This is the fourth Australia Day I've had away from home. I've read the newspapers pontificating on what it is to be Australian, and I'm still not sure what it means, beyond being a person born with at least one parent who is an Australian citizen or a person who has migrated to Australia and become a citizen.
I know some of the things that mark me as an Australian. My accent for one, despite the best efforts of various well-meaning Americans to make me sound like them. Nup, not happening. I'll keep my he-yah and summa, my Powl's books, not pow-el's books, thanks all the same. Some Americans love my accent - I have absolutely NO idea why - when I go back home, I know I sound like the people around me and oh my goodness, I sound like that? I'll also keep my somewhat off sense of humour, even if I can only indulge it in certain company. My attitude to health care - after all Australia is a socialist country (I can hear various Americans gasping cos you know one of the biggest insults is to be socialist if I understand the comments made on some websites) - we have socialised medicine and a safety net for the sick, elderly and out of work (ok, I've been on it and I can tell you it sucks dog's biscuits - I'm being polite here - to be on the dole. But the medical care for my cancer was just dandy. Non-urgent (ie won't kill you) medical problems can take a long time to be treated but urgent stuff - you get the best of care and it is FREE). My attitude to giving everyone a fair go. (Note that a fair go is not the same as the American attitude of the self-made man/woman - Australian ambitions tend not to be so lofty as to think someone raised dirt poor will be able to become a multi-millionaire. However, the daughter of a scrap metal merchant should be able to go to university if she has the academic ability and the interest.)
It really is amorphous, which is why I tend not to get on my high horse about how great it is to be Australian. Cos is it? All countries have their good and bad points, and the country that I was born in is no exception. It's just luck of the draw where you are born, and really I was pretty lucky to be born where I was. I have much to be grateful for.
Some old but favourite songs about Oz/being Australian
(Terribly sad story now goes with this song, RIP Greg Ham)
(Not my fave Midnight Oils but I can't think of my fave one currently!)
(Don't worry, we couldn't work out the lyrics either!)
Oh, just so many oldies but goodies. Well I enjoy them anyway. Some will have made it overseas but not all of them I reckon. I know people will say "What about this, what about that" but if I listed all of the songs I like, this post would never end. Also some of the best versions are the ones that we made up along the way - AC/DC's "It's a long way to the top" has long been It's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll. The Angels' Am I ever gonna see your face again with the crowd replying "No way, get lost, piss/insert word of preference here off!" We make the music our own.
And in my own Australian way, I don't do much swearing. Blaspheming yes (for me it isn't blaspheming though), but I don't drop the f-bomb for example, much to the amusement of various friends. I sometimes sound either like British gentry with my piffles, but other times more classic dinky-di Aussie. Of course that makes me very unAustralian but at the same time more entertaining.
Next time around you might get something other than twaddle out of me, but I won't bet on it. I might have a new FO to share if I ever stop ripping it back and redoing it. LOL