I used to think I was an anglophile. When I was studying in Perth, Australia, I loved anything english, particularly pop culture, accents and music. Gimme male popstars with ambivalent sexuality and chips and egg and doc marten sub cultures. To be more accurate, I was, and sometimes still do consider myself, a britophile (or would that be a ukophile?). Scottish, Irish, English, give it. Oops, almost forgot the Welsh. Tom and Zeta Jones and all that.
But now that I have been away from Oz for so long, and have been catching up with old school and uni friends on Facebook, I am beinning to realise how much love I have for Australia.
Now, there's lots of things not to like about Australia, like some of its government policy and some of its people, heh! Nothing different from here, I would say. I guess because it's a part of my sentimental memory that it seems like such a lovely place to be. Oh, and its secularist society and fantastic, unique sense of humour are major pluses too.
To be honest, some of Australia' best exports belong to New Zealand, and even other countries further afield. Carrying on the spirit and zeal of their forefathers, Australians do like to colonise other peoples by claiming them as their own. Russell Crowe. Olivia Newton-John. Split Enz, who eventually became Crowded House. I don't think they have successfully appropriated Peter Jackson, and due to my absence from Australia, am unsure as to whether they tried.
I'm sure many of you have visited, lived in or studied in Australia as I have. Remember the ads on tv? Remember the quality of their programmes? Aaahhh, it's like remembering heaven while stuck in the quagmire of human ineptitude and stupidity that can be life in the big koala lumpy city.
For all you haters out there, it's not that I'm dissing KL. No. Human ineptitude and stupidity have an enormous capacity to transcend social, cultural and physical boundaries. Those qualities run rampant wherever there is insecurity, fear and small-minded self-involvedness. In other words, wherever humans congregate en masse in a daily, usual kind of way.
No, I am just remembering, and sentimentalising, the best of my memories of Australia. Four seasons. Fantastic landscape and its ability to move you in so many ways. Breathtaking space. Amazing sense of humour (a place where "shut the f**k up, you moron!" really can be a gesture of affection).
A programme on tv which i never had the chance to see was the glass house on abc tv, a government-funded channel. The culture of tall poppy syndrome runs rampant in Oz. On the one hand it can be negative. On the other, it means you don't have to suffer arrogrant, self-serving people for too long. You are expected to tell them to stop being arseholes! It also means politicians should expect to be accountable to their voters in a way that they aren't in laces like the UK or US, where either being polite or being PC takes precedence over being aherm, straightforward. Something you learn very quickly the Aussies usually are.
So on this programme, the hosts would criticise their leader for being a Bush stooge, and oh my god, nobody hauled them away or even reprimanded them. The politicians know that if they are seen to be restricting the people's right to express their opinions, it would be detrimental to their public image. I remember one moment on tv when the then Victorian premier, Ms Joan Kirner, appeared on one of my favourite programmes, The Late Show, singing a cover of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N Roll". It's great when people can laugh at themselves.
"....wehere women glow and men thunder..."