hill to look over our land:
    fields poor and few, stones, olive trees.
    Vineyards head toward the sea. Beside the plow
    a small fire smoulders. We shaped the old man's clothes
    into a scarecrow against the ravens. Our days
    are making their way toward a little bread and great sunshine.
    Under the poplars a straw hat beams.
    The rooster on the fence. The cow in yellow.
    How did we manage to put our house and our life in order
    with a hand made of stone? Up on the lintel
    there's soot from the Easter candles, year by year:
    tiny black crosses marked there by the dead
    returning from the Resurrection Service. This land is much loved
    with patience and dignity. Every night, out of the drywell,
    the statues emerge cautiously and climb the trees.

    Yiannis Ritsos
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Donte'
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    845 posts
    17 August 2018

    So here we are.

    Too foreign for home.

    Too foreign for here.

    Never enough for both.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Donte'
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    20 August 2018

    Today I was at the hospital having an endoscopy procedure. It all went well. It’s not the first time I have one of these. Like with many things in life; the anticipation and preparation is worse than the actual event.

    While waiting for hours at the patients area to be called, I was looking around me at the other people waiting also to be called for various procedures. The room was packed. Faces from all backgrounds, ages, genders, socioeconomic status etc. A really good represebration of Australia’s population.

    I couldn’t help but examine each one and think about their looks, age, family history, health status etc. - What brought them in here? Who’s critical? Who’s ok? Who’s leaving? Who’s staying...Who’s coming back?

    There were people from almost every country in the world. This was also reflected on the staff working there. Here and there I’d see a white-Anglo Australian. But 9 out of 10 were people from other ethnicities. Various languages were heard as conversations were taking place and multitudes of accents. Names I’ve never heard of were called by the nursing staff and reception.

    I was pondering upon who is Australian and who isn’t. How do all these people around me identify? What do they call themselves? What do others call them? And does it actually make any difference on how they identify? Is it the way we see our own selves and how we feel about who we are that counts or what others see and think? Self implies other. Black implies white. Sickness implies health...

    If I had the chance I would honestly do a survey! I would hand out hard copies of surveys and ask people to complete while waiting endlessly to be called. I think this could have been a great opportunity. It would have provided me with some raw, hands-on data about identity, multiculturalism, Australian people and perceptions.

    Maybe next time. I’ll need to be doing these procedures regularly from now on anyway...

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Donte'
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    16 September 2018
    I wish to live in a world without boundaries, countries... a world were anyone can travel anywhere...and call it home. It's so sad that some of us can't even travel anywhere other than their own country... I wish ...
    1 person found this helpful
  5. Summer Rose
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    27 December 2018 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    You make a great point. My husband's family is Irish and they arrived in the mid-1800s from Ireland to start a farming business. My husband is the fifth-generation running the business. But there would be no business without the wsves

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Summer Rose
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    27 December 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Grrr, hit post by mistake.

    What I wanted to say is there would be no business without the waves of immigrants that have arrived in Australia through the years. Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Cambodians, Albanians and the list goes on.

    Today three-quarters of our workforce originates from somewhere other than Australia -- including me. And it's a beautiful thing. A reflection of our diversity and strength as a nation.

    Kind thoughts to all

    2 people found this helpful
  7. james1
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    27 December 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Australia is definitely incredibly enriched by all the waves of immigration we've had over the years. It is sad that people feel threatened by immigration and perhaps forget the huge contribution immigrants have made and continue to make, but I think/hope it is getting better.

    3 people found this helpful
  8. Doolhof
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    27 December 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    It has been some time since this thread has been active. Thanks for your comments. All we need to do is walk down the street of any town and see diversity. Our ancestors all had to come from somewhere if we are not Aboriginal or First Peoples from this region.

    I'm sure there are some people who are not even aware of their heritage. I know my Father in Law keeps changing the story as to the roots of his family, and that is only going back one generation from him.

    Cheers all from Dools

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Lulu-
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    1 posts
    3 April 2021 in reply to Donte'

    Hi everyone,

    Just a view on my multiculturalism.

    l arrived in Sydney, Australia with my parents and younger brother in 1962 from Poland. He was 3 and l was 5.

