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Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Scandalous Australia Day Occurrence


Einige Gedanken zu den skandalösen Australia Day Ausschreitungen 


Wer in den letzten Tagen die Nachrichten die Nachrichten verfolgt hat, ist der Nachricht, die in der ganzen Welt Schlagzeile gemacht hat, begegnet: “In Australien brechen alte Wunden auf” oder ähnlich werden in grossen Buchstaben auf dem Artikel zu lesen gewesen sein. 
Those who have been following the news throughout the last few days would have encountered the headline that was published throughout the world last week: “Old wounds broken up in Australia” or so the big characters would have titled the article. 
Bereits einige Tage vor dem Australia Day am 26. Januar wurde auf diversen australischen Medien eine Diskussion eröffnet, ob Australier, welche die blau-weiss-rote Australische Flagge an ihren Autos flattern lassen, rassistisch seien. Eine Studie der University of Western Australia (UWA) wurde veröffentlicht, deren Ergebnis besagt, dass diejenigen Leute, welche die weiten Australiens mit der nationalen Fahne durchfahren, eher rassistisch seien. 
Schnell wurden Stimmen laut, dass dies alles – in australischen Worten – bullshit sei.
Auf den Kommentarseiten war schnell herauszulesen, dass diejenigen, welche das Stück Stoff aus dem Autofenster hängen lassen würden, wenn etwas, dann patriotisch seien. 
A few days before Australia Day (January 26) a variety of Australia media published a study, conducted by the University of Western Australia (UWA), suggesting that people driving around with the flag on their car tend to be more racist than ones not having a flag flying on the sides of their cars. Very quickly a big nationwide discussion had been opened. Just as rapidly comments, that this statement is – in Australian words – bullshit filled the commentary pages. A lot of the commentators turned the whole issue and suggested that those flying an Aussie flag off the sides of their car were if something, than patriotic. 
Dass wir am  Donnerstagabend nach einem wunderbaren Australia Day Abend zusammen mit vielen anderen Menschen aus verschiedensten Kulturen ohne Flaggen nach Hause gefahren sind, hat nichts, wie Verfasser anderer Kommentare angedeutet hatten, damit  zu tun, dass wir uns für dieses wunderbare Land schämen, noch weil wir keinen Stolz für dieses Land haben. In unserer Abwesenheit kam jemand und brach willentlich die beiden Autofahnen ab.
The fact that we drove home after a beautiful Australia Day evening, having spent time at a local Beach with people from all kinds of cultures not having a flag on our car wasn’t due to – as some comments insisted -  a shame that we felt for this country, nor because we aren’t proud of this country: In our absence someone had willingly broken off the flags. 
 Als am nächsten Tag im ganzen Land Radios oder Fernseher angeschaltet bzw. Zeitungen geöffnet wurden, waren viele Leute erzürnt oder sogar beschämt. Beschämt, dass die Zelt Botschaft (Tent embassy) vor dem alten Parlament Australiens bzw. ihre Bewohner gegenüber der Regierungschefin Julia Gillard und dem Oppositionsführer Tony Abott  bedrohlich wurden – derart bedrohlich, dass diese beiden Australischen Schlüsselfiguren unserer Zeit von dem Restaurant durch Sicherheitsleute in Sicherheit gebracht werden mussten. 
As people throughout the massive island turned on their radios or TVs the next day or opened their newspapers, a lot of people were angry or even ashamed that the inhabitants of the tent embassy in front of the old Parliament House had approached the Prime Minister as well as the opposition leader Tony Abott in such a way that they had to be escorted out of the Restaurant by security personnel as the crowd was growing increasingly threatening in an action that ended in a discourtesy for the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. 
Die Befürworter dieser skandalösen Aktion sehen in dieser Aktion eine längst überfällige Antwort auf ein Nichtstun der Australischen Regierung in Sache Problem zwischen Aborigines und weisse Australier sowie Rache auf ein Statement von Herrn Abott, welcher am Tag darauf den Medien mitteilt, dass er falsch aufgefasst worden sei. 
The supporters of this scandalous action see this action as a result of a non-acting of the government in terms of the problems with the indigenous peoples of Australia and the white Australians, as well as an act of revenge for a statement by Tony Abbot, who says he has been misquoted.
Ich persönlich siehe das Problem, wie Aborigines behandelt werden sollen, als einen Teufelskreislauf. Die weissen Australier sind nicht glücklich, dass die indigenen Bewohner dieser riesigen Insel oft den weissen Bewerbern vorgezogen werden, um hohe so künstlich hohe Aboriginesquoten in Sache Arbeiter zu garantieren. Dass Privatschulen in der Umgebung von Perth einige Gratisplätze für die Aborigines bzw. ihren Kindern anbieten, macht die Sache auch nicht einfacher. Fährt man an den Centrelinks (den Sozialhilfestellen Australiens) sieht man kaum weisse Australier, fährt man mit der Bahn nach Perth sieht man oft, wie Aborigines aus den Zügen gewiesen werden, wenn schwarzgefahren wird – der nicht indigenen Bevölkerung wird jedoch eine happige Busse auferlegt. 
Personally, I see this whole story as a vicious cycle.: The white Australians are not happy that the indigenous population of this beautiful country are often given better chances in terms of jobs to artificially keep the rate of employed indigenous peoples high in some mining communities. The fact that private schools around Perth give some scholarships to Aboriginal families, certainly does not make the situation easier for the non indigenous population. That the vast majority of the recipients of social security are indigenous and that whoever travels on the train to Perth gets to be witness that non indigenous people are treated differently to the indigenous people when they are sent off the train when they do not have a valid ticket, whereas the non-indigenous population has to pay horrendous sums of money does not help the whole relationship either. 
Auf meinem Trip nach Pardoo sah ich jeweils freitagmorgens vor dem Lädeli auf dem Campingplatz die Aborigines. Sie reisen in hoffnungslos überfüllten Autos an (Bussen werden oft nicht ausgeteilt, da sie schlicht nicht bezahlt werden können), kaufen den Alkohol und verschwinden dann wieder. Geht man am Nachmittag fischen, sind die leeren Kartonschachteln die einzigen Zeugen des traurigen Geschehens. Dass Freitags die Renten sowohl eine Art Kompensationszahlung für die desaströse Vergangenheit ausbezahlt werden, bleibt nur zu erübrigen…
Up in Pardoo I was used to seeing Aborginals on Friday mornings in front of the local store, who had travelled in overcrowded cars (but are often not fined, as often the ability to pay is non-existent), ready to buy alcohol. When we went fishing the later afternoon, the only remains of this sad occurrence would be empty cardboard boxes. That Friday is the day that the rents are paid can just be added… 
Die beinahe täglichen Reklamationen über beschädigte Häuser, die den Familien der Sozialhilfeempfänger unentgeltlich zur Verfügung gestellt werden und die trostlosen Figuren vor den Bahnhöfen sind Zeugen dieses Teufelskreislaufes. 

