Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A welcome to the 25-millionth Australian

On the TV news a few minutes ago, they said something about your arrival later this evening, probably around 11:00 p.m. or so.  They're not sure yet if you're a newborn baby or a newly-arrived immigrant. 

In any event, to use an all-purpose Australian greeting, "G'day!"

If you're a baby, I don't know whether you're:
  • Tarquin or Charlotte from Toorak (or whatever happens to be your state's Toorak), or
  • Will-yum or Maree-uh from Gagebrook (or whatever happens to be your state's Gagebrook).
If you're an immigrant, I don't know whether you're:
  • Maeve from Ireland,
  • Ahmed from Bangladesh,
  • Hosea from Tonga, or
  • Mercy from South Sudan.
But, in any event, welcome.  It's great to have you around.

If you're new in this country, like Maeve or Mercy, let me tell you that most people in this country are pretty decent.  I've lived in this country since 1980 and I'll let you know that there will be a few people who'll try to give you a hard time because of your accent, or because of the colour of your skin, or because of your religion.  Don't judge the rest of us on the basis of a few idiots (even when they happen to be idiots who sit in Parliament or read the news on TV).  Most of us will agree with you that these "professional bigots" are not the driest wine in the cellar, or the spiciest curry on the menu; and that they're a few elephants short of a zoo, a few salamis short of a deli, and a few tenors short of a choir.  (By the way, in case you haven't realised, I've just introduced you to some useful Australian idioms.)

And that goes just as well for you if, like Tarquin or Will-yum, you're not only new in this country but new in this world.  Most people are pretty decent.  Having lived in this world since 1953, I'll tell you that a big part of growing up is learning which people are worthy of your trust and which ones are not.   Get that one right, and the rest becomes a lot easier.

Anyway, Ahmed (or is that Maree-uh), thinking both about your life in this country and your life on this planet, may I share with you that great Australian greeting:  "Have a good one."

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Constructive comments, from a diversity of viewpoints, are always welcome. I reserve the right to choose which comments will be printed. I'm happy to post opinions differing from mine. Courtesy, an ecumenical attitude, and a willingness to give your name always help. A sense of humour is a definite "plus", as well.