If Australia, as the Prime Minister claims, is the most successful multicultural country on the planet then we need to embrace that multiculturalism when accepting new citizens.
Immigrants to Australia have made immense contributions to our country and many did so without ever being able to speak English to native standards. Look at the many very successful Chinese, Vietnamese, Italians and Croats. Go to Chinatown and experience that some of those who serve you in restaurants barely speak English, and there are quite a few old Italians walking around Freo who have lived here for sixty plus years whose English language skills would not be good enough to get Australian citizenship today.
Fact is that holding on to one’s language, culture, food, traditions and religion when one migrates gives a sense of belonging, safety and security in a foreign country, even more so for those who were forced to leave their countries.
But it does not matter because the actual integration starts with the children and grandchildren of the original immigrants, and see how they too are successful with many immigrant children being the top students at high schools and in universities, to the benefit of Australia because they will become our future leaders.
By introducing questions about domestic violence to obtain citizenship the government emphasises difference in culture when it should realise that people change when migrating and most of them will accept the rules and laws of their new country, because most have been brought up to be law-abiding people no matter where they live.
Christians don’t break the law and kill people because the Bible preaches and eye for an eye, so why would Muslim men break Australian laws and beat their wife because the Koran says they can?
Domestic violence is rampant in Australia where drunken men beat up their female partners. Muslims don’t drink alcohol so it is more likely that there is less domestic violence in their culture because of that.
We need to have a bit of a reality check in our country. Politicians always talk about values when often they set the standards very low themselves, and many Australians still believe the urban myth of fair go and that we are the best country in the world.
As someone who was born in the Netherlands, where I lived for 19 years, and who lived in Germany for 13 years, before migrating to Australia 35 years ago, I have often been staggered by the racism, ignorance and lack of tolerance of many Australians. There is no doubt in my mind that Australia is more racist than those two countries.
The difference between the countries is that many Australians only tolerate foreigners and different cultures while the two European countries I lived in actually accept and respect migrants for what they are. That is a big difference we in Australia still need to work on.
The cute thing about it all is that all these bogans who get drunk on Friday night and eat kebabs, curries and fish&chips don’t realise they are eating Hahal food often prepared by Muslims.
Migrants from all over the world generously contribute to Australia. They volunteer in community groups, schools, mosques, churches, sporting clubs, etc. and their respect for their new country and involvement with their community makes up for their lack of English language skills.
My own personal experience travelling the world has been that most people are good, caring, compassionate, hospitable and law-abiding, but that there are morons and criminals in every culture and religion.
Accepting and respecting difference should be one of Australia’s core values because it enriches all of us and we should welcome those who want to commit themselves to become new Australians.
Clever word play at the Fremantle National Hotel.
International language students were on a fact finding mission in Fremantle on this glorious autumn morning, so I had to take these photos and give them some info about the Roundhouse and Whalers Tunnel.
I don’t know at al what limited apartments look like, so can only speculate. Is this one of those new Fremantle developments that does not require car bays for its new residents and will only supply bike racks?
Or are the apartments without a bathroom or kitchen or just very very tiny, or maybe limited means only affordable to those who have a lot of money to invest.
English language no easy, hey. I photographed the sign in Pakenham Street, corner Nairn.
It appears I have to get better at writing in the English language because I don’t seem to be communicating what I mean. The floodgates opened yesterday with people commenting on my article about the proposed parklet in Wray Avenue. It was a negative rant and against the parklet, etc. but that is simply not true! Contrary to some of the people who commented about parklets in general and don’t like them or that they take car parking bays away, I do support some parklets in appropriate locations around Fremantle.
This is the last paragraph of yesterday’s blog post “To make it very, very clear!! I support the parklet at Wray Avenue. I think it will look good and it will help to slow down the traffic a bit, but the cafe is a commercial enterprise like all other hospitality outlets in Fremantle and it should not get preferential treatment from the City of Fremantle. I wish them well with the crowd funding!
For the record. The proposed parklet would take away only two motorcycle parking spots but not a car bay. I hope because it is located near the new pedestrian crossover it might help slow down traffic and that is pretty important as I watched a Transperth bus almost ceaning up a lady who was crossing there. It might well be because the crossing does not look like an official zebra crossing so motorists don’t see the need to stop and give way. Maybe a couple of signs might help to make it safer, City of Fremantle?