Anzufügen bleibt nur, dass dies natürlich nicht für die ganze indigene Bevölkerung gilt, es betrifft jedoch einen grossen Teil.
The almost daily complaints about damaged house, in which recipients of social security get to live for a small rent und the devastating figures in front of the train lines are witnesses of this sad story of the relationship between the indigenous population and the non-indigenous population. 
One thing I want to state very clearly though is that this is not the case for all the indigenous peoples of Australia – there are so many who have great relationships with the non-indigenous community and have found their way of live in our times. 
Die Lösung für dieses Problem hat niemand. Die Weissen nach Hause zu schicken ist zumal ganz sicher keine Lösung (einige „Botschafter“ in der Zeltbotschaft wollen jedoch genau dies) und die indigene Bevölkerung weiter zu entschädigen würde nur zu einer grösseren Kluft zwischen der weissen und der indigenen Bevölkerung führen (je nachdem, wo man wohnt, kann die Rente sowie die Entschädigung für die Vergangenheit höher als die Mindestlöhne sein).
No one has the solution fort his problem. What I certainly know is that sending the non-indigenous people out of the country is certainly no viable solution, unlike some “ambassadors” of the tent embassy suggest. To compensate the indigenous population more, would just increase the gap between the two parties (depending on where you live the rent and the compensation payments can be higher than the minimum wage paid). 
Hand in Hand muss die Bevölkerung eine Lösung finden, bevor es wieder zu einer derart unangebrachten Ausschreitung kommt. Hand in Hand kann Australien die Kluft zwischen inidigener und weisser Bevölkerung in die Geschichtsbücher bringen und aus der Gesellschaft verbannen – so wie es bereits mit der weissen Vorherrschaft geschehen ist. Dann, aber nur dann, können wir ein weiteres erscheinen solcher Headlines verhindern.
Hand in hand the population of this country has to find a solution, before it comes to another scandalous occurrence. Hand in hand Australia can put the gap between the indigenous and non-indigenous population into the history books and ban them from society – as it was happened with the white supremacy. Then and only then, we can prevent appearance of such headlines.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

