Isn’t migration a funny thing. You find yourself torn between two cultures. Sometimes you support the cause of the original FOB. You even find yourself defending it, and explaining it, theorising about it and explaining it to your totally gora (no culture) colleagues who’ve had like zero struggles in their lives. Seriously though, migration leaves you richer with knowledge. Sometimes.
The election’s coming near and Howard’s most offensive quality is his perpetuation of “aussie values”, the coining of a term that automatically sets Australians apart from the rest of the world. I object to such classifications because unless you’re a devil worshipper, your values and mine are basically the same. I resent the creation and subsequent perpetuation of a seemingly harmless rehtoric that has widened the gap between mainstream Australia and its migrant folk.
That said, have you ever had a “those bloody FOBs” moment?
Have you had an experience that’s made you spit out the same rhetoric? My closest friend from school is Indian Brahmin, born and raised in Australia, who now works as a lawyer in a reputable firm near me. She was on Friday approached by an Indian man, of similar cast (one can only imagine) dressed in traditional Indian attire. He also had on the traditional kunkumun (red powder) that signifies your <>.
As this man stopped at the traffic lights waiting to cross the road with my friend, he turned to her, greeted by saying Namaste, and proceeded to ask her why she is wearing a skirt.
Yes, that’s right. He asked her why she was wearing a skirt, because traditionally women wouldn’t show leg and ideally be wearing saris. She, being indian, was not.
These experiences remind us of the ways in which many people still think in this world. They shake us up, piss us off and remind us that ours is not the only way of being. As ethnic as I may be, I’m still very very far removed from the reality of the women growing up in Pakistan. Just today, we had visitors over. I was out but I came in shortly after they did.
After a little while, I was asked by one of my guests where I’d gone to and whether or not I had to work on Sunday.
I found this question very odd. But it suddenly reminded me that girls in Pakistan, don’t really go out on their own. Girls like her, would have never just gone to the corner shop to get some ice cream with a mate on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Her question bothered me. As I was retelling the story to my sister she informed me that the guests had been made aware of my whereabouts so she didn’t understand why I was being quizzed again.
This bothered me some more. I resorted to saying “well, this is what we DO in Australia lady! We have lives!”
Can you believe it!
*this is a quick and dirty entry – possible edits may follow*