So let me reiterate my sentiments about the funding of the parklet that is supposed to become a community hub. In my opinion it will become a de facto, pseudo extension of the alfresco area of Lenny the Ox cafe. It is a popular cafe and it does not have a lot of outdoor seating, so why would patrons not use the ‘community hub’ to have breakfast and coffee? It makes sense that they would and that is the whole point of my argument. For the City to fund it with $ 14,000 creates unfair competition because other hospitality outlets have been paying all the cost to create a parklet outside their cafe or restaurant. To say the intent is to make it a public space is lovely but pretty naive, because the reality will be that cafe patrons will be the main users of it, hence it should not be partly funded by the City of Fremantle, no matter what process was followed.
ROEL FOR FREO!. Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.
Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162
The Fremantle Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Arthur Head has new signs installed. It is good they have become a bit more visible as I still believe the centre should have been in a bigger and better venue in the centre of Freo. But it is a start that we hopefully can improve on in the future and have a higher profile Whadjuk Noongar venue in a more prominent location.
ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.
RECONCILIATION WEEK is celebrated at the Fremantle Town Hall today by the cities of Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville. The free event starts at 6 pm Wednesday June 3, and will offer music, dance, story telling, art, food and an evening of relaxation where we acknowledge the importance of Whadjuk Nyoongar culture.
The recent public debate about freedom of speech in the context of religion and terrorism is very interesting and complex. With freedom comes responsibility and consideration, especially being aware of cultural differences.
A word can mean something different for individuals and groups and when some of us flippantly joke about the many gods in this world, the mere mention of a god in a certain context can hurt and infuriate others for whom their god is sacrosanct.
As someone who occasionally uses sarcasm and cynicism I know that my words can do damage and they have cost me the odd friendship and have hurt partners. Being acerbic in cartoons and poking fun at certain cultures is received in my world as being funny and making social and political comments, but in other cultures the same words are received as an insult to ones faith.
Language is such a powerful tool to do good and bad and the fine nuances are often not recognised by those who send out the message that could be received totally different from what it is meant to say.
The other day while in a down mood I was wondering why I kept telling myself I was traurig. It is the German word for sad, but sad was not precise enough for what I felt, so traurig was the word I went back to. It’s that fine and tiny nuance that makes a world of difference when we communicate with other cultures and language groups. We do not understand how our words are being received, so hence we believe those we criticise are overreacting.
For Christians the word Allah is just a word, something to describe a god we don’t believe in, but for other people Allah is sacred, a way of life, a culture, and religion. The greatness of our gods should never be challenged because it is a belief in something intangible. There is no real proof our gods exist, but it is not up to us who don’t believe, or who believe in a different god, to question the importance of a religion and its god.
Freedom of speech requires freedom of thinking and tolerance and accepting that our words can deeply hurt even if we only mean to be a bit sarcastic or naughty.
KAYA! Good to see the WARDARNJI Aboriginal Festival is back at full strength with a large mob of Nyoongars and Wadjelas at the Fremantle Arts Centre this afternoon to celebrate WA’s indigenous culture.
There was music and dancing, painting and food and the kids had a ball being part of the performance.
Wardarnji has become a lovely tradition during the Fremantle Festival and it is moorditj to see so many people in the community embracing it.
If you want to find out more about Nyoongar history or learn the language, the Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Captain’s Lane on Arthur Head is open weekdays from 10 am till 1 pm.
The Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be open this Saturday 1st November, between 12pm-4pm, as part of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct Open Day.
THE ORIGIN OF DOTS AND DIDJERIDOOS. Perhaps the most recognisable components of Aboriginal culture are Dots and the Didjeridoo, but where did these cultural art forms originate? Come visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, view our artefact display and Aboriginal Art or take a tour and the richness and diversity of Aboriginal Culture including the origin of dots and didjeridoos. Tours start at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Next door the David Giles, Wild Twig and Glen Cowans art studios will also be open and down at beach level the J Shed mob of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jenny Dawson and Peter Zuvela also have open house, with live music and sausage sizzle.
It’s all part of the 2014 Fremantle Festival!