1 Month Left

Today in a month I'll be at the airport, ready to depart. I do not know whether the destination will be home, I only know it will be Switzerland. Time to reflect on what I love. Aussie things I love. Like (in no particular order):
Quokkas (I want some)
Wendy
Deb alias mum
Mark alias dad
Tomasso
Harley
Nathan
Aaron
Mattis
Julie
Stephanie w. (British non British friend with whom I speak pseudo English)
Lauren w. Kangaroos Heat Joeys (I wanna have one of them, too) Joel
Scott
Nanna V. And E.
Poppa
Grandad
Amos
Felix s.
Ben Gabriele
Yurino
Micah
Sara from English(whose pinky promise test I didn't pass)
Sara from pc
Coran Auntie
Leanne
Ben 
Maddie
Shelly
James h.
Clyde Koyo (who didn't enjoy dolphin meat)
Australia
TimTams 
Starburst
Aussie skies
Bush
Snorkeling
Surfing
School uniform
God
Holly
Surfing
AFS
Quandong jam
Aussie humor
Bogaens (mullet people with utes and southern cross tattoos)
Jason
Pierre f.
Paul Hannah (laughs like pig but still awesome)
Inken
Lukas
Chloe
Melbourne host family
 Sydney host family (poppy and MaMa)
Frank (south African)
Jason
English
Pauline
Paulina
The RAC ads' music (Elvis)
Zac
Gemma
Felix w.
Jake
School
Early sunlight
2minute noodles
Karijini

 AND SO MUCH MORE. I love you, Australia!
Anyone wondering why I am not looking forward to going back too much? :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Swimming With Sharks or This Is How Much My New Host Family Loves Me

There is a more or less popular newspaper in Switzerland that usually begins it's articles with headlines similar to the title of this post - usually the sharks end up being tiny and in an aquarium and the 'fearless' swimming amongst them simply infront of the glas windows watching these magnificent animals swimming. 

But in my case it is - similar. Not as dramatic as the title could make you believe. 


A Santa Clause I received from AFS Switzerland
enjoying the bush walk with Felix, an Aussie friend





Silly Clyde and Crazy Elijah

But first things first:
Christmas has been and gone. I spent most of the time at my host grandparents place in Gosnells. We had a really good time, good food, lovely gifts to each other and of course in accord with the Australian culture: Hot weather and cool drinks in the hand. 
It was definitively a Christmas to remember - it was great! (Except the bit embarrassing moment when you as a foreigner don't understand how Christmas Crackers work as well as the pathetic carols echoing in the alleys of the shops crying out for "white Christmas"). 

Way to the bus stop 

Nanna Val helping me doing my
christmas gift for my host family


Baking Swiss Christmas specialties


An awesome gift.... 

and another one! I was so happy!!

Preperations for Christmas lunch (dinner)

New Year was rather quite - due to extensive fire danger we had to be happy with the a bit too extravagant fireworks shot into the Sydney night sky on television, 3 hours later. I reckon the poor on the face of our planet could have a good Christmas time if all that money saved by not sending up sparks of light into the hot night skies in Perth would be donated to the less fortunate....

New Host family. Went swimming at the beach. Had a good time. Upon arrival at home I skype with my friend Thierry, I overhear Wendy and Harley, my new host parents, telling Thierry's parents that the beach was actually closed due to spotting of sharks by the shark helicopter which flies is rounds above Perth's waters after a series of deaths in the last few months - by sharks. 

AND TODAY: FINALLY SURFING!!!! My host brother and school friend Nathan was very patient in teaching me surfing on a secondhand board we bought yesterday - It was great. Definatively one of the best nights of my life - too thanks to the yummy food, the beautiful atmosphere of the evening sky and my lovely host family. Even though I lept out of the water quite rapidely upon the jumping of a small amount of bigger fish out of the water - I was suspecting a shark. The fact that Harley saw a massive splash approximately 200m off the coast didn't really comfort me either, as this grown man suspected it to be a great ocean creature (e.g. shark) to have been catching something on the surf of the sparkling Indian Ocean. 




 I have changed host family for the duration of a bit more than one month due to an issue with my 'real host family'. All involved sides are happy about this temporary change and we still have a great relationship. I too see this as a way to enjoy my original host family fully for the last few weeks. I LOVE my new host family, every member (even the retarded dog) has a spot in my heart, forever. 

Wendy and Harley, my new lovely host parents

A typical Australian Christmas decoration:
Hanging cards up

ZOPF! As heard by a Swiss friend who
I met up with in Perth. He had seen it at
the Freo markets...

My host brother and best oz friend Nathan

3am, Thunderstorm. Worst one
I think I have ever seen. 

Blocked Highway due to fires.
At the moment Australia is burning
and apparently this will be status quo
for a few months. 
In less than 50 days I will be back home, this is the reason for my quite extensive studies at the moment - to catch up. At least hypothetically.... :) I am worried about going back to Switzerland, meeting friends and not knowing whether we would still have similar interests, similar feelings and if we would still have good relationships. I am worried about putting my easygoing Aussie way of life to the side, I am worried about missing home too much. Home as in Australia. 

I love Australia. I love Australians.