    I have relatives in Poland, America, Canada and South Africa. Oh some in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and my brother lives in WA.

    l speak and understand the polish language, but cannot read or write polish. I am cool with that.

    I identify as an Australian, not in any way as polish.

    l do not have polish friends, l do not identify with the culture....(a) crazy catholic religious fanatics. An obsession with the Catholic Church....

    The drinking culture....vodka.

    Anyway having to attend every polish funeral as a small child and go to polish church every Sunday, absolutely turned me off this ritual.

    1/ that is it for today. Till next time

    2 people found this helpful
  10. quirkywords
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    3 April 2021 in reply to Lulu-

    Hi Lulu

    welcome to the forum.

    it is interesting how we identify culturally.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. blondguy
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    3 April 2021 in reply to Lulu-
    Hi Lulu

    Welcome to the forums and thankyou for being a part of our friendly community

    I'm half Scandanavian and no matter what our origins are its great to be a part of this wonderful country :-)

    My kind thoughts

    Paul
    2 people found this helpful
  12. randomx
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    2291 posts
    3 April 2021 in reply to blondguy

    l'm half French/ Irish but born here.

    Just from the record , Australia's immi rate is actually quite small compared, most countries take double what we do percentage wise, saw the numbers.

    rx

    1 person found this helpful
  13. bluenight
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    87 posts
    19 May 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    I see plenty of Muslims integrating/assimilating, there are some that aren't but the majority are hard working and contribute to society.

    There are radical or unsavoury elements of every group, not just Muslims, you just have to have to have an unbiased look around society.

    If you fear Islam, then maybe you should seek to understand it and learn about it if you haven't already

    I'm not sure what's happening where you live, I'm not in Vic, maybe there is a lot of crime or problems in some areas, but that doesn't mean that Islam or certain ethnicities are to blame. It's a human problem related to many things such as drugs, unemployment, trauma, mental illness, crime, broken families etc.

    Just like some areas that are mainly anglo, with a lot of drugs and crime, people don't say/think it's a Christian or white issue

  14. james1
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    27 May 2021 in reply to bluenight

    Hello bluenight,

    Thanks for your post. I agree - most of the issues we come across in life, that we attribute to things like race, are actually just human problems and crop up in every group, as you say.

    It's one of the fantastic opportunities we have here in Australia. Putting aside whether Australia is truly multicultural or not, because there's a very valuable debate that I don't really want to get into here, I think we can at least agree that there are lots of cultures here and we have a great opportunity to find the human qualities that bind us all - on these forums, it's the shared experience of mental illness and the compassion we have for each other.

    James

  15. randomx
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    2291 posts
    1 June 2021 in reply to james1

    Something l often think about with this thread. You know , you could go to any country in the world and it'd be 20 or 30yrs before you were considered whatever the nationality , more often probably never . That wouldn't only be Australia no way known.

    l even have an Asian mate living in the states last 5yrs and he said it wasn't bad at first being Asian there but the last two yrs there's been a real anti Asian sentiment through the states , not sure why . So he's been having a lot of troubles of late and he's moving back home to Aus soon.

    Also my ex was Italian and first lived in London and the states 20yrs, but she was always called Italian , never once English or American. My brothers spent 25 yrs in China and Asia , and he's still shut out , all the time.

    So you know , it is a huge thing changing countries , really is. Although there's so many things lately l hate about what Australia is becoming about this last decade or two , the Australian earth itself , the Australian soil , it's country, love it or hate it is my soil , and l really don't think l could live on another soil now. lt must take amazing courage and leaps of faith to change countries, l really take my hat of to people that do and wish them every happiness in their choice and l admire the hell out of them.

    rx

    3 people found this helpful
  16. james1
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    7 June 2021 in reply to randomx

    So true rx. It's not a problem to do with any particular country, and I think people just need to learn how to be more accepting of others.

    I was born in Aus, grew up in Aus, and never lived anywhere else. English is the only language I'm fluent in, and I have an obvious Aussie accent. But because my parents were born in China, I still get treated differently like an outsider sometimes.

    Yet I also know that if I was to move to China, where I look the same as everyone there but don't know the language or customs well, I'd still be treated differently like an outsider.

    In other words, growing up in a country different to where my parents/grandparents grew up means I don't really fit in anywhere. Neither my home country, or my parents' home country.

    It's an interesting problem, and one that faces a lot of people I imagine.

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Summer Rose
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    7 June 2021 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    It made me really sad to read that you feel you "don't really fit in anywhere", as I took it to mean you might feel quite isolated and disconnected from your fellow Australians and perhaps still be seeking acceptance in your own country. Is this the case?

    I was born overseas, raised overseas and have lived in Australia for some 30 years beginning in my late twenties. I really feel that I belong here and in my country of origin.

    It's interesting how our experiences are so different and I'm wondering why. I can only assume it's the outcome of our lived experiences and mindset. I would be interested to know what you think?

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  18. james1
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    12 June 2021 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thanks for your reply to me.

    I do feel like Australia is my home and I belong here. What I mean by not fitting in anywhere is that my immediate acceptance of my Australian identity is not shared by others in Australia, and I cannot communicate effectively if I go back to China.

    To explain this better, the reason why that matters to me is that I do not actually spend a lot of time with friends (who would obviously know I'm from here), and I get most of my social interaction with strangers. Then when it comes to interactions with strangers, my experience is that most people tend to gravitate towards people who look like them. So despite living in a country with many different cultures, the people I tend to interact with just end up looking like me. Which is not an issue, except it just hammers home the idea that to others, I am Chinese, before I am Australian. Yet, to my forever shame, I can barely speak any Chinese.

    So, Australia is my home because I call it so. But my experience so far is that many people assume I'm from elsewhere, other a few others would just outright disagree with me.

    It doesn't bother me too much, but it does affect my life.

  19. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    12 June 2021 in reply to james1

    James

    I read your post with sadness and interest as my baby grandchild has an Asian parent and I wonder what his future will be.
    I was optimistic till I read how you navigate your life. I understand what you are saying and wonder when my grandchild is an adult whether he will feel like you.

    I notice how people look surprised when I proudly show off my baby photos.

    I am so glad. I live in a multicultural society that has enriched our lives.

  20. randomx
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    2291 posts
    14 June 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Sorry to hear that james .

    My ex didn't like the US at all , or Americans and just never fitted in either. She did like the UK and felt far more at home there . lt must all be such a difficult thing. l grew up in Melbourne and had mates of many different parent Nationalities . My mum was French dad Irish l was born here mum came over early 20s , dad even younger. Mum always got mad in French but spoke English right through my childhood but with an accent , dads was almost Australian really and we all grew up with Australia accents.

    I wouldn't have thought twice about Asian Australian mates with mates with parents from all over. l use to love goin to their houses and trying out there mums cooking haha.

    rx

    1 person found this helpful
  21. Summer Rose
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    14 June 2021 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    It was helpful to me to better understand your experience, so thank you very much for sharing. Like others, I feel quite sad for you.

    Makes me wonder how my adult children feel and will explore with them. They are both well accepted and always have been amongst their friends, etc. But I do know they are often asked by strangers where they are from.

    So am I, but it doesn’t bother me at all. The question just opens the door to a conversation.

    Kind thoughts to you

  22. james1
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    16 June 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello quirkywords, rx and Summer Rose,

    Really nice to hear all your thoughts. It feels like you're all more sad about it than me, haha!

    It seems everybody's experience of finding a home and belonging in Australia is different, and I certainly don't mean to speak for any Chinese Australians other than myself. I tend to look at ethnicity and culture being just one part of my own experience. Family attitudes, friendship groups and personal values are all other factors that mix with ethnicity and culture, and this will vary wildly for everyone.

    I actually see my cultural differences overall as a real opportunity, and I love learning to cook and share Chinese foods. I even like talking to strangers about my experience of my Chinese heritage. I don't think any of this is bad at all. I just hope that, as Australia becomes increasingly diverse, the perception of what being 'Australian' means also gets wider.

    James

    1 person found this helpful
  23. randomx
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    2291 posts
    16 June 2021 in reply to james1

    l didn't have anything sad about it myself, growing up in Melb doubt you couldn't have gotten much more diverse than my area but it was just life as usual never thought twice about any differences. l liked them, people were just people.

    1 person found this helpful

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