With our recent celebration of “Australia Day” here I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be Australian.
Often when something happens people will say that was really Un-Australian.
Most people have a feeling what that means but what does it mean to be Australian.
1. Lets to to wikipedia and see how they define it-
Sorry Wikipedia that does not quite do it for me!
2. Here is a recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald
okay that tells a little more but still not quite what I had in mind.
Let me give a try here then
A) The concept of “fair go” = this is a concept that means no matter your color, station in life, how much money you (don’t) have- everyone is equal and deserves an equal opportunity. Fair go means everyone is equal to each other- no one is better than anyone else.
Fair go is a major value in Australia by my thinking.
B) Surf culture- In Australia I think everyone surfs, whether it is body board, free style or with a surf board. Even if you do not surf you know all about it and can relate to it.
C) Mate ship- I think Mate Ship is probably the fundamental aspect of Australian way of life and culture. If you have ever been to Australia you will immediately notice everyone calls each other “mate”.
What does mate ship mean? Let me contrast it with the USA- In the USA, IMHO everyone is considered an outsider and possible threat until and unless proven otherwise.
When you get in the taxi- you sit in the back, instruct the driver where you are going and then fall silent until the end of your trip.
In Australia- everyone is considered your mate (friend) unless and until proven otherwise.
When you get in the taxi to go to the pub you sit in the FRONT- the taxi driver arrives, you get in and say “how ya goin mate?”
“Good thanks mate and you?”
“Fine thanks mate”
“Where ya goin mate?”
“Down the the DY pub thanks mate”
“Ah yea, whats going on down there mate?”
“Sposed to me live music and I am going to meet a few mates for a few beers”
and so on
Let me relate a story from my own experience that combines all three concepts=
One day while staying at my beach bach I got up way before sunrise to to a dawn patrol and “The Alley” and left my place while it was still dark.
Had a great session, got many waves and got totally “surfed out”
Much to my surprise, when I got back I saw that some one had cut the lock to my brand new push bike and stolen it!
So there is this special number you call the police to report non emergencies and I ring it.
“Police reporting station Constable Blye speaking”
“Gday mate how you going?”
“Not to bad thanks mate how can I help”
“Well mate I am at my beach bach and just got back from surfing “The Alley””
“Ah yea, how were the waves mate?”
Knowing the call was being recorded and you always want to be honest with the constabulary I replied with total conviction”
“Pretty good mate it was about half a meter overhead”
“Yea heard it was good today, did you catch many waves?”
Once again- knowing it was recorded and talking to the constabulary-
“Yes mate I got about a dozen waves from out the back then caught the last one in to the other side of the river mouth”
“Good on ya- how can I help you mate”
So I finally go on to explain that my bike was stolen, the chain cut etc etc. He takes my address and mobile phone details and tells me that he is sending someone to take a report in person and to fingerprint the chain and so on.
About half an hour later the police car comes with a very nice female police constable.
She says “How you going mate, how can I help?”
I reply “Well mate I went and surfed “the alley” and left before dark”
She says “Ah yea, how were the waves”
She asks “did you get many”
you get the picture 